Handmade in Australia by Lawrence Osborn, and named after a tree, Plumstone Guitar Picks is one of my favorite makers in the Plectroverse. Even though I’ve never tried any of his picks until now, they are so fun to look at, you gotta believe they’re fun to play too. It takes a lot of talent to make teardrop-shaped picks unique and memorable. It’s true that he makes his own shapes as well, and you might even think at first that they are more of a “thing to have” rather than a “pick to play”. But believe me, they are more useful than you think.
Anyway, today I’m going to review these 10 picks from Plumstone Guitar Picks:
- Premium galaxy acrylic 3mm teardrop guitar picks.
- Premium green swirl 3mm teardrop acrylic guitar picks
- Australian Mountain Ash hardwood 3mm guitar picks
- Australian Jarrah hardwood 3mm guitar picks
- 3X Standard tear drop 3mm acrylic guitar picks
- 2X Bread tag acrylic guitar picks
- Speech bubble 3mm acrylic guitar picks
For the sake of preventing this review from being unnecessarily long, I’ll divide them into 3 groups. One group will include all of the teardrop-shaped acrylic picks, another will include the wooden ones, and the bread tag and speech bubble picks will be in the last group.
What are they made of?
In addition to the Acrylic and wood picks I got, Plumstone Guitar Picks are making picks out of resin too. Even though Acrylic is a very common material used by pick makers, there’s a subtle texture difference between each of the basic ones that make them unique. The premium acrylics are practically the same as the basics but feature a more complex design. The ones that really excited me were the wooden picks. While Ash is not by any means a rare wood in the guitar world, Mountain Ash is a lot rarer than its Swampy cousin. And the Jarrah is a wood species that, for my knowledge, is not used by any pick maker other than Plumstone Guitar Picks.
How do they sound
Each of the teardrop picks is beveled in such consistency, that it allows me to compare the sound of the material without considering the shape. Which is a rare opportunity and I’m extremely glad to have it.
Wooden Teardrop Picks
The Jarrah is a lot brighter than the Mountain Ash. At 1910 pound-force score on the Janka test, it’s one of the brightest wooden picks I’ve tried. The Ash is a lot softer and mellower. Its warmth comes from the fact that it’s a relatively soft wood (1210 pound-force on the Janka test) species. They are not finished, making them even warmer, which is, for me, favorable.
Acrylic Teardrop Picks
I hear a subtle difference between the simple and premium Acrylic picks. And even a slight difference between each of the basic teardrop picks. It’s so subtle that I can’t even tell if I’m imagining it. Either way, they are bright – which is exactly what you can expect from Acrylic. And the perfectly round bevel is eliminating most of the scratchy pick noise.
Bread-tag and Speech Bubble
These picks have so many different playable tips, and each behaves differently. The bread tags can make any guitar sound middle eastern. It will compliment any Phrygian dominant riff you can think of, and inspired me to improvise some of the coolest Arabic-inspired riffs I’ve ever played.
The speech bubble is a lot more conventional, having 4 (3.5 actually) fairly regular playable tips + one curveball tip. It makes a decent strumming and riffing pick. Loved it on the bottom 3 strings and a bit less on the top 3.
How do they feel
Even though the acrylic picks are advertised as 3mm thick, they are closer in gauge to 2mm. It’s not a problem, but it’s something worth knowing. The wooden picks measured at 3mm as advertised. The sizing of them threw me off a bit at first. Mainly because I expected them to be a lot smaller than they are. At 25mm, they are practically as wide as a standard 351 pick, but proportional in length to a narrow teardrop (making them very long). That being said, I got used to them pretty fast. To a point that I think this size compliments them a lot more than what I had in mind at first.
Plumstone Guitar Picks’ Teardrop Shaped Picks
The exact shape of the teardrop picks makes them ideal for playing solos. They’re not fast enough for shredding (or am I?), but luckily, they’re beveled from all sides. If you turn them around you’ll find a perfectly round pick, fit for strumming an acoustic or playing rhythm. In order to play really fast pieces, I found myself struggling. The tip is too sharp to glide properly and the back is too round. What I did was to hold it backward, but instead of angling it at 45 degrees, I held it flat. And just like that, we have a pick that can do anything. It worked for the Acrylic ones just as well as it did for the Wooden picks.
Plumstone Guitar Picks’ Bread-Tag and Speech Bubble
The bread-tag and speech bubble picks are a whole different story though. I’m struggling to play with them, let alone to get a consistent tone. BUT the struggle is well worth it, and I’ll tell you why. Every pick maker proudly advertises their picks as super fast and accurate. With the Bread tag, you have to work for it. To a point that this type of attack creates an instantly unique sound, you can’t ignore. Playing a slow solo with the bread tag will definitely make it pop.
Available shapes and gauges
It’s very hard to keep track of a creative person’s work, but here is my best shot at it:
In addition to the picks I got, Plumstone Guitar Picks are offering a straight triangle shape, home plate shape, and a 5.6mm thick teardrop pick made out of resin. Recently, he started experimenting with different materials, such as Polymer Clay, and it looks like the 3 layered Acrylic picks are making a comeback too, so here’s another thing to look forward to. Other than these, he’s been experimenting with a baked Enamel coating on his wooden picks, and with a new shape he calls the offset diamond.
Acrylic is known for its durability, so you should expect these picks to last for a long time. Being shaped from a sheet rather than being cast into shape, you can even expect them to “break-in” almost instantly. This comes at the cost of being a bit less durable, but I haven’t noticed any signs of wear even though I played the hell out of them for a good couple of months.
The wood not being finished can make these picks less durable. That being said, they are thick enough to withstand a lot of abuse. For these, too, I haven’t seen any signs of early wear, so that’s a thumb up for the wooden picks, too.
Plumstone Guitar Picks Pricing
Plumstone Guitar Picks are priced on the lower side. Each of the basic teardrops costs $5, the premium and wooden teardrop, as well as the home plate and triangle, cost about $6.5, unique shapes are $8.84 and the most expensive pick is the 5.6mm resin teardrop that I regret not buying. Overall, these picks could’ve been a lot more expensive and still offer great value for money. One thing you should bear in mind is shipping. Shipping from Australia is not cheap at all, but you can avoid paying for it by buying 10 or more picks – which is what I did.
Where to Buy Them From?
Plumstone Guitar Picks are currently being sold through their Etsy shop or through their Instagram account.
What Are The Next Plumstone Guitar Picks I’m Getting?
It haunts me that I didn’t buy the resin teardrop pick, and I’m really curious about the Polymer Clay and Enamel coating. The Ply-Acrylic (is that how it’s called?) looks great too and I’m probably gonna have some of these as well. And of course, any other type of wood he has available at the moment. Looks like Lawrence’s gonna pay for my next shipping too…
These are awesome picks that you should definitely look into. They are very reasonably priced (especially if you take into consideration that they’re hand-made to a very high standard. They require some getting used to, of course. But once you get used to them, they are extremely useful and versatile. The wooden picks not being finished is something you need to know before buying them. But honestly, I just love these.
Plumstone Guitar Picks Review
Plumstone Guitar Picks are a great addition to any player's pick collection. Acrylic sounds bright, is very durable, and grips well. The fact that the wooden picks are not finished means that they grip a lot better and sound a lot warmer, but lose some of their durability. That being said, they are thick enough so it's not a real problem. Plumstone Guitar Picks' entire line is priced very reasonably. I'm avoiding the word "cheap" because these are still very high-end products. They just don't cost like ones.