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Costing £3.69 for a pack of six from Amazon, Dunlop Jazz III Picks are perhaps the coolest plectrums on the market. These nylon strumming-aids have been used by a number of talented guitarists over the years including the riff-master himself Joe Bonamassa. The following review is for the standard Dunlop Jazz III pick, rather than the scaled up XL version which is also available.
These particular picks don't actually need to be shelved into a particular bracket of playing style - they're great for whatever genre music you play, whether it's jazz or something else. In fact, Jazz III picks are used by many metal bands including Metallica, Slipknot, and Trivium.
Design & Appearance
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Available in red and black, the first thing you'll notice when using a Dunlop Jazz III pick is the fact that it's smaller than Dunlop's regular plectrum. The size difference feels a little odd at first, especially if you've been using standard picks for a number of years - however, you'll soon adapt to the smaller scale and find that your accuracy is likely to improve. I guess that the pointed (rather than rounded) leading edge is also to improve accuracy when picking - and that it does very successfully in my experience. Surprisingly, the picks are easy to hold on to, and significantly less fiddly than you might imagine.
Longevity & Final Word
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In terms of their longevity, these plectrums last an especially long time before they begin to degrade in any way - the likelihood is that you'll lose your picks before it gets to a state where it needs replacing. Sound-wise, the Jazz III has a fairly unique sharp and clear tone - its 1.38mm gauge means that it's great for use with heavier acoustic strings as well as lighter electro ones. Overall, Dunlop Jazz III Guitar Picks are sturdy, easy to use, and very adaptable. Great for strumming, great for picking - you'll not go too far wrong here if you decide to purchase a few.
Dunlop had already done us proud with the Nylon series they came out with, when I came across these the true power of Dunlop produce hit me hard and ever since that day I've never looked back. These plectrums are the real deal: large, durable, flexible and available in a variety of request-able colours.
Unlike the nylon picks Dunlop produce, the 'XL Series - Jazz III' picks are much more resistant, allowing for greater life-expectancy and a better useful working life-span. They adopt a manipulated teardrop shape which has a slightly less curvy perimeter than the traditional tear drop formation whilst remaining of very similar indeed. This gives no real advantage to the product over alternatives, but does allow it to stand out from the crowd in a slight a way as possible.
The picks flexibility allows you to strum and pick at guitars of varying style. The Jazz III isn't limited to one particular string weight or material type, it can be used on anything (at least anything I've had a go on). The plectrum has the ability to flex, bend and twist before returning to its original flat self in an instant. Only after 6-12 months will this inherent talent fade leaving the pick skewed (but critically still usable)!
Because the text and logo is embedded into the surface of these picks, it won't fade away like with other alternatives. It will remain, and this is a good thing because I think the logo and text adds a hint of style to product which some picks lack. The actual material of the pick is opaque (unlike Fenders transparent series) and can be found reasonably easy when dropped, though the colours aren't that strong and can blend with particular shades of carpet and wooden flooring.
These picks are incredibly solid and won't slip from your fingers. With a large surface area in comparison to others, the Jazz III is more suited to persons with chubby fingers, but everyone can use them and what's so great. They're un-turn-down-able, even the pro's wouldn't be out of place wielding one of these on the stage. Without a doubt a 5/5 product from Dunlop, the maker of great products world-wide.
These are available on Amazon.co.uk for around £8 a pack.
I have owned and used Jazz III's for several years and I can say that they are the best pick out of the many I have tried for numerous reasons :-
THEY NEVER GO BLUNT. That's right, and if and when they do, it is literally months down the line, I've managed to secure one of mine in the same spot (and not lose it) for several months which is a miracle in its own right!
The only time I have chosen to buy a replacement Jazz III is when I have lost my other one otherwise I would be using that one until it was a dust. The size of the XL series is convenient as i personally find the regular Jazz III's too small and normal picks are too big and I also find that the writing of the logo seems to help me keep the grip of the plectrum better, it rarely slips out of my fingers which is nice.
The only mere downside is the price (which is tiny by the way) usually you can buy a set of 4 regular picks for £1 but most shops seem to sell jazz III's at the price of 50p each so essentially they are double the price, however, you have to remember that these picks will last you in the fact that they blunt extremely slowly and so are a worthwhile investment
If you find yourself always losing your picks and to be honest aren't fussy about what pick you use then I suggest you continue using the cheaper makes. If, on the other hand you are looking for something that will last and feel good in your hands then this is the pick for you!
