November 5, 2018

Review – Jim Dunlop 427PJP John Petrucci Signature

This was an experiment from a couple of years ago, and I wanted to get real context before I did a write-up on this plectrum. The temptation when reviewing a pick like this is to look at its suitability for the way play, but that is, to a certain extent, a needless observation. This is a signature model, and as such has been designed by and for a particular person with specific needs. That’s an important thing to remember – if we consider all the legends surrounding SRV’s unplayable Strat or the fact that Billy Gibbons strings with dental floss it puts the defining characteristics of signature tools in context, and as such I’ll evaluate this item based on it’s own nature and intent, and my experience of it.

Essentially, the 427PJP is a 1.5mm half-polished, half matte plectrum that sits exactly between the Jazz III and the XL. The matte portion has the JP shield logo in raised form for grip, and the polished bit – while seemingly beveled the same way as the XL – is slightly, and I mean very slightly, more pointed than its less fancy cousin. As a result it’s very comfortable, especially if you play with the shred-fist that many players who go for this are going to favour.  It’s also extremely light, with a purposefully hollow feel, and that took some getting used to. Picks aren’t weighty as a rule, but the lack of bulk was immediately noticeable.

When you’re getting into the business though, it makes total sense. For all the epithets thrown at Mount Petrucci from both sides of the fence, his playing is mad tight, and it’s due in no small part to how controlled, focused and swift this plectrum is. Playing chords with it does feel a bit weird – it’s not a Wonderwall strumming sort of plectrum – but sharp chops, single-note work, potent trem picking and considered sharpness are pouring out of it. No string noise either, which is ace.

For John then, I completely get it. I understand the finish split, the material choice, the thickness, everything. For my personal style it’s still extremely good, though it lacks a certain wayward quality. This is a curious thing to try and articulate, but the 427 is a very safe pair of hands, and I played secure in the notion that I wasn’t going to falter. It encouraged me to relax into what I was playing, knowing that whatever happened I had the safety net of the speed, accuracy and firm, consistent tone that’s on tap here. To use a car analogy, the 427PJP is like an Audi RS8 – fast, cleverly designed, well thought-out and handsome. It didn’t thrill me, despite doing everything right. I’m lucky enough to have a number of other Jazz III/XL variants to compare it to, including a Petrucci NYC Ultex Jazz III Primetone (the tiny, brutal-looking one), and I will state outright that the 427 is cleaner, with a more open top-end on electric and acoustic than all of its family tree.

In all honesty this is a bit of a no-brainer. If you want a speedy pick for playing technically-challenging, dextrous metal and rock, this pick will tick a lot of boxes. The size is great, the grip is universal, and although the lightness is a bit weird, it does promote a feeling that you’ve got more time between the notes than you actually have. If you do a lot of strumming, you might want to consider other options, but for the speed-conscious rock player, this is the heavy ticket. Splendid.


  • 1.5mm Thick
  • Ultex with a half matte/half polished finish
  • It’s a Dunlop so it’s perfectly cut
  • A widdly 8.5/10
  • Cost: Prices vary as Mr. Petrucci has a number of signatures including the new Flow Model, but anywhere from £2.95 for 6 and up. Very cheap for such a good pick
  • The Fender Deluxe Strat of picks – and that’s a compliment

Insta: @jimdunlopusa


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