There aren’t many pick makers whose name is almost a synonym to ’boutique pick’. I’m following Honey Picks for a long long time, and I feel so embarrassed that it took me so long to try them out. Seeing their growth and becoming one of the most established new-era guitar pick makers out there is something that always puts a smile on my face.
Honey Picks are made in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Started in mid-2020, just when the world took a hard left turn, by two brothers, Rick and Andrew Calhoun. I’ve always wanted to partner up with my brother and do something awesome together. And seeing Rick and Andrew pulling this off so well is making me both inspired and a bit jealous.
This is the part where I usually start going over the picks I got and plan of reviewing. But this time, I got a look into something most people hope not to encounter: customer support. My package got lost in the mail. It happens. I sent Honey Picks a message on Instagram, and in less than 2 days they sent my order again and refused to accept any form of additional payment. Which was annoying, but admirable. 2 days later, my original package showed up and they just laughed it off.
When the second package arrived, I saw that they added 2 extra picks as compensation for another company’s mess up. One of them is made from Kirinite, and the other one is a pick I’ve spoken to Rick about a few months ago. They’re not in production anymore but he knew I’m a sucker for wooden picks so I got a stunning Purpleheart pick. They add honey candy to each package they send, so now I have 2 of them. Jealous yet?
The Honey Picks I’m Reviewing
My order consisted of these picks:
- Honey Jar medium, 3mm and the circuitboard version of it at around 1.5mm
- Hornet medium, 3mm
- Queen Bee medium, 3mm
- Smoker medium, 3mm
- Beehive medium, 3mm
- Bumblebee medium, 3mm
- Flight medium, 3mm
- Honey bee medium, 3mm
The two additional picks they sent were:
- Honey Jar medium Purpleheart (wood), 1.5mm
- Honey bee small Kirinite, 1.5mm
What are Honey Picks made of?
Well, if you think that they are made of honey, you are wrong. But don’t feel bad, Mark Christopher made the same assumption in an interview he conducted with Rick Calhoun. In fact, they are made of Acrylic, which is slowly but surely becoming one of my favorite guitar pick materials. It offers great grip and it’s a lot more durable than most common pick materials. In addition to Acrylic, Honey Picks are using Thermoplastic, Kirnite, and Galalith (Casein) to make their picks. At some point (as I mentioned earlier), they even made picks out of Purpleheart wood.
How to they sound?
As you can expect from Cast Acrylic, these are bright-sounding picks, with a relatively fast attack. The most interesting thing I noticed about them is that they sound exactly how they look. I can’t quite explain it, but if you ever tried them you probably know what I mean. The other interesting part is that each pick has its own character. Even though all Acrylic picks have the same general sound, the attack plays a big role in its characteristics, so each shape has its own attitude.
How do they feel?
I’m a big fan of the Jazz III shape, so I ordered the medium size, hoping that because they’re thicker, the slightly bigger size would fit them. The variety of different shapes also contributed a lot to that decision, because not every shape is comfortable to me when it’s that small. Even though it turned out to be a bit bigger than I expected, after a few minutes of playing I realized I made the right decision. Each of the shapes feels a little different, but they are all beveled by hand to a very high standard. The fact that I have 2 of each allows me to add that in addition to being very accurate, the bevel is consistent too. Which is usually not the case with handmade products.
Honey Picks offer a few different types of grips, but being a player that doesn’t like grip surfaces – I haven’t tested them. To me, the Acrylic’s texture is more than enough to hold a pick in place. That being said, all of their picks do come with an engraved logo. It isn’t too aggressive, and I think it’s a great middle-ground between the different options.
What else in the Honey Picks range?
There are 2 additional shapes that I didn’t order: Cricket Hunter and Bee Keeper. Other than these 2 shapes, Honey Picks’ line includes a few series of designs and different types of grips. Mostly available between 1mm to 5.6mm, although, custom orders can be anywhere between 0.56 to 9mm. Every week or so, they come up with something new, or a cool twist on something old. Keep your eyes open.
The picks I got cost $20 for a pack of 4, but most picks cost between $6 or $8 to $12, depending on the gauge. The Royal Jelly series is their top tier line, where every pick cost between $15 and $20 each. Honey Picks are also taking custom orders.
Where to buy them from?
Honey Picks have a very comfortable online store, where you can pretty much have all the information you need before you buy a pick. At times, they make a limited run (such as the circuit board picks) that are available on their Instagram. So if you ever considered buying a Honey Pick, you should follow them on Instagram too.
In addition to their site and Instagram, they also have an Etsy shop and a Heavy Repping! store.
What’s the next Honey Picks I’m getting?
I had my eyes on their Carpenter Bee for a while now, and I think this is the next pick I’ll get from them. But knowing that I’ve never bought only one pick from a maker, I’ll probably add the Seafoam (Hornet shape, medium size at 5.6mm), Carrot (Honey Bee shape, medium size, at 5.6mm), and a Thermoplastic Lemon (Honeyjar shape, medium size at 1.5mm).
I’m having tons of fun playing with these picks. Each of them has its own character, which adds a lot to the variety of options you get from them. The superb quality of these picks is only second to the amount of care Honey Picks put into their customer support. And even though this is something the boutique pick makers community is known for, it’s great to see that some things never change. This is not the end of my journey of testing and reviewing their picks. As I’ve mentioned before, there are some picks I’m really looking to buy soon.
Honey Picks Review
They sound great, feel great, are very durable, and are priced very fairly. My recommendation is for you to get a sample pack or two and get the feel of them. You won't regret it.