Gravity Guitar Picks Tripp Review

Gravity Guitar Picks hails from Manteca, California. They manufacture and sell acrylic guitar picks to guitarists everywhere via their web site, and select dealers around the globe. I classify Gravity’s guitar picks as specimens of the boutique persuasion.

I purchased the Gravity Tripp in the Mini and the Big Mini sizes in the 1.5 mm thickness from Gravity Guitar Picks’ web site. Shipping has been fairly quick for the U.S Mail, in the 4 – 7 day range from California to my Midwest location (I have purchased picks a few different times from Gravity Guitar Picks). I did not expect super fast delivery for the reasonable and affordable $2.99 shipping charge I selected. There is also a 2-3-day Priority shipping option for $6.00 if you need your picks delivered pronto.

Pick Specs:

  • Gauges: 1.5 (Fluorescent Green), 2.0 (Blue), .3.0 (Orange), 4.0 (Yellow), 6.0 mm (Red)
  • Material: Acrylic
  • Shape: Distorted 351 Shape sort of (please see the featured image at the top of this post)
  • Sizes: Mini (Jazz), Big Mini, Standard and XL
  • Tips: Pointed, Medium Round, and Full Round
  • Bevel: Polished or Master Finish (unpolished)
  • Price: Starting price is $4.99/pick for the 1.5 mm thickness, and goes up from there depending on the options you choose. The picks reviewed currently cost $4.99 each plus shipping.

Description

The Gravity Tripp 1.5 mm guitar pick is manufactured from transparent acrylic (Polymethyl Methacrylate to be exact) that is tinted fluorescent green in color. These picks really jump out at you and catch the eye. The picks actually look like they are glowing in the fluorescent green color. Each of the three tips is a different shape. It is like getting three different picks for the price of one. Sweet! You can cover a lot of sonic ground with the Gravity Tripp. Both picks reviewed have polished bevels, and the bevels are identical on both the Mini and the Big Mini sizes.

Action

With a thickness of 1.5 mm each these picks are fairly stiff and do not flex much in actual use. The pointed tips on the two Tripp models allow for good clean alternate picking that feels almost effortless, and allows for faster playing styles. The medium round tip is similar to the tip of a Fender model 351 type pick. This tip is good for playing chords and picking single note lines but requires more work than the pointed tip when picking notes. The full round tip I found to work best for strumming chords. You can use the full round tip for picking single notes, but there was too much pick on the strings for my taste most of the time.

Sound

The Tripp Mini has a smaller sound and the tone is bit blurred due to your index finger hitting the string as you strum and pick notes, which is typical of a Jazz sized pick. The Tripp Big Mini has a bigger, clearer sound with a lot more volume on tap.

Here’s a rundown of how each pick tip sounds.

• Pointed tip: This tip has the thinnest sound of the three tips, but has a more focused sound with excellent articulation.

• Medium Round tip: This one has a fuller sound with good attack, and good articulation.

• Full Round tip: This tip gives you an even fatter tone, which I found great when strumming power chords. When looking for a more rounded tone this is the tip to use when picking single notes.

I have found the tone of this pick to be fairly neutral. Not too bright, and not too dark.

Summary

The Tripp guitar pick is one of my favorites of Gravity Guitar Picks’ line due to the versatility of three different tips in one pick.

Keep pickin’!

 

 

 

Stringjoy POM Guitar Pick Sampler

Yesterday my latest order from Stringjoy came in. In that order I had ordered Stringjoy’s guitar pick sampler pack. Seven picks, one of each gauge/thickness, for $7. I expected them to come in a small plastic bag, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were packaged in a cool little circular tin with a screw-off lid. Nice touch Stringjoy!

I’ll test the guitar picks out over the next few weeks and will post a review later.

Have a great weekend, and keep pickin’!

