Part of the charm of the Ultex Sharp range for me (and obviously the reason they’re called Sharp) is that even though they’re larger than the Jazz III, they have a similar sharp point. For me this shape adds accuracy and definition to fast-picked passages, and gives you more control and note separation in chord work, especially when using a clean sound. I also use the Big Stubby picks in a 3mm gauge every now and then, so I’m not averse to using a larger pick from time to time.
The Ultex Sharp is designed to mimic the feel of an actual vintage tortiseshell pick from the Dunlop collection. It has a matte feel that practically clings to the fingers in a way I’ve never really felt in any other pick, and it has a seamless contoured edge which I find keeps the sound more uniform from pick to pick while also making it more comfortable if you really clamp down on the pick with a firm grip, which I tend to do when playing thrash rhythm.
I play with a very light touch and I tend to prefer thick picks, so I first reached for the 2.0 and my Ibanez RG7620 7-string. The first thing I noticed was that pinch harmonics on the low B string were a lot easier. For some reason I’ve always felt a bit clumsy doing those Zakk Wylde pinch harmonics on the low string, whether it’s E or B – yet if I’m using my 7-string and I play one on the E string, it sounds fine. So I immediately appreciated the Ultex Sharp for helping me over that little hurdle. There also seems to be a very immediate attack which is crucial for faster techniques, especially sweep picking. The level of dynamic control is really quite outstanding, and I really enjoyed setting my amp up for an edge-of-overdrive sound so I could use different picking strengths to alter the character of the gain.
The 2.0 felt a little cumberson for me so I tried the other thicknesses. I quite liked the 1.40 and 1.14. After a bit of testing I settled on the 1.14 as the preferred pick for my playing style (and 1.40 for bass). At that thickness the pick is still rigid, which I prefer, whereas the thinner sizes have more give, which I like for strummed chordal work but not as an all-round pick. If you pick harder in general you might prefer the softer gauges. Incidentally, try flipping the pick around and using one of the rounded edges instead, SRV-style, for a nice smooth pick attack that is especially good for taking a little edge off bright single coils.
By the way, Steve Turner dropped by the house yesterday (awesome Ibanez J Custom 7-string in tow) and he was using Ultex Jazz III picks. After I told him I’d been using the Ultex Sharps he gave me one of his Ultex Jazz IIIs and I was able to directly compare it to my regular Jazz IIIs. It feels a little more rigid and much more comfortable due to the almost-impossible-to-drop texture. In fact, I’d probably go for the Ultex Jazz III over the Max Grip Jazz III just cos I’m digging the Ultex material so much.