James Barros started making guitar picks in 2018 and launched Mako Guitar Picks at the end of 2022. He is known in the community for his original pick shape, the Mako, which he came up with in 2020.
As an obsessive guitar picks geek, I try to follow as many guitar pick makers as possible to ensure I don’t miss anything interesting. The second I saw Mako Picks’ Instagram profile, I was hooked. His designs and color choices just hit all my buttons. By the second or third post I saw, I sent him a message, and a couple of days later, the picks were already on their way.
Table of Contents
The Mako Guitar Picks I’m Reviewing Today
For this review, I have 11 picks:
- Jumbo Mako – 10.5mm thick resin pick.
- 3 Acrylic picks – 2.7mm small, medium, and large picks.
- 5 Resin picks – four large and one medium 2.5mm thick picks, all matte finished.
- 2 Flat thins – unbeveled clear 1.2mm thick picks.
The ‘Mako’ Shape
Beyond how cool the Mako shape looks, it’s pretty clever, too. It features two playing tips and a “gripping arm”. This design makes you hold a Mako differently than how you hold other guitar picks. This way utilizes the gripping arm to keep the pick in place and to prevent it from moving. Mako’s tips are another interesting feature. The wide one is slightly narrower than the tip of Flow picks, and the slim tip is one of the narrowest I’ve ever seen. When I just started playing with it, I thought I wouldn’t like it too much. To my surprise, as time went on, I found myself using it more and more until I ended up favoring it over the conventional one.
Mako Guitar Picks Rundown
Now, we’re going to go over each of the four models I have in more detail.
The Jumbo Mako is made of Resin. It has 2 playing tips and another gripping arm. On each side, it has a sharp bevel leading to the tip and a large flat area in the middle.
Mako Acrylic Picks
Mako’s Acrylic line is very well made and available in three sizes: small, medium, and large. They are very fun picks to play with, and the narrow tip is surprisingly useful. I found it a bit hard to hold the small and medium ones in a way that will utilize the gripping arm. Thanks to their unique shape, the grip is great even when you hold them like you would any other pick.
Mako Resin Picks
The Resin picks have a rougher texture than the Acrylic ones. It helps with the grip but can sometimes make them sound a bit muffed, at least compared to the Acrylic ones.
Unbeveled Thin Picks
Honestly, I hated them the first time I tried them. It took them a few minutes to break in, but once they did, I fell in love. The fact that there’s no bevel makes them scratch the strings with each pluck, making a clean guitar sound very eastern. It affected how I played, forcing me to revisit the In Sen and Hirajoshi scales for the first time in the last couple of years. I started playing around noon, and after a couple of minutes, it was already dark outside.
Even though the sizing is straightforward (the small is similar to Jazz III, the medium is closer to John Petrucci’s Jazz III, and the large is about the size of a Flow), It’s hard to estimate how much space you need for utilizing the gripping arm. I mostly use the large size, but my fingers are quite chubby.
What Else is In The Mako Range
Every now and then, James adds a new shape to his collection, like the recent Jazz picks. Following him on Instagram would be a good idea if it interests you.
Pricing and Where to Get them From?
I appreciate the simplicity of pricing in Mako’s shop. The jumbo costs $25, and all the other thinner picks cost $20 for a pack of 5. All are available from his Etsy shop.
The shape itself is stunning, and any one of these picks is definitely a conversation starter. Having two tips to choose from is another obvious advantage it has over other picks. The Resin and Acrylic are pretty easy to get used to, but the Thin model is very harsh before it’s broken in.
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the Jombo, one of the most unique, outrageous, surprisingly comfortable, and one of my personal favorite picks. It does require some getting used to, but once you get there, it’s hard to put it down, even if you’re not that into thicker guitar picks.
Mako Guitar Picks - Final Score
They sound pretty much in line with what you can expect from the materials, except for the thin unbeveled ones, which sound phenomenal, in my opinion. They feel great, and the Jumbo feels superb. One of the most comfortable picks I've ever tried. The durability is above average, as expected from these materials, except for the thin ones that wear a bit faster because they are unbeveled. The grip is amazing thanks to the unique shape, and the price is very reasonable.