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Jim Dunlop Nylon Guitar Picks

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Brand: Jim Dunlop / Type: Nylon Guitar Pick / Guitar Plectrum / Available: 0.60, 0.73, 0.88, 1.00 (mm)

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    17 Reviews
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      31.01.2013 10:17
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      My go to guys for plectrums

      Don't pick that, pick this!
      ----------------------------------

      So what's a plectrum? It's a guitar pick. What's a guitar pick? It is the way in which the majority of guitarists pluck the strings on their guitar with their picking hand. The other hand is the fretting hand, so called because the fingers of that hand hold down strings at positions separated by frets on the fingerboard. This shortens the pitch and affects the sound.

      Rubbing up the right way
      -----------------------------------

      A plectrum is held between the finger and thumb of the picking hand so that the pointy end sticks downwards. Unlike a classical or acoustic guitar, an electric guitar has metal strings. As you can imagine, this means that plectrums will wear out.

      Another challenge to the aspiring guitarist is not just striking one string or a number at the same time, it is accurately navigating between the strings. In many cases, this means skipping some. In many cases this means picking in both directions.

      So. On the one hand, you don't want the plectrum to be too thick because it becomes unwieldy. But you don't want the plectrum to be so thin that it wears out too quickly. You also want to be able to lend emphasis to certain notes or increase sustain by plucking harder, or in the case of advanced techniques such as harmonics or palm muting, you'll often want to be a little more delicate.

      I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

      There are a lot of plectrums on the market. Some are made of cellulose, but the best material I've found so far is nylon. Many plectrums have funky colours and designs, which is functionally as useful as a coal miners helmet that is solar powered. People still buy them, though.

      Jim Dunlop plectrums are plain, utilitarian. This allows them to put every micro-dime into making them as useful as humanly possible. Like many providers, they make them in a range of thicknesses. My personal preference is .73mm. Other guitarists have their own. JD have altered the shades of grey (not 30) to still allow you to pick out by sight what's what, which is a nice touch.

      The JD plectrums even have a ridged area which keeps them nicely held between even the busiest or sweatiest of fingers. This is a must have and it makes me laugh whenever I pick up a smooth plectrum by comparison. For those clawhammers out there (a fingerpicking style), this also allows you to concentrate on what the lower fingers are doing without fear of losing your pleccy.

      From a cost perspective, you can pick up a pack of 10 for £3. That's 30 pence a plectrum. I cannot praise enough how durable they are. I've gone through four cellulose plectrums in the same time and activity that took one JD plectrum. That's about 3 months, playing every day for about an hour.

      In summary, unless something changes radically, Jim Duncan have a plectrum consumer for life.

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      30.01.2013 11:43
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      Great Picks

      One of my little hobbies that some people don't know about is the fact that I play guitar. I've been playing for a good number of years and although I'm nothing special, I can play a few good tunes. I taught myself at a young age and have always enjoyed strumming away. I tend to shy away from playing in front of people unless someone's given me a few drinks. I don't have the best singing voice but again, I'm not awful.

      When you play guitar one of the first things you have to decide is whether or not you will be using a guitar pick. Most people do use them but some prefer simply to strum with their fingers which gives a more mellow tone. The reality is though that using your fingers is often painful and it can make a mess of your fingernails. So I decided when playing I would usually use a pick.

      So what exactly is a guitar pick for those of you who are not sure. Well it's a simple thin piece of plaster used for plucking or strumming the guitar strings. Picks come in all shapes and sized and most guitarist have one they prefer. You can get different thickness levels of pick which will give a different sound, a think one will give a loud strong sound whereas a thin one will give a more mellow tone. I tend to go for quite thin ones when I play.

      Over the years I have used various different picks and one brand that I keep coming back to is Jim Dunlop. For those of you who are not aware, the name Jim Dunlop is very well known is guitar circles. You can buy almost anything guitar related from this company and they have a pretty good reputation for high quality equipment. When it comes to guitar picks though there are lots of Jim Dunlop ones to choose from.

