Red Bear picks-a great tortoiseshell alternative

alguit

Member
I've tried so many types of pick material-stone, ebony, bone, horn, copper, celluloid, graphite, tortex-the list goes on, but none truly came close to the combination warmth and snap that comes from a real tortoiseshell pick. Now, I love the little critters and don't want them made into picks nor soup nor anything else, but I've owned some ts picks courtesy of a few generous old-time players, and they're amazing!

Fortunately, I read about Red Bear picks in an issue of Vintage Guitar and, after visiting their website, www.redbeartrading.com, I took the plunge and bought two picks. I write "took the plunge" because these are NOT cheap, $20.00 each!

Still, many of us will spend hundreds on speakers, thousands on amps, yet a crucial part of the tone chain often gets overlooked. Well, no longer for me! I guard these two picks very carefully because the tone is tortoiseshell heaven without harming the little creatures! I'm not quite sure what these are made of, but I no longer use the real ts picks I have (heck, I'd return them to nature, but it's, ya know, too late for them!).

There's a wonderful attack off of these picks with a nice fullness to each note-I've even discovered that flipping the pick around and picking from the back end produces even MORE warmth!

I am in no way affiliated with Red Bear, just a very happy customer, and I am saving to buy more-I don't use anything else now (though I still like graphite picks and V-Picks).

Just don't put one in between you fingers and try to flex it-like real ts, it will break, and you will be sad...
 

HBob

Member
I would like to try one of those. I recently got a sampler of picks from John Pearse Strings that was pretty cool. Out of that batch the cocoa nut shell pick is my favorite. After collecting pedals for a few years, collecting picks is a little easier on the wallet!
 

jazzandmetal?

Supporting Member
I LOVE them. But holy sh*t. You lose one and you are out $25 - 30 dollars. I have a tortoise type one and a black one. The black one is my favorite pick ever. I am just scared to bring it anywhere.
 

Bryan T

guitar owner
Silver Supporting Member
I've thought about buying some of these a number of times. I have other 'pricey' picks (Wegen, Dugain), but for some reason the Red Bears just seem too expensive. I've found that I really like D'Andrea Pro Plecs. Give them a try if you can find them.

Bryan
 

HBob

Member
I've thought about buying some of these a number of times. I have other 'pricey' picks (Wegen, Dugain), but for some reason the Red Bears just seem too expensive. I've found that I really like D'Andrea Pro Plecs. Give them a try if you can find them.

Bryan
Those are nice! I got some in assorted shapes a while ago and really enjoy them. Some of the long oval-like shapes have a very different feel when playing with them.

My main pick is still the extra heavy pearloid Pryamid Strings picks I get from Elderly. (Great pick selection at Elderly.)
 

alguit

Member
I LOVE them. But holy sh*t. You lose one and you are out $25 - 30 dollars. I have a tortoise type one and a black one. The black one is my favorite pick ever. I am just scared to bring it anywhere.

I know! I started this thread only because, while sitting in my office, I went into my pants pocket for some change and there was the pick! I thought, "what is this doing here? It belongs at home in its little plastic bag!"

Still, for a former "pick misplacer," I've done remarkably well with these. I'm willing to take the chance and take them out.
 

sidehatch

Member
A friend brought a piece of tortise back from honduras and gave it to me. I was lucky enough to make 2 picks out of it( I do not endorse killing sea turtles but since what was done was done I accepted) there really isnt anything close in sound to me. The amazing thing is the way it sounds on bass. My buddy was playing bass and I let him use it and everyone in the 10 piece band could tell with a blind test. It is truly astonishing on bass.

that said, I may have to try a red bear. I was disappointed with agate picks.
 

HHB

Member
nice to know, I have a toroise pick for bluegrass and Django (wannabe) stuff, unmatched in my experience, maybe I'll spring for a Redbear
 

jazzandmetal?

Supporting Member
Has anyone tried Blue Chip guitar picks? They are also quite expensive and supposed to have the authentic tortoise shell sound.

i haven't checked one out since they don't seem to have a "jazz size" listed. I tend to like the smaller Jazz III, or for RedBear "gypsy jazz" size picks. Fender 551s are my current favorite readily available pick.
 

jayn

Member
I love these for acoustic guitars (and probably anything else with big strings)...a bevelled one can't be beat for bluegrass, IMO.

But, for electric, I find a run-of-the-mill 1mm + Dunlop is just fine with a Strat or Tele. I like the feel of the Red Bear picks, but not enough to risk $20 on having one fall out of my hand on a dark stage.

They do change your behavior though. I have dropped one on stage and almost stopped mid song to find it...LOL. Another time, I lent one to a friend at an acoustic jam who was going to throw it in her guitar case...uh, no!! :p
 

Pellecaster

Member
I've been using a custom made Blue Chip pick for 6 months now. It is great, it has no wear on the edges at all! They do have the tortoise shell sound and if you give them a call they can copy any shape you need. Here is a pic of my pick next to my old pick:

 

jazzandmetal?

Supporting Member
I've been using a custom made Blue Chip pick for 6 months now. It is great, it has no wear on the edges at all! They do have the tortoise shell sound and if you give them a call they can copy any shape you need. Here is a pic of my pick next to my old pick:

The 205 is a good one! I am going to shoot them an email right now. Thanks!
 


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