Hot! Review: RJL Carbon Fiber Guitar Picks

When it comes down to it, I’m serious about having a nice sense of control and grip in a guitar pick. If I’m practicing for longer than half an hour, my hands sweat profusely (…yeah…) and picks that suit my needs aren’t always easy to come by.

Recently, I received a very cool set of picks from a new company based in the UK called RJL Guitars. These picks are very unique in their own right…

The Strongest Picks Ever?

RJL guitar picks come in many different sizes and shapes to suit your needs and style. I was sent the heavier 0.75mm and 0.5mm versions which included the RJL Standard, XL and Jazz+ picks. These are real woven picks made of 100% carbon fiber, weighing in at next to nothing. The very first thing you’ll notice holding one of these little guys is how light they are – it almost feels like air.

So why carbon fiber? First of all, you should know that this material is amazing. Carbon fiber is as strong as steal but weighs about 2/3 less (learn more here). This material causes less friction when picking away at strings than with most others, thus resulting in amazing tone. The carbon fiber is also meant to give you an extra sense of feel, control and grip.

There are three types of RJL guitar pick designs: the “Jolly Roger”, “Omega” and “Longhorn”. The different designs cut into the picks contributes to their over-all grip and sound.

I think my favorite pick would have to be the Jazz+ Omega. This is a smallish pick and at first felt odd. I wasn’t sure how it would fare on the guitar, but after messing around with it, I found that I really like it a lot! It’s not a pick you would likely use for strumming because of it’s size, but its really great for picking – because it’s so small I felt it was easier to pick at faster speeds.

The other great thing about the Omega is that it’s shape gives it amazing flexibility causing it to feel comfortable whether you like thick or thin picks, which is one characteristic most picks just don’t have. The Omega was especially designed for those who grip more to the back of the pick.

Now, normally I’m the kind of person who likes the standard tear-drop shaped guitar picks. I was surprised to find how comfortable the Jazz+ Longhorn felt. It doesn’t quite have the flexibility of an Omega, but it still has a nice sturdy feel and an excellent grip (and, despite the fact that these picks were made for electric, it actually sounds pretty great on my acoustic guitar).

The Final Verdict

When I used a carbon fiber pick for the first time, I was a little worried. It felt rough against the strings and I was afraid it was ripping away the coating. Upon closer inspection and more playing, I soon found that the roughness eventually dissolves and playing is much smoother. In fact, it feels great. I did a little research and, apparently, carbon fiber can’t ruin your strings – in fact it does the exact opposite.

The thing with carbon fiber is, the stuff starts to dissolve after using it for a while, so you’re going to collect some black dust on your thumb and first finger when you’re playing. The good news is that this dust acts as a lubricant for your guitar strings and will actually help them last longer! And you don’t have to worry about your fingers turning black – the dust can be easily wiped away so there’s no real downside to it’s use.

The material that these picks are made from means less friction and gives the guitar a nicer tone than with most. Again, with picks, I’m really just looking for a nice sense of control and grip (and, of course, it’s gotta sound great). With RJL carbon fiber guitar picks, I found just that.

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I fell in love with the guitar after listening to my father pick away at Metallica’s "Fade to Black" as a little kid. I picked it up at age nine and haven’t put it away since.

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