That little Jim Dunlop Tortex tortoise has probably been used on more power chords, pentatonic licks, earth-shattering riffs and tenderly strummed campfire interludes than any other amphibian. Tortoises are famously long-lived, and this one is celebrating its 30th birthday. As far as guitar picks go, that’s a pretty impressive milestone, but it has a long way to go to catch up to Harriet.
Dunlop Tortex Picks Celebrates it’s 30th Anniversary with a Ten Year Supply of Picks and a $1,000 Shopping Spree on jimdunlop.com
Dunlop’s Tortex pick has hit its 30th anniversary, created in 1981 and since becoming the #1 selling pick in the world and the pick of choice for the top guitarists and bass players in the world, such as Slash, Tony Iommi, Jerry Cantrell, Duff McKagan, Jim Root, Mick Mars, Billy Corgan, Paul Gilbert, Dave Mustaine, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Dave Grohl and Ben Harper.
As you know (you’re reading this blog, after all), I’m a guitar geek. As you may or may not know, I’m also a bit of an Apple geek. Well I’ve finally found the perfect way to combine my two loves (apart from cranking AmpliTube and AmpKit on my iPad): this weekend I used my Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter to convert a couple of iTunes gift cards into a set of Apple-inspired iTunes-themed guitar picks. Now I can rock out and remind myself to pick up a couple more iTunes gift cards for emergencies at the same time.
Check ot my review of the Pickmaster here.
Check it out! The long-in-development Jim Dunlop John Petrucci pick is imminent! Jim Dunlop offered a little sneak peak here. Check it out – it looks like you could fly away in that freakin’ thing. It’s the most sci-fi pick I’ve ever seen. Can’t wait to get my hands on one.
Go to the Jim Dunlop blog for another pic of the pick.
I don’t know where my guitar picks disappear to. I’m pretty sure it’s the same place my socks and my abs went. Some days I spend at least as much time searching for plectra as I do playing guitar, and although for years I was strictly a one-pick dude (the Jim Dunlop Jazz III), I’ve trained myself to now use whatever pick I find, wherever I find it. It’s just better and more musicianly to remain adaptable than to be bound to any one type of pick.
The makers of Pickmaster must realise this quandry because they’ve created the ideal way to ensure you are never left pickless. The Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter is a very chunky and solidly built tool which lets you stamp out picks from whatever material you find around the house – old credit cards, the lid from the butter tub – you could even be super-ironic and use it to cut a guitar pick out of one of those large triangular bass picks.
I tested the Pickmaster out first on its own packaging (how very meta), then on a few cards laying around the house. The unit is reassuringly strong, and requires a bit of pressure to cut through some materials. When it does so it cuts a perfect pick shape every time, regardless of material. Some ‘victims’ might require you to smoothe out the edges a little, which can easily be performed by rubbing the sides of the pick on your tattered old Levis or even on the carpet. Then you’re good to go.
The Pickmaster Plectrum Cutter will easily stash into your guitar case or gig bag for those little emergencies, and aside from being extraordinarily practical, it’s also a lot of fun. I can see myself making little pick-shaped pasta out of lasagne sheets, or maybe pick-shaped confetti out of shiny paper for some kind of special guitar-related occasion (I’m not sure what occasion that might be yet – I’ll invent one).
LINK: Pickmaster at Prezzybox
Dunlop is now shipping the newly designed Tortex TIII picks.
We’re marking the 30th anniversary of Tortex picks with the Tortex TIII, a natural evolution that combines the legendary tone and feel of Tortex material with the speed and precision-enhancing Jazz III tip. The Tortex TIII picks are available in all standard Tortex gauges: .50mm, .60mm, .73mm, .88mm, 1.0mm, and 1.14mm.
For 30 years, Dunlop Manufacturing has carefully designed and manufactured Tortex picks for the characteristic memory and minimum wear that artists have come to rely on.
Check out this work by Manchester artist Ed Chapman, made from more than 5,000 Fender plectrums. This was unveiled at Abbey Road Studios in London on February 24, to be auctioned off with the money going to Cancer Research UK.
Picks (or plectra to those of us who like to use big words) are all too often overlooked when it comes to grear, but dude, that’s where your sound starts, so you really owe it to yourself to make your pick your own! And there’s no better way to make a pick your own than to have it printed by a company like Grover Allman, who have been printing quality picks for years, and more recently have made huge waves in the industry for their revolutionary photo picks (not to mention being very active and entertaining twitterers!). As you probably know if you’ve been reading the site for a while, I’m a Grover Allman user myself (pick up some I Heart Guitar picks by Grover Allman here). My latest batch reads ‘My other pick is my fingers.’
Grover Allman’s Kevin Grover talked me through the company’s history and its products.
When did you start the company?
The company started in 1990, there were no Australian made guitar picks back then. We invested a small amount of money and had an amazing response from our Australian retailers, as they say – the rest is history. Grover Allman now exports to over 25 countries and has sold in excess of 30 million guitar picks.
Do you remember your very first pick? I still have mine, and it makes me all nostalgic to drag it out and think about all the bad notes I must have played with it…
I do remember my first guitar pick; it came from one of our current competitors, however I don’t have it anymore. It was a brown medium celluloid.
The first guitar pick that our company made I still have. We made a small test production run to trial our tooling and the picks are now kept in a big glass jar. They were .85mm white nylons. We still sell them today as our performer series. Every time I look at the jar I reflect upon where it all started and where we are today.
Who are some of your star clients?
We have a lot of star clients on our books now. Please forgive me if I have left your band off my list as there are so many, there is no order of importance here, just what came to my head – Motley Crue, Bleeding Through, Klaxons, Extreme, Silverchair, Nuno Bettencourt, Nick Sterling, Suicide Silence, Living End, Cannibal Corpse, Slash, Joe Robinson, Bring Me The Horizon, Rammstein and many more.
You get lots of work from non-stars too: what are some of the more unique custom pick orders you’ve received?
We get requests for just about everything you could imagine on a guitar pick. We had a run of porn stars on picks, which was quite funny – maybe there are some discounts being applied for guitar lessons for porn stars? Haha. Weddings are very popular, so are album releases and tours.
Tell us about the licensed products you do.
We have a number of licenses currently. The Simpsons, Family Guy, Chicks on Picks, Drop Dead Sexy, Triple J and Beached Az ,all proving to be very popular. With these licenses we manufacture picks, straps, music manuscript bags and guitars. We are always on the lookout for new licensing opportunities.
The photo picks are a very bold step. Was it tricky to perfect the process?
Photo Picks have certainly opened up a great deal of possibilities for our clients now. We were the first in the world to print photographic picks; this was in the late 90’s. Unfortunately to produce photographic picks then was an extremely expensive process and you could only print picks cost effectively if they were large production runs. That situation has now changed, with our new processes and machinery we can now print guitar picks cost effectively, with print runs as low as 30 picks.
Grover Allman has invested over $1 million in specialised printing machinery and we have no doubt that we have the most revolutionised printing machinery in the world.
What other services does Grover Allman offer?
Grover Allman offers a number of different products and services and our range is continuously growing. The range now includes picks, straps, music bags, guitars, tuners, slides, jewellery, keyrings, and capos. We are getting a lot of our artists now asking for customised products for merchandise. This is an area that we are focusing on; a lot of bands gain their income through merchandise. If the merchandise range can be expanded upon this gives the fan a lot more choice at the merchandise booth. Our 5 packs of guitar picks have been very popular; bands are using these for tour memorabilia and CD launches. We have also had bands approach us for customised jewellery, another popular band merchandise line.
LINK: Grover Allman