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GG Red Bear pick "vs" Blue Chip

 
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terje_t



Joined: 16 Aug 2014
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 4:28 pm    Post subject: GG Red Bear pick "vs" Blue Chip Reply with quote

I said I'd be back with a little comparison of the Red Bear Guthrie Govan signature pick I got recently and the Blue Chip pick I've been using the past couple years.

First of all, this pick is THICK!



Sorry for the out-of-focus image but hopefully you get an impression. The Blue Chip pick is 1mm (40/1000 inches, hence the 40), the Red Bear is a full 2mm. I used to think the Blue Chip was thick and stiff coming from more usual Dunlop .73 picks and such, but coming back to it now after playing the Red Bear for a while it feels thin!

The thing I noticed right away playing with the Red Bear is how much easier it glides off the string. Again when I come back to the Blue Chip now it feels like it kind of sticks to the string. It was an uncomfortable feeling about the Red Bear at first, almost as if I couldn't transfer the force I was used to from my hand to the strings. I have since gotten used to and now value this effortlessness and I feel like my speed (which I'm focusing a bit of practice on at the moment) has improved somewhat with the new pick.

It has a serrated edge on top, I haven't really used this for anything. I read you could get scrapy high harmonics from it, I'll probably play with that at some point.

The Red Bear sticks a lot better between my fingers than the Blue Chip, so the holes seem to work. The feel of the material is similar, although the Red Bear feels maybe a bit "harder, shinier", where the Blue Chip is a bit softer. Don't get me wrong, the Blue Chip is a stiff pick, I'm talking more about the surface feel of the pick. The Red Bear has zero give when I try to bend it carefully. The Blue Chip bends slightly.

I have to say, the Red Bear looks GREAT!



A couple things to note:

On my guitar, a Charvel San Dimas tele style, the Red Bear has quite a bit of a squeaky pick sound that is especially heard on high gain sounds with the bridge pickup. I'm more and more coming to regard this as a good thing, it accents the start of the tone and is not annoyingly prominent in the overall sound of the note.

I still use a Blue Chip pick (another slightly larger one) for acoustic guitar. I think it sounds better, there's less pick noise (maybe from the slightly softer material?) and the bigger pick feels better to me when strumming an acoustic.

Final verdict? I'm happy I got this, I've used it pretty much exclusively the past couple weeks and I feel like it's making me play with a more finesseful touch, if that makes sense. Not necessarily softer, but seeing as it doesn't catch on the string in the same way as the blue chip there's less "recoil" from the string to my fingers so I can focus more on an accurate pick attack and less on compensating for that bounce-back.

Terje
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alexkhan



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Posts: 2783
Location: Chino, CA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review and comparison, Terje. I've only tried the Blue Chip once 4~5 years ago. I remember thinking it was a nice pick but that particular one was thinner than I preferred.

What do you think is the overall tonal difference between the two if they were the same gauge? But I guess that wouldn't be a fair comparison since the GG pick is twice as thick as the BC. Guthrie and I both noticed a significant difference between the 1.5 Big Jazzer and the 2.0 GG prototype and that's why he went with the 2mm thickness (which would be Red Bear's Extra Heavy gauge).

I still prefer the 1.5 Big Jazzer without the speed bevel for certain things - like playing heavy riffs on the low strings on my Strandberg 8-string and strumming - but the GG makes the strings sound thicker and bigger and I find that great for playing single note lines on the plain strings.

Anyway, glad to know that you're enjoying the new GG pick. It's beautiful and a joy to hold and play. I know that many people scoff at the price of these picks but a pick really is very important. Professional violinists pay tens of thousands of dollars for a decent bow, sometimes more than for the violin itself. I know the pick isn't quite like a violin bow but it's what makes the initial contact with the strings and how it sounds, responds, and plays is critical in how one plays.

The "acoustic" test (unplugged) in a quiet room is best for evaluating a pick. I feel it's the same for a solid-body electric guitar. Play it unplugged to hear how it sounds acoustically and how it resonates and sustains in your hands and against your body. Play it unplugged with different picks to get an idea of the acoustic tone that the picks are producing. You can then imagine how that would sound when amplified. Then plug in and play with various kinds of clean and low-to-medium gain sounds for a while before trying high-gain.

I've seen many guys try the Red Bear for a few minutes and say immediately that they're going to get one. They just feel and hear it right away. I know I did. Smile
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terje_t



Joined: 16 Aug 2014
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What do you think is the overall tonal difference between the two if they were the same gauge? But I guess that wouldn't be a fair comparison since the GG pick is twice as thick as the BC.


Yeah, it's hard to compare directly since they feel so different, but I recorded a few samples this morning:

https://soundcloud.com/terje/guitar-pick-sound-test

I played three different picks, same licks, through my Pod HD500X. Also included (the middle bit of the track) is the electric guitar unamplified, close miked with a Blue Spark condenser mike.

I start with the Red Bear, then the Blue Chip, then a Dunlop Ultex .73.

Your idea of testing the pick unamplified seems to really bring out the difference here. There's a more subtle difference in the amplified sounds to my ears.

In the unamplified sound I can hear a brighter pick attack with the Red Bear. The Blue Chip sounds the softest to me (least amount of pick "noise" as well), and the Dunlop sounds just flappy Very Happy

With the amplified tracks I think I can hear a bit of that high "squeaky" sound of the Red Bear. I don't mean squeaky in a negative sense here, like I said in my initial post. I also think my playing is somewhat more legato in the first bit of the track (simple scales) with the Red Bear, supporting my theory that this pick plays a bit more effortlessly than the others. It might be due to the speed bevel.

