I originally wrote this on November 17, 2008. I still love to play these. They’re good on the fingers for a bright pick sound.
Clayton Three-Sided Rounded Triangle acetal and Ultem Guitar Picks Review
It has been a while since I reached into my pick bowl and brought one out for a review to share with everyone. I think one of my often-chosen favorites is one of my Clayton rounded triangle picks. I have several thicknesses and materials. The two big-time favorites of the bunch are the acetal .80mm triangles and the .56mm Ultem individuals.
I play many, many different types of picks in the process of a week’s worth of guitar and bass adventures (yes, I play with my fingers mostly on the bass, but a pick is all that will do, sometimes). I try to spice up my sound and my technique with different plectrums – many materials, shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and textures. With that said, the Clayton USA three-siders are a very popular choice.
Quick Opinion: They don’t break or wear out very often, so I can’t say “I buy them all the time.”… but… if I’m away from home, these are usually the ones I pick up in the first batch (along with some Fenders). They’re durable, well-made, have a great shape, and have an interesting surface (the acetal ones are not flat).
Put some in your pocket, guitar case, porch table, kitchen table, couch-side table, *and* pick bowl. You might find yourself wandering through some great new sounds!
Features: Pick feature lists are pretty short, but here goes: The Clayton three-sided rounded triangle picks come in several different materials, several thicknesses from about 1/2 mm to almost 2 mm. Each of the acetal-based Clayton three-siders I’ve purchased have a convoluted surface – they fit to your fingers in a surprisingly comfortable way.
Quality: These picks are really sturdy. Whether you buy Delrin, Ultem, acetal, or plastic, these picks are hard to shred, break, or chip. They do wear over time, particularly on round-wound bass strings/baritone strings, but they last much longer than most other materials.
The manufacture quality of my Claytons has been extremely consistent, never a blem in a bag, and the material has always been extremely consistent and free of bizarre funky spots in material thickness or density.
Playability: Picks are a very personal choice. No one pick is right for everyone. No one pick is right for every sound. No one pick is right for every playing sound… (well, maybe the Pick of Destiny :-)…
For three-sided picks, they’re the most comfortable and easy-to-grip I’ve used. The surface wears smoother over time, but no more than any other pick with the same material makeup.
Sound: Here’s where things are interesting… Once you consider the feel and playability of a pick, there is the sound. As I’ve opined before, different picks cause the same instrument to take on a different timbre, attack, and pick-release. Pinch harmonics/squeals/Billies differ… string length of vibration differs (some picks make a string buzz, while others might not).
Just as importantly, the instrument player feels different when playing different picks. The experience, if you will, can subtly alter the sound by affecting the player in different ways.
In general, thicker picks give more of a thump, thinner picks give a brighter attack and “click”, and medium picks can bridge both. Materials make a difference, too. Of the two in this review, the thicker acetal pick offers a slightly brighter sound than even a thinner Ultem pick. The Ultem material seems to be better for a jazzy sound on electrics. The acetal material, particularly in thinner thicknesses, can cause that wonderful clicky strumming sound when playing acoustics.
So, there is a compounded set of characters involving the player, the material, the thickness, and the shape/edge of the picks. With the Clayton rounded-edge triangle picks, there is a nice and warm nature of the attack, as compared to sharp or pointy picks. In general, I play the Claytons about 1/4 of the time (this is quite a bit, considering that I have at least two dozen pick shapes and materials in my pick tray).
Just as a side note, there are other materials, too, like Delrin… I like lots of different sounds, so I purchased a dozen of several different materials and thicknesses – a great purchase that I’m still enjoying two or three years later.
Value: I believe that the prices charged (in most outlets) for a little back of Clayton USA picks is on par with other brands, if only a few cents more than the cheap brands. I don’t think there is a better value in three-sided round durable picks. If you’re a picking bass player, these are pretty good stuff for durability.
Wishes: None, really. You can even go to the Clayton web site and order custom-printed picks for a reasonable number of beans. How cool is that?
P.S. All your base are belong to us, For great Justice (just search for it on the net, then laugh).