#1
Review by Brian D. Johnston
(I am not affiliated with the company in any way)

Guitarists are serious about their tones. They will spend large sums of money on rack-mount gear, effect pedals, custom guitars and boutique amps – searching out a tone that may elude them, and when found may soon become uninspiring to the ears. The next step typically is to buy more pedals, or try a different guitar and amplifier – all viable courses of action. It is because of the diverse and complex nature of the guitar’s sound, more so than with drums, bass or other instruments, guitarists rarely are completely satisfied.

Although we can be particular or ‘picky’ when it comes to picks, far less is discussed about this medium than with other guitar gear. And this is ironic since picks are very inexpensive... even the custom-designed versions, relative to what is spent on anything else associated with guitar playing – including guitar magazines! But the important point is this: with the same guitar, same amp, and same pedals, the sound that emanates from within can vary considerably by two things... 1) the player; and 2) the pick.

Give the same gear to Eric Clapton, and he will sound very different from Steve Vai, even if they play the same thing. It’s not only what is being played, but how. Although you cannot step into the body of another player, and may not be able to afford the gear that player uses, picks do offer a tangible solution to altering tone and dynamics. If this were not the case, there would not be so many companies making so many styles, thicknesses and sizes, and from so many materials (including rock, bone, plastic, nylon, metal, et cetera). And many professional guitarists get their picks custom made! Yes, there is an obvious difference in what pick is being used, as well as the comfort factor of the player in having his or her pick ‘just so.’

I have used dozens of different picks over the years, from thin to thick; from serrated to rounded; from plastic and vinyl to nickel-silver tipped. Only recently I was somewhat happy with my choice of pick, a grooved thumb and finger rest to prevent slippage, together with a nickel-silver tip for better control and speed, and improved technique to some degree. It was then that I spotted an advertisement for the award winning V-Picks, claiming to never drop your pick again and to improve technique. It’s not so much that I was in the market for a new pick, but when you have all the gear you need, and then some, you’re always looking for guitar ‘candy’ and the V-Pick seemed an appropriate and inexpensive investment. When visiting the website, I was confused at the sheer number of different styles and gauges; I did not know what to purchase, with picks ranging from .75 mm to a whopping 11.5 mm! I started off with three styles, ranging from somewhat thin (Switchblade) to somewhat thick (Snake); not long after that I acquired even more V-Picks to round out my collection and tone possibilities (all in a designer velvet-lined box, which looks rather spiffy in my recording studio – also check out his other accessories, like wrist-band pick holder and guitar strap pick holder).

Before discussing the tonal quality of the individual V-Picks, here is a little more background on these boutique products that will change your mind about plectrum possibilities. The designer, Vinni Smith, is a skilled musician who spent years looking for suitable picks; he was and is in the trenches when it comes to design and R&D of his acrylic V-Picks. In fact, when I spoke with him on the phone he had to turn down his grinder. That’s right – these are handmade one at a time!

The general design is unique, in that each pick has a diamond-shaped bevel all around the edge; and so, no matter where you grip it, and if it moves between your thumb and finger(s), there is an appropriate edge that will make contact with the strings. With this edge, sweeping is far more effortless and clean sounding, and speed picking nary a concern as it glides over the strings. Guaranteed, you will feel a difference in picking technique and quality as the edge refuses to ‘catch,’ ‘drag’ or produce excess friction. You also get more volume from your instrument without trying. Although a light touch gives a softer sound, when it comes to rock and metal, trying to get as much edge and volume from your bass or guitar, I have yet to find a better pick (without generating excess transient noises). Acoustic guitarists also take note!

As well, having a V-Pick move or rotate does not seem to be an issue; they simply stay in place, although not sticky. This means you do not have to grip has hard as the acrylic material reacts very nicely with the heat of the hand. As a studio musician, I don’t tend to get sweaty and drop picks often, but it does happen – that is until V-Picks. I have yet to drop one.