All in all I'd say the differences are subtle when the guitar is amplified, but still definitely there and there's a big difference in feel to the player. I completely agree with you about paying a bit extra for a pick if you're happy with that. I have no problem paying a bit extra to find a pick that I feel really good about. I haven't lost any of my more expensive picks (I own 3) - the cheap ones disappeared all the time. Very Happy
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alexkhan



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comparison. I think I hear a good deal of difference in the slightly overdriven tone at the end. The Red Bear just seems to have more "body" and bigness in the sound. We're splitting hairs here but that's what I hear.

And, yes, Red Bear does have that fast attack but it also glides off very smoothly. The speed bevel is part of it but I think a lot of it is just the material itself. There's some organic milk-like compound in it and I think that's what gives the Red Bear its unique feel.

I've got a decent collection of Red Bears and I've lost only one in all my years I've had 'em. I use them for everything - including my work at GC doing QC work here and at the factories in Asia. You pay a little more attention and you won't lose it. Wink
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journeyman



Joined: 16 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just recently acquired a Redbear extra heavy big jazzer with speed bevel, and I have to say, I haven't used any other pick since. I was curious upon reading that Guthrie used them, but taken back by the price. I like to try different picks, so I did it. Glad I did. Mine isn't the signature model, which I'll probably get at some point. I've not tried the blue chip yet, but right now, I'm happy with my Redbear. They seem to be rather popular, since it took quite awhile for me to catch one in the store.
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alexkhan



Joined: 10 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

journeyman wrote:
I just recently acquired a Redbear extra heavy big jazzer with speed bevel, and I have to say, I haven't used any other pick since. I was curious upon reading that Guthrie used them, but taken back by the price. I like to try different picks, so I did it. Glad I did. Mine isn't the signature model, which I'll probably get at some point. I've not tried the blue chip yet, but right now, I'm happy with my Redbear. They seem to be rather popular, since it took quite awhile for me to catch one in the store.


Cool. It's pretty much all I use as well although I'll use something like a Dunlop Nylon 1.0 or a Fender Medium for strumming an acoustic. For electrics, it's strictly Red Bear. I recently hooked up Plini with Red Bear as well and he's been using the Classic shape in heavy gauge and advised me that he immediately noticed an improvement in the attack and control.
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petros



Joined: 26 Feb 2015
Posts: 77
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:43 pm    Post subject: longevity/maintenance? Reply with quote

This is a great thread and thanks for sharing your thoughts & experiences with this apparently amazing product. Recently, I watched a youtube video where someone complained about the Red Bear picks' short durability. Any thoughts on this? I obviously don't want to spend 35$ on something that I'll use for two weeks (esp. given my circumstances). But I also want to use a right pick for practicing, esp. now that I'm rejuvenating my playing after some time on the back burner (the life of a PhD student).
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alexkhan



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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:31 pm    Post subject: Re: longevity/maintenance? Reply with quote

petros wrote:
This is a great thread and thanks for sharing your thoughts & experiences with this apparently amazing product. Recently, I watched a youtube video where someone complained about the Red Bear picks' short durability. Any thoughts on this? I obviously don't want to spend 35$ on something that I'll use for two weeks (esp. given my circumstances). But I also want to use a right pick for practicing, esp. now that I'm rejuvenating my playing after some time on the back burner (the life of a PhD student).


Well, as mentioned earlier, Guthrie used one pick for a 45-date tour last year. How many pick strokes would you reckon were made? I have Red Bear picks that are over 5 years old with a good amount of playing time on them and they're still perfectly usable. They do wear out a bit after a while. Guthrie confirmed that after several months of intense use they do start showing wear. But, seriously, how may people are going to play as many notes as Guthrie does during 3~4 months of playing 5 nights per week?
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petros



Joined: 26 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:54 pm    Post subject: Re: longevity/maintenance? Reply with quote

alexkhan wrote:
petros wrote:
This is a great thread and thanks for sharing your thoughts & experiences with this apparently amazing product. Recently, I watched a youtube video where someone complained about the Red Bear picks' short durability. Any thoughts on this? I obviously don't want to spend 35$ on something that I'll use for two weeks (esp. given my circumstances). But I also want to use a right pick for practicing, esp. now that I'm rejuvenating my playing after some time on the back burner (the life of a PhD student).


Well, as mentioned earlier, Guthrie used one pick for a 45-date tour last year. How many pick strokes would you reckon were made? I have Red Bear picks that are over 5 years old with a good amount of playing time on them and they're still perfectly usable. They do wear out a bit after a while. Guthrie confirmed that after several months of intense use they do start showing wear. But, seriously, how may people are going to play as many notes as Guthrie does during 3~4 months of playing 5 nights per week?


Makes sense. i'm a convert.
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petros



Joined: 26 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2015 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got one this week. And, indeed, I'm a convert. It's one of the biggest "aha moments" in my guitar playing. Once I started using that, the 32-note run/riff in Culture Clash seems a LITTLE bit more feasible to play Very Happy
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terje_t



Joined: 16 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy that you like your new pick, Petros!

I've been playing the Red Bear Medium for a while now and grown very fond of that thickness. I went back to my Guthrie model a bit last night but I think I'm still happier with the medium. Smile
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petros



Joined: 26 Feb 2015
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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

terje_t wrote:
Happy that you like your new pick, Petros!

I've been playing the Red Bear Medium for a while now and grown very fond of that thickness. I went back to my Guthrie model a bit last night but I think I'm still happier with the medium. Smile


Yeah, that's cool. I think it's all about one finding what works for him/her. And from the feel of the material I would conjecture that playing a medium-gauge RB must feel much more solid than a medium Fender/Dunlop/other cheap stock pick brand. Actually, I think I might like a thinner one for acoustic strumming.
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Stephen Brown



Joined: 13 Jun 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try Coconut picks...
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