Dragon’s Heart Guitar Picks Review
When the guys at Dragon Heart’s Picks approached me about reviewing their picks I warned them that I was a 40+ year Fender Medium pick user and that I had tried and used dozens of other picks over the years including the newer synthetic material premium picks, even stone picks! But I always returned to Fender Medium picks. So I would be a tough sell. They weren’t deterred and sent me one of each Dragon’s Heart pick models.
Why have I stuck with Fender Mediums? They certainly have their faults. They are slippery and the edges wear out quickly. I think the main reason is I learned guitar using them and I am used to using them. They flex just enough for strumming but are hard enough for single note playing. They have the feel and tone I am used to. Plus they are cheap. I literally buy three or four dozen at time. I keep a pack in each of my guitar cases. I lose picks all the time. I give old picks to my students who frequently show up to lessons without a pick. They are scattered around my house on amps, my music desk, my dresser. And I keep a couple in my jeans “pick pocket” at all times.
But I am willing to give something new a try. So here are my observations and experiences using Dragon Heart’s Picks.
There are three different Dragon Heart’s pick models. The Original, the Hardened, and the Pure. They are all slightly different color and texture which helps you tell them apart, since otherwise they are identical in appearance and shape. They are all quite thick with a slightly beveled grip, and they all feature the same unique shape with three picking edges.
The Orginal Dragon Heart’s Pick
For you chemists the Original pick is made of POLYAMIDE-IMIDE WITH 12% GRAPHITE FILL. According to Dragon Heart’s website is supposed to last for 1000 hours of use. Obviously I didn’t test this. I’ll take their word for it. It is supposed to be the fastest of the three picks and I would agree. There seems to be less friction with this model. Although most of the differences between the picks are subtle.
The Pure Dragon Heart’s Pick
The Pure pick is made of 100% POLYAMIDE-IMIDE. According to Dragon Heart’s website is supposed to last for 1200 hours of use. It is the smoothest feeling material of the three.
The Hardened Dragon Heart’s Pick
The Pure pick is made of POLYAMIDE-IMIDE WITH 30% GLASS FIBER FILL. According to Dragon Heart’s website is supposed to last for 1500 hours of use. To me the Hardened pick looks and feels slightly thicker than the other two. It also has the best gripping material of the three.
Dragon’s Heart picks all have three different picking edges. One edge has a rounded point similar to a standard Fender pick point, but just a little wider. This edge was designed to be the most versatile edge, balanced between speed and attack. Another edge is round. This edge was designed for strumming. And another edge is a small very pointy edge more like a “jazz” pick. This edge was designed for the most aggressive attack and speed.
While they are quite thick picks, they are also very comfortable to hold and have an excellent grip despite their odd shape. I like picks to flex when I’m strumming. These don’t. But I found that I could strum with them just fine. It just required a slight adjustment to my technique, and it felt different. For single note playing they are very fast. The thickness didn’t seem to be an issue for me at all.
Here is where things got interesting. I expected increased pick noise from such hard, thick picks and I was correct. Although not as much as I experienced with some other “premium” picks. The Pure pick has noticeably less pick noise than the other two. It still was quite a bit more pick noise than a Fender Medium but not as obvious as the the Original or Hardened.
I tried them all with both acoustic guitar and electric guitar. On acoustic guitar, the amount of pick noise when strumming with the Original or Hardened was a real issue for me. They gave me a metallic tone I didn’t care for. But surprisingly when playing single notes the pick noise was far less prominent. In fact the overall tone was darker or mellower than a Fender Medium pick. The Pure had noticeably less pick noise when strumming, but being smoother material it slipped out of my fingers easier when strumming. And its tone was not bright enough for my tastes when playing single notes. I can’t say any of them would be my first choice for acoustic playing. Although players looking for an aggressive, metallic tone might feel otherwise.
On electric guitar things got even more interesting. To me, the tonal differences between picks was far more subtle when playing electric. The Hardened is slightly brighter than the Original and the Pure is slightly darker. But the differences are very subtle. I think it really all comes down to feel of the pick for electric playing. The Original is the fastest pick and the Hardened has the best grip.
I tried them all with different amp tones and gain amounts. I will use my old standby Fender Medium picks for comparison.
Clean Amp Tone (no overdrive or distortion)
With a clean amp tone, compared to Fender Medium picks, Pure Dragon’s Heart picks have more pick noise and a more metallic tone. And they are louder. At the same time they are not as bright as Fender Medium picks. A louder, more mellow tone with added pick noise.
Crunch Amp Tone (mild overdrive or distortion)
With a slightly overdrive “crunch” amp tone, the pick tone got thicker and the pick noise decreased.
High Gain Amp Tone (high gain overdrive or distortion)
With high gain, there is far less pick noise, and a fatter, mellower tone.
Basically the more gain on the amp the less pick noise and brightness you get. Each edge of the pick also adds subtle differences. The sharpest edge gives the sharpest, brightest tone.
Dragon’s Heart picks are not inexpensive. They are $9.20 each. You could get two dozen Fender Medium picks for that online. But a single Dragon’s Heart picks with probably outlast two dozen Fender picks. As long as you don’t loose it.
Dragon’s Heart picks are unique. They have three edges for versatility, yet they are comfortable to hold and play with. They wouldn’t be my first choice for acoustic or clean electric playing due to the increased pick noise and metallic tone they produce. Although others may like it. But for high gain electric playing (shredding, metal, etc.) they provide a very fast pick with a great feel and grip. And a warm, fat tone. And pick noise really isn’t an issue with higher gain settings. In fact they may give your playing more definition. If you play mainly single notes, riffs, or power chords, especially with high gain, Dragon’s Heart picks are definitely worth checking out.