Zoom Multi-effects

Zoom MS-70CDR

I purchased the Zoom MS-70CDR (Chorus, Delay and Reverb) from Sweetwater Sound. I need a few effects that the current effects on my pedal board do not cover mainly ambient reverb. So far I am trying to figure out how the pedal works. I have read the manual, but it appears the manual kind of glosses over what the pedal is truly capable of doing. I’ll let you know in a few weeks what I truly think of the pedal, and if I was able to integrate the Zoom MS-70CDR into my current pedalboard…

Keep Pickin’!

Stringjoy Custom Guitar Strings

I found out about Stringjoy guitar strings through Twitter. I decided to check out their web site, and thought it was a cool spin on selling guitar strings by being able to specify the gauges of strings you would like in your set rather selecting one of the predetermined sets other guitar string manufacturers put together for you. I decided to try a set that I have been putting together myself, which I learned from Sfarzo strings, but the Sfarzo strings kept breaking prematurely, between a Dean Markley 10-46 set with the .46 gauge string replaced with a .52 gauge Ernie Ball low “E” string. This string set works really great for Drop D tuning, and Standard tuning as well. The string gauges are .10 – .13 – .17 – .26 – .36 – .52 for the custom string set I specified, and the cost was $9.00 including shipping and the new customer 10% discount. What’s great is you can order just one set like this or ten.

I just strung my Les Paul Studio up with these strings yesterday, so I am in the initial testing phase with these strings, but so far my initial impression of the strings are positive. I will do a full review after I am finished testing the strings thoroughly.

Keep Pickin’!

Gravity Guitar Picks Stealth

Gravity Guitar Picks Stealth Review

Gravity Guitar Picks hails from Manteca, California. They manufacture and sell acrylic guitar picks to guitarists everywhere through their web site, and select dealers around the globe. I classify Gravity’s guitar picks as specimens of the boutique ilk.

I purchased the Gravity Stealth in the Mini and the Big Mini sizes both with an oval grip hole in the 2.0 mm thickness from Gravity Guitar Picks’ web site. Shipping has been fairly quick for the U.S Mail, in the 4 – 7 day range from California to my Midwest location (I have purchased picks a few different times from Gravity Guitar Picks). I did not expect super fast delivery for the reasonable and affordable $2.99 shipping charge I selected. There is also a 2-day Priority shipping option for $10.00 if you need your picks delivered sooner.

Pick Specs:

  • Gauges: 1.5 (Fluorescent Green), 2.0 (Blue), .3.0 (Orange), 4.0 (Yellow), 6.0 mm (Red)
  • Material: Acrylic
  • Shape: Rounded Triangle with Oval Grip Hole
  • Sizes: Mini (Jazz), Big Mini, Standard and XL
  • Tips: Pointed
  • Bevel: Polished or Master Finish (unpolished)
  • Price: Starting price is $4.99/pick for the 1.5 mm thickness, and goes up from there depending on the options you choose. The picks reviewed currently cost $6.99 each.

Description

The Gravity Stealth 2.0 mm guitar pick is manufactured from transparent acrylic (Polymethyl Methacrylate to be exact) that is tinted blue in color, and has three identical pointed tips to pick with. It is like getting three picks for the price of one. Bonus! The oval grip hole makes it easier to hold onto the pick especially in the Mini size. Regarding the Big Mini size, the oval grip hole is okay, but a series of holes drilled into the pick in a circular fashion would work better in my opinion for a more comfortable grip on the pick. Both picks reviewed have polished bevels, but the bevels are not the same on the two sizes. The Stealth Mini’s bevels span further across the the three tips with more of an angle than the bevels do for the Big Mini size that I received. I was a bit disappointed since I like the bevel on the Stealth Mini better than on the Stealth Big Mini for fast playing and tremolo picking. To be fair I ordered the Stealth Mini at an earlier date, and ordered the Stealth Big Mini when Gravity had the Stealth picks on sale at a later date, so they were not both manufactured at the same time or shipped in the same order. Perhaps Gravity decided to change how they beveled the Stealth over the month or two time frame.

