I’ve got two V-Picks and I’m getting two more! Hooray, something I can post about!
(here is a picture I found of a bunch of them, why not?)
Background info: I’ve played Dunlop Stubbies and Big Stubbies pretty much exclusively for the last several years. There were some deficiencies in them – a tendency to get pretty slippery when you start really digging in, leading to me scoring whatever one I was actively playing at the time with a grid pattern on the “grip” of the big stubbies to try to give a little more for the fingers to hold on to – but I enjoyed the very deliberate articulation that their mass allowed, and so I put up with the issues. It seemed like a pretty fair compromise, since lighter picks and flatter picks just never played as well for me. But it did always still feel like a compromise.
Welp, done with that now!
It turns out I was compromising unnecessarily. I’ve known about V-Picks for a long time but never considered actually trying them until recently. I guess there are a few reasons, mainly that the actual plectrum edge on the Dunlops wears out more quickly than I like and then makes the pick as a whole less articulate and more susceptible to drag on the strings and move toward my wrist, despite my efforts to make them have a less slippy grip, but when I lived in central AR I was near music stores that carried them so I could just have them on hand for when the last one wore out and be good to go. Well, now if they wear out I have to either make a minimum of a three hour round trip to get new ones or order them online. The main advertised quality is that they grip extremely well, but apart from that the V-Picks are supposed to be less susceptible to wearing as quickly (I’ve got testimony from a couple people I trust that they’re more durable than most picks, and it makes sense, the material and the bevel on them are both very high quality). I’m down to two packs of stubbies now, which would last me a while but not forever, and anyway I was curious so I figured I’d try out the V-Pick thing.
I called Vinni and he recommended two to try out, the Medium Rounded and Medium Pointed. They’re part of the “standard” lineup of V-Picks and are equilateral, so while they do cost twice the individual price of a Dunlop Big Stubby, they have three times the usable plectrum edge. The rounded ones are rounded, the pointed ones are pointy, and “medium” in V-Picks language means 2.75mm which is pretty comfortable to me, just slightly thinner than I’m used to.
I got them in and was pretty much immediately sold on the whole idea. The whole “grip” thing is absolutely true. I don’t have to destructively mod them to try to get them to stay put, they just do. There’s some adjustment to the different shape, just to be expected with any new pick, but it wasn’t very long, and the comfort of the grip really knocked me out. The edge type makes a really distinct difference in the sound. It turns out that I like the pointed variety better, they are every bit as articulate as the Stubbies but they play much easier. The distinct tip is very articulate; I can get more motion but there’s nothing at all that prevents me from playing softly. The rounded version is clearly a high quality pick, too, but I just prefer the tip on the pointed one. I think this set would be perfect for anyone who wants to see what the fuss is about, because it lets you feel the difference in the grip, get accustomed to the thicker pick, and lets you hear and feel the difference between two especially distinct varieties of the tips that he offers in the product line, at safe-bet prices.
So, having received two picks with three identical edges for longevity, picks which are well-reputed to be very durable anyway, one of which has already proved awesome for my needs… the obvious choice was to go ahead and order two more from the $10 a piece, 4.10mm-thick premium line! I figure in for a penny with a boutique pick, in for a pound, and from talking to him I get the impression that Vinni’s a really nice guy who cares a lot about his product quality and wants you to be happy with your decision. He tried to talk me out of buying any premium picks before I had a week with the ones I’ve got, but where’s the fun in that? I could get hit by a flying toilet seat and end up a grim reaper or something, I want to step it up quickly. So, I’ve got two of the premium picks headed my way now:
A Dimension (Buffed), and a Snake (Pointed). I’m really looking forward to the thicker picks, as comfortable as the 2.75mm picks are I can only imagine how easy the grip will be on the thicker ones, and they both have a similar edge quality to the pointed one that I like so much.
I know initially the concept of “boutique” picks sounds silly, but the main line of products are perfectly affordable considering the advantages they have over the Big Stubbies and how much those have been costing me due to wear; maybe the $10 ones seem a little silly to some, but I for one am a big fan of thick picks and I finally got tired of some issues my pick of choice was giving me. I found a great option that’s durable with very nice qualities for not a lot more in the Medium Pointed V-Picks at $4 a piece (plus $3 shipping that covers as many as will fit in the envelope, buy a few to justify the shipping charge and you’re probably set for life so long as you don’t have guitarist friends who steal your picks). So I’ll spend my tenner how I want, and I really can’t wait to get in the premiums. I imagine they are going to be some seriously comfortable picks.
I’ll update when they get in to let you know what I think, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions about the ones I have, if anyone is curious. They’re really different from each other in how they feel and sound thanks to the very different edges, though the grip is more or less identical since they’re the same thickness and material.