* Prices may differ from that shown
Having already reviewed the majority of guitar plectrums listed here on dooyoo, it's time to take a look a one of the more unusually shaped picks on the market - the Tortex Fin. 99% of guitar picks are designed in the classic tear drop shape, but the Fin tears up the rule book with a rather cool looking little number featuring curves aplenty and an unusual ribbed section.
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The reason for the variations in shape is the fact that the Fin offers the guitarist a chance to create different tones depending on which part of the pick he / she uses - the rear side can produce a thin, almost tinny sound, the front is very much like a regular plectrum, whilst if you strum with the bumpy side portion, you'll achieve a rougher quasi-distorted tone.
The picks are available in six different thicknesses or 'gauges' depending on your personal preference, each of which is coded with the following colours;
Red (thinnest): 0.50mm
Purple (thickest): 1.14mm
The ten pack of each currently retails at £4.49 from Amazon, or, if you prefer, you can buy a pack of six containing one of each gauge for only £2.25. When I use these picks I generally opt for the 0.88mm variety, as I find it to be great for both strumming and picking.
The Fin in Use
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Whilst i'm all for innovation, it took me a while to adjust to the shape of the product, and I still find it a little more awkward to hold than a regular pick. What I can say is that (due to its Tortex construction), the plectrum is easy to grip and unlikely to slip from your hand whilst playing. Similarly, the longevity is good, and I've never had one of these which has cracked. However, although the Tortex Fin is an interesting plectrum, I prefer the good old fashioned regular guitar pick - yes, I like the Fin's ability to create different tones, but I also find it a little too cumbersome in the hand.
I have just spotted this product in the Dooyoo listings and it put a big smile on my face. These are my favourite picks and the ones I have been using for around ten years. I was actually going to suggest this product myself until I spotted it on already up there. For those of you who don't know, I have been playing the guitar for around fifteen years. In that time I have used a massive variety of picks. A pick is something that a guitarist uses to pluck or strum the strings. It is not essential as some people will just use their fingers, but most people who play the guitar use a pick and I am no exception to the rule.
There are literally thousands of guitar picks to choose from. They come in all different shapes and sizes, colours and thicknesses. The fact is that often one is no better than the other, it's really all down to personal preference. For me, this is the best guitar pick out there, or the best I've come across anyway. These picks are made by Dunlop who make various other picks and guitar products and they are known as Tortex Fins. The reason they are called fins is that they resemble shark fins.
The picks that I have been using for the last ten years are the red Tortex fins. These are thinner than the purple ones you see in the picture, you can buy the fins in a few different thickness and it's again just down to personal preference. You can buy these either individually from a music shop or you can buy packs of them online. As you would imagine the different colours represent the different thicknesses.
The real thing about these picks that makes them stand out for me is the shape. For one thing they look really good, and another they are very easy to grip. The unique fin shape rests really nicely in your fingers and I very rarely lose my grip when I'm using this pick. Another thing I like about the red ones is that they are slightly see through which gives them an unusual look about them.
When it comes to price these are dirt cheap. I usually buy five at a time online and they only cost a few pounds. This is very good value as they will last for a long time, the only slight problem is that they are easily lost. There must be tons of these I have lost up and down the length of the country. They do last very well though if you don't lose them, I have one that is very old, the writing has worn away and the corner I use for strumming has turned a slightly different colour as it has worn away.
These picks produce a lovely sound on the guitar and are very easy to use. As you would imagine there is really not a lot more to say about these Tortex fins, they are a very simple little product but a very good one. If you play guitar and have never tried a fin then I would recommend giving one a go. They really are the best picks out there. As I said, I have been using these for many years now and no doubt I will continue using them for many more years to come. If you want a good value guitar pick that is going to last you along time, then buy yourself one of these picks.
~Shark fin shaped plectrums - whatever next!~
Having used a good number of the guitar plectrums that are made under the Jim Dunlop banner it almost goes without saying that I tried my hand at using the oddly shaped yet versatile JD Tortex Fins guitar picks that I suggested as a product to review here on Dooyoo. As the materials used to make up these fin shaped plectrums is the same type used for many of the other super grippy Tortex range of picks I felt sure I would feel right at home once I became used to the feel of using this odd fin shaped pick from the same range which I do use from time to time now when in the mood.