Action

With a thickness of 2.0 mm each these picks are very stiff and do not bend at all in actual use.The relatively pointed tips on the two Stealth models allow for good clean alternate picking (The Stealth Mini has slightly more rounded tips than the Stealth Big Mini) . The bevel on the Mini allows for slightly better string release when picking single note lines and when tremolo picking. The Big Mini tends to work better for chord work than the Mini. Both picks glide over the strings fairly easily.

Sound

The Stealth Mini has a smaller sound and the tone is bit blurred due to your index finger hitting the string as you strum and pick notes, which is typical of a Jazz sized pick. The Stealth Big Mini has a larger, clearer, more focused sound than the Stealth Mini due to the added size and mass of the pick, and the more pointed tips. Plus there is a enough pick real estate in the Big Mini size for the index finger to not hit the string(s) when you strum and pick if you don’t want it to. This gives you a clearer sound with less blur/warmth. There are pluses and minuses for either pick depending on your preferences.

Summary

It is interesting how two picks made from the same material, and relative shape can sound different in actual practice, but they do. The Stealth Mini wins for single note picking speed and warmth. The Stealth Big Mini is the better choice if you are looking for clear note separation, clean articulation, and crisp chordal work. I have found the Stealth to show very little wear from playing, which means you can expect these picks to last you a long time if you don’t lose them first. A very cool bonus feature this model and some of the others that Gravity makes is you can play faster by just using the pick without any additional practice time. Pretty nice benefit if you ask me.

Keep pickin’!

 

 

 

DIY Handmade Embedded Artwork Guitar Picks!

I made these guitar picks myself. They are one of a kind, handmade guitar picks. The artwork is inside the pick, which means the artwork won’t scratch or wear off. I found the information on how to make these picks from the Pick Punch web site. The How To Make Guitar Picks page specifically.

I purchased a couple of sheets of clear polycarbonate sheeting from pickpunch.com. One sheet is .50 mm in thickness and the other is .80 mm thick. I didn’t use a pick punch to make these, though. I traced the pick shape on the polycarbonate sheets with a fine tip Sharpie marker and cut them out with a scissors (I tried an Exacto knife, but the scissors worked much better).

After the rough picks are cut out the artwork is applied next.

Sharpie_Clear

Sharpie_B&P

The artwork in the two finished picks above were created with Sharpie markers.

The artwork in the two picks below were painted with enamel model airplane paint purchased from a local hobby store.

O&B_Paint

Multi_Paint

The artwork is literally inside the pick. The artwork  will not rub off on your hands as you play. To accomplish this you use two, three or more (depending on how thick you want your finished pick to be) pieces of polycarbonate cut out into the rough pick shape you want. Then apply your artwork any way you would like with Sharpie markers, paint, water slide decals, rubber stamps etc. to only one of the sides if you are using only two pieces of polycarbonate. If you are using three pieces of polycarbonate put the artwork on the piece you plan to put in the middle, and in this case you can put artwork on both sides if you want. After your artwork has dried you are ready to glue your pick together. Lay the pieces of polycarbonate you plan to glue up on white copier paper or plain old wax paper (I like wax paper better). Then apply super glue to the inside face of one of the pieces if you are using two pieces of polycarbonate, or two interior faces if you are gluing up three pieces of polycarbonate, make sure you are gluing the side or piece with the artwork to the inside to encapsulate the artwork inside the polycarbonate pieces. Make sure you use plenty of super glue. Try to line up the pick pieces as best you can, then squeeze out as many of the air bubbles as possible. Clamp the glued up polycarbonate pieces with a small spring clamp available at any hardware store, and let the whole works dry overnight (if you can’t wait, at least let it dry a few hours before moving onto the next steps).

After the glued up picks have dried the real work begins… Lots and lots of sanding.

I used a disk sanding wheel with 120 grit sandpaper attached to my hand drill to get the pick shape squared up on the edges. This can be done quite quickly with the disk sander. I sanded off the excess superglue, that gets all over everything during the gluing process, from the two faces of the pick by hand with one piece of sandpaper laid flat on my workbench and a piece of sandpaper wrapped around the handle of a putty knife. That way I could sand off the super glue without taking off too much of the polycarbonate. This way the pick faces would be sanded nice and flat. I used 150, 330, and 400 grit sandpaper to do this.

