Six months ago I would have had no idea what a V-Pick was, but right now it is damn near impossible to visit a guitar website or forum and not find someone raving over these seemingly magical little picks. I recently contacted Vinni at V-Picks.com and he was kind enough to send me over a sample pack to try out for myself. Let’s see what all the fuss is about!
V-Picks are made from a special type of acrylic which gives them a very slick, transparent appearance. But aside from looking great, the main advantage to this material is the grip, or ‘grippage’ as the guys at V-Picks like to call it. These little chaps have grip by the bucket load, but that’s not to say they’re too sticky – the balance is just perfect. Their tagline of ‘never drop your pick again’ seems to be spot on!
A further innovative feature on most of the V-Pick variations is their three-sided composition. The pick is designed so that you can hold it from any one of the sides, as each corner is the same as the other. A typical model will cost a little more than your average brand name pick, but when you consider that you are actually getting three picks in one, these suddenly become excellent value for money.
So let’s take a look at these wondrous plectrums already! My sample pack included five different picks and I have given a brief outline of each below.
Medium Ultra Lite Pointed
At 0.75mm this was the thinnest pick I was sent. Its slight flexibility makes it great for acoustic guitar and the pointed tips help to provide a bright, snappy, well articulated tone. These are also available in small and large sizes as well as in a beautiful ruby red color.
Thoughts: My new acoustic pick of choice! This little gem sounds absolutely dreamy both for simple strumming and more complex arpeggios. The added grip makes them ideal for those times when you really let rip and are going to town with your strumming.
Medium Lite Pointed
This pick is very similar to the Ultra Lite series with the main difference being that they are twice as thick at 1.5mm. They produce a tone which is slightly fuller than the Ultra Lites as you would expect from a thicker pick. A fantastic jack-of-all-trades! Also available in small, large and freakishly large sizes.
Thoughts: A great all-rounder! If it were not for the Medium Pointed this would probably have been my favorite of the lot, however I really liked the extra mass of the thicker pick. Feels great between the fingers and just glides over the strings.
Now we’re getting into chunky territory! At 2.75mm these are the thickest picks I have ever used – they definitely feel very substantial in the hand. These are fast and articulate with their smooth surface making them absolutely glide over the strings. These are also available in small, large, freakishly large, diamond, snake and tremolo, as well as in ruby red, nite-glow (glow in the dark!) and pearl finished versions.
Thoughts: I am in love with this pick! Previously the smoothest pick I had ever tried was the Dunlop Stubby – I loved how easily it glided over the strings, but the bugger got so sweaty and slippery that it was basically useless to me. The V-Picks Medium Pointed is easily as smooth and fast as the Stubby but with oodles of added grip. This is my new favorite pick! However, as I am used to playing Dunlop Jazz IIIs I expect that I will enjoy the Small Pointed design even more, so I hope to try these soon as well.
Like the Pointed picks these are also 2.75mm thick but have smoother, more curvaceous corners. These were the original V-Picks and are still one of their most popular designs. Also available in small, large and freakishly large sizes as well as in ruby red, nite-glow and pearl finished options.
Thoughts: This was the only model that I couldn’t get to grips with, but this was down to my style of playing rather than the pick itself. I hold picks at a fairly extreme angle to the strings and the smooth bevelled edges just didn’t make enough contact for much of a sound to be produced. However, as soon as I switched to holding the pick parallel to the strings a full and warm tone was easily achieved. For my style of playing I need a sharp pick and I just don’t ever tend to get on with rounded designs.
The 1.5mm Euro II is a little different from the rest of the picks I was sent as it only has one picking edge. You’ll probably also have noticed the series of holes in the center which gives this pick a unique feeling between the fingers. Also available is the Euro, which is the same design but 10% smaller.
Thoughts: I was a little indifferent towards this one. I think it would appeal more to players who wanted a more traditional shaped pick with all the grip advantages that a V-Pick brings. It does feel a little different between the fingers but this didn’t make much of a difference to me. Still, you could tie some thread around one of those holes so that you really will ‘never drop your pick again’ !
Although I’ve only tried a very small sample of the entire V-Picks range I can say with some certainty that all of the hype is very well deserved. I tried my level best to find faults in their design but there just does not seem to be any – any issues were down to my personal play-style and individual tastes. I actually found that playing with the Medium Pointed made an almost immediate improvement in my playing. I had been struggling for the past 2 months with a Petrucci solo that I could play at 80% speed – last night I was comfortably able to play that same solo cranked up to 90%. That’s too much of a coincidence if you ask me!
A lot of players comment on the extra ‘chirping’ sounds that these picks add to their playing – some like them, some don’t. I tested this against a variety of other picks and found that the difference between each was marginal, and the way in which you hold the pick and also where you position your hand on the strings makes a big difference. Personally I liked the extra dynamics that the V-Picks added and found that they were easily controllable.
There’s only one tiny disadvantage that I could come up with, and that only applies to the transparent designs. If you do manage to drop one of them on the floor they become near invisible in darkened rooms. Still… buy some of the nite-glow versions and you don’t have this problem – V-Picks have seemingly thought of everything!
These are as near to perfect as I have ever found in a pick design and I absolutely suggest you give some of these little beauties a try for yourselves. For me, V-Picks have definitely set the bar against which all other picks shall henceforth be judged 😉
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