      When you go into a music shop there is often a little case full of different picks. You will notice that many of these are made by Jim Dunlop. You can buy a bog standard one much like the picture on this review, or you can buy bright and colourful ones of all different shapes and sizes. Again you can choose from very thick picks or very thin ones, Jim Dunlop make a pick for everyone's taste and every occasion.

      One of the best things about picks is the price. A lot of people collect guitar picks and as they are so cheap and easy to store they are a great thing to store. You sometimes find that Jim Dunlop ones are a little more expensive than others, but they still cost pence rather than pounds. I would say on average I would expect to pay around 70p for a Jim Dunlop guitar pick, although sometimes they are cheaper and sometimes they are more expensive. Overall though Jim Dunlop make very good guitar picks and I would imagine that over the coming years I will buy a good few more from this company.

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        11.07.2012 19:12
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        excellent plectrums

        There are lots of different plectrums available, but I've been playing for over ten years & have been using Jim Dunlop picks for the bulk of that time.

        There are a number of styles available, depending on your ability & style of playing, ranging from really thin soft picks up to very thick & chunky ones. You'd have to try a few out to find the one that works for you. I use a .60mm for playing an acoustic guitar & a slightly thicker one (maybe .73mm or thicker) with an electric guitar. But it depends on your style of playing & the guitar you'll be using it with.

        The thinnest is .38mm, & goes up in size to 0.46mm, 0.60mm, 0.73mm, 0.88mm and 1mm. They differ in colour from grey, white & black depending upon the thickness. These are the standard Jim Dunlop plectrums, not the Tortext variety which are slightly harder & plastic rather than nylon. They're very durable, you may break one occasionally but it's a rarity in my experience.

        You don't even necessarily need a plectrum to learn to play the guitar, many players just use their hands of fingerpick, but when you're starting a pick is probably the easiest way to begin.

        A thicker plectrum would typically suit electric playing, probably leaning toward heavier styles of music. Softer picks will be perfect for just strumming along at home. I typically use a .60mm for strumming an acoustic guitar, I play a Gibson acoustic & that thickness of plectrum suits acoustic playing perfectly in my opinion.

        Typically you'll pay 50p each, but sometimes there will be 3 for £1 or similar. You will probably find them online to buy in bulk for considerably less, but I'd advise trying a few styles & brands before buying too many. You'll probably lose quite a few, but I always have 4-5 in my flat at any time.

        There are lots of styles of plectrum around, but these are certainly worthy of consideration.

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        29.06.2012 23:30
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        Great picks, improve accuracy alot!

        First of all excuse the cheesy title! Anyway, picks, as any guitarist knows they will play a big part in your career as a guitarist, never there when you need them but when you don't, there everywhere! So as you can guess, i have owned a lot of picks over the years and finally i have settled on these.
        FIrstly they are noticbly smaller than most other standard sized picks and this, along with there unique shape is what i love. I have notcied it deffinatly makes me alot more accurate when playing. Now they do take a few days to get used to as at first they tend to get lost in your hands, especially if you have monster hands like mine! However saying that, now they fit perfectly.

        The second thing that makes them differant from alot of picks is that they are quite thick, although there is many sizes availble now. I personally think the thickness does alot for my tone, it gives me that clarrity i need. I woudn't use them on acoustic as i do think they are too thick and i like the brushing sound on acoustic that is acheived from thinner picks.
        Material? They are nylon, not alot of people prefer nylon, and i was one of them untill i got used to it. The sound is deffinatly differant from the Dunlop Tortex picks and so is the feel, obviously, but i really have grown to it. If you really don't wan't a nylon pick, the Jazz collection from Jim Dunlop is now very wide and they have a variety of materials, which will change to sound they make but they all have the same feel to them.

        The price is about 50p a pick, which can add up especially if you loose them alot! Saying that, they arn't as expensive as alot of other picks in the same quality bracket and if you buy them in bulk on certain websites you can get a pretty big discount.
        I can't really comment on how durable they are because i tend to loose my picks along time before they wear down, but so far i've had no problems. Having said that, my Tortex plectrums did show signs of wear after even just a few uses, and these don't do that from what iv'e seen.