Then I roughed out the bevels on the pick edges using the disk sanding wheel. Then I did all of the detail sanding work using 330 and 400 grit sandpaper by hand on my workbench. I felt that I had better control that way, and didn’t have to worry about taking off more material than I wanted to. I recently purchased 600 grit sandpaper to hone the bevels on the edges a little better before buffing.

After the pick has had all of its final shaping completed the next step is to buff the guitar pick with a buffing wheel that attaches to my hand drill like the disk sander. The buffing goes pretty quickly. Total time to make one guitar pick like this is about one hour.

The picks made out of two pieces of .80 mm polycarbonate sheeting are right around 1.6 mm thick when finished and the three piece picks are about 2.0 mm thick when finished. Both pick gauges are very stiff, and sound quite good.

The cool thing about this is you can make guitar picks that no one else has and the picks are finished just the way you like them. With a nice bevel on the pick, you end up with a guitar pick that plays really well. They will let you play as fast as you can go.

The following video to helped me figure out how to come up with the procedure I used to make my handmade guitar picks.

Keep pickin’!

V-Picks Euro and Euro II

V-Picks Euro and Euro II Review

I have had some time to use the V-Picks Euro and Euro II, so here we go with the review…

V-Picks is a pick manufacturing company based in Nashville, Tennessee, that produces cast acrylic guitar, mandolin, and bass picks at a starting price point that I would classify as the so called “boutique” level of guitar picks. All of the V-Picks that I have had the pleasure of trying have been very well made, and are nice to look at.

I emailed Vinni Smith, the company’s owner, for some information on how their picks are made and this is what he had to say.

The Euro and Euro II picks are made of cast acrylic. Cut out with a laser machine and then hand buffed on a bench grinder. Then heat treated, heat tempered, and buffed with a flame. A lot of hand work is done as with all of our picks. I designed the Euro for the Jazz III players, so they would have another option. Small, yet a huge tone and fast action. I think much faster action than the Jazz III.

The V-Pick Euro and Euro II are two different sizes, but the same thickness and relative shape. The Euro II is the larger of the two. They are made of clear acrylic with seven holes drilled through the picks. The holes are a feature I really like, as they do help with gripping the pick more securely with your fingers. I did not have any problem with dropping these picks or having them fly out of my fingers while playing.

Euro Pick Specs:

  • Gauge: 1.5 mm (from my measurements the pick I have is a hair thicker than 1.5 mm)
  • Material: Cast Acrylic
  • Dimensions: 15/16″ wide x 1″ long
  • Shape: In-between a Jazz III and a Regular Fender 351 pick
  • Tip: Rounded and Smooth Beveled
  • Price: $4.00 Each

Euro II Pick Specs:

  • Gauge: 1.5 mm
  • Material: Cast Acrylic
  • Dimensions: 1″ wide x 1 1/8″ long
  • Shape: Close to a Regular Fender 351 pick but a tad shorter
  • Tip: Rounded and Smooth Beveled
  • Price: $4.00 Each

I initially chose the Euro and Euro II to try first because I really liked the tone these picks produced (yes other V-Picks do sound different than these) especially when using a clean tone or light overdrive while playing electric guitar.

From my experience the Euro and the Euro II do allow you to play faster cleaner lines without any additional practice than what you can do with your favorite Jazz III pick. Some of you may notice some acrylic pick chirp with these picks, but I found a slight change in picking technique/angle mitigated this issue. Did I mention you can play faster without any additional practice? I did! That should get plenty of people excited about trying these picks just for that added feature alone.

