Boutique guitar picks are typically quite pricey compared to traditional production picks. Carbon fibre anything is typically quite pricey over any equivalent material. Being a former car nut, as well as a guitar geek I’ve had a thing for carbon fibre for some years. When I read about the RJL Guitars carbon fibre picks I was quite excited not only over the carbon fibre, but also the price! I contacted RJL Guitars, and they were kind enough to send me a selection of their range of picks to review.
RJL Guitars sent me out a selection of 0.5mm and 0.75mm picks, in a range of Standard, Jazz, Jazz+ and Jazz XL shapes. There are three different engraving shapes on RJL picks: the Jolly Roger, Omega symbol, and the Longhorn. Each offer different degrees of grip and feel.
Carbon fibre is far more rigid than most traditional materials used for picks, so anything you know about thickness can be forgotten. One could say that that carbon fibre would be close to twice the rigidity of a traditional pick material of the equivalent thickness. Carbon fibre is also super light-weight, which combined with its strength is what has made it popular with performance car parts. This makes for a pick that is so light you can barely feel them in your hand.
If you are someone who appreciates a pick that is easy to grip you’ll certainly dig the RJL carbon fibre picks. The combination of the woven carbon fibre and engraved symbols make for a pick that is extremely hard to drop. The light weight means that these picks will even stick to your thumb for a short period of time. It’ll take some fumbling to drop these!
The RJL carbon fibre picks feel quite rough on the strings when first used. This is due to the woven nature of carbon fibre as a material. It only takes a short period of time to wear the edges in, and then the pick just glides over the strings with ease.
One thing that is really noticeable when wearing in a carbon fibre pick is the amount of carbon fibre dust on your fingers, and perhaps on your guitar. This is nothing to get too worried about as it wipes off easily. The guitar strings can benefit from the lubricating nature of the carbon fibre dust, and it may increase the longevity of the strings too.
Tonally the RJL carbon fibre picks provide a sharp, tight sound. The rigidity ensures no muddy flapping sounds on fast runs. Shredders, metal, and punk players will probably really dig the tight low end, enhanced mid-range, and instant attack that that the carbon fibre picks provide. The carbon fibre picks made a particularly awesome pick sliding sound that I really dug, although doing this did shorten the picks life span a little. No more than any regular pick though. The carbon fibre seemed to enhance the sound of the slide, but only if the pick angle was correct, otherwise it was barely noticeable.
My personal favourites where the 0.75mm Standard and Jazz XL with the Jolly Roger engraving. This engraving just stuck to my finger, and the 0.75mm thickness just about the right amount of flex (or lack thereof) to suit my tastes. It did feel odd playing with a pick that was less than 1mm, but it was easy to adapt to.
Overall the RJL Guitars carbon fibre picks are a very cool addition to the ever-growing boutique pick market. What really sets these apart from the rest of the pack is the relatively low cost, and the amazing grip that they provide. If you are looking for a guitar pick that has great feel and attack, and you aren’t too worried about a little carbon fibre dust these are definitely worth trying out.