Jean – Charles Dugain started making guitar picks in 1977, and in 1982 invented the ergonomic pick. That’s one hell of an intro line, isn’t it? I approached Dugain Picks and they were kind enough to send me 4 of their ergonomic picks for this review:
- Minidug Brass – A Jazz III shape ergonomic brass pick
- Minidug Bone – A Jazz III shape ergonomic bone pick
- Standug Horn – A standard shape ergonomic Buffalo horn pick
- Superdug Acetate – An XL shape ergonomic acetate pick
The guys from Dugain Picks told me that I may need some time to get used to their picks, especially if I’ve never tried ergonomic picks before (which I haven’t). But as soon as I held one of their picks in my hand I understood the hype around them. Every pick they sent me felt like a natural extension of my palm, and the carvings (for the thumb and index finger) were extremely accurate. When you play with these picks, you can feel the level of craftsmanship and the amount of experience Jean – Charles has. After all, he’s been making picks for almost 45 years!
What are Dugain Picks made of?
Dugain Picks’ catalog contains a huge variety of materials. Dozens of wood species, Acrylic, Delrin, Acetate, Bio-plastic, Metals (even a solid gold pick), Bone, Horn, Leather, Stones, Glass, and more. This variety of materials ensures that no matter what are your preferences, you’ll find a pick that suits the sound you’re after.
How do they feel?
As I said before, their ergonomic picks feel natural in my hand. Now, it may be because this is the way I’m used to holding a pick. That being said, I did feel that I could play with them a lot longer than with other picks of the same thickness. In terms of grip, the pick is carved in a way that your thumb and index finger sit in a designated recess. So whether the material is grippy or not, this pick is not moving anywhere. Additionally, the tip of the pick is shaped asymmetrically, so down and upstrokes are pretty consistent. I don’t want to call it a speed bevel because that’s not exactly what it is. It works in the same way, just a bit mellowed-down.
A Few Words About the Dugain Picks I Have
Even though they’re all made by the same plectier, there are still huge differences between them. I am doing my best to not focus too much on tone in this review because the biggest value in these picks is how comfortable they are. Although, the superb quality of the materials used does have additional tone-related benefits that are not to be dismissed so easily.
Dugain Minidug Brass Pick
The heaviest of them all, bright sounding and super precise. It’s super fun to play with and it sounds great both in clean and heavier amp settings. My personal favorite of the four.
Dugain Minidug Bone Pick
Small, accurate, and lightweight. Slightly faster than the brass pick and my very close 2nd favorite. I like its sound a bit better than the brass, but it lacks some weight.
Dugain Superdug Acetate Pick
This is the first time I’m trying an Acetate pick. It’s a plant-based hypoallergenic plastic. It feels both plastic-like and organic and weighs a lot less than you’d expect it to. The reason I like it more than the horn pick (even though it’s larger) is that the Acetate has some sound qualities that I really like, and it compensates for the lack of accuracy.
Dugain Standug Horn Pick
A standard-shaped pick made out of a buffalo horn. If you like the size of a standard pick you are going to love this one. The fact that it’s the least favorite of the bunch doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it, because I love it, just not as much as I liked the other ones.
Dugain Picks offers a huge range and their ergonomic picks cost anywhere between 8.5 Euros all the way to 1775 Euros (for a solid gold pick), with the majority of them costing around 14-15 Euros. They offer some non-ergonomic picks and picks without index finger imprints as well, and they do cost a bit less. But if you decide to try a Dugain pick, I’d advise you to go and get an ergonomic one. Another very cool section on their site is offering some packs and b-stock picks at a discount.
Where to Buy Dugain Picks From
Dugain Picks are available in a lot of different online stores and music shops (especially in Europe). But I really think the best way to buy boutique picks is directly from the makers. This is our way to support creativity and show our appreciation for the creators of the Plectroverse. Click here to visit Dugain Picks’ webstore
Things to Know Before Ordering
Before ordering there are really two things to bear in mind:
- The way the recesses are carved dictates the place for the thumb and index finger. As a result, the distance between your index finger to the tip of the pick can’t be altered at all. If you like to hold your pick really close to the tip, I’d advise you to try the Minidug first. If you like it a little farther away, go for the Standug. And If you like it very far – the Superdug is the best choice for you.
- If you’re playing guitar right-handed, make sure to buy a right-handed pick. If you’re left-handed – get a left-handed pick. Holding an ergonomic pick in the wrong hand beats the purpose of it being ergonomic, and is very uncomfortable.
This is not a paid review. Even though I got the picks for free, my review represents my true opinion and the maker has no control over it.
A solid score for a great line of picks. Naturally, you can expect every material and shape to produce a sound based on its characteristics. They feel very natural to the hand like they're sitting right where they belong. Like the tone, the durability is very much tied to the material, but everything is very high quality. They are not grippy at all, but thanks to the shaping of the picks, they don't need to be grippy in order to not move when playing. They are a bit pricy, but you are definitely getting great value for your money.