In the beginning
This article traces back to the very birth of the endeavor that lead me to the design and production of the Dragon's Heart Guitar Pick.
At the time I had been playing for almost 15 years and while I was pretty good, my skill had reached a plateau. I wanted to progress as player and, probably more so, I wanted to be able to "shred". I had the right guitars for the job but my pick just wasn't giving me what I needed so I started to branch out.
Like a lot of players, I started out with a basic medium gauge celluloid pick. As my skill progressed over those 15 years, I continuously invested in better guitars, better amps, and more pedals. Never once did I really consider that I might need a better pick.
I won't bore you with the back story but a sales rep from a local shop suggested that I try a different pick and my skill began progressing immediately. Amazed at how much impact my choice of pick had on my skill I started purchasing every pick variation I could find. While some were distinctly better than others, I never found "the one". It was a little over a year later that I set out to make the best all around guitar pick possible. If I was to create the best guitar pick possible, it most certainly would have to be optimized for multiple techniques, including shredding.
So you want to shred?
What is shredding? I would define shredding as playing a complex melody at near super-human speed whilst maintaining precise rhythm and pristine tonal clarity. Or more plainly, playing super fast without getting sloppy.
The picking/playing techniques for this style include but are not limited to alternate picking, sweeping, economy picking, hammer-ons, pull-offs, and tapping. If you want to shred, these are the basic techniques you must become familiar with. I myself gravitate towards economy picking and incorporate a lot of hammers and pulls in my particular style.
What makes a guitar pick ideal for shredding?
In one word... consistency. Shredding is all about consistency. Your pick must perform consistently across all strings for all picking techniques. It must resist erosion. If the pick erodes quickly like a celluloid pick does, it's shape will be ever changing and your technique will have to compensate. The lubricity has to be optimal. If your pick has too much friction it will effect both tonal clarity and consistency. Finally the shape has to be just right. The string displacement must be such that sustain is maximized, tone is preserved, and following pick strokes are precisely the same.
Why the Dragon's Heart is the best pick for shredding.
It comes down to material selection and design. Our material has excellent lubricity and high erosion resistance. These two factors alone set The Dragon's Heart Guitar Pick above the rest when it comes to the consistency required for shredding. Even more important is the design. The Dragon's Heart has three playing edges and each of these has been optimized to produce a swift and clean string displacement -- the rounded edge is great for strumming, and has an optimized jazz edge as well.
Further, the design allows for uniform consistency with respect to alternate, sweep, and economy picking.
What other Shredders are Saying...
We've had great feedback from guitarists who love to shred with Dragon's Heart Guitar Picks.
See Dragon Heart picks in action in this video review from July Shredder.
Though I believe that the Dragon's Heart is the ideal pick for shredding, it really comes down to the subjective preference of the player. As always I encourage you try a variety of picks and find what works best for you.
Until next time... Play with fire... in your heart.