        So, The Dunlop Jazz III, definatly give it ago if your looking for that 'right' pick. I can almost guarantee that after you've got used to these picks they will make your picking more accurate. They really are unique and so i can't really compare them to much else on the market and your going to have to try them yourself, but for about a year now, they have been my go to plectrum of choice.

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        15.04.2012 01:32

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        in my opinion the best plectrums money can buy!

        in my opinion JIM DUNLOP plectrums are the best on the market. a permanent feature in every players guitar case for generations.

        the plectrum comes in a range of sizes to suit every players needs. 0.38mm, 0.46mm, 0.60mm, 0.73mm, 0.88mm and 1mm. they are color coded lightest being white and heaviest being black. i would recommend the 0.38mm and 0.46mm for acoustic guitarists and softer players.

        i prefer the thickest 1mm plectrum as it suits a hard chrisp sound ideal for electric guitar. i also use this thickness when playing my bass as it delivers a clear precise punchy stroke and is better suited for the harder player.

        the plectrum has tiny raised dots on each side to provide the player maxmum grip. no need to take a knife and score your plectrum if you're playing a sweaty show.

        i pay 50p per plectrum which is pretty standard for a product that is head and shoulders above the competition.

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        22.03.2012 00:09
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        They're picks ok

        I've used quite a large amount of different picks/plectrums over the course of my guitar playing, mostly picks found all over the place, given from mates and even the odd couple acquired from live gigs I've attended. Safe to say I ended up preferring these to any other after playing guitar at a friends house, the difference was subtle but there. I ordered my own set of six a couple of years ago for £2.45 on Amazon and still use them to this day. I should say that I am not the most active guitarist but I tend to play 3-4 times a week, only one pick has broken and of course it was the flimsiest, or lightest pick of 0.38MM. However, I personally prefer the second lightest, the .46MM which has lasted a very long time with the only sign of wear being a rough edge. I use these picks to play both electric and acoustic guitar as well as bass.

        The full list of thicknesses are as follows:
        0.38mm, 0.46mm, 0.60mm, 0.73mm, 0.88mm and 1mm.

        They all range through white to black, white being the thinnest and black the thickest. All together a nice assortment of different weight picks, the light ones make upstrokes almost too easy and the heavy's make a crisp sound when used for muting. Although no metal picks and no fancy pictures or bright colours, these are good enough for players of any skill level.

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        29.02.2012 09:16
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        Almost perfect in every way.

        I bought some of these Nylon Dunlop picks a good few years back, but have just remembered they're still stuck on my 'to review' list, so here it goes Dooyoo - a short insight into one of the smallest products I've ever had/wanted to buy!

        I use the picks occasionally when playing my acoustic; I feel they give a good sound to this type of guitar as a pose to the Ibanez jazz electric I also own. As with all varying makes of pick, the Dunlop series can be purchased in different thicknesses, ranging from about 0.60 to 1.0mm in thickness. For acoustic guitars with heavier strings (as they generally have) I recommend thicknesses near the top end, for electric guitars and nylon stringed acoustics or equivalent, pick 0.4-0.6mm ones.

        The feel of these picks/plectrums is awesome. The material is resistant to repetitive heavy string bashing, and they retain their shape well over time. Even when your hands are sweaty and warm, the picks will stick to your fingers, they won't fling out across the room (or stadium) or into your guitars echo hole! - SO ANNOYING.

        The size of the pick is just right to be gripped by your thumb and first finger, I'm sure you can find different grips to attach to them so that they can be attached to your fingers for picking. Basically, they're standard size, the size you would expect to find, the size which is used 99% of the time.

        I found a set of these for as little as a fiver, and that included a good 5-10 picks, all of varying thicknesses and colour. One disadvantage to the product - most probably linked to their colour and consequently, their paint - is that the text and logo on them does fade over time. Not that this matters at all in any way. Having them in bright colours allows you to find them on the carpet if dropped, and they do glow slightly at night, reflecting what little light there is in the room well enough for you to pick them up visually.

        Overall, there's nothing much to fault with these things, they're durable, easy to use/find, relatively cheap and can be placed into useful cases also available on Dooyoo. An all round 5/5 product for me, if you find a similar alternative cheaper, give them a try, but don't expect the level of quality achieved with this ingenious product.

