John Petrucci Signature Jazz III - my new favorite!

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by kludge, Mar 19, 2015.

  1. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    The Jazz III was my first step on a multi-year quest for the ultimate guitar pick. Seeking a combination of thickness, grip, tone, and precision, I tried all sorts of exotic shapes and materials - V-Picks, sarod picks, Wegens, you name it. My best luck had been with agate picks (mostly Stoneworks). The glassy-smooth edge spoiled me, and the tone was as decent as I could find for really hard picks.

    But I lose picks, a lot. Losing a $25 pick is a bummer, man. I even broke one onstage! (While covering a friend's song with him in the audience. I gave him the broken halves, and he cherishes them.) And they're not super-grippy, and they're a little clicky, and the 2.5mm thickness I like lacked precision most times.

    My last shot was Wegens, which are great except that they're about as wide as a spare tire, and are really hard to play accurately due to the thickness. Plus the edge isn't smooth. Sigh.

    Back to the Jazz III, in desperation. I found one of my old Ultex ones and loved how tight and precise it felt, and it was thick enough and grippy enough to be comfortable. I got some Eric Johnson signatures as spares, but didn't like how the nylon edge shredded up (my gripe with all nylon picks).

    While EBaying for some replacement Ultex, I found a couple of new Jazz IIIs... the new 2.0mm, and the Petrucci Signatures, both in Ultex. What the heck, bought 'em both.

    So long story short, I just had a pick bake-off downstairs with the regular Ultex, the Eric Johnsons, the 2.0mm, and the Petruccis. And the Petruccis mopped the floor with the other three, for both tone and pick-on-string feel. I was genuinely surprised at how different they all were, and what a wide margin there was.

    The Petruccis sound warm - not as warm as the 2.0mm, but much warmer than the others. I often play pick + fingers Richard Thompson style, and the Petrucci came closer to the sound of my fingernail than any of the others. And the highly polished surface made a smoother attack - something I've learned to appreciate from stone, and despaired of ever finding in plastic.

    Of the others, the 2.0mm was the warmest, but not as comfy as I expected. The Eric Johnsons were most articulate, but had a dry tone I didn't like. The old Ultex was the best all-arounder with the best grip and second-best tone, but the tone and feel of the Petrucci put it well in the lead anyway.

    Now I just gotta buy a hundred more and see if I lose them all before I decide to go on some fool quest for a better pick again.
     
    GreenTea likes this.
  2. misisipimike

    misisipimike Supporting Member

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    I now know I am a guitar geek, cuz I was just entertained by a plectrum story. I'm sold, I need to pick up a couple of these.
     
    Goofball likes this.
  3. jazzandmetal?

    jazzandmetal? Supporting Member

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    I don't like it but everyone I have given one to loves them!
     
  4. Transmisser

    Transmisser Member

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    Just bought a pack of Jazz III XL Ultex on eBay after reading this. Why not? Too bad they don't make the petrucci jazz iii's in the XL size.
     
  5. cbm

    cbm Silver Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I tried to like the standard Jazz III, but it's just too small for me. I love the Jazz III XL though.
     
  6. halfmanhalfgear

    halfmanhalfgear Member

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    I did a similar pick 'shoot out' recently and (for me) I still find the Jazz Ultex to be better than the Petruccis.

    The Petrucci model is slightly larger and thicker than the Jazz III shaped Ultex and also marginally heavier, which I found to affect my tremelo picking. I would agree that their shiny polished tips is definitely a cool thing though.

    Peace,

    Rob.
     
  7. filtersweep

    filtersweep Member

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    My favorites as well. I gave up on acrylics after discovering these... much nicer attack, and great precision with these. I wish they came in other colors so I could find them easier.
     
  8. LaoTzu

    LaoTzu Member

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    ive recently moved on from the ultex to chicken picks. there such a bigger and more consistent sound plus they dont wear out.
     
  9. acwild

    acwild Member

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    I love the JPJ3s too but I wear them out a lot faster than my other J3s. The Max Grip J3 is my second favorite. After a few years, it's still not worn out. Ultex lasts about half a year, regular J3s a little less, and the JPJ3s last me about a month. I tend to pick at an angle so wound strings tear my picks up.
     
