If you’re signed up to the Six String Sunday newsletter, you’ll often see me recommend pedals, books, apps and more. Today I’d like to bring you a hit, which is something you’re going to want to check out, and a miss, which is something you’re going to want to stay away from.
In both cases, I’m going to talk about exceptional customer service from both of these manufacturers, which at the end of the day, always makes a huge difference. These are the companies you’ll want to back in the future, because they seem to really care about their customers.
Hit: Red Bear No. 9 Guitar Pick
I’ve mentioned how much I love Red Bear picks in the past, and recently I’ve added a fourth to my collection. It’s a beautiful Indigo color, in the No. 9 style. Red Bear is a two person operation, and Dave and Monica are two of the nicest people I’ve met in the industry in a long time. I asked if they could make me a No. 9 in their Indigo color, and sure enough I received an email when they got more of the rare color.
These picks cost more than your standard pack of Dunlop Tortex picks, but the build quality and attention to detail is worth it. These are the same folks who make Guthrie Govan’s signature pick (which I also own, and love). The durability on these picks is amazing. Plus they feel great in the hand, and if you get grips drilled into the pick, are very stable when playing for a long time.
The material that Red Bear uses is meant to get as close to turtle shell without using actual turtle shell. If you’re never played with a thicker pick before, you owe it to yourself to check one of these out. Their ‘speed bevel’ is also really great. I always hold my pick at an angle, and the speed bevel allows me to glide through the strings with ease.
There’s a special magic that happens weekly when Red Bear’s online store opens. It reminds me of when I used to go to Toys R Us as a kid, and would see if the ticket was there for a NES video game I wanted to buy. Each week they put up a small batch of great picks, and when they’re sold out, they’re done for the week!
Over the past couple of years I’ve played a lot of picks. There are a ton of great manufacturers out there, but I’ve landed on Red Bear as my absolute favorite, and I recommend the No. 9 style because it just seems to be the right amount of surface area to be comfortable in my hand. If you want a smaller pick, check out their Big Jazzer size.
You can check out Red Bear here.
Miss: Charvel’s Older Pickup Switches
I wanted to point out was Charvel’s older pickup switches. Many of us here have multiple guitars, and I wanted to give you guys a head up on some of Charvel’s older pickup switches. Thankfully, they’ve since switched to more traditional ‘blade style’ switches, but if you buy from EBay or a store that’s had stock around for a bit, beware.
I’ll include the picture of the switch I’m talking about below. Unfortunately I had to take this to my local Sam Ash to have them replace it under warranty, and even now the replacement is a little wonky. When switching from the neck pickup to the bridge pickup, every once in a while it’ll get weird and the volume will drop dramatically.
The silver lining to this story is that I love Charvel’s guitars, and I picked this particular slime green one from The Music Zoo online. When the guitar arrived, after having shipped for a day, it was perfectly in tune, so you could tell that they set it up before it shipped out.
They also did a great job when I told them the switch was broken. They said I could simply go to my local music store with my receipt, and they’d replace it under warranty.
I have a number of guitars that are more and less expensive than the San Dimas, but the Charvel has been the guitar I’ve been picking up nonstop over the past couple of years. It has a great maple fretboard, two great sounding Seymour Duncan pickups, a Floyd Rose trem that’s not too fussy, and a color that’s pretty eye catching.
So even if Charvel’s earlier pickup switches were a miss, I’d recommend you checking one out if you’re in the market for that style of guitar. If you’re looking at ESP, Jackson, etc. it’s worth it to give Charvel a look.
What’re your hits and misses?
It’s important to talk to each other online, so we can boost companies up that we think do a great job, and also let each other know about things to stay away from.