Tag Archives: guitar

Custom Guitar/Bass Pick Review, Part 2

If you missed part 1, it’s here: Part 1 of pick review

To give a quick review, these are the custom picks released by Zazzle. This review is for the standard shape (triangle is also available), and so far the printing is great and the picks themselves are medium weight.

The unanswered (yet) question is, will the printing stay on in playing?

For test 1, I tried bending the picks to see if the printing would flake off.

Quickly discovered that it’s actually part of the plastic of the pick, so it easily passed that test.

For Test 2, I tried scraping the image off with a fingernail.

I did not make a scratch in it!

Test 3, I tried scraping a pocket knife (not serrated) across the face with medium pressure, nada. So far so good……..

Now, out comes the guitar.

—- To reiterate, I’m a medium player, not a pro guitar player so my skill set is playing eighth and quarters on chords and hardly any picking. For this test, I played four rounds of “Mad World” plus a few warm up chords, so approxiamatly 15 minutes of playing chords, mostly eighths at 108bpm alternating up and downstrokes. I used two picks, one held with the printing up and the other held printing down to take into account the force of a downstroke versus an upstroke.

After 10 minutes of playing, this was the two picks. The one on the left was printing up, the one on the right was printing down.

customized guitar picks by susan l marsh

Guitar picks after a short burst of playing

As I expected, the image did indeed come off.

*add sad face here*

The first thing I noticed was how fast the pick itself wore down. It is hard to see in these images, but there are grooves in the plastic where the leading edge is wearing down. More than a few songs and I suspect you might be able to shave with the edge that forms…

Because of this, I wouldn’t be inclined to use these as gig picks unless you intend to casually drop them on the floor for the groupies. After every song maybe.

The great news is, only a millimeter or so of the leading edge wore off of the printing! That impressed me. From what I can tell, the pick itself wore out and not the printed layer.

Close view of worn off edge

Close view of worn off edge

I’m guessing that on thicker roundwould bass strings, these would shred apart even faster, so I’ll have to disagree that these would make even one song bass picks. Tapewound strings would stop the wearing issue, but the flexibility would be an issue there. I know I personally use at least 1mm on bass if I’m using a pick, and these aren’t that sturdy. My pick skills on bass are rather limited since I would normally rather play with four fingers than one pick, so I’d have to find a willing volunteer to test out how well they stand up on bass.

In summary, these would make a great gift for a musician, or a unique giveaway for a band/solo act. Crafters could also make a great set of jewelry out of these! They aren’t 100% full gig useable, but they aren’t cut out of lamination either :).

Custom Guitar Pick Review, Part 1

Custom Printed Guitar Pick Review, Part 1
(c) Susan L. Marsh
(Please link to this rather than copy any portion, thank you!)

When Zazzle introduced their new line of custom printed guitar picks, I had to try some! The price starts out a tad steep for just one, but when you do 10 at a time it’s a very reasonable $2.75 range each for single sided. If you do 50, it goes down to a tad over a dollar each single sided! This would be a great promotional item for bands or solo musicians. Next time a pick gets dropped, the person finding it was just shown an ad :). This also makes a great gift idea for the musician in the family! How about the jewelery makers? Punch a hole in the plastic and make a pair of earrings, charm bracelet, or necklace. Even a keyring! The craft possibilites are high …

Ok, now about the picks themselves and my limited playing test.

Zazzle’s offical description is:

Rock out with customized guitar picks! Made with high quality celluloid (a traditional pick material), these picks grip well and provide the flexibility and durability needed for a balanced, yet crisp tone. Choose between the standard and triangle shape and add your beautiful designs, photos, or text to the front and back for a professional grade custom guitar pick.
• Available in standard and triangle shapes.
• Dimensions: .98″w x 1.18″l (standard) , 1.22″w x 1.18″l (triangle)
• Medium gauge (.71mm).
• Made with celluloid. Ideal for Acoustic, Electric and Bass Guitars.
• Designs printed in vibrant full color on your choice of single or double side.

We’ll start picking this apart :). Here’s an image of several picks I checked them against, including the printed one (it’s the pretty one!). This is the “standard” shape, as the triangle one seemed odd for guitar.
guitar pick sample by Susan L. amrsh

Material: Celluloid. Ok, not much I can say here. I bent one in half and it did not snap and did go back to shape in a minute or so. So, it’s celluloid.

“Grips well”. I’m not sure what to say about this. The finish is , well, plastic. It is not gripped/ribbed like some picks, and it is not a glossy finish. I would say it “grips normal”. I have sweaty paws and did drop one after about 10 minutes of playing, so if you are prone to sweaty fingers and losing them order extra!

Tone: Urm, nothing special but nothing obnoxious, at least on the electric Strat that I used to test.

Guage/Flexibility: I have to say these seem sturdier than I thought for a .71? I do not have a micrometer to test, but in terms of “bendiness” side by side these seemed to be the same as a Fender Medium (clear blue) and a generic brand that says .88 nylon. Perhaps the difference in materials , but I’d definietly agree this is a medium pick. Comparison images shows the flexibility next to a Fender medium. Oh, and if you decide to test this at home, my range is about 6 feet when it slips out on the first few bend attempts. Luckily the cat found them for me…. Please note that that I am pushing harder on the zazzle pick in this picture, you can see my thumb is redder. Very hard to not lose the picks while taking a picture with the other hand!

Test flex of a Fender pick, medium

Test flex of a Fender pick, medium

zazzle flex

Flexxxxx those muscles!

“Ideal for Acoustic, Electric and Bass Guitars”-I’m going to have to disagree with part of this. Acoustic guitars and light electric guitar players, yes. Heavy metal or bass guitar? This is not the right pick for that in my opinion. Well, maybe for an acoustic bass but even then….(see “durability” in part 2).

Now for the fun part…………testing :).

My first test guitar is an electric Fender Stratocaster with standard roundwound 10′s on it.

I’m a medium strength player, not a “real” guitar player* so my skill set is playing eighth and quarters on chords with very little picking. I played three rounds of “Mad World” plus a few warm up chords, so approximately 10 minutes of playing chords, mostly eighths. I used two picks, one held with the printing up and the other held printing down.

This is my test image:

The original art is one of my spraypaint paintings, using guitar shapes as part of the design. I did not think about (my fault) how tiny the image would be. I recommend not using such a busy image! Simple is better.

Here’s the real pick in the palm of my hand:

Guitar pick susanszoocrew

Susan’s Zoo Crew Guitar pick, actual picture

The colors are pretty close, a tad on the dark side. I recommend making an image on the lighter and more contrast end of the spectrum. It did print the neon colors fairly close (which did surprise me as those are tricky). The darkness may be due to how far down the image has to be shrunk also. I would give the printing a 4.8 out of 5, highly recommended in terms of quality. Even a fine line logo will reproduce well, just reallllllllly small.

Part 2 answers the big question………will these survive being actually used? Stay tuned for part 2!

Edit: Find Part 2 here: Part 2 of Custom Guitar Pick review

(to keep you busy, here’s a few of my guitar designs :) )

dead tree purple yellow leaves sky guitar pickguitar outline image pink black bridge tee shirtsArm Playing Guitar Blue Psychadelic Colors Square Teesguitar neck stamp white and red instrument tees

Guitar Designs