Regardless of the pick you choose, although I recommend an assortment for different applications, the acrylic material of these picks really bring out the mid-tones. This is vital for the guitarist to understand, since the frequency range of the electric guitar (barring muddiness and hiss) is from around 100Hz to about 8kHz and with the mid-range of 1-6kHz that ‘cuts through the mix.’ And the V-Pick helps you to do just that just as effectively as tweaking your EQ.

In general, regardless of the manufacturer, the thinner the pick the more bite or edge you get from it. The thicker the pick the more warmness and smoothness you will hear. Likewise, the more pointed the tip the more bite and edge, and the rounder the tip, the more warmness and smoothness. This holds true for the various V-Picks available, although the dynamics and tones are far superior and obvious when compared to traditional picks. Having read a few reviews on V-Picks, the biggest (and about only) complaint is the clicking or ‘chirping’ sound heard when playing, since the dynamics are so apparent. I question the reviewer’s experience on a few bases. First, turning up the drive on an amp too much will make any pick ‘chirpy,’ which calls into place effective noise gating. Too much treble in the mix also produces this outcome. Second, moving to a thicker V-Pick gauge reduces any audible ambient sounds if still an issue. Third, I don’t hear any such effect from my playing or in my recordings. From my perspective and my ears, the thinner picks merely give more bite and edge, which characteristic is not for every player, and that may have been the issue.

Speaking of thicker picks, if the reader is not accustomed or familiar with V-Picks s/he may be apprehensive about some of Vinni’s products. When I first took the Snake (4.10mm thick) out of its package (no jokes necessary), my first thought was “why the heck did I buy this?” After a few minutes of play, it was amazing – a warm, yet powerful, and rich tone that allowed me to play as fast as I could or desired to, and to even achieve pinch harmonics. Further note that the thicker V-Picks should not be compared to other heavy gauge picks from various guitar manufacturers. I’m uncertain what it is about the acrylic material, although I believe it has more to do with the overall design and diamond edge, but thick V-Picks feel as graceful and easy to use as any regular pick – not clumsy in the least and not the same as using a heavy gauge plastic pick.

The only other negative comment I have read concerning V-Picks is the cost. I find this perplexing, considering the large sums of money spent on gear, and with V-Picks starting at only $2.99; however, when accustomed to paying $1 or less for a pick, then buying one for the price of a beer seems horrific to some guitarists. But with all things in life, it depends on one’s priorities and values.

But are there any negative points to these picks? If you were to use only one, such as the Shredder, then a person likely would complain that the tone is not right, or that it does not work well when playing the blues or when using an acoustic guitar. But with so many V-Pick styles to choose from, it is difficult to fault any one pick relative to what is designed to do.
#2
Now, onto some of the picks in my collection: I do have several models, and for a reason no different than having an assortment of effects pedals, guitars and amps in one’s collection. Each pick has its own characteristics and should be given the same respect and consideration.

The 1.5 mm Switchblade was co-designed for Mike Scaccia, shredder for Ministry and Rigor Mortis. If you want a bite to your tone while moving fast, then this is it. When performing pinch harmonics, the squeals are intense to say the least.

The Pearly Gates is 2.75 mm thick and one of my favourites. This one is played and endorsed by rock/acid jazz/fusion guitarist Ed DeGenaro, and is a great all-around guitar pick. Although thick, it is very articulate with extremely fast action. The edge is just thick enough to make tapping effective and effortless. Within the series, with similar thickness and tonal characteristics, are Vinni’s glow in the dark picks and a smaller ‘jazz’ version of the Pearly Gates.

The Snake is 4.10 mm thick, and delivers a warm, thick yet clean tone. And as thick as the pick may be, it just rolls off the strings, allowing for very fast fret work and sweeping.

The Shredder series is for the metal enthusiasts, designed for accurate clarity and precision. You will find sweeping, arpeggios and scale runs much improved with very bright staccato sounds. I have the Shredder and Shredder Lite.