  10. DeadCell

    DeadCell Member

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    Just ordered some, thanks. They're gonna have to be amazing to knock the Delrin 2.0 mm out of my picking hand though lol.
     
  11. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Yeah, I pick at an angle and tear up the edges of my picks, too. I could have been happy with the Dunlop 205 polycarbonate jazz picks, except that they last about five minutes before the edges are ragged.

    Agate picks are the cure for that. The edges are perfect, no matter how much you play 'em.
     
  12. acwild

    acwild Member

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    I have an agate pick (although it's much bigger than a J3). It was a bit too chirpy for me. I'm with you on expensive picks as I have a collection of V-Picks and Red Bear. During rehearsal I dropped one of my favorite V-Picks and couldn't find it. That drove me absolutely nuts and my bassist was wondering what the big deal was. After that I figured that it's best for me to stick with generic picks that I can buy a bag of and not care about losing. The JPJ3 is perfect for me. For some strange reason, I actually like to wear out picks.
     
  13. dpgreek

    dpgreek Supporting Member

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    I have a bunch of Petrucci's too. I like em a lot.
     
  14. Adagietto

    Adagietto Supporting Member

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    Interesting. Thanks for sharing your observations.

    I like the JPJIII quite well, but find it a little hard to hold on to for some reason. I play with both the points and the rounded edges of picks. Curiously, the JPJIII is much brighter when played with the rounded edges.

    Of the others, I find the Ultex JIII 2.0 to be the brightest, one of the brightest picks I've used. For me, the 2.0 probably is the most comfortable of the JIIIs and the grip is great. Other than perhaps being over-the-top bright, I like the general tonal balance a lot -- this one has some cool tonality the mids. Maybe that's due to the rough texture.

    The other JIIIs all are too dark, with the regular Ultex being my favorite. The regular red and black JIIIs are darker, and I don't care for their tones at all -- they just seem kind of dull. I'm not complaining about them, though. Picks are great tonal tweaks and we're fortunate to have so many choices available.
     
  15. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I was testing on a REALLY bright guitar - a Tele with EMG pickups at 18v into a solid-state Yamaha amp. Bright/warm curves are probably a little off compared to, say, a Les Paul. But that guitar is my #1, so I test everything on it.
     
  16. DeadCell

    DeadCell Member

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    Jim Root Tele?
     
  17. Agileguy_101

    Agileguy_101 Member

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    I've been monogamous with the JP III for a year or two now. They're just fantastic.
     
  18. gearscrubs

    gearscrubs Supporting Member

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    I love experimenting with picks. I've got about 15-20 different ones sitting on my amp at any given time. I, too, have been through the V-Picks and several other boutique options and I have to agree - the JP Jazz III picks are great. I probably use them 75% of the time on electric now, and I certainly don't play music that is at all similar to Mr. Petrucci (although I have great respect for his playing). Just an all around great pick - not too bright or too dark, articulate, easy to hold, doesn't get too chirpy at high gain, etc.
     
  19. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    Nah, an old Tokai Breezysound. The pickups are the EMG-X Tele set, a recent (and worthwhile) upgrade from the original EMG set I've had in that guitar for years. Most of the things people say about EMG pickups are true (and I say that as someone who loves 'em), but the EMG Telecaster set is like magic. They say the Tele neck pickup is "the very best pickup we make", and it's true.

    The EMG-X set is like a bottomless pit of dynamic power blasting out of a dead-silent black background. Add in the SPC tone control (perfectly voiced midrange boost), and it has a wider tonal range than any other guitar I've ever played. It does tend to be bright, though - it's a Tele, after all, and not out of the realm of expectations for Tele sound.

    The worst part about this rig is that it's so hard on pedals. It'll find downstream shortcomings, for sure. I love it with clean, powerful amps that have lots of attack to them. It's like playing acoustic.
     
  20. drewbledsoe

    drewbledsoe Member

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    Have a six pack on the way from Amazon. I'm always switching between the stock red and black Jazz IIIs and am hoping these fit right in the middle.
     

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