All that Jazz

The Cult Of Jazz III Joe Bonamassa


The Cult Of Jazz III.

I’ve used Dunlop Jazz III picks – in various forms – the most of any picks I’ve tried over the years.

One of the first things I did after picking up my first leccy guitar was to start buying any kind of plectrum / pick I could to try them all and find one I really could work with. I’d started with the free small square JHS picks that came with the said axe. I quickly moved on. first up was the classic Landstrom Sharkfin, isn’t it everyone’s first choice just because of the shape?

Others were tried. Then because of their ready availability and price I quickly moved to Dunlop Delrin 500, the pink ones, .96mm. I really liked them and found them easy to use and they seemed slightly small in size than standard picks of the same tear-drop shape. They then became harder to find here or they changed to a black pick from Dunlop that was the same thickness but felt a bit bigger, didn’t like them as much so another search was on.

Various shaped Dunlop Tortex, Pickboy reefer graphite carbon was the longest used amongst numerous types that Pickboy offered, D’Andrea of the classic pick producers. All manner of guitar companies such as Fender celluloids, big black Gibson wedges, Ibanez, Peavey etc. any type of Ernie Ball including a thumbpick, which I took a bit of sandpaper too as I found it too long and uncontrollable. Loads of freebies, from guitar mags, or from shops – you know trying out a guitar shop assistant gives you a pick and when you’ve finished it ends up in your pocket – freebie samples from custom companies that put logos on picks – so a load of bands you’ve never heard of plus The Sweet. I also tried reshaping some models to make them smaller, did lead to some picks going up in smoke. Not an easy thing to do, shape a pick with a lighter.

Now of course you have your guitar heroes and the pull to use the same equipment as them is strong. So it was a case of finding what they use and another round of buying as many styles as possible.

Steve Vai used the pink Dunlops, so that was covered. Eddie Van Halen was at that time saying he used thin .46mm, I had to try one that thin. Did not like it one bit. Brian May had his silver sixpence pieces, I had – still have – a stash. I used one for a while, liked the small size and the fact it didn’t wear down – This led to use of more metal picks, brass & aluminium and indeed objects, such as washers and other coins, 5p piece, dime, quarters, pesos.

I eventually moved back to Delrin 500s after getting hold of the blue 2mm version, I believe Barney Kessel used them. I liked the thickness but the rest of the dimensions now just didn’t work. So looking for something similar thickness wise but smaller in the other dimensions I could only find The Stubby. Finally this seemed to be the ideal pick, the size it was small enough to be just right. Bizarrely I didn’t use the 2mm version but the old clear 1mm – which was so easily lost – and the 3mm which quickly became the weapon of choice.

The Stubby’s lasted a while until I found them hard to get hold off and wanted something I couldn’t wear the point down so quickly. I had a couple of little nylon red things laying about in my pick box, I’d bought them ages back during a mass purchase but hadn’t got round to using them. Didn’t need to, had the Stubby.

The Jazz III came into my life, though after I’d tried a II initially, didn’t like the lack of pointed end. Perfect pick, right size, just stiff enough, my pick search was over. From the moment I tried the Stubby all the way through the years with Jazz IIIs I didn’t buy a single other style/make of pick than these two.

The only changes came when I tried the new variations on a classic. I had some old types like Eric Johnson likes but still got some of EJ’s signature picks, the Ultex Jazz III soon took over though when I got hold of some, then the carbon, stiffo and nylon Max Grip.

It must have been nearly 20 years of Stubby and Jazz III, with the latter making up most of the time. I was deeply immersed in the Cult of the Jazz III, so much so that I struggled when faced with a standard size pick, hated them, so guaranteed to have at least JIII in my pocket, just in case.

That was up until this last Christmas. I ordered some Max Grip IIIs and needing something extra to take my order over the required amount to get free postage on a whim I added a V-Pick small pointed to my basket.

Years of loyal service was forgotten in one session.

The Max Grip IIIs have barely been touched while the V-Pick quickly had one worn point as it was used and abused intensively. I still love Jazz IIIs they are great picks I advise anyone to try them, you have to. The only problem with them is I now have a stash of various unused types because the V-Pick just rocks and is the pick for me now.

Jazz III Picks
The Cult of Jazz III - Dunlop Jazz III picks - Eric Johnson, red nylon, Ultex, Max Grip, Carbon, Stiffo - and two V-Picks

Now I just need a small V-Pick that doesn’t wear out and isn’t clear so I can see when I drop it, ’cause they ain’t cheap but I am.

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