The idea of having a pick like this one with its oddly shaped sides, pointy yet rounded corners and angled multi string shaped picking surfaces on a number of edges is that it can offer plenty of choice when it comes to that way in which you grip the plectrum and then ultimately use it to make contact with your guitar strings to best effect. The sounds and effects that you are able to make when using one of these picks depends on the angle you hold the pick at and the side or part of the pick you decide is going to be the bit that comes into contact with the strings of your guitar and the effects can be as subtle or in your face as you want them to be.
~Who uses these~
There are many famous axe players who are said to favour these picks such as Rage Against The Machine/ Audioslave guitar guru Tom Morello, although I have never quite managed the highs of his very unique playing style when using one of these picks. Other well known fans of the fin are both Munky and Head from famous Nu Metal super group Korn, who I feel produce some truly amazing guitar sounds, as well as the super head bangingly famous Jim Root (he of the amazing swiveling hair!) of Slip Knot and Stone Sour who produces his own very unique style, plus a good number of well known axe grinders all apparently using and abusing these little fin shaped picks to best effect with wild abandon.
~A shapely multi sided pick~
With most standard pick designs being of a very similar shape with just one or two very small refinements these fin shaped picks are one of the very few that buck the trend and use their own unique shape with its multi sided picking faces with any degree of commercial success. Fins are of course something that you will either take to or not and the only real way to get to grips with them is to buy a multi pack with each of the gauges available ( as even if most of them don't suit you ought to end up with at least one that you can use with some degree of success) and try them out to see if they suit your picking/ playing style. With 5 playing or picking edges on these picks it really is just a question of experimenting with the way you hold and angle the pick as to which way gives you the best effect with the least amount of drag on the guitar strings.
The front edge which is at the bottom of the pick as shown here is perhaps the most conventionally shaped part of this pick with is being the easiest side to use when first using one of these. Once you have used that side you can go on to try out the other shaped and angled playing / picking edges on the pick which will alter the sounds and effects you are able to achieve. The serrated edge of the pick can be very good for use when wanting to produce a richer fuller sound when using an electric guitar, which can give a unique set of sounds with an amp set to take advantage of plenty of over drive/ distortion.
When using the serrated side of the pick with some heavy attack the edges do become worn more quickly than you might think and the pick will need replacing more frequently if you use a heavier handed action on that part of the pick when using one of these. Of course this will still leave the other picking edges of the pick in a usable condition although heavy usage can cause the central core of the pick to shatter making it time to replace the pick no matter which edge you have used and abused the most. These Tortex picks are made so that they will offer up maximum memory yet end up having minimum wear even after a number of uses, although as with many of the standard picks I have used from this range they do have a limited life span with heavy usage. Once this fin shaped pick becomes too grippy and that familiar shattered feel to the centre of the pick arrives (which you also get with standard Tortex picks) it really is time to change your fin for a newer fresher one as these can and do become brittle over long periods of use.
~What choices do I have?~
All of these fin shaped picks come with the simple black pen and ink style artwork showing the turtle design on them when new, with the Dunlop USA text being shown underneath the turtle logo. The size or gauge of each pick is clearly shown on each one with them each being colour coded so that once you become accustomed to the colour range you can identify each one by colour alone. For example the purple coloured pick shown here is the heavy duty 1.14 gauge pick and even if the design fades in use you will get to know purple means heavy duty etc. Over time the turtle design and text on these picks fades and you will find that quite quickly the detailing is removed with no artwork to be seen at all which leaves you with a basic looking all one colour pick.
The sizes or gauges that fins come in are as follows: The range starts with a super light .50 gauge red coloured pick, followed by a light gauge .60 orange coloured pick and a medium light .73 yellow coloured pick. These are complimented by a medium gauge .88 green coloured pick, a medium heavy 1.00 gauge blue coloured pick and finally a heavy duty 1.14 gauge purple coloured pick. You can buy a mixed set containing all 6 picks if you want to try them out in order to see which best suits your needs or you can source them as single gauge items that means you can buy only the gauge of pick that you want.
~Price and rating~
Prices for these fin shaped picks start at 40p per single item when bought as a single pick although you can choose to order a multi pack on many online sites which will give you an idea of the feel, thickness and weight of each individual pick. This means that it is easy enough once you have bought a multi pack to work out which ones, if any of these guitar picks is most suited to your needs. As these Tortex Fins offer a variety of playing/ picking edges that will alter the sounds and effects on your guitar strings that you are able to make with them I feel they are an interesting and useful pick that is worth trying out and as such my rating for these is a respectable 4 stars.