Review – Riki Le Plectrier Big L

John Tron Davidson
February 11, 2019
February 10, 2021

I’m not going to lie – I love camo. Ever since I was a teenager, I have relished the opportunity to wear anything in camouflage, and even as I type this I’m sat in typically green forest camo hoodie, so it’s no surprise that I’ve got a couple of plectrums in this military finish.

What might be surprising, however, is that this extremely handsome plectrum comes from France. Not the first country that leaps to mind when you think of pick crafting, the Big L is nevertheless a product of Riki Le Plectrier, a gentleman hailing from Moosch in north east France. Having got turned onto his work from some truly incredible-looking titanium picks full of cogs and other things, I contact Riki and ordered a massive plectrum (also in camo) which I’ll be reviewing as part of a larger series on huge picks, and he very kindly sent me this in addition to my order.

I was pretty chuffed about this, as I always am whenever a company sends me picks, especially as this was one of 6 additional plectrums that I received. I was keen to try this out, and luckily, I’ve got a contemporary to measure it against, so on y vas!

The Big L is made from a material called acryswirl, which is like acrylic but swirly. Not a particularly scientific explanation perhaps, but tonally it should give you an idea of where it lies. Despite outward appearances, it’s extremely close in dimensions to a 351, with the only real difference being in length (a tiny, tiny amount). It’s thicker at 3mm, but the point tapers to a rounded tip, very similar to the Dunlop in sharpness. The grip engraved on both sides is very ace, and to be commended for its’ subtlety and effectiveness. The bevel here is elegantly sloped, though I personally found this arrangement significantly better for chord work. When it came to single notes, there was a bit too much surface area for it to be quite as slick.

That being said, there’s two important points here – one, that Big L is as good for strumming and aggressive chord work as one might hope, and two, that there’s an alternative model from Riki’s stable (the Rogers) that possesses a sharper tip. It’s also worth noting that while I personally would have liked more sharpness, this is not true of all players. I even know a guy who prizes that most hated of plectrums – the Sharkfin – above all others, so clearly it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.

The aforementioned contemporary of this unit is the V-Picks Tradition. This is a solid benchmark – Vinni’s see-through strummer is the same thickness and weight, and the materials are close enough together to provide a worthwhile comparison. The bevels are, however, quite different, with the Tradition sporting a more blunt, pebble-lick end compared to the thinner tip of the L. From a tonal perspective, this means that in both single-note and chord operation, the L is more open and breathy than its rival. The attack has greater detail, and while lacking the bottom-heavy bloom that comes with such a design, Riki’s number doesn’t manifest the same level of string noise.

If you’re looking for a perfectly finished, characterful plectrum with tremendous grip and little string noise then, look no further. If you lie next to your Charvel every night dreaming of how to perfect your alternate legato string-skipping then check out some of the other plectrums that Riki makes, but if you want a pick you can use every single day, this is that pick. C’est bon, alors!


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