Review – Hendrix Signature Special
I’d like to talk about a significant, individual plectrum I received some time ago from the Netherlands that I’ve been too absurdly busy to write about before now. The plectrum you see above is important for a few reasons: it’s my first one from this maker, it’s very striking, and it was my first exposure to Kirinite. With all that being said, I know you’re itching to find out what it’s actually like, so let us discover together.
Rens Hendrix does a lot of interesting things, from making the tools he uses to restoring old tools (hammers, vices etc), and though I came across him on Etsy, his work came up through people like Chrys Johnson of Players’ Pick Podcast. When I first found him he was in between builds, but fortune favoured my patience, and when this pointed plectrum came up, I leaped at it.
Kirinite, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a toughened Acrylic that’s often blended with poly paper to create fabulous swirls, and is extremely popular with knife-makers for grips. This model is Rens’ own design and his preferred shape, something he opted to reinforce by including a Paduak plectrum of an extremely similar shape.
That shape is very slim – 20.4mm at the shoulders and 25.8mm long. The Dunlop 500 series measures 25mm by 29.5mm respectively, so the Special is a very slinky doo-dad indeed. The ‘crown’ of scoops on the top ridge is rather becoming, and while I didn’t find that the striations on both sides gave any extra grip (Kirinite is particularly grippy anyway), they give the Special an oddly stark, purposeful air. This is something that I’m very pleased to report continued into the rest of the pick, with the finishing being absolutely superb around the tip and bevels. Pointed without being lethal, it’s got beautiful symmetry, and the slightly extended slope shows a very keen eye for details in the Specials’ overall ergonomics.
I’ve played Kirinite picks since (thanks Suibhne Guitars and Plectrums Handcrafted respectively) and can confidently confirm that the twin traits of grip and aggression, very much present in the Special, do perpetuate through the material as a whole. While the picks from the aforementioned companies have a pleasing slick and curious joy respectively, the neat, concise nature of the Hendrix makes it the serious friend. If you’re chasing a happy-go-lucky Vinni Smith-style boogie-lover, you won’t find it here. Reminiscent of the militaristic poke of the Iron Age Fenrir’s Fang, Rens’ misty tooth is a killer – a steely-eyed merc of a plectrum. Although this pick is a slender lady, the point sticks out further than I expected. This is a personal thing, as a colleague of mine who favours sharper picks genuinely couldn’t believe I’d manage to find a pick this devastating, so for the brutally-inclined, this is a smasher.
If I were to level any criticism at the Special, it would be that it’s a little long at the point for me, which is simply something that I’m not used to. Ironically, it’s also a bit short, but this is again because I’m used to playing Jazz XL sizes and larger. Jazz III players seeking elevated levels of savagery would do well to contact Mr. Hendrix, as he does a lot of custom work (I may or may not already have something on the go as we speak), and I can confirm that the finishing is both superb and very much his own thing. Gain-fanciers step forward – this is a beast. Oh, and it glows in the dark.
- 2.9mm Thick
- Made in the Netherlands
- A deadly 8.5/10
- Price Per Unit: everything is customised, so drop Rens a line for a solid chat
- An unsheathed blade of a pick