Dunlop Ultex Sharp Picks
Dunlop Manufacturing, jimdunlop.com
Player's Pack (six picks), $4.17
Originally published in Guitar World, October 2009
With all the picks to choose from, I’m no longer picky.
Of all the components that contribute to guitar tone and playability, the pick is the one that gets the least consideration. For most guitarists, their choice of pick is a lame afterthought, and perhaps with good reason: compared to all the sexy stomp boxes and myriad gear out there, selecting a pick is about as exciting as choosing cufflinks.
Dunlop’s brand-new Ultex Sharp picks are the exception. Ultex Sharps are performance tools that will help you shape your tone, increase your speed and improve your accuracy, far better than any old pick.
If you pay close attention to the picks that popular guitarists employ, you will find their choice has as much to do with their tone as it does their style: Virtuoso guitarists such as Eric Johnson and John Petrucci swear by Dunlop’s miniscule Jazz III pick, with its pointed end that facilitates their precise flurry of notes. The Edge favors a dimpled Herdim pick to achieve the raspy string sounds that are a signature of U2’s music. Most guitarists I know use Dunlop’s tried-and-true Tortex style of pick, while I’ve always used celluloid picks, and although they wear away rather quickly, their even tone has made other choices in guitar picks unnecessary. Until now.
The Ultex Sharp is based on a rare tortoise-shell pick (known for its superior tone) and is a standard size. That’s certainly a plus for guitarists that drop picks faster than state senators drop twenties on strippers. The Ultex Sharp is precision molded and nearly indestructible; it took a night of aggressive playing before my example developed chiseled edges. It also has a nonwarping, rigid body that tapers into a sculpted tip.
But what really makes it different from other picks is its smooth, composite feel, which is never plasticky. I find its tone acts much like a spruce top on an acoustic, allowing notes to project clarity and brightness to balance a darker back and sides wood. Whether using an electric or acoustic, it intensified my picking dynamics and delivered volume when digging in. With the Ultex Sharp, you won’t have to work as hard to develop accuracy and speed because the perfectly contoured tip strikes the strings evenly and allows you to bounce between them effortlessly while transferring a quicker decay between notes. The picks are available in .73, .90, 1.0, 1.14, 1.40 and 2.0mm gauges.
The Ultex Sharp has improved my playing more than any other piece of gear I’ve come across. And with all the picks to choose from, I’m no longer picky.
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