Iron Age Spearhead & JazzRT Guitar Pick Review
Picks come in lots of shapes, thicknesses, and materials. It can be difficult to find just the right one for your playing style and music. While conventional thought says flexible picks are better for strumming and rigid picks are better for fast single note picking and riffs, there are no rules. It is really a matter of preference.
Just like amps and guitars builders, there are several boutique companies producing picks. One of the newer ones is Iron Age. Iron Age Guitar Accessories is based in Texas and offers picks made of several materials. They make picks made of stone, metal, wood, bone, and horn. Iron Age contacted me and offered to send me a sample of their newest bone and horn picks, the spearhead pick. When I told them I wasn’t really a shredder or metal player — who the spearhead picks are mainly designed for — they offered to send a pair of JazzRT picks also.
I am a lifelong Fender Medium pick user who has tried tons of picks. I like some specialty picks for jazz if they produce a warm yet clear tone and don’t produce a lot of pick noise. But for most popular styles I tend to fall back on the old standby, Fender Mediums. I will be attempting to provide a accurate description of the tone and feel of each Iron Age pick and suggesting who they might work best for. Obviously, tone and feel are very subjective but I will do my best to describe what I hear and feel.
The Spearhead Picks
The Spearhead picks I was sent come in horn (black) and bone (white.)
The Spearhead picks are smaller picks. They are comfortable to hold. The white one felt a little more slippery to me than the black one. The engravings help though.
Acoustic strumming: The Black spearhead was a little brighter than a Fender Medium with a little more pick noise, but not enough to be real noticeable. The White spearhead was much brighter, too bright for my tastes, and had considerable pick noise. It might be an option on dull, dead strings but you would probably be better off just changing strings.
Acoustic single note picking: The black spearhead was muffled sounding. The white spearhead was warm sounding. Neither nearly as bright as a Fender Medium.
Electric clean tone: There wasn’t any significant difference in tone between strumming and single note picking so comments are for both. White Spearhead: significantly brighter with more pick noise than Fender Medium. Black Spearhead: A little warmer/darker than Fender Medium with just slightly more pick noise.
Electric high gain tone: White Spearhead: The pick attack is more noticeable with the Spearhead but the tone overall is similar to a Fender Medium with more of a “Queen” pick attack sound. Black Spearhead: just slightly darker than the white spearhead with similar attack.
The JazzRT picks I was sent come in horn (black) and bone (white.)
The JazzRT picks are large. They are comfortable to hold. The engravings kept them from feeling slippery.
Acoustic strumming: The Black JazzRT is slightly brighter and cleaner with more pick noise than a Fender Medium. White JazzRT is similar in tone but a little less volume than the black JazzRT. It is brighter and louder than Fender Medium with more pick noise.
Acoustic single note picking: Black JazzRT: dark, muffled tone. White JazzRT: slightly less dark and muffled. Would not be my choice for acoustic playing.
Electric clean tone: Strumming: White JazzRT: brighter, nasally tone with lots of pick noise compared to Fender Medium. Black JazzRT: significantly warmer than the white JazzRT with slightly less pick noise. Single note picking: White JazzRT: fatter and darker than Fender Medium with a little snap in the attack. Black JazzRT: surprisingly, it was a little brighter than the white JazzRT. Similar attack tone. Fatter and warmer than Fender Medium.
Electric high gain tone: White JazzRT: Just a tiny bit darker than a Fender Medium but fatter sounding. Similar pick attack tone. Black JazzRT: Slightly darker than the Fender Medium. Fatter sounding with similar attack tone.
The picks come with a nice pouch for carrying them, and some stickers.
Rigid picks like the Spearhead or the JazzRT seem to work best when playing with a lot of gain. The high gain masks most the pick noise but you can still hear a little on the attack. Which may be a plus or minus depending on your personal tastes. It does help define notes when using lots of gain. I personally wouldn’t use any of them for acoustics or clean electric strumming due to the excessive pick noise. However the JazzRT picks did sound nice for single note clean tone picking. If you are a shredder, metal player, or someone who use high gain most of the time, the Spearhead and JazzRt picks are worth checking out.