** Pick = Plectrum
~Jazz up your picking with a Jim Dunlop Jazz III XL Guitar Pick~
The range of guitar picks or plectrums on offer from Jim Dunlop are varied enough to allow most guitarists to find something that suits their needs. The Jim Dunlop Jazz III Guitar Pick range incorporates a number of interesting picks that can enhance your picking including the Jim Dunlop Jazz III XL Guitar Picks which I am reviewing here. The rest of this well respected range includes a Tortex style Jazz III Pitch Black Pick which comes in a matt finish in 6 gauges from .50mm up to 1.14mm, which all have the usual Tortex grippy feeling that works well, in the Jazz style pick with its sharper more pointed body shape.
There is also an Ultex Jazz III Pick which comes as a 1.38mm gauge pick which Jim Dunlop say is light weight, flexible and almost indestructible, along with an Ultex Jazz III 2.0mm heavy duty pick for added durability and attack which may suit base players a little more. The Jim Dunlop Jazz III XL Guitar Picks are an interesting guitar pick that can help to cut down on unnecessary hand movements during use with a little practice whilst also minimizing those annoying clicky pick hitting the strings sounds that you get when using certain lighter feeling guitar picks.
When I first came across the Jazz III XL Guitar Picks I was wary of how well they would perform and rather reluctant to use them as I felt they looked rather sharply tipped as well as being smaller and thicker than many other guitar picks I have used. Once I was of a mind to try out one of the black toned Jazz III XL Guitar Picks and had the chance to get to grips with it fully my feelings about it changed as I found it most certainly did live up to the explanation given to me in store when I bought it.
~What benefits can the Jazz XL III offer?~
The main benefits of using a Jazz III XL Guitar Pick is that its shape being smaller and more compact than many other picks, allows you to hold it safely and securely in your finger and thumb whilst maximising the amount of depth of movement across the strings you can achieve, using the very minimum amount of effort to do so. The Jazz III XL Guitar Pick can help you to make light work of demanding solos as you are able to build up speed and accuracy once you become accustomed to the feel and flow of the pick as it sits between your finger and thumb.
The thickness of these Jazz III XL Guitar Picks is surprisingly something that once you get used to, can actually be a bonus as these picks are very durable and need replacing less often than lighter more flimsy feeling picks do. The material used to make up the smaller more sharply pointed yet smooth edged Jazz III XL Guitar Pick feels solid to the touch with just the lightest feeling of flexibility to the pointed tip. This combination of the picks shape, thickness and weight really can cut down on excess noise when the pick hits the strings which can be seen and heard both before and after you plug your guitar into an amp.
~Got to get a grip~
The grip section on the Jazz III XL Guitar Picks is slightly larger allowing for an easier less restrictive grip that is also slightly more comfortable. The body of the Jazz III XL Guitar Picks which come in either red or black has a series of slightly raised text on both sides, with one side having the words Jim Dunlop USA in the mid section with XL Series being along the top slightly rounded edge of the pick. The other side has a better grip surface with raised artwork and the Jazz III logo being in the centre with the XL Series wording once again running along the top part of the pick.
Once you become used to the raised artwork and text on the Jazz III XL Guitar Picks you will find that they add to the grippy feel of the picks as they give your finger and thumb a little more to grab onto with less pressure needed in order to hang on to your pick. The ease of movement which can be had when using these nylon Jazz III XL Guitar Picks is very good as you can build up some good speed with regular usage and gain greater depth of movement with your pick hand when needed.
~Rating and price~
The cost of the Jazz III XL Guitar Picks can vary depending on where you buy them and in what quantities, with a single pick being around 65p to 75p in a high street guitar shop, to slightly less if buying online and in greater quantities, which can make the individual cost of one of these as little as 50p per pick. I feel that is very good value for a plectrum that is very durable and long lasting when in use and I find that these Jazz III XL Guitar Picks will out last many other slimmer thinner and lighter picks in many cases (as long as you don't misplace or lose them that is). As I have found these Jazz III XL Guitar Picks to be surprisingly good once you become used to them I feel that they are deserving of a 5 star product rating.