Review – Valley Picks Pierced Jazz Bone
France is no stranger to a good plectrier. With the irrepressibly crazy Riki Le Plectrier making all sorts of mad things and their history of forward-thinking, our Gallic cousins are well represented. Given their history of being at the vanguard of plectrological development, I was excited to receive a bit of contact from Jean over at Valley Picks, an all-natural-material crafter based in the Pyrenees. Much chat later, and I’m reporting on this, the Pierced Jazz Bone.
Measuring 27.5mm long by 24mm across, the Pierced is 3mm of polished, Jazz XL-ish cow bone. The entire surface is buffed to a high degree, and the hole in the centre has been neatly cored. The edges of the Pierced are very gently rounded, and the tip was originally squared off.
The grip, especially for someone with dry hands, is excellent. That hole is so large and deep and the polish so well done, that it’s almost sticky. I’m forever looking for a grip like this – like Kirinite, but natural. Around the edges I can feel the time that went into the shaping of it, and it fits my hand like it’s supposed to. All good so far, but what about the sound?
Bone is very rich and bright, capable of delivering a sharpness when blunt that other materials can only achieve when highly pointed. Tonally there’s a sharpness to the bass, a gleam to the highs and firm mid-section. One might assume that there’s more than a hint of chirp, and you would be right – it’s 3mm and polished like a fancy candlestick – but I’ll take that. The speed through the strings and the force of the delivery make it an oddly comforting plectrum to use.
This is a pick with a lot of scope. Though its inherent character is one of chest-to-the-breeze grandeur and seriousness, it can have a laugh if you want it to. It’s a bit like Picard in Next Gen – a serious actor playing a serious character; when they smile it’s that bit more special. It’s very chirpy on acoustic, which is to be expected – on electric though, I’d comfortably put this in my top 10 picks of the year. Magnifique.
– A skeletal 8.5/10
– Price per unit: 10 Euros (pierced or unpierced)
– Un bon plectre d’un homme charmant