August 27, 2021

Review – Jim Dunlop Teardrop Heavy

The recent revisions of classic designs by the likes of Meantone and Northern Ghost got me thinking about the old ways. Player’s needs, the demands of the modern guitarist and the abundance of material options yields a massive roster of picks, but what about the big companies? How do they view their legacy items, and what are those picks like to use? Today, let’s take a look at one such piece, the Jim Dunlop Heavy Teardrop.

Specs
Made from modern Celluloid and coming in at 0.93mm thick, the 23.74mm x 28.45mm Teardrop is strongly reminiscent of the 347 ½ picks from the Golden Era (1925-1955). While its overall surface area isn’t too different to the Jazz XL, it’s much more rounded, with gold lettering on one side only. Even to the casual observer, the feel is one of the old school, rather than the sleek presentations of the modern landscape. Charming, if you ask me.

Feel
Being a Jazz XL fan, I felt immediately at home with the Teardrop. It feels like a pick from a different time. This isn’t a positive or a negative, just a change in approach. It’s akin to changing from a Jackson to a ‘50s Strat, in that you don’t feel inclined to play the same lines. The pick is leading you that way. Celluloid is a defiantly retro material, heralding the earliest days of the Plectroverse. Being in a position to compare it to plectrums from the start of the 20th century, I can tell you first hand how eye-popping a difference bevelling makes.

In Operation
This is a weird experience. Perhaps because I’ve been playing rigid picks for so long, trying anything with give is always odd, but the Teardrop has a curious incongruence. The issue is that it feels more robust than it actually is. As is typical of Celluloid, the tone is quite dark, and it sounds closer to a shoulder than a tip. Compared to a Tortex Flow of the same thickness, it’s very muted, almost as if I’m playing through a heavy curtain. There’s a fluidity to it that’s truly enjoyable, even if it’s got almost zero attack.

This puts the Teardrop in a strange place. It’s not muscular enough for jazz, bright enough for general single-note work, or rigid enough to satisfy the modern scene. Despite this, I like it. It’s like playing with your tone half off – a muted, downbeat throb, best suited to after-hours ambience and noir-loaded chords. We don’t always need a hammer to be anything other than a hammer, and if you like your hammers dull and tiny, this is great. As they used to say in the magazines, not for everyone, but fine within its field.Vitals:

Vitals:

  • 0.93mm Thick
  • Celluloid
  • Made in USA
  • Small, dark and handsome

http://jimdunlop.com