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          14.01.2012 19:14
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          the best out there

          Jim Dunlop is a classic name in the realm of guitar equipment. The companies range of products varies from some classic effects pedals and wah wah pedals to accessories such as guitar straps and guitar picks. The Jim Dunlop guitar pick is an almost default selection for most guitarists.
          The size range of jim Dunlop nylon picks ranges from 0.38mm to a chunky 1mm. The nylon range varies in colour from a clear white through grey to solid black for the thicker sizes. They are available in most high street music shops and you can also get bulk deals off sites such as Amazon and more specialist music websites such as stringsdirect.com.
          Depending on the style of music that you play there is a size pick available in the range. For light acoustic strumming the lighter end is great for giving your acoustic a lovely melodic sound. As you go up the size range you can really dig in to the guitar and increase the volume of your acoustic. For electric guitar use the thicker picks are ideal for fast rock and metal riffing. The great thing about these picks are that they are really solid to grip thanks to the raised grip and jim Dunlop logo. You can play with the confidence that it won`t slip out of your grip unlike some cheap brands which are just a flat surface.
          All in all I`d highly recommend getting a pack of 6 in a range of sizes, it will accommodate quite a range of styles and techniques. They are also a durable pick and they should outlast many cheaper alternatives, give them a go!

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            17.12.2011 20:44
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            Sturdy and well made

            Why are there so many different plectrums?
            Its just a hard piece of plastic, can you not just use the same one for everything?

            These are the type of questions I get asked every time a non player sees the hundreds of picks I have in my box. It's understandable that people would think that but a good pick can really make the difference when it's comes to hitting that note just the way you want it. Hard and dramatic, or soft, gentle, and thin. The Dunlop Nylon Guitar Pick Is an all rounder I feel it can be used for both but it of course depends on the player and his or hers level of control. 

            A pick isn't a necessity when it comes to acoustic guitars but as you soon learn blisters play a large part in people giving up the guitar in the earlier stages of learning. Simply throwing in a pick can really make the difference between painful fingertips and no more music lessons and a happy pupil playing away for hours on end.

            These are quite sedate in their design, actually some might find them boring. They come in wonderfully existing different shades of grey. There are more vibrant, almost ilioumous coloured plectrums available in every music store, but the colour of the pick doesn't change how they make the guitar sound, the colour plays no part in that at all, so the fact that theses are horribly boring to look at shouldn't really put you off.


            They also of course come in a selection of sizes / thicknesses they range from 0.38, 0.46, 0.60, 0.73, 0.88 up to 1.00mm.These cost around 45p each, but if bought in a set the price per unit lowers. The middle range numbers / thicknesses are what I find best suit the more free style of playing as the thinnest is a little bit too thin and "picky" and the thickest is a bit too chunky and heavy on the strings and can sound like you are strumming the guitar with your shoe. Or maybe that's just me.

            Thanks for reading :0) 2night.
             

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              24.11.2011 01:43
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              A solid guitar pick

              I picked up a couple of these in the music shop the other day as part of my most recent pick re-stock. My friends and I formed a rock band back in August and as a result I have only recently started to play with a pick, having before always played acoustic guitar with my fingers.

              These are solidly made picks from a quality brand which have a slightly grainy surface. This means they are easy to grip, remedying one of the problems I've often had with picks in the past. They have a slight flex which makes them suitable for most styles of playing, depending on the thickness you buy (I honestly don't know what mine are, I just picked them out of a little tray). In general I'm just a rhythm guitarist who does the occasional riff and they work fine for me. Also, due to them being made of nylon instead of plastic they tend to wear down rather than just break like regular picks do when they get old, giving them a much longer lifespan. A friend of mine from the band has some really tatty ones worn down to about 60% of their original size. Of course, there is the common problem of guitar picks to deal with which is that there is a gremlin somewhere that steals them, meaning its near impossible to have one for any length of time without losing it.

              Apologies, there's not really a lot more to say about a small triangle of nylon that's used to play guitar with. I live in Japan so costs are probably irrelevant for most consumers, but for the record they cost 105yen each (roughly 80p). Where I bought them they were sold singly, but you can probably get them in packs somewhere like Amazon.

