Tag Archives: dunlop

What Guitar Pick is Best for Playing Rock?

I never thought that something as simple as a pick could control your playing style as much it does…until I started experimenting with different guitar picks. For YEARS I’ve used the exact same Fender medium picks (celluloid) – and ALWAYS the tortoise shell ones. I’ve used those since I was a teenager in high school (and I’m 42 now). I guess it’s one of those “stick with what you know” things.

So I’m in a cover band and we play 6 decades of music, dance rock, pop, classic rock, disco, country, alternative – everything. We picked up “Panama” by Van Halen recently and I noticed that it just eats up my picks (from the pick slides). I’m complaining about it every time I practice so my wife googles “what guitar pick is best for playing rock music”? I never would have thought of something that simple, and the thought of changing picks just never came up.

After reading some of the links she found I saw that most of the famous players that play fast don’t play with the larger pick sizes. Comparing my Fender medium to what they play with is about a 40% difference in size. I’ve always gone with the Fender medium because I have big hands anyway, the pick was easy to hold between my thumb and forefinger.

Comparison of Dava Control Picks to Fender Mediums

I got my guitar magazine in the mail that same day and saw an ad for these Dava control grip picks – so I ordered them (6).

dava guitar pick review

Once I got them in the mail I played with them about a week at practice, and a gig. The rubber overlay makes it easier to grip them. I never noticed how the Fender mediums slip in my fingers until I used these. They’re slightly harder then the Fender medium picks, and I did notice that if you pick too hard or aggresively the rubber does grab on the strings if you stick it in too far every now and again. Playing things like pickslides does eat on the picks a bit, but only about half as much as the Fender mediums. They also wear about 40% less than a Fender Medium, and they’re about 20% less in size with a more focused tip then the Fenders. All in all, these picks were better than the Fenders by far. But I was buying Fender Mediums for $25 / 144 (a gross) and these Dava control picks were $3 for 6. Fender picks are about 16 cents each in bulk, and these are 50 cents each. I wouldn’t regularly pay that much for them.

Different Types of Guitar Picks

At least ordering the Dava picks got me out of my norm and showed me that different (and better) alternatives do exist. I spent some time online looking at different picks and these are the ones I decided to order and try out:

Dunlop Tortex pick review

Dunlop tortex pick review

One of the first picks I tried was the Dunlop Tortex. It comes in varying degrees of thickness, and I believe my Fender mediums were .70mm. I don’t like heavy picks, but the Dava was heavier then my Fender and easier to use. I ordered the Tortex picks at .88mm (more than a medium, less than a full heavy). They are about 1/3 smaller than regular standard guitar picks with a pointer tip. They are smooth, and when holding them it feels kind of like a painted surface. I don’t like that feel so much, but they were much easier to pick with – and I was a more accurate player when using them. Better than Fender, but not my ultimate choice. They just make my fingertips feel weird.

Dunlop Ultex pick review

Dunlop Ultex Pick Review

So I tried the Dunlop Ultex pick next and I got this one at 1.14 thickness. I like this pick because it’s the same size roughly as my old Fender mediums, and the tip is slightly pointer. I found that in comparison to the others the larger size made me play sloppier and slower than with the smaller tortex picks. Better than the Fender picks for sure, but again not my final choice. This might be good for acoustic guitar for some people.

Big Stubby pick review

Big Stubby Pick Review

The next one I tried was the Dunlop Big Stubby pick. I think I ended up trying all Dunlop picks by accident, they just had more choices with different options than anybody else. The big stubby pick is about 15-20% smaller than a Fender medium but twice the thickness. This is the first pick I ever played that had rounded edges. This isn’t really possible on standard picks because they’re too thin. It has an indent in the center about the size of a dime slightly to make it easier to grip. The rounded edges actually make it easier to alternate pick, but the tip isn’t as pointy. It’s also still a bit too flexible (despite the thickness) – seems like more of a pick for using on acoustic guitar or for rhythm guitar playing than for lead. Nice, but just not that suitable for my everyday playing.

Dunlop Jazz III pick review

dunlop jazz iii pick review

Finally I tried some Dunlop Jazz III picks. These are not to be confused with the Ultex Jazz III picks, which are the same size but made out of a different kind of plastic. I don’t like the way those feel.

The regular Jazz III’s are usually red or black (I use red, because they’re easier to find at a gig when dropped). They are a little more expensive (about 50 cents each or $12 for 2 dozen). However, I found over time that just one of these picks can last a month to 6 weeks, where a fender medium previously barely lasted me a week. So I don’t mind the added cost really.

