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The Spearhead wooden guitar picks have been a staple of the Iron Age brand since its founding in 2015. Originally they were made from coconut shell & also from Gaboon ebony but this only lasted a short while. Coconut shell had consistency issues causing the guitar strings to stick & the African ebony was soon listed as an endangered species of lumber.
This resulted in us seeking for the best wood for guitar picks. It had to be consistent in grain, durable, and more widely available - or in other words, not an endangered species.
A lot has changed over the years & we have gone through several iterations of the Spearhead pick. It retains its initial luxurious feel being handcrafted from fine lumber but has evolved to provide a consistent wooden guitar pick experience that was not thought possible initially.
Below you will find a 5-minute video of how we make our Macassar ebony spearheads. This shows the process from start to finish & demonstrates just how much attention to detail goes into crafting such a plectrum. Furthermore, we will go over the material itself, some of its features, what our customers have to say about it, and where you can find one of the best wooden guitar picks available today.
Are wood picks any good? What makes a wooden guitar pick better than any other?
Well, it has primarily to do with the durability of the wood used.
Not all species of wood are made equal, some like maple, are very soft and so are very malleable & easy to wear down against steel strings. However there are stronger types of lumber such as Ligum Vitae, Quebracho (axe breaker), Ironwood, & of course, Ebony. These woods have a much higher "Janka" hardness rating which is a measurement of a wood's resistance to dents, dings, and general wear & tear. This measurement is determined by pressing an 11.28mm steel ball into the lumber & determining the PSI required to press the ball halfway into the material. You can learn more about the Janka hardness scale here
With that being said, we've tried many types of wood to make our picks in the past. Some are very colorful & beautiful in their own regard, however as guitar picks they oftentimes fell a bit short in terms of durability.
This is why we sought out the toughest lumber around & settled on Macassar Ebony, which has a Janka hardness rating of 3,220 according to the wood-database.
In comparison, its just a few points shy of Desert Ironwood (3,260), much more durable than East Indian Rosewood (2,440) which is traditionally used to make fretboards, and certainly much more enduring than "hard maple" (1,450).
So how do we make the wood guitar pick known as the "Spearhead"? It all starts with a premium piece of Macassar Ebony, precision machining for the utmost consistency, & carefully crafting by hand before finally polishing it like a fine jewel. See for yourself:
As we mentioned in the "materials" section above, there's many types of wood out there but most are too soft to be of much use, which is why we chose some of the strongest & most durable around. So if you are considering trying a wooden guitar pick, this is one to look into as a starting point or to set the bar in the wooden pick category.
So overall, wooden guitar picks have some considerable drawbacks to consider.
But as a luxury item, there is much to explore & experience for yourself. There are various sounds, textures, origins of the wood itself, and the specialness that you just can't find in a mass-produced factory plectrum.
Not all wood picks are created equally, at least not beyond our own corner here. There's plenty of monkey-see monkey-do without much consideration of what makes a good guitar pick.
What we do know is the feedback that we've received over the years about our own products. This is feedback from guitarists that have been playing anywhere from a couple of years to a couple of decades.
WOODEN PICK UNLIKE ANYTHING I'VE EVER PLAYED WITH
Now I've heard good things about wooden picks but nothing could have prepared me for this pick. This thing is remarkably hard wood but it feels so soft and smooth and it rolls right over the strings. The shape is great for tight accurate picking and it helps my notes ring out clear. I already want another one. I will always have one of these picks on hand from here on out. It may seem weird to pay more for a pick but honestly I cant go back to cheap picks now and these are hand crafted, I'm surprised he's not charging more.
GREAT FEEL AND SOUND
I ordered my first set of Macassar Ebony picks and have been very pleased with the resulting experience. The picks are thicker than those to which I am accustomed, but it wasn't a big deal to adjust to them, and I find that I really like the sonic quality that they add to the other woods in my guitar. I honestly didn't think I'd be able to hear it, but I was wrong. These are cool. I have a Macassar Ebony and Engleman Spruce acoustic guitar on the way and I can't wait to hear what they sound like on that baby! They also threw in a carbon fiber pick, which I thought was a very generous gesture, and THAT thing is awesome! Almost didn't try it because I thought it was just another plastic pick, but I was wrong again, and when I finally gave it a whirl I was blown away. You notice the difference immediately. I'll be buying some of those... Thank you!
MACASSAR EBONY SPEARHEAD- NOT JUST FOR SHREDDING!
I've had my Iron Age Macassar Ebony Spearhead picks for a little over a month and they've become my main pick. I watched a lot of demos showing them being used for high speed and heavy playing, and they sound great. My playing style is a bit mellower with a lot of hybrid finger picking. These picks SHINE on acoustic, resonator, and clean/mildly overdriven electric playing. The notes just POP out and I couldn't be happier. The tone from these hand shapes picks is rich, bold, expressive, and dynamic. The quality of workmanship is outstanding, and Iron Age's customer service couldn't be better. It's obvious that these guys care about making a solid pick that's both unique in design and uses high quality materials. This is where I'm getting my picks from now on! Thanks Iron Age!
Interested in trying one of the best wood picks out there?
You can find the Ebony Spearhead Plectrum here or by clicking/tapping the image below. Or check out the faux ivory version of the Spearhead here.
What's your experience with wooden guitar picks?
Have you tried them, do they have a place in your guitar pick collection?
Let us know your thoughts or feelings below!
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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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