I used both the Euro and Euro II picks for my electric guitar practice at home and in a several band situations for live performance. I found I really liked the big fat tone of the Euro II when I practiced at home, but when playing in a band situation with two electric guitars, acoustic guitar, keyboard, bass and drums I quickly found the Euro II to be too much pick for the job. The sound was too big and thick for what I wanted to hear, so I switched to the smaller Euro V-Pick which gave me the more focused sound I was looking for. It is interesting to find what works at home doesn’t always work with a full band.

I have found V-Picks do not wear down very quickly, so you can plan on using the Euro or Euro II for a long time unless you misplace or lose them.

For playing Jazz music I don’t think there is a better pick out there than the Euro. At least not one that I have tried to date, and I have tried quite a few. For softer rock music the Euro is a good pick as well. For harder rock the Euro II is a good choice if you want a heavy, thick pick attack. For speed picking these picks do well, but I have found some other picks to be better, which I will reveal in forthcoming pick reviews.

Give the Euro and Euro II a try if you currently like the Dunlop Jazz III. You may just find your next favorite pick.

Keep pickin’!

Dunlop Nylon Midi Standard Review

The Dunlop Midi Standard .67 mm gauge nylon pick is the pick I choose most often when playing acoustic guitar.

Pick Specs:

  • Gauges: ..53, .67, .80, .94, 1.07, 1.14 mm
  • Material: Nylon
  • Shape: Regular
  • Tip: Rounded
  • Price: About .50¢ a piece or $3.50 – $6.00 for a 12 pack

I really like how these nylon picks sound when playing acoustic guitar. They flex quite a bit, which is perfect for strumming chords. This allows for all types of strumming patterns, arpeggiation of chords, and for some single line notes. If I want a little more stiffness I will switch to the .73 mm gauge in Dunlop’s Nylon Standard line of picks (.38, .46, .60, .73, .88, 1.0 mm), which also sound very good when used with the acoustic guitar.

What is nylon? A tough, lightweight, elastic synthetic polymer with a protein like chemical structure, able to be produced as filaments, sheets, or molded objects. In our case molded guitar picks. For more information on nylon’s history look here.

As you can see in the picture these nylon picks have a raised surface in the gripping area, which allows for a very secure grip while playing. I have not had a problem with these picks moving around or slipping out of my fingers.

I do not use nylon picks when playing electric guitar very often, but the 1.0 mm gauge is a good pick to use if you are into playing Funk guitar or want to learn this genre of music for guitar.

How does the Dunlop Midi Standard sound? This pick produces a tone that makes acoustic guitars come to life! The tone produced with this pick has a warmness, with a touch of sparkle and airiness that I haven’t been able to find in any other guitar pick type. The sound draws me in and makes playing more enjoyable. Plus the pick glides over the strings for gorgeous sounding strums and arpeggiations. Highly recommended!

Acoustic/Electric – L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic D.I. Review

We are going to switch gears here and talk about a D.I. box I use quite frequently when routing acoustic guitar tones to the P.A. The L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic D.I. (D.I. stands for direct injection). What led me to this D.I. box was that I had  purchased a Godin Solidac guitar. I have the older version of the Solidac with a creme colored pickguard. This guitar is a dual voiced electric guitar with one output for the magnetic pickups and one for the piezo pickups in the Strat style bridge, which was also made by L.R. Baggs. The guitar has a built-in preamp for the piezo bridge pickups, but it didn’t have any control over EQ, and I didn’t like the tone I was getting. I went to a music store with the Godin Solidac in hand, and demoed several acoustic D.I. devices. I decided that the L.R. Baggs Para Acoustic D.I. gave me the best control over my acoustic/electric tones. The price I paid for the unit at the time was $150.00 plus tax. It was more than I wanted to spend, but in retrospect it was money well spent.

FEATURES:

  • Adjustable gain for both passive and active pickups
  • 5 band EQ with tunable notch and midrange bands
  • Phase inversion for best sound and feedback control
  • XLR and 1/4″ outputs
  • Works with 9V battery or 48V phantom power

Let’s talk about the controls and features of the Para Acoustic D.I. It has an input and two outputs. One output is a 1/4 inch unbalanced output the other is called D.I. out and is a balanced, low impedance microphone cable type output that supports 48 volt phantom power for powering the unit instead of the 9 volt battery, which I try use instead of the battery whenever I can. The D.I. out can go directly to a snake or soundboard without introducing any appreciable noise or signal loss.