The funny thing about these picks is that they are way harder and less flexible than anything I ever would have chosen on my own (without reviewing a bunch of picks at once). And when I play with them, I can barely see the tip of the pick when I play – my fingers cover up 90% of the pick when playing. But because they are so small I play more accurately then I ever did before. After doing a little research I also found out that both Eric Johnson and John Petrucci use these picks – which I guess is no surprise (how accurate they are as guitar players).

*UPDATE*

Since I first wrote this article, I have never used Fender medium picks again – and I have been using the Dunlop Jazz III picks exclusively for 5 years now with no issues. It was probably the biggest single change to my playing in more than 30 years. Also, since Dunlop has written an article entitled “Inside the Cult of the Jazz III”. It turns out a who’s who of guitar plays with these, such as Mick Thomson, Kirk Hammett, John Bonamassa, and more.

Uni-Vibe Pedal Review

The Uni-Vibe guitar effect pedal was used on some of the most classic guitar recordings of all time by guitar players. It was made by the “Univox” company (hence the name Uni-vibe). They created the Uni-vibe pedal to emulate the sound of rotating speaker Leslie effect, like on a Hammond B3 organ. Did you know that the Uni-vibe guitar pedal was used on the following classic guitar songs?

Jimi Hendrix – Machine Gun, Star Spangled Banner, Hear my Train A Comin’
Grand Funk – Locomotion
Robin Trower – Bridge of Sighs, Day of the Eagle, Too Rolling Stoned
Breathe – Pink Floyd
some say it’s on “Who’s That Lady” by the Isley Brothers
Stevie Ray Vaughan has used it on some recordings for Hendrixy tones

Some songs like the Locomotion used the Uni-vibe on only the solo, the Robin Trower used it on nearly his entire album! Univox no longer makes the Uni-Vibe pedal. But sometimes you can find an original one on eBay – they’re a pricey, because they’re vintage effects. If you want the original equipment that Hendrix and Trower used, this is the only way to go (find used Univox Univibes).

Here’s what’s on eBay right now for original Univox Uni-vibe pedals:

Vintage Shin-Ei Companion Vibra Chorus Univibe type Effects Pedal Original!

USD / 1295.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-17 07:27:45

Jimi Hendrix Reference Library: Octavia & Univibe (Step By Step Guide)

USD 2500.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-20 21:30:50

Having said that – there are may other reissue uni-vibe pedals, made by both mainstream and boutique guitar effects and pedal manufacturers. I’m going to show you some of the most popular ones.

The Dunlop Uni-vibe pedal gives you the classic chorus and tremelo sounds, the ones that will take you back decades. Here’s an image of the original Dunlop Uni-Vibe guitar pedal, the one that most people buy the controller foot pedal for (looks like a wah or volume pedal). Dunlop makes a stereo version that looks like this, model UV1SC.

dunlp uni-vibe pedal

This is what the non-stereo version of the Dunlop uni-vibe pedal (UV1) looks like. The chorus sound is a lot like the leslie rotating speaker effect. It’s more of a thick phased kind of sound. The tremelo (vibrator) moves the tone up and down in a cool combined way that is like no other effect.

dunlop uni-vibe pedal modern

Here are Dunlop uni-vibe pedals currently on eBay:

DUNLOP UNI-VIBE EFFECTS PEDAL

USD 139.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-22 00:27:21

Dunlop Uni-Vibe Experience Hendrix 2014 Tour Edition Brand New JHM3EHT 

USD 189.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-18 18:53:53

Jim Dunlop UV-1SC Uni-Vibe Stereo Chorus Guitar Pedal Owned by Matt Hyde #30113

USD 125.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-22 20:12:35

Dunlop M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato

USD 151.57 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-19 21:21:00

MXR Uni-Vibe Chorus / Vibrato Effect Pedal - Dunlop - M68 Univibe

USD 129.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-19 23:04:35

MXR M68 Uni-Vibe Chorus/Vibrato Pedal

USD 129.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-21 01:09:52

Dunlop MXR Uni-Vibe Chorus Vibrato Guitar Pedal

USD / 129.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-19 05:34:16

Dunlop JHM7 Jimi Hendrix Univibe Chorus/Vibrato Pedal

USD 129.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-21 21:55:42

DUNLOP MXR M68 MXR UNIVIBE with 2 patch cables

USD 129.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-20 22:53:30

Uni-Vibe M68 Chorus/Vibrato Guitar Effects Pedal

USD 129.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-21 19:01:25

One of the highest rated uni-vibe pedals on the boutique guitar pedal market right now is the Voodoo Lab “Micro Vibe” pedal. I haven’t heard a bad review of it yet. It gives unbelievable Gilmour Pink Floyd sounds. Some people like the fact that (unlike other vibe pedals) there are just 2 controls to fool with, making it less complex to use.

