Iron Age Guitar Picks Review

Iron Age Guitar Accessories – Pick Review

As the trend towards handmade guitar accessories continues to grow, one brand leading the way is Iron Age Guitar Accessories. I was recently sent a small range of their picks to try out which included some of their standard range, a simulated ivory Jazz3 and JazzXL along with a beautiful blue Imperator.

The Standard Range

Iron Age Guitar Standard Picks Review

Coming in 0.73mm, 0.88mm and 1.2mm and 1.2mm Jazz, the standard range of Iron Age picks are made to a tried and tested formula. The nylon has a matte finish which aids grip even if you get sweaty fingers when your playing. The range of thickness should cover most guitarists with ease. The thin red picks are ideal for strumming. Light enough to reduce pick attack noise but still thick enough to produce a good tone. The 0.88mm white picks are a good general purpose pick while the thicker black picks are good for riffing and lead playing. I do prefer thick picks so the black ones are my favourite from the standard range. I found myself choosing the Jazz more for lead playing and the regular shaped picks more for riff playing but that’s entirely personal preference. Wear resistance seemed good and the tone matched my selection of big brand picks. I felt like they had slightly more grip than Tortex picks but it’s very close. Overall I don’t think there is much of a difference between these and the regular picks you’d buy at a guitar store. I don’t think I’d be able to tell in a blind test. They’re simply a good everyday use pick.

Synthetic Ivory Jazz3, JazzXL & The Imperator

Iron Age Guitar Picks Review

This is where things get interesting. The beauty of handcrafted picks is the extra choices available over mass-produced picks. The synthetic ivory Jazz3 and JazzXL are anything but standard. I opted for 3mm so they’re closer to what I’d usually use. Firstly, the texture of these picks is simply beautiful. Although they’re hard they feel soft to the touch. It’s hard to describe but they’re the nicest feeling picks I’ve used. They feel more organic than regular plastic and make other picks feel like cheap toys. At $20, they’re not inexpensive but pick up a regular pick after using one of these and you start to appreciate the difference. The tone is more forceful than thinner picks and the lack of flex really helps to tighten up heavy riffs and lead playing. The bevelled edges glide over the strings quickly and it’s easy to play fast lead lines with accuracy. I thought I’d prefer the Jazz3 shape but I found myself reaching for the JazzXL ost of the time. I used it for the last demo I recorded and it quickly felt like an old friend. After two days of recording it had no wear marks at all so it should have a good lifespan. At the moment it’s my favourite pick and I’d replace it instantly if I lost it.

The Imperator is a different beast altogether. Coming in at just under 4mm thick and made from a stunning pearl blue material, this pick is a little work of art. In fact, I was reluctant to use it at first because I was worried I’d damage it. When I managed to get the courage to test it out I quickly discovered it can take a pounding and still look as good as new. They are made from a material usually used for gun and knife grips which is incredibly tough and resists string wear very well. A few days later I still can’t see a single mark on it. The polished finish looks amazing and, thanks to the engraving and the Iron Age emblem, the Imperator has plenty of grip available. The feel is very different to the simulated ivory picks. I must admit, I do prefer the others but again, it’s personal preference. In use, it’s a similar experience. The lack of flex and the bevelled edges make it very easy to use.

Tonally there is a difference between these picks. The simulated ivory picks have a strong midrange and full sound. Switching to the Imperator, it sounded like someone had activated an EQ to scoop out the mids which left a more open tone. Both sound equally good but I can imagine myself choosing one or the other if I needed a different sound.

Iron Age Guitar Imperator Review

Then we come to the price. The Jazz picks are $20 and the Imperator is $32. The price also goes up if you add custom engraving. Not so long ago I would have said you were crazy if you spent so much for a single guitar pick. Now, I have no issues at all with the price. It’s like choosing a more expensive guitar lead instead of a cheap one. As long as you actually look after them and make sure you don’t lose them they’ll easily last far longer than any regular pick will. I’m fairly heavy handed so I can start to put marks in a regular pick very quickly and this changes the sound. After using these ones for a week they’re still like new. You honestly can’t tell I’ve used them. They also feel so much nicer to use than regular picks and with the added tonal benefits of a stronger sound and more accurate picking, the difference in price is well worth it. I think it’s time to start taking guitar picks seriously and stop treating them as disposable items. They are the first part of the chain when it comes to your rig but for some reason, we don’t usually see them as an important part. Let’s be honest, the price isn’t huge when you start comparing it to everything else. If you’re happy to pay hundreds or thousands for a guitar then $30 for a pick shouldn’t be seen as a major expense.

Conclusion

Iron Age Guitar Accessories are the kind of brand I love to see doing well. Everything is made by one man who actually has a passion for what he does. While the standard range isn’t going to surprise anyone the rest of the range available offers the more discerning guitarist some much-needed choice in the guitar pick market. The simulated ivory JazzXL has now become my go-to pick. The feel, the picking accuracy and the tonal benefits make it indispensable for me. The Imperator offers another sound and although I don’t like the feel as much with this pick that’s just my own preference, others may well prefer it. One thing not in doubt is the quality. Yes, compared to regular picks they might seem expensive but in my opinion, the benefits easily outweigh this. Each pick is handmade by someone who cares about what he’s doing and a lot of thought has gone into the designs and the materials used. The end result is a product which provides superior tone, feel and a longer lifespan. And for these reasons, I’m more than happy to pay the extra money they cost as I see it as an investment in my tone and playing.

Rating – 9.5/10

Guitar Noodle Top Pick

Iron Age Guitar Accessories guitar picks are available from https://ironageaccessories.com

Iron Age Guitar Picks

9.5

Rating

9.5/10