GEAR REVIEW: Red Bear Trading Company Guitar Picks

Fingerpickin’ Good


Most guitar players probably don’t give too much thought to what they’re using to pluck their strings; they find a shape and thickness they like in a pick and buy a few of them whenever they’re in a shop. The thought of a custom guitar pick, or paying more than dollar for a single pick would probably make most players scoff. Enter Nevada’s Red Bear Trading Company, specializing in customized instrument picks that aim to replicate the sound and the feel of a real tortoise shell pick. With an unmatched durability and playability, their picks are handmade to order by an extremely small and very friendly operation, with a wait time of about five weeks. Prices range from an eye catching $10 for the most basic Tuff Tone model, to $35 for metal thumb picks, with your standard flatpick weighing in at $20.

All picks include a custom bevel and come in a variety of thicknesses. Our test picks ranged from the Tuff Tone to the massive 2.5mm Jazzer pick (generic picks are lucky if they make it to 1mm). Immediately, you’ll notice the difference in tone each pick provides, with a darker, fuller tone from the Jazzer to a sharper, more defined tone with the 2mm Style A. The picks have a smooth but tacky texture that allows your hand to relax while still moving the string with ease, and in fact, this is one of Red Bear’s selling points: the more massive the pick, the more work it does for you, and the faster you can play with the same amount of effort. Indeed, you’ll likely find this to be true, but not without a fair amount of getting used to the bevel and thickness. Are they worth it? That would be for you to decide, but anything that makes playing your instrument even more enjoyable can’t be a bad thing.

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