              Will probably appear on Ciao.

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              30.10.2011 20:59
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              Just find the thickness that suits your style and you're away.

              Many years ago, having taken up my hobby again of learning (and attempting) to play the acoustic guitar, I tried to play my guitar just strumming the strings with my fingers, but I always found that I struggled to pluck and pick individual strings and notes, and couldn't quite master the finger dexterity required. Hence, I decided that I needed some sort of guitar pick or plectrum in order to play the guitar better. Looking on Amazon about a year ago, the Jim Dunlop brand seemed to be the most popular make of guitar pick going, and seemed to be getting a lot of positive reviews, and for the cheap price of just under £3.00, I managed to get a pack of 10 nylon guitar picks, which would give me ample to lose or break in my quest to become an accomplished guitarist.

              The picks themselves seem to come in a variety of different thicknesses, ranging from 0.38mm up to 1.0mm thick. Obviously, the thickness will judge the flexibility of the pick, and hence how easy it will be to strum or pick at the guitar strings. Not having ever used one before, I decided to try out a mid-range thickness of 0.73mm thick, but once you get a little more accomplished at playing a guitar, the thickness you use will very much come down to personal preference and your own particular playing style. Having not yet adopted my own particular playing style with a pick, I figured that I might as well just start mid-range thickness and see how I got on.

              The pick itself is in the shape of a slightly blown up triangle, where you hold the pick across one side and use the point opposite to play and strum your guitar strings. Being made of nylon also gives it a certain degree of flexibility, meaning that it should be more resistant to breaking or cracking when compared to the plastic pick versions. Quality wise I found them to be fairly consistent. I say fairly because these nylon picks will obviously be massed produced, and the finish may not be top quality on each. In my pack of 10, there were 3 of them that still had little tiny tangs or burrs left on them, which I easily removed with a sharp knife. But for around 30p a pick, I suppose you can expect some minor trimming quality issues with these picks. Not a big issue, but just to be aware.

              What I do like about these picks is that they have a slight dimpling on the bottom edges of the grip area to give you something to grip on to. In addition, between the dimpled edges, you also have a 'USA Nylon' logo together with an indication of the thickness of the pick, all of which further enhances the gripping features of this pick, thus making it less likely to slip out of your hand when playing. Thus far, I have never suffered any slippage issues, despite occasions of energetic playing.

              What are they like to use? Well I've been using this pick for about a year now, and so far I'm only on my fifth one (having lost the other 4, and not having had any breakages). In my case, having never used a pick before until last year, I've sort of adapted my playing style to suit the pick, rather than finding the pick thickness that was suitable for me. In that sense, I found that this 0.73mm thickness seems to work ok. It gives me just enough flexibility for easy strumming, yet it also maintains enough rigidity for picking. Strumming around with a couple of friends one night and I did try one of their 0.46mm thick picks, but personally, whilst it was good, I found it to be a little too flexible if you were trying to seriously strum and rock.

              In summary, whilst I'm still very much an amateur in the world of guitar playing, I have found that this pick has opened up a whole new world of guitar playing skills and opportunities to me. My guitar playing has improved (as verified by my family) and the friends I jam with have suddenly been opened up to another type of pick (which they now love) beyond their normal plastic ones (that continually break). So for around 30p a pick, you can't go wrong. All you need to do is find the thickness that suits you.

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                05.10.2011 21:34
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                Could be better made, but do the job

                I have a beautiful Walden acoustic guitar that is fabulous to play. I have a variety of different picks but I bought some nylon ones to give them a try. When I first bought my guitar I was told to stay away from nylon picks because they become brittle quickly and break! After doing a bit of research, I found that this is not really the case. Troy from Queens of The Stoneage uses nylon picks, if they are good enough for him then they are good enough for me!

                I bought the Jim Dunlop picks in a set of 6 different thicknesses, I wanted to try a few different ones in order to find a pick I am really comfortable with.

                *Price and availability*

                I paid £2.50 for a six pack of different thicknesses. They came in mix set of gray, white and black. They are widely available and I bought mine from a local guitar shop in Headingley.

