What's with all the Wood?

Oh man, pick/plectrum materials are now becoming a highly debatable topic. I never thought I would see the day but it is here. There is wood, acrylic, Celluloid, tortex, Ultex (polyetherimide), UHMWPE (Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene), Nylon, Delrin, stone, metal, bone, or glass. So, there are a bunch of big words for “fancy” plastic and a few others. I could go on but nevertheless, there is a boutique market for picks to be explored. I do use boutique picks, but I haven’t experimented with wood picks. I have had a lot of people asking me them lately, so I decided to give a couple of brands a try to see if there is a noticeable difference.

First off, I would like to thank Thalia for sending me two sample packs to try out. I am not being paid for this review. So this is my usual open, blunt opinion.

Thalia Wood Rosewood

Thalia Picks are 100% Santos Rosewood picks. As I understand this, they cut into 2 or 3 micro-thin layers of wood. Then they bond them back together using the wood grain in a cross hatch pattern. Sounds like a pretty complicated process. It comes in 2 thickness of 0.9mm and 1.4mm. There are also 3 different shapes, which are Standard, Jazz, and Tri-Pick.

I was concerned about their sturdiness when I picked up these picks. I have a heavy strumming hand, so I tend use thicker picks. The 0.9mm is a bit thin for my taste, so I played with the 1.4mm Standard. They are flat, unpolished, and feel like wood.

When I first started to play there was a click from my attack that I didn’t like, but I kept playing through it. The sound eventually faded and I inspected the pick and you could see the wear and tear from my playing on the pick. This is by design from them as I understand it. The pick produce a warm, crisp sound, which really stood out on a acoustic guitar as a good thing. I found lead patterns harder to play because there is some give to this pick.

All in all, I think that they are good strumming pick for acoustic/electric guitars. So if you are a rhythm player, then I would recommend this pick for you. If you are looking for a wood pick that resembles a flat plastic pick, then this would a great pick for you as well.

Timber Tones Macassar Ebony

These Timber Tones Picks are made of Macassar Ebony. A very hard timber. They recommend them for electric, which is right up my alley. If you use this pick on an acoustic, it is a brighter. The picks are tapered and polished. To explain, what I mean by tapered is that the pick is thick to hold, but reduces to a thinner tip. In this case, the pick goes from 2.4mm grip to a 0.7mm tip.

I believe the polish hides a lot of the wood feel from you and you can definitely hear the click when you hit the strings, which is not my favorite sound. I would say the tone was slightly warmer than my usual picks, but not much where I believe anybody would notice. The grip is the only noticeable difference because it is really thick.

I grabbed a one of my Gravity Picks to compare and I could hear a slight difference, but not enough for me to switch. I was much less wowed by these picks to be honest, and feel that they are more of a novelty.

In Conclusion

If you are wanting to play with a wood pick, I honestly would grab the Thalia Picks over the Timber Tones to experiment with. They produced a much warmer sound and were noticeably different than my usual plastic and acrylic picks. I would forewarn anyone who is exploring wood picks that I do not seeing them lasting as long as other picks. Not a major concern but just something to take note of. If you are concerned about the life span of the pick then I would recommend the Timber Tones over the Thaila picks. I believe that they will last longer due to their thickness and the polish of the pick.

Austin Riendeau

I make noise, sometimes call it music. I have background in Violin, Guitar and Bass.

Denver, Colorado http://riptide-rhythm.com