June 18, 2021

Review – Anima Plectra

Secrets aren’t secret. They’re just hidden treasures, waiting to be exploited.
– Stephen White

It’s a welcome trend that more makers are turning to the natural world for their materials. Wood in particular is the entry point for many a plectrier, and like anything, it takes genuine skill to work. Joonas of Anima Plectra, a carpenter by trade, elected to start making picks some years ago, and very kindly sent me some before lockdown happened and everything went a bit mad. These picks have been in the back of my mind for a long time, and with the HR! shop now up and running I’ve finally got a chance to share my thoughts on them in a public forum. Today, let’s take a look at this handsome piece, and find out what the world’s been missing.

Specs
Measuring 26.77mm x 32.96mm, this particular Anima is 2.13mm thick. The asymmetry is quite pronounced, and was intended as such.  Joonas advised me that he cuts the picks with a laser, then finishes them by hand. The oiling on this example is superb, with bang-on bevelling and a mature, refined air to it. The legend on the front has been lasered in, and is recessed gently enough so that’s it’s scarcely noticeable under the fingers.

Feel
Bubinga is a tropical hardwood that’s relatively common in luthiery, though more for basses than guitars. It’s been chosen here not just for aesthesis, but for the inherent toughness and tonality of it. I have often had concerns about the tips of wooden picks, and have found in practice that the more blunted examples are generally more efficient from a wear perspective. However, this doesn’t feel like it’s anything other than extremely resilient. There’s a defined, resolute quality to the Anima in the hands – this pick feels like it’s up for some activity.

In Practice
In operation, this is an experience. ‘Dramatic’ is the word I would use. ‘Firm’ would also be applicable. Compared to the more blunted but similarly-thick Zwart JT (Ebony), the Anima is less bassy and less blooming, which is to be expected. What was surprising was just how forceful it is, and how hard it hit. I’m confident that there’s no sticky trickery going on in the finish, though the grip doesn’t feel like that. The closest non-wood I can liken it to is Ultem, though there’s significantly more grace than exists in that hard-hitting plastic. I also found that the harder I went on acoustic, the more lively and joyous the Anima became.

TL:DR
This is a bit of a hidden gem in the Plectroverse. Anima Plectra exists as two similar models, both made of the same woods. Whatever your notions about wood plectrums are, let this pick them aside. The finishing is great, with immaculate symmetry and solid wear resistance, and for a hand-finished, oil-treated plectrum, this is very reasonably priced. If you’re into elegantly aggressive sounds, especially on acoustic, I can’t recommend this highly enough. Get in.

Vitals:

  • 2.13mm thick
  • Bubinga
  • Made in Finland
  • Why woodn’t you?
  • Price per unit: around £5 at time of writing
  • Very ace

https://anima-plectra.lilith.fi/