Review – Timber Tones Malachite Azurite Composite
When I was a young man back in the 1800’s I would never have thought of using stone plectrums. Fast forward to 2019 and I’m chuffed to bits with using chunks of mother nature to smash out the riffs, and as I’ve discovered more and more more companies, so too has my interest in such things developed.
There’s more than one way to use materials though, and while the majority of builders craft their picks from a single piece of Agate or Jasper, Timber Tones have decided to go one step further and make this classic shape out of a composite containing Malachite and Azurite. Comfortably one of the best-looking picks I’ve got and certainly one of the most striking, it’s quite the thing to behold, so how does it fare in practice?
Clocking in at 2.5mm, the ‘Kite – as I’m choosing to refer to it – has shoulders that are quite square compared to the 351 on which it’s based, with a flat top edge. The upper grip section is carefully smoothed, and there’s a noticeable lip before it descends towards the playing tip. Because the two stone types are mixed with resin there’s great grip on here, and the addition of this binding agent should help preserve this impossibly handsome things for the hours of play to come. Even with the most aggressive approach, this didn’t falter, and when strumming, the Kite stayed firm.
Timber Tones’ website recommends this item for ‘Electric Guitar and Archtop Jazz Guitar’, and I’ve got one of those things I decided to give it a bash on electric first. Certainly, there’s no shortage of enjoyment on the electric, though the rounded nature of the tip did lend itself more readily to chords and strumming rather than any blazing single note work. I’m hardly someone who indulges a great deal in blazing single note work, but I’ve got to be thorough. I’d be hard-pushed to imagine anyone sitting with an 8-string Legator in their lap would look at a thin-tipped, broad-shouldered 351 and think ‘that’s the one for me!’ but in case you are that player, this is not for you. There’s too much resistance when going at serious speed with the right hand, and in any case, this shape isn’t really designed for that.
What it is designed for is strummed, vibrant chord work. Comparing it to a Tortex 1.14mm, the Kite is brighter and faster, though it shares a similar attack. I measured the tip’s thinnest point to 1.2mm, which would explain that, though the Kite as a whole feels much more comfortable in itself compared to the stiff, uncertain Dunlop. That’s not a huge surprise given the differences in materials, as Delrin is naturally a little dull, and the trade-off is that while the muted Purple number produces minimal string noise, the Kite does kick out a bit of chirp.
I didn’t notice this so much on the acoustic, where this pick really does do the business. Strummed especially, Timber Tones’ two-tone offering was bright, open, resonant and lively, with a positive air to it. I’d go as far as saying ‘cheery’, and it certainly did seem to revel in being used for songs with a major-key tonality. When I ran it against similarly thick plectrums it definitely enjoyed poking its head over the parapet a bit more, and while the bottom end wasn’t a booming, pillow-y cloud, I wouldn’t expect it to be. Focused, springy and slanted to the treble side for sure.
This is a grand old pick for the up-beat strummer in you. If you like seeing the sunnier side of life, and want a pick with ace grip, striking looks and clear, treble-favouring tones, the Kite is a winner. If you’re an aggressive, trem-picking punisher who needs speed to live, it’s a wooden spoon. I like its beaming smile, its cloud-less sky, and the fact that it opens up the sound of an acoustic to deliver a genuinely welcoming thrum, favouring even brilliance over powerful mangling. The finishing is excellent, and given that it’ll last for a very long time indeed, it’s worth checking it out if you’re a player who spends a lot of time playing chords. Nifty!
- 2.5mm Thick
- Made in the UK
- A cheery 7.5/10
- Price Per Unit: $12.00, or £8.00 if you’re in the UK
- Perfectly-finished, defiantly handsome rhythm weapon