In recent years, resin guitar picks have gained significant popularity due to their out-of-this-world aesthetics. Our first encounter was in 2019 when we first developed our first resin pick with the help of Justin from Kaotic Artworks who specializes in pouring these fantastic epoxy resin materials.
What makes these sorts of picks unique is the turning of a liquid into a solid & being able to mix a wide spectrum of colors, pearlescent pigments, color shifting powders, and UV reactive effects. This sort of artistic expression has to be handcrafted & something so unique that you won't find it just off the shelf.
While this epoxy resin material was not originally intended for guitar picks, we found a way. But what are the characteristics of such a pick? Aside from the cool looks, how does it feel? does it have good tone? What about durability? All these answers and more are answered below!
Resin picks are an electrifying fusion of boundless possibilities, a symphony of chaos and creativity in perfect harmony!
They also have an awe-inspiring allure that is hard to find in the guitar pick world & perfectly capture the spirit of creativity.
Finally, they can be made in all sorts of crazy combinations of colors, having neon UV effects, color flipping effects, and so much more! No matter if polished or matte, the material itself is eye-catching & looks amazing!
Resin guitar picks are much more difficult to mass produce as the material itself is handcrafted by a skilled resin artist.
So there are limits to how much material they can produce or even be willing to make, therefore these picks are usually made in smaller batches of maybe a couple dozen at a time.
Finally, each pick might have the general aesthetic but each one is totally unique from the last. Furthermore, there might even be slight variations from one batch to the next. If you're looking one special pick, look no further!
The whole concept of "passing the baton", heritage, & legacy is built right into each guitar pick & that's intriguing.
The journey begins with the resin artist, the visionary alchemist who breathes life into the raw materials, channeling their passion, emotions, and creativity to forge its very essence.
But the process does not end there. With an air of reverence, the pick is passed onto the skilled pick craftsman, an artisan in their own right. These masters of precision and technique understand the profound responsibility bestowed upon them. They meticulously refine and perfect the pick, amplifying the artist's vision while adding their own touch of finesse that bridges the worlds of art & music.
And finally, like the passing of a sacred torch, the finished pick finds its way into the hands of the ultimate "artist" – the musician. The musician becomes the vessel through which the cumulative energy of the artist and the craftsman flows.
With each strum of the strings, the pick comes alive, weaving a tapestry of melodies, harmonies, and emotions that carry the essence of its creators. It captures the essence of those who came before, an invisible thread that connects the artist, the craftsman, and the musician in a timeless continuum of artistic heritage.
In a more practical sense, making handcrafted guitar picks allows for more design options that specifically cater to guitar players.
A resin pick can be polished to gleaming perfection but also finished with a brushed or matte texture to enhance its grip. Furthermore, grip holes can be added, as well as deep engravings for the ultimate grip qualities.
The tone can also be varied depending on the finish of the pick & its playing characteristics modified depending on the shape & sharpness of its point.
Lastly, these picks are typically crafted from thicker materials, which result in thick picks that are super comfortable to hold.
Overall, the possibilities for enhancing its picking characteristics are near endless & in many ways better than a standard guitar pick - or at least worth exploring!
Creating resin art is not quite as easy as it may look. It requires considerable skill, trial & error, and methodology in order to create consistent results.
Apart from each material maker needing to have a certain level of skill to craft the material, there are also other factors that have to be added to the equation.
These things could include the brand of epoxy resin used, the proper mixture, and environmental factors such as heat & humidity.
Overall, it's a very complex process & things can go wrong from the very start resulting in a material that is sticky, gummy, or not fully cured.
Epoxy material can also be sensitive to heat & soften up drastically when exposed to it.
This can be an issue when shipping picks halfway across the world or just accidentally leaving one out in your car or garage.
Epoxy resin typically needs to be poured at a minimum thickness to ensure proper curing. This minimum is often at least 1/8" to 1/4" which is about 3-6mm in thickness.
So even if a thinner pick is to be made, a lot of the material will have to be sanded off and go to waste. This thinner piece of epoxy resin is also more susceptible to heat & could deform more easily as mentioned above.
So if you want to try out some resin guitar picks, you're going to have to go for the thicker gauges of 3mm+ or be extremely careful as the material is very delicate the thinner it gets.
Durability can vary for resin picks, going from low to medium durability depending on the type of resin used.
For epoxy resins, you are often able to introduce more creativity in the material & make it look amazing. However the durability is generally on the lower side, similar to that of a wooden guitar pick.
Polyester resin picks on the other hand are a bit more durable & more comparable with acrylic picks.
Making guitar picks out of resin is a long process that begins with casting, or turning liquid epoxy into a solid slab.
During the casting, the resin is mixed & additional components are added including dyes, color shifting pigments, pearlescent mica powders, or metallic flakes. The possibilities here are near endless!
After the mixture is prepared, it undergoes a curing process to solidify the resin into a solid state that's suitable for crafting guitar picks.
