September 20, 2016
This month we're proud to announce our brand new Agate Stone guitar Picks, which have a strong focus on durability & a unique tone that ranges from high-end brilliance to warm & smooth sound. While we do have various stone picks already available, agate has quickly become our top choice in material for various reasons related to superior playability & tone.
What is Agate?
Agate is a type of crystal very similar to quartz. It is extremely hard, measuring in at a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale which makes it literally harder than nails. Agate was used to adorn breastplates of armor to give warriors strength in ancient times. Various agates & gemstones were also used as amulets of protection for those going into battle. It's for that reason that this material resonated further with out brand & the decision was a no-brainer.
The agate itself is derived from compressed & molten minerals, most of which are silicon dioxide. It takes many years to form and an immense volcanic pressure. While raw agate can be rather coarse & unrefined, it can be polished into an extremely smooth surface. By polishing our picks to a high degree, well above 10k grit, we can achieve optimal playability.
The process each batch goes through starts with cutting the raw agates & then slicing them into thinner slabs. Once the agate sheets are cut, we begin to draw out the shapes and perpare to cut them out. Each shape at this point is called a "blank" and will be further grinded down into the desired form. Once we have a rough pick, it undergoes several stages of polishing to give it more definition & of course give it a reflective finish. The final product is a perfectly smooth & shaped pick that's ready for engraving with our stamp of approval.
How do they feel
While a pick of this thickness (approximately 2.5) might feel a bit odd at first, it does have its own benefit. As stated in one of the reviews by The Pick, once you hold one of these plectrums, you'll feel that they're noticeably heavier compared to plastic. This takes a bit getting used to, especially on the bigger "traditional sized" model, but it does provide some extra "oopmh" when playing some chunky rhythms. As far as thickness goes, it is definitely doable as the body of the pick might be 2.5mm but the edges at the tip are only about 1.5mm.
Now when you grasp one of these picks, you know for certain you're holding something. It feels solid & dense with absolutely no flex. Each pick is also engraved with the Iron Age lettering so there's a bit of a tactile grip.
While some people feel they might lose it, I assure you that you'll likely be aware of its location at all times. It's akin to getting a new guitar, where you're extra careful not to bump it on anything, or get so much as a fingerprint on it.
How they sound
The overall tone is a warm & glass-like, very much like their appearance. Due to its hardness & mass, they also tend to produce a fuller sound without having to strike the strings as hard.
The picking attack is rather smooth & not too aggressive like some of the bone picks. This is because the bevels are highly polished and lightly tapered instead of dropping off sharply. It's a nice sound which can bring a whole new appreciation on the acoustic guitar, although it's pleasant on the electric too.
If you've ever used a plectrum made from glass, you might find that these agate stone guitar picks have a similar characteristic. I almost forgot to mention, those looking to play a bit faster, might appreciate the jazz3 version more. It's noticeably lighter, still produces an exquisite tone, & allows for more agile playing techniques.
Why we prefer agate stone guitar picks
So why the sudden switch to the agate material? While regular stone like jasper looks nice, it often has a less pure composition containing various types of rock & sediments. The problem is that not all of these extra materials polish as well, or are as durable. While they do sound nice, some parts of the pick can begin to wear faster than others & sometimes turn scratchy.
With agate, the material is more consistent & pure, like a crystal or similar to a piece of quartz. It's harder than jasper & typically more dense. This makes it harder to work with & polish, but makes for a more permanent playing solution.
Along with its high degree of polish, comes the benefit of a smooth tone that's unwavering. Agate stays glassy-smooth for longer & the tone reflects that. It's for that reason that agate has become the material of choice vs our other rocky counterparts.
Where to buy them
If you're into trying something new, these agate stone guitar picks might be something worth considering. Not only are they unique in the material & tone, but they're a nice addition to any pick collection. An agate pick is one that will stand the test of time & keep you playing for hours on end.
You can purchase our new Agate Stone Guitar Picks by visiting our main webstore @ Iron Age Guitar Accessories
Had a chance to try the new agate stone picks and couldn't be happier... I would recommend them to anyone who plays, especially if your looking for a nice tone and high quality feel from a guitar pick!
To learn a more about our agate stone guitar picks,
check out our featured article @ Premiere Guitar
Worried about losing such a high-end plectrum?
Each pick comes with its own leather pick holder. Turn it into a keychain & take it wherever you go or clip it to your gear!
Now available in 2 distinct shapes. There's a standard size which is no bigger than a traditional green tortex, and a smaller jazz3-style version. Handmade from black & red agate for a luxurious & functional experience. Leather pick carrier included.
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“Quality is never an accident.
It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution.
It represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
~William A. Foster (MOH Recipient, 1945)
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