The Jim Dunlop Jazz III has been my pick of choice for longer than I care to think about. I’ve always loved its control, its precision and its tone. And also, even though they’re tiny, they’re easy to spot if you drop one. Eric Johnson is also a longtime Jazz III fan, and the Jim Dunlop Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III is based on a favourite pick from his collection. Dunlop actually laser-scanned it to mimic the unique wear pattern of the pick. They’ve also replaced the traditional “JD” logo with a raised “JIM DUNLOP U.S.A.” which spreads the grip patten out further around the surface of the pick. On the other side it reads “ERIC JOHNSON TX” and this too provides a different feel to the surface.

Hold up any two regular Jazz IIIs. You’ll notice a small amount of variation from one to the next. The Johnson picks are made to very closely follow the profile of the original ‘master pick’ Johnson provided, so there’s more consistency from one to the next.

Compared to a regular Jazz III, the grip of this pick is indeed more positive. Because the raised sections are more spread out and evenly spaced, it feels like the gripping area of the pick is wider, and I find that this in turn provides more control because it gives you a better grasp on the pick. The smoother surface is great for super-fast playing techniques such as alternate, economy and circular picking. Circular picking in particular really benefits from the smoother taper of the pick point. The attack may feel a bit bolder with a regular Jazz III, but the sound is smoother and more dynamically even with the Eric Johnson version. The treble attack seems slightly less snappy, which might take a little getting used to depending on what kind of sound you prefer, but I quite like it and I’m thinking of switching over permanently because the Johnson version of the Jazz III seems to get out of your way that little bit more, opening up the lines of communication between player and string just that little bit more.

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