August 30, 2020

Review – V Picks Nexus

It is clear that the causal nexus is not a nexus at all.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

The first company that I started collecting in earnest, Vinni Smith’s V Picks have been doing the good work since the 1980’s. Born of the acrylic used to make aquariums (where Vinni first saw it), V Picks offer an almost impossible range of models, with more being released seemingly every hour. I own more from Mr. Smith’s company than any other bar the mighty Dunlop, and have been knocking lumps out of his models for years. Today, we’re going to take a look at the only model on which I’m not so keen, the V Picks Nexus.

Spectral Lore
Measuring 28mm by 28mm and coming in at 5mm thick, the Nexus is firmly in the middleweight category. Crafted from cross-cast acrylic and featuring the V Picks logo (and on my example, Vinni’s hair and specs) on one side, it’s got hand-finished ghost-buffed bevels. Although defiantly triangular, it’s nothing like a 346. The closest parallel would be the 355, though the Nexus is smaller and thicker by a significant margin. I’ve often wondered how players could physically use the 355 in comfort – Vinni’s creation is definitely more manageable, and I’ve yet to come across anything else with these dimensions.

Infinite Length
I did say I’m not 100% into this pick – it’s more out of annoyance than anything. Perhaps it’s because I grew up playing a lot of the Dunlop 500 series and prefer a more blunt shape as a result, but the Nexus is very long. Nestled in the crook of the finger, there’s a little too much poking out, something of which I am acutely conscious. This is not the biggest problem however. Nor is it the sound. All of Vinni’s picks share a smiling, good-natured spirit of which I am very fond, and the Nexus is an example of his serious side. It’s serious in the way that a tiny dog being mad is serious – the anger is perfectly endearing and wonderful. I found it lends itself especially well to trem picking, and the sloped, brushed bevels with their carefully rounded edges minimize string noise. The grip is also excellent, as is often the case when dry-ish hands and polished acrylic combine, so that’s not the issue either.

Chaos Emerald
The frustrating bit is the way it sits. I’ve tried every combination of holding this perfectly symmetrical plectrum, and in no way could I get it to stop rotating in my hands. This feeling extended from regular tuning to baritone strings, dulcimer and mandolin, so it’s not an issue with gauge. Single notes were fine, but anything chordal sent the Nexus on holiday, meaning that I couldn’t settle while I was playing it. This is maddening in the extreme, as the sound is engaging, spirited and slick, but keeping it in one place was like herding pandas.

Longsword
Does that mean you should avoid the Nexus? Not at all. HR! is only one person, with one pair of hands. As I’ve stated previously when discussing picks like the Iron Age Fenrir’s Fang or the Zen Katana, I’ve handed sleeker, longer picks off to friends of mine who play more technical music (or the mandolin) and they’ve been off to the races with them. This is a matter of personal preference, and were it not for the Nexus’ unfortunate shifting I’d be giving it a different rating.

Points
There’s not much that feels like it in the V Picks’ canon, but the closest in terms of feel would be the Infinity or the Ghost Snake. Both these picks will give you thickness, ghost bevels, great grip and loads of charming character. The Nexus is so close to being amazing – it’s the symmetry that lets it down.

Vitals:

  • 5mm thick
  • Acrylic
  • Made in the USA
  • A crazy 6.5/10
  • Price per unit: $10 at time of writing
  • Lovably difficult

www.v-picks.com