Review by Keith Baumann
Guitar players are always searching for ways to improve tone and increase their technical ability on the instrument. The folks at Blue Chip Picks may have a product that can help with both, offering a line of handmade picks that produce amazingly clear tone and glide across the strings with effortless ease. The search for the perfect pick has been an ongoing saga for many years among musicians. Picks made from tortoise shell were highly popular due to their warm and clean tone. These picks eventually became illegal due to the endangered status of the hawksbill tortoise, and the search for an acceptable substitute has had manufactures trying everything from custom plastic resins to stone, wood and even animal horn.
It’s interesting that one of the biggest breakthroughs in pick technology actually came from a machinist who was not even in the business. “I had been machining this composite material for 10 years that costs $4,800 for a 10”x10” square,” said Matthew Goins, Blue Chip president. “One day I noticed an employee shaping a tortoise pick in the shop and a discussion led to the idea of forming a pick from the composite.” Goins took his prototype to several music festivals and quickly found out that he had something truly special. Not only was the tone great, but the material has a self-lubricating quality that reduces friction allowing for faster and more precise playing. Goins worked for two years to refine his picks. “I wanted to raise the bar for pick design,” he said. “Everything is precisionmachined with CNC equipment to extremely tight tolerances and then hand-beveled and polished. Blue Chip offers picks in several shapes and thicknesses, the newest design being a jazz model shaped much like the Dunlop Jazz 3 pick.” Goins also offers a thumbpick.
I was quite impressed with the picks’ performance and found that they did indeed allow me to play faster lines with less effort. Although quite slick on the strings, the composite material is very easy to grip with no slippage at all. In addition, the Blue Chips produce no pick noise and are incredibly durable with no signs of wear, even after several months of intensive use. Bottom line is that this is a groundbreaking product and well worth the $35 for the discerning player.