Dragon Picks are hand-made in the USA by Chris Aldrich since 2017. Chris has his own unique style, and his designs can easily be spotted from miles away. Every one of his picks is unique, and still, they all look like he’s the one making them. Dragon Picks is one of the more “unconventional” pick makers these days. Let me explain: Even though some of the models (like the Dragon Skin, for example) are always available, most of their picks are “one ofs”. One of his recent designs, made out of domino blocks, is a great example of that.
Table of Contents
The Picks I’m Reviewing
- Honeycomb – A pick made of Aluminum honeycomb plate inside resin, shield shape, 7.5mm thick.
- 2 Crazy fibers – Made out of a version of Micarta, which is either paper or cotton pressed down, heated up, and mixed with resin. These picks’ shape resembles a standard shape, but with a sharper tip and are 5mm thick.
- Dragon Bones – Made out of a combination of resin, Cholla, and some gold flakes and glitter (because why the hell not?). It’s a bit wider and sharper than a Jazz III, and is 4mm thick.
- Castle Codex – Made of Richlite: A combination of super-thin, dyed sheets of paper and resin. Shaped like a mashup between Jazz III and Standard shapes, 4mm thick.
- Dragon Skin – A Juma, shield-shaped pick, 6mm thick.
- Toxic Green (Special edition sold by The String Source) – Acrylic pick, shaped exactly like the Castle Codex, 4.5mm thick.
What are Dragon Picks made of?
Sometimes it feels like Chris is making picks out of every material he can put his hands on. But in fact, if you really look into it, he’s buying material from some of the best suppliers around. This includes Richlite, Crazy Fiber, Swieczkowski Scales, Raffir Woods, and Bradford Hunt Design, to name a few. Having this much variety makes every pick exciting to try.
A few additional materials worth mentioning are Domino blocks, Surfite, Dymalux, Super Tusk (an Ivory substitute), Bakelite, Cast stone, and a recent run of picks made out of Vespel. If you didn’t understand any word other than Domino, Tusk, and Stone, you’re in good company. But it shows the level of variety you can expect from Chris, and the lengths he’s going through so your pick of choice sounds truly unique.
Another aspect of uniqueness you can, and should expect is the looks. When I sent him a message about the Honeycomb picks, he sent me a few images and asked which one I wanted. I spent a lot of time on Dragon Picks’ Instagram in preparation for this review. Every time I saw one of my picks it made me feel a little special, can’t really explain it. There’s something really cool in seeing something online and knowing that you’re the only one that has it.
A Little More About The Picks
Having this many different styles of picks forced me to structure this review a bit differently than other pick reviews I made in the past. So here are some
The Honeycomb Pick
My 3-year-old daughter came to me once, holding this pick, and said “It looks like a dragon!”. And in a way, it captures how I see Dragon Picks. They are badass, shaped like it was made to hurt someone, and look like it breathes fire. As mentioned above, it is 7.5mm thick and sharp.
Resin feels a lot like something between glass and plastic, and the pick is polished to perfection. It sounds bright, but in a different way than Acrylic. It also has a precise low end that I really dig. Due to the shaping of it, you can expect some string noise. And if you show up to a jam session or rehearsal with this pick, there won’t be a single guitar player in the room that won’t ask to try it.
These are not part of Dragon Picks’ regular line, but you can expect to see them pop up on their Instagram every few weeks. I was on the hunt for these for a while.
The Crazy Fiber Picks
These took me by surprise. Their texture is soft as if they are covered with a thin layer of velvet. They sound warm and have a little high-end texture hovering over the attack. I love the Micrata’s clean sound, they are perfect for palm-muting, and they make me feel like a jazz guitarist every time I play a Maj7 chord.
This pick captures everything I like about wood, with everything I like about Resin. Cholla is a very soft material to work with, so the Resin acts as a hardener. That being said, you can still feel a wooden texture when you run your finger across it, and it’s reflected in the sound too.
A black Richlite pick with just a tiny bit of blue pigment. The first thing that I thought about when seeing it for the first time was that it looks like a black semi-transparent Ibanez guitar. Since it’s made of thin layers of paper, when it is sanded to shape, the paper layers look like wood grain. It sounds great, too – a lot like soft wood, but more durable.
This Acrylic pick is very bright and precise. The Toxic Green was, in fact, the first Dragon Pick that I bought. I always knew I’ll buy some eventually, but being a limited run (while needing to buy strings) got me into FOMO mode. I’ve been abusing this pick for about 4 months now, and I’m not seeing any signs of wear.
The Dragon Skin shares a lot of the properties of the Toxic Green pick. In fact, until Chris messaged me that these are made from different materials, I was sure it’s made out of Acrylic too. This is made of Juma, a blend of some minerals and Resin. It can withstand almost any level of abuse and will come back for more. In terms of sound, I find the Dragon Skin very aggressive with its pointy edge and bright tone. It also outperforms a lot of other picks I’ve tried in recordings in terms of standing out in a crowded mix. The Dragon Skin comes in a few different colors and is a part of the standard line.
Features And Options Available From Dragon Picks
If you head out to their Etsy shop, you’ll see that there are a few options for each pick. I’ll go over them now so you can better understand what you’re ordering:
Dragon Picks Shapes: Standard vs Shield
On the left, you can see a Crazy Fiber in a Standard shape. And on the right, a Shield shaped Dragon Skin
Dragon Picks Tips: Slope vs Standard
On the left, you can see a sloped tip Castle Codex, and on the right, a Honeycomb with a standard tip.
These picks usually cost anywhere between $13 and $19. There are some exceptions due to some materials being a lot more expensive than others. A good example of expensive material is Vespel, which is used to make the Chocolate Punch pick that goes for $48. They average at about $15, which is more than reasonable for what you get.
Where to buy them from?
What are the next Dragon Picks I’m getting?
Actually, the next Dragon Picks I’m getting are already on their way. I got the Domino pick, Bespin, a yellow Dragon Flames, red Chainmail Armor, and 3 mystery items. The mystery items are a great offer for a few reasons:
- They are $7 each, a lot cheaper than other picks.
- This is a great way to force yourself into trying new picks you’d probably skip otherwise.
These are not the last ones I’m getting, though.
Dragon Flame Pick Bespin (white) and Mustafar (red) Picks Chainmail Armor Pick Domino Pick
In my eyes, Dragon Picks are a great opportunity to sound unique, and the variety of materials and shapes ensures you’ll find what you’re looking for. Overall, considering the cost of the materials, the work put into making each by hand, and the insane quality you can expect from them, they are very reasonably priced. I like to compare some high-end picks to the simple ones you can buy in any guitar shop. On one hand, you have the $0.5-$1 picks, and on the other, you have picks that cost 20 times that. But they can easily outlive these by years, making them more cost-effective.
Dragon Picks Reviews
These are some of my favorite picks. The craftsmanship is almost unparallel, the quality and variety of the materials is superb. What really impressed me is that every pick has its own place. They are a bit expensive, I agree, but when you consider what you get, this is more than reasonable.