This is a long-winded tail about a guitarists soul-searching journey towards finding the perfect pick. Skip to the end for details on the JP Jazz III.
Choosing a pick is a highly subjective process. I started out by trying a lot of picks, never quite being able to decide if I like thin or thick, large or small. Finally my guitar teacher suggested I try Jazz IIIs, pointier and smaller being more precise and faster.
The first time I tried out a Jazz III was a weird experience. Being about half the size of a regular pick it felt extremely uncomfortable and I struggled quite a bit to consistently hit the right string. But in just a few days they became my favorite picks. Pretty thick, very pointy and virtually indestructible (other picks had lost their pointyness in just a few sessions) they suited my playing style really well.
When I started rehearsing with a band the Jazz IIIs suddenly didn’t work so well anymore. They were just too small for the kind of rocking-out standing-up playing at rehearsal, a little sweat and they would slip right out of my hand. So I switched to Jazz III XLs. Same kind of everlasting pointy tip as the regulars, but sized like most other picks.
The XLs worked pretty good, but on a whim I bought some Jazz IIIs max grips. It was really weird, but there’s actually a difference between the regular Jazz IIIs and the XLs. Somehow the smaller size makes it easier to play. Sure, there’s less mass to displace, but there shouldn’t be that much difference considering the weight of a small piece of plastic. The max grips are much better than the original nylons, but still slip from time to time.
John Petrucci Jazz III
So, anyhow – I heard about the new Petrucci signature Jazz IIIs on guitar forums. They were supposed to be sized in between regulars and XLs, which could suit me perfectly. But after chasing them around town I could pretty soon conclude that you can’t buy them i music stores in Sweden yet. So I asked the nice people at Jim Dunlop if I could have some samples, and those arrived this week.
The Petrucci Jazz IIIs are indeed sized between the regular Jazz IIIs and the XLs. They are 1.5 mm thick and are made from Ultex, compared to the regular ones made from nylon – which allegedly gives it a different tone. They sport a JP logo and have the same pointy J3 tip we’ve all come to love, and the body of it is split into a grip area which is a bit coarser and the tip area which is smooth.
My take: I think the Petrucci Jazz IIIs are a perfect size for me. They aren’t as small as the regulars, so they don’t slip out of your hand as easily, and are still smaller than the XLs that I’ve come to think of as a bit unwieldy. However, the grip surface is a bit slippery just like with the original J3s.
So, is the Petrucci Jazz III a perfect pick for me? Well, it’s pretty close – but the grip surface on the max grips actually fit me much better. So, now I’m thinking my perfect pick is a Petrucci-sized max grip… The quest goes on!