At .75mm, the Ultra Lite and Lite Traditional picks are very good overall type picks, appropriate for electric or acoustic, and solid sounding for both picking and strumming. These picks really grip to the fingers as hand heat reacts with the special blend of acrylic. If in doubt which pick to try, this may be your best bet as a first purchase.

The Freakishly Large Rounded, at 3.0mm, is the same pick used by Carlos Santana. It provides a big tone and great resonance with a firm bottom end. This also is a good pick for bass players. Be forewarned, however, that if you’re used to a pointed end, it takes a bit of getting used (the attack is not as sharp or accurate at first); but once you do, your guitar sounds big!

And then you have the Euro pic (with holes drilled through for extra gripping), the Stiletto (a smaller version of the Switchblade), and a host of other pics in the Vinni collection you just have to check out and try for yourself. In fact, you can buy the entire collection for the price of one pedal, and your guitar playing deserves at least that.
#3


TLDR

But they are awesome.

1977 Burny FLG70
2004 EBMM JP6
2016 SE Holcolmb
#4
TDLR? Man I'm slow on the short forms, lol. What does that mean? I really do like them. Vinni has done an awesome job producing these and they are simple in nature... the right material and the right edging.
#5
TLDR = too long; didn't read.

im going to have to try out some v picks soon
great review, man!
#7
You should try a Dimension Jr. They're my favorite yet. Unbuffed is more my style but the buffed is smoother.
E-peen:
Rhodes Gemini
Fryette Ultra Lead
Peavey 6505
THD Flexi 50

Gibson R0 Prototype
EBMM JP13 Rosewood
Fender CS Mary Kaye

WTLT

(512) Audio Engineering - Custom Pedal Builds, Mods and Repairs
#8
Is there any point to this thread? Why didn't you just submit this as a review in the REVIEW section. Plus 1 muffin to anyone who actually reads all that.
Ibanez SIR27
Pod HD500x

RIP:
Mesa Boogie Roadster 2x12 combo
Cmatmods analog chorus, phaser, tremoglo, signa drive, butah, and deeelay
walrus Audio Descent
#9
i was gonna buy one when i put in an order for some strings, picks and stuff this week, because I'd heard about them. But then I saw they were about 8 quid each and like 3 foot thick. o_O
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#10
There is no option for accessories... pedals, amps, guitars. I tried posting items before under one of the above (selecting 'other' under pedals, for example) and for whatever reason it doesn't go through or is accepted. A guitar review I did went through OK. I hope that helps your understanding.
#11
I don't see how they're too expensive... starting at $3, whereas... how much did your guitar and amp cost?
#13
i read the whole thing.

i appreciate the in depth review. could have been shortened a bit, but still a nice review. I need to try a v pick or two soon.

My only complaint is that for the price of two or three of them to experiment with, I could buy multiple packs of picks I already like. With my pick losing habits, buying only 1 pick for that much means it might be wasted money within a week haha
Originally posted by primusfan
When you crank up the gain to 10 and switch to the lead channel, it actually sounds like you are unjustifiably bombing an innocent foreign land.


╠═══════╬═══════╣
τλε τρπ βπστλεπλσσδ
╠═══════╬═══════╣
#14
v-picks=crap
they break way too fast (their tips i mean) compared to normal pick even the thickest did...
#15
Quote by logicbdj
I don't see how they're too expensive... starting at $3, whereas... how much did your guitar and amp cost?


$2.50
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#16
Quote by wolvenrick
v-picks=crap
they break way too fast (their tips i mean) compared to normal pick even the thickest did...


Really? The Insanity, at 11.85mm (nearly a half-inch thick) broke for you 'way too fast'?

Color me skeptical...
#17
when my local store caries them perhaps. im not special ordering picks. maybe when i hav a lot more cash and im REALLY bored.

till then, i get a similar feel by using dunlop stubby picks in 1,2 and 3 mm.
#18
I recommend contacting Vinni (Vinni@V-Picks), let him know your style of music or playing (speed, heavy rhythm, strumming), and he will direct you accordingly. Yup, I have all kinds of picks here too, and I was happy with a handful... now I don't use them since using his picks.