                *Picky about picks*

                I like the feel of these picks, they have a bit of a rough surface which means they are easy to hold and they are really very flexible which gives a great clarity of sound. I fell in love with the .60mm one and loved the feel of it.

                To be honest I was a little disappointed with the quality of some of the picks as some looked like they had been made in a rush and had a little bit of extra plastic round the side. I ran my thumb nail across the edge and it just peeled off, so it was not a big trauma. Out of the six I bought only two were a bit miss shaped.
                The different thicknesses I received in my pack were: 0.38mm which was really quiet and very soft, 0.46mm, which was still very soft, the 0.60mm that I found the most comfortable to play with, 0.73mm, 0.88mm and 1mm. I have used the 1mm with my base guitar which is fantastic and I much prefer the nylon pick over any plastic ones for playing base. I was quite happy with the pack as I really wanted to find one I liked and I did and after all variety is the spice of life!

                The .6mm pick is great for playing rhythm and despite my initial concerns about poor workman ship, I am really pleased with the pick. I like the feel of it and I like the control I get with it. I can't see this snapping or breaking and I do not play often or hard enough to wear it down!

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                  03.10.2011 12:13
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                  Very Good Picks

                  Anyone who plays guitar will be aware that often you use a guitar pick when you play. Admittedly this is not always the case, some people like to pluck the strings or simply use their fingers to strum. But I have always preferred using a pick and will no doubt continue using picks in the future. I have been playing guitar for around fifteen years now. In that time I have worked my way through a vast array of guitar picks. As you can imagine, these are very easily lost. It usually happens when I'm out somewhere like the beach or sat round a fire in a field somewhere, when it goes dark, I tend to put my pick somewhere and then never see it again.

                  Due to the fact that I do so often lose my guitar picks it means I have to constantly buy new ones. One of the ones that I have purchased over the years is the Jim Dunlop Nylon guitar pick. This review is not for one specific pick, it is for Jim Dunlop Nylon picks in general. This is because there is more than one variety in this range. Over the years I have had a few different Jim Dunlop picks.

                  The reason there are a few different picks is that every guitarist will have their own personal preference then it comes to picks. The main issue is thickness. Some people like very thick stiff picks whereas others like very thin flimsy picks. The thickness of the pick influences the sound the strings on the guitar make. The harder the pick the louder and more powerful the sound will be, a softer pick will create more mellow sounds.

                  For me personally I usually go for the softer thin picks. I prefer the sound these produce. Over the years though and especially back in the early days I did try a few harder ones. The Jim Dunlop picks usually come in a pretty standard shape. The picture on this review show what most Jim Dunlop picks are like. These are easy to hold and are good as they don't tend to slip out of your fingers when you play with them.

                  Another good feature of the Jim Dunlop picks is that they are hard wearing and durable. Sometimes I don't have them long enough to test that, but I have had a few that have lasted me a good few years and they don't really wear out that fast at all. I have never had one crack on me or split, so that's obviously a plus.

                  When it comes to value for money these really are very good. Guitar picks in general do tend to be pretty cheap and these are no exception. If you bought these in a guitar shop you would get them for just less than a pound, buy them online and you will find them even cheaper. So the fact is that even if you do lose a few these are never going to cost you much money at all.

                  Overall then I would say that the Jim Dunlop Nylon guitar picks get a big thumbs up from me. Jim Dunlop is a very well known brand when it comes to guitars, the picks they make are very good and there is a wide range to choose from. If you are looking to buy a guitar pick then you can't go far wrong with a Jim Dunlop one.

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                    27.06.2011 19:53

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                    worth every penny

                    Jim Dunlop plectrums are a standard in the guitar world, and these are in my opinion are my favourite of them all for a number of reasons. To start with these plectrums come in different gages these are the thickness of the plectrums. Thicker plectrums bend less and therefore make the string move more. Thin plectrums flap around as much as the strings in some cases. Lead players tend to use thicker plectrums as they facilitate speed and are more accurate. Thin plectrums tend to be used by acoustic players who want that percussive click sound created by the pick bending when hit by the strings. I tend to use 1mm picks which are quite thick.