Below is a video that takes us through the whole process & the technicalities involved:
Once the resin art slab is finished, it's a raw material that be used to create all sorts of things from jewelry, knife handles, hunting calls, and other trinkets such as keychains.
We typically will start by surfacing or planing both sides of the sheet for an even thickness & to remove any surface level bubbles that might be present.
Next we design the shape & engraving that we're going to want & use a 3-axis CNC to engrave & cutout the pick blank.
After this, we go to paint or fill the engravings as an aesthetic choice to add contrast to our engravings.
Finally we begin the crafting process by using power tools & sanding by hand. We create a tapered profile for the pick to make the tip more playable, then shape & sculpt the bevels before polishing.
Below is a quick 2-minute run-through of the whole process & you can find our article that goes more into detail on making these resin art picks here.
Want to see more resin picks being made? Check out our other article featuring a black & red resin pick with glowing engravings being crafted here.
Finally, if you're interested in the person who makes all of our resin material, you can meet the artist in our interview here: Justin Mosely of Kaotic Artworks
Below are a few of the resin guitar picks we've made in the past. Many of these are not available as they were one-off batches but if there are new resin picks available, they can be found in our Limited Edition Guitar Pick Section or our dedicated Kaotic Artworks Featured Pick section.
These where the very first resin art picks we ever made back in 2019. They featured a wide array of swirled colors along with an aqua glow engraving. We still occasionally make these but the batches are few and far between.
These picks where one-off that were based on our flagship Spearhead pick shape but with a tapered profile & minimal beveling. These had a nice contrast of color suspended in a clear base with the many of the colors being UV reactive. Circa 2019.
These resin guitar picks are only available through our reward points program. We usually keep a couple options of resin on hand for those who want to exchange for them. Each pick is made to your specs so they all look different but the material is similar.
The one shown is a paragon of chaos. It's a spearhead shape, fully polished, and featured a chaos start engraving that glowed blue.
This batch was made in September 2022 & named after the archetype of the trickster dues to the color-shifting foil that was encased in the material. These picks where opened the door to more experimentation & shortly after we released the Icarus Dream pick below.
This pick was inspired by the mythos of Icarus, the dreamy colors of the material, & its foamy waterlike texture that was featured on the back of the material.
It also led the way to create a dedicated section on our site for other Kaotic Artworks picks. You can find these sorts of one-of-a-kind resin pick releases here.
They are one-offs so if if they're not in stock, they're probably all sold out but will be replaced in the future with new variants.
Finally, to celebrate the new year of 2023, we created this iridescent masterpiece, the MMXXIII Imperator.
It's based on our flagship Imperator shape & featured an amazing white iridescent top & on the back we had a shifting dark purple & green.
The picks had a tapered profile & finished in a full matte texture. Only 1 batch was made.
Short answer, yes. It's totally possible to make a guitar out of resin, or at least the guitar body.
This has become a more common occurrence as well with the popularity of epoxy river tables & custom cutting boards.
Perhaps the most distinctive quality of epoxy is that it allows a great deal of freedom to create you're own material or give it your own spin. Take this epoxy guitar with glow in the dark udon noodles :)
Some of these guitars not only feature extravagant resin art tops, but also feature custom fretboard & knob inlays that match.
Check out these two brands if you want to see more of what they're up to.
Yes you can get a good grip on resin guitar picks as you can with most handcrafted plectrums. This is because they can be finished with matte or brushed textures, have deep engravings, and have grip holes added.
This combination of grip enhancements, plus these sorts of picks being on the thicker side of 3mm, results in a very comfy pick that stays put in your hand.
When it comes to the tone of these sorts of guitar picks, they're not quite as "pingy" as a harder acrylic material but will also depend on the finish.
With something polished you will get a glassy feel & a balanced tone. If it's more of a matte texture, you'll introduce a slight drag and boost some of the higher end frequencies.
Resin guitar picks can be durable enough for regular use, but will depend on your style of playing and the quality of the material.
If you play aggressively & for several hours a day, you might be better off with something more cost effective.
Otherwise, we've known players to have their resin guitar picks for many months & favor the so much that they play them down to a nub.
The most durable material for a guitar pick is either metal or UHMWPE. Metal guitar picks have their pros & cons but are most likely to outlast anything else. Engineering plastic picks like those made from UHMWPE are also a good choice & feels more natural when playing.
Resin guitar picks offer a unique combination of advantages and disadvantages for guitarists. They are known for their exquisite aesthetic & creativity involved. The grip provided by resin guitar picks is often superior, allowing for better control and precision while playing.
However, resin picks may not offer the same level of durability as more traditional pick materials such as acetal, nylon, or metal.
Still, these picks are very desirable & the artistic legacy behind them is an awesome concept to ponder!
If you're looking to try one for yourself or add to your collection, keep an eye out & subscribe to our mailing list. They're become one of our favorite picks to make, however it's not something we make on the regular.
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Iron Age Guitar Accessories
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San Antonio, TX 78210
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~William A. Foster (MOH Recipient, 1945)
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