Third Stone Guitar Picks (formerly known as Saluda Picks) was established in 2017 by Kenny Strickland in Florida, U.S.A. They started their company by making stone guitar picks (to this day, this is what they are mostly known for). But since then, they have added more materials, such as Bone, Horn, Wood, Coconut Shell, and Seashells.
If you have ever searched Etsy for guitar picks, you probably saw some of their products. They are one of the most successful and appreciated brands over there. One of my friends gave me a stone pick to try a few years ago, and I was hooked. Later on, he told me that it was theirs. So I came to this review a bit more prepared than other reviews I’ve made in the past. I was still a bit surprised by some things, though.
Table of Contents
The Third Stone Picks I’m Reviewing Today
I have 9 different picks that I’m going to review today. Usually, when having this many, I try to group them into 3 or four groups. I usually have to decide whether I’m using material or shape. This time, I’ll go with the material, but will also convert the different shapes because they have some sort of ace in their sleeve.
- Obsidian, 3.1mm thick
- Ocean Jasper, 2.6mm thick
- Dendritic Opal, 2.9 mm thick with thumb recess
- Kambaba Jasper, 3.2mm thick with thumb recess
Bone, Horn, and Seashell Picks
- Bone, 2.8mm thick with thumb recess
- 2 Zebu Horn picks, 3mm thick with thumb recess (each looks different because they are made of different parts of the horn).
- Saint Lucia Shell, 2.7mm thick
Coconut Shell Pick
- A 2.3mm thick Coconut Shell pick with thumb recess
Initial Thoughts about Third Stone Picks
Naturally, all of these picks are different from each other. They differ by both material and shape, each contributing to their tone and playability. I believe that in this case, the shapes are so different, that they are changing the pick’s sound more than the material. It’s as if the shape is the pigment and the material is the shade of a color.
The Materials Third Stone Picks are Made of
As mentioned in my guitar picks guide, here are some characteristics of Stone, Bone, Horn, Seashell, and Coconut Shell guitar picks.
Stone Guitar Picks
Stone is usually surprisingly warm, compared to its stiffness. This is true here, too. I found myself using it to mellow down the bridge pickup more than once in the last couple of weeks.
Bone, Horn, and Seashell Guitar Picks
Personally, some of my favorite materials for guitar picks. Third Stone’s bone pick behaves just as I’d expect a bone pick of this shape. What surprised me was how different the 2 Zebu Horn picks are from each other. Being made of different parts of the horn made one of them feel like something close to Galalith, while the other felt very similar to other Horn picks I have.
Seashell is in the same category, but with a slight twist. It’s more rigid than both Bone and Horn, making it brighter in sound, and with higher chances of braking if it falls. It has some warmth to it, but it is generally brighter than most picks.
Coconut Shell Guitar Picks
Very durable and bright compared to most wooden guitar picks, yet, still warm and full of wooden textures. The finish adds a lot of brightness, so it’s not overwhelmingly warm.
Third Stone Picks come in 3 different shapes, and all of them are based on the Wide Teardrop shape.
An all-around curved pick. Very comfortable to hold and grip. goes from 2-2.5 mm at the center to about 1mm at the edges and tip. The tip is relatively sharp, making this pick very accurate with a sharp attack.
Wide Teardrop with Rounded Tip
A much thicker and softer version of the Wide Teardrop. The rounded tip rounds and soften the attack to a level that if you angle the pick when you play, you’ll barely hear your electric guitar if it’s unplugged. Kenny suggested it for bass, but I preferred it for soft and lush pads of acoustic guitar with a lot of reverb.
Wide Teardrop With Thumb Recess
When I first got the picks, they were my least favorite ones. The reason is not the side with the recess, but the other one – which is completely flat. Over time, I learned to love it. Today, these are some of my most impactful picks.
This is no secret that real power comes from downstrokes. Having the bottom side of a pick so sharp is not only beneficial to make your downstrokes stronger, but also stronger compared to the upstrokes. It is achieved by having the bottom part of the pick flat and the top part rounded.
All of this impact comes at a cost; being so flat (while being inflexible, as stones tend to) they are pretty hard to get used to.
Here, too, the shape of the picks contributes just as much as the material. With such sharp edges, the thumb recess picks will probably wear faster than the wide teardrops. Coconut shell will wear faster than all the others. Being made out of Bone, Horn, Stone, and Seashell, they probably show the first signs of wear in a few months.
My Thoughts About Third Stone Guitar Picks
There are many things that I like about them, but some that I don’t. I like the way the shape affects the tone of the picks. Having the ability to tone-chase using both materials and shapes of a pick is something I wish I saw from more makers. The variety of materials is another thing I like about Third Stone Picks. Having the option to choose from so many types of stone, bone, horn, wood, seashells, and whatnot opens a world of tonal possibilities.
One thing I’d improve about them is the shaping of the recessed picks. \i understand the idea behind the flat part, but I think that rounding their edges a bit can turn these great picks into some of the best picks in the category.
Usually, Stone guitar picks are quite expensive. They can sometimes get to hundreds of dollars per pick, while an average pick made of a cheaper stone can cost between $20-$30.
Third Stone are selling most of their picks between $8.95 to $12.95. Some cost a bit more and some a bit less. You can lower the price per pick if you buy more than one. Overall, I think the price is more than fair, especially for what you get in return.
Where to Buy them From?
Third Stone Guitar Picks offer great picks at a great price; I really can’t find reasons to not give them a try. They are a perfect fit for guitar players who are looking for a slightly warmer and organic tone, those who want to specifically try stone guitar picks, and those who just want to try something new without breaking the bank.
This is not a paid review. I recently bought a few picks from Third Stone Picks (they were Saluda picks at the time), and Kenny was kind enough to add a few extra picks to help me with this review. The review was written based on my own experience playing these picks. I spoke to him while writing this review to get additional information and clarifications, but he had no say in what I wrote.
Third Stone Guitar Picks - Full Review
Naturally, they sound very different from each other, as their tone is affected by both material and shape. They feel well built, and the way they are shaped serves a real purpose. I think they could benefit from a tad more rounding, but that is a matter of taste. They are as durable as the materials allow. Mine didn't wear yet, but I'm sure that the ones with the thumb recess will show signs of wear first, because of how sharp their bottom part is. They don't grip as well as other materials, but the thumb recess makes sure they stay in place. They cost literally a fraction of what other stone picks cost, and are great both as an introduction to stone picks, and also as great picks in their own right. Highly recommended.