You can find it at the following places:
Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe at Musicians Friend
Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe at Amazon

Here are some current Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe pedals on ebay right now:

Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe Rotary Speaker Vibe Effect Pedal

USD / 46.07 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-17 01:00:29

Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe Vibrato Guitar Effects Pedal P-04468

USD / 82.88 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-21 01:57:45

Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe Guitar Pedal

USD 149.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-22 18:20:15

VOODOO LAB MICRO VIBE PEDAL - Brand New

USD 149.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-20 18:51:47

Voodoo Lab Microvibe Effect Pedal

USD 149.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-20 21:03:15

Voodoo Lab Micro Vibe Pedal 190839153708 Open Box

USD 119.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-17 20:59:46

Voodoo Lab Input Output Jack Replacement Nut & Collar for Micro Vibe Pedals

USD 5.95 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-18 05:36:38

VOODOO LABS MICRO VIBE VIBRATO EFFECTS PEDAL INCREDIBLE TONE FREE USA SHIPPING

USD 104.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-22 20:29:33

BBE makes a vibe pedal called the “BBE Soul Vibe” pedal. The Voodoo Lab micro vibe pedal is awesome, and probably my favorite – but it runs $149 nearly everywhere. I understand sometimes people want something “as good”, if they can get it for a cheaper price. You can get it for about $80 bucks at Musicians Friend, and about the same on Amazon. It has an internal trim pot that you can use to tweak your sound, some reviews I’ve read say that you can get great sounds without needing to use it, and others say you have to use the trim pot to get the best sound. I guess results may vary.

Here are some BBE Soul Vibe pedals currently on eBay:

BBE Soul Vibe Rotary Speaker Simulator Guitar Effects Pedal

USD / 79.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-19 01:34:57

BBE SOUL VIBE ROTARY SIMULATOR EFFECTS PEDAL VIBRATO FREE USA SHIPPING

USD 89.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-22 01:12:35

DLS Effects makes a pedal called the “Versa Vibe”. It’s the reverse of the BBE Soul Vibe, and if you’re looking for a vibe that has tons of customization controls, like the original Univox Uni-Vibe, this may be just what you’re looking for. Lots of people say this is a great one to get lots of analog sound, without clipping – like the vintage gear. It’s also got some new controls, like Wet-Dry, Bass Throb, etc. It even boasts the ability to get vintage Magnatone amp vibrato!

Here’s a link to the Versa Vibe on Amazon.

Here are Versa Vibe auctions currently live (if there are any):

The Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe unit’s are about as pro as it gets. The Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe is the choice of both Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. These units have a chorus, tremolo, AND vibrato! This is an incredible vibe effects unit, but keep in mind it’s pro grade – and be prepared to drop $400-500 for one.

Here are Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe’s currently on eBay (if there are any):

Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe+ (Plus) Guitar Effects Pedal, Tremolo and Vibrato

USD 699.95 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-21 13:11:02

Fulltone is a BIG player in the boutique guitar market right now, and tons of guitarists revel in the dirt of their OCD distortion box. They make a pedal called the “Fulltone Mini Deja Vibe” that is purportedly a completely faithful reproduction of the Univox Univibe circuit! Another thing that unique is the fact that this is a 9 volt pedal, but the original univibe by Univox was an 18 volt circuit. Full tone uses a voltage doubling technique in it’s circuit so you can use a standard 9 volt adapter (or battery) – and it turns it into 18v!

I’ve seen 3 versions of the Fulltone Deja Vibe, one stereo, one not – in normal pedal fashion. But the MDV-2 version is different because it’s in the style of a volume/wah pedal – with the vibe controls on the side. Can you say awesome?!

Here are Fulltone Deja Vibe pedals currently on eBay now:

FULLTONE DEJA VIBE STEREO Guitar Effects Pedal Dejavibe

USD 219.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-16 20:01:03

Fulltone MDV-3 MiniDeja Vibe Univibe Guitar Effects Pedal P-04613

USD / 175.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-19 00:28:24

Fulltone STEREO DEJA VIBE univibe shin-ei Big Box 1998 Vibrato Chorus Pedal

USD 310.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-12-20 23:40:04