                    These plectrums have a grip made of bumps on them which help you keep hold of the pick even when you're sweating on stage. This is the main reason I use these picks along with the material used. The material is light weight and strong it bends the strings not the other way around. The pick also seems a lot stronger yet lighter than other plectrums of the same gage.

                    These plectrums do come with a premium price due to the premium design and materials used, they can be picked up for around 40-50p each. I personally think they are worth every penny and wouldn't use any other plectrum know. Believe it or not this tiny thing will make you a better player.

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                    17.06.2011 15:39
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                    The Best in Class

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                    Intro - the Intro
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                    Most guitar players are experts at everything guitar and have an opinion on everything guitar related. I have never particularly been that sort of guitarist. Not that I am not opinionated, a little too much. But simply that I have always enjoyed the playing of the instrument more than the instrument and all its accoutrements. Different shades of pick-ups and humbuckers have never floated my boat. But I have also had to come to some kind of conclusion regarding plectra (apparently this is the correct plural of plectrum).

                    My need and experience are twofold; firstly, I have to lead songs before groups of a few hundred at a time. I therefore need a plectrum which is reliable, is not easily dropped but also has enough strength to produce a strong sound. But, secondly, I am also learning jazz guitar where the world is divided between purists who despise such bits of plastic, and those who use a plectrum to pick out a tune.

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                    Verse - Design and Use
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                    Plectra, however come in all shapes and sizes as well as designs. Choosing one is a matter of personal preference and need. Often the more garish the design, the more sought after they are (certainly when it comes to 8 year old boys, whom I teach).

                    The plectrum itself has the purpose of either picking the string or strumming all 6 strings of a chord, with the intention of making a louder, more vibrant, sound than when using the fingers. It certainly creates a harsher sound and saves the pain of blistering. They are rounded triangles of plastic, nylon in the case of Jim Dunlop, which vary in price considerably between makes and designs.

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                    Chorus - 'Picking' the right one
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                    Jim Dunlop plectra are wonderfully ubiquitous. They are the first ones you see when asking the vaguely whiffy, long haired, grunting teenage assistant in the guitar shop to see their range. As his breaking voice passes the selection across there will be ones with designs which look like they were drawn sometime in the mid 1980's, but in the centre of the box will be a series of rather dull coloured Jim Dunlops which simply speak of 'serious' guitar playing. While 8 year old boys may be drawn to the large, black bits of plastic with a fluorescent pink skull and 'Elves of Essex' emblazoned on, I have always preferred the more mundane basics of those pictured above, which come in shades of grey.

                    The advantage of these basic Dunlop picks are that they have a non-slip grip. The nylon is slightly raised in dots to prevent those sweaty fingers dropping it mid-gig. Incidentally the horror of this occurrence led Buddy Holly to wear his glasses on stage. This makes this design slightly more user friendly. The colourful design cannot be seen when used, anyway; a similair argument could be made for dull underwear!

                    This range of plectrum comes in an assortment of thicknesses: 0.38, 0.46, 0.60, 0.73, 0.88 and 1.00mm. Personally I have found the 0.38 a little too thin. The noise they make is a little tinny and not loud enough. It's a bit like flapping a newspaper across some railings. On the other hand the 1.00mm is too thick to suit my needs and is for picking out a single line on a string, for lead guitar. I have tended to settle on the 0.60mm which is loud enough to fill a hall but still enables strumming out a tune.

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                    Bridge - The Price
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                    This range of Jim Dunlop plectra tend to retail at about 40p, less if you buy in bulk. I am in two minds as to whether this is a good price or not.

                    Yes - it's a good price in that 40p is not a lot of money and these are made to an exact thickness.
                    No - it's not a good price because they are simply a small bit of plastic and a regular user will need loads of them as they disappear everywhere; the back of the sofa, in the car, in the washing machine. I always have one in my pocket and it is forever getting pulled out with my keys and dropped.

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                    Coda - Summary
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                    These are probably the most popular picks in the world and with good reason. Although they are dull to look at, they are reliable and good quality. I just wish they were a little cheaper.

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