Dunlop makes a lot of great guitar gear and in this Boles Blues blog, we’ve previously reviewed the Dunlop Delrin picks and the Dunlop Ultex picks. I don’t use picks much anymore now that I’ve moved on to chord melody and Jazz, but for those days when I need that “pick sound” I really like the Dunlop Jazz Tone 204 and 205 picks a friend sent me.
The first thing you notice about the Dunlop Jazz Tones is that they have a strange and chalky texture. I love how these picks feel between your thumb and fingers. If you tend to sweat a lot, these picks aren’t going anywhere. They stick to your fingers like glue.
The 204 picks are rounder than most standard picks and they do a great job at imitating a Wes Montgomery style of thumb-strumming — while using a pick! The sound is thumpy and gleeful and I like the tiny size of the pick because it invisibly becomes the size and shape of your thumb while strumming.
The 205 picks are slightly larger than the 204 and have a pointier pick end. You will get a more traditional, crispier, sounding string vocalization using the 205. The 205 picks are still tiny compared to most picks on the market. The small size is what makes them so special.
Finding the right pick is always an ongoing exploration. I know some famous guitar players who bemoan all this “string and pick” talk — but when you ask them what pick and string set they use, they are always determined and very specific. We’ve come a long way from Django Reinhardt using a trouser button as a guitar pick — and I’m betting his button was made of bakelite — and I’ve seen other picks made of dimes and wood and shale and polished rocks.
The quest of “finding the right pick” reminds me of a story about great guitar player Warren Hayes, who told an interviewer he “doesn’t care” how his guitar is set up and then, when his guitar tech was asked moments later how Warren likes his guitar set up before a performance, the guitar tech said, “He isn’t particular at all, except in that he wants everything just right.” The same can be said about finding the perfect guitar pick. You could use any old household item and get the job done — until you want to recreate that certain tone you have stuck humming in your head — and then Django’s trousers just can’t cut the rhythm.