There is a gain control for adjusting for pickup sensitivity between various acoustic/electric pickup systems (the PDF manual available from the L.R. Baggs web site explains how to use the gain control in detail with diagrams).

The Para Acoustic D.I. has has a TRS style effects loop where you can plug in a stereo Y-cable into the jack with two mono plugs to split out the send and return of the effects loop. The tip of the stereo plug is the “send” and goes to the input of your outboard effect. The ring is the “return” and connects to the output of your effect. The sleeve is the ground. The send taps the signal right after the input gain control, so it bypasses all of the E.Q. and volume controls of the device. The manual for the device says that the effects send can be used for pristine unbalanced output from the discrete class A circuitry used in the preamp. I personally have not used the effects loop, so I cannot vouch for how well it works.

Next is the invert switch which controls the polarity/phase of the signal. When the switch is out the signal is in phase. When the switch is pushed in it is out of phase with the P.A. loudspeakers which can help with defeating low end feedback.

Moving on to the E.Q. section of the pedal. This section is quite powerful and is what sold me on purchasing this D.I. box. There are five basic controls in the E.Q. section; Low, Notch, Mid, Presence, and Treble. These controls start at “0” in the middle of the sweep, turn left to cut and right to boost the signal for each control. There are also two specialty controls for the Notch and Mid controls. For the Notch control there is a Tune control that sweeps over the A, D, G, and B notes to notch out a certain feedback frequency or to accent a certain frequency in a positive way. The Mid control has a frequency control that sweeps from .4kHz to 1.6kHz.

We will now look at each E.Q. control individually.

Low: Affects the signal in the 85Hz range. I turn this way down to cut the mud and boominess from my acoustic guitar plugged in sound.

Notch and Tune Knob: This control affects the 98 – 247Hz range. This control was designed to help specifically with feedback problems. You can find the frequency where your guitar is feeding back, and cut that frequency until the feedback goes away. I find in my playing situations that I don’t have  a lot of feedback issues, so I use this control to add body to my signal, which works quite well.

Mid and Frequency Tune Knob: Is the midrange control, which controls the 400Hz – 1.6kHz range. Here you can sweep through the frequency range with the frequency tune knob, and boost or cut the frequency to match your sound requirements for the particular instrument you are using at the time.

Pres: This is a presence control. This operates in the 5kHz frequency, and this control is used to add or remove sizzle from your sound. I usually keep this control set fairly low. I don’t like too much sizzle in my sound.

Treb: Is the treble control functioning in the 10kHz frequency. You can boost or cut your treble response here. I like a rounder, warmer acoustic sound, so I set this control rather low for the guitars that I own. This control can go quite bright if you like a brighter, sharper sound.

Vol: This is not part of E.Q. section but controls the overall volume of the signal that leaves the box through the output. I set this control on the “0”, which is high Noon on the dial or to about + 3/4 or 3:00 PM on the dial depending on the guitar I am using.

As I mentioned earlier this D.I. box has two ways to power the device. You can use either a 9 volt battery or 48 volt phantom power from the soundboard if you are connected to the D.I. Out with a microphone cable. The unit switches on when a cable is inserted into the Input jack (if you leave a cable plugged into the input of this box for a prolonged period of time your battery will run down to nothing). I prefer to use the phantom power whenever I can to save on batteries. It is a good idea to always have a battery in the Para Acoustic D.I., however, in case the 48 volt phantom power is disconnected or turned off, the power will automatically switch over to the 9 volt battery and keep the D.I. working without skipping a beat in a live performance situation.

The case that houses the circuitry is a nice, heavy folded metal case. I have carried this unit around with me for years and have not had any reliability issues at all.

I hope you found this review to be helpful. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in comments section.