The Right Way Round? – The Orientation Of Plectrums

John Tron Davidson
August 6, 2021
August 6, 2021

Contributing more wonder to the Rep is our southpaw specialist, Lawrence Chaventre. A fan of giant picks and massive strings, Mr. Lawrence has penned this short piece about pick orientation. Please give him the big follow immediate at the link below.

Left Hand Wrath
Left handed guitarists and bassists are no stranger to the fate that befalls them. A choice of choosing their dexterity of instrument yields little variety of models and design, even dividing the musician’s community on the validity of such rare instruments.

Fortunately in recent years, brands have increased their choices of instruments available to these players but some gear still remains to be converted. The humble plectrum, however, has undergone a transformation where one can be bought in left handed form. Before you have to read that sentence twice, let us take a look into this design further.

The Shape Of Things
A left handed plectrum can be identified where a plectrum has bevels only on its left hand side. The southpaw angles the plectrum downwards, forcing the left hand side of the pick to make contact with the strings first. In the opposite fashion, a right handed plectrum follows the same design with a focus towards the right side. Bevels are often found on more premium picks that are made from the likes of acrylic, since the material needs to be crafted to a usable shape. The bevels help the plectrum glide through the strings being played, aiding efficiency of each strike.

A typical plectrum is composed of flat edges where there are no bevels at all. This is the plectrum that most players know and love. Users of either dexterity can play with these, as there is no discernible difference between which hand you use the plectrum in. The plectrum will gradually become worn in, which will be visible to the player, as the pick wears on one side depending what sort of player you are. Left handed players will see wearing on the left hand side of the pick whilst right handed players will see the right side take the punishment. Whilst most players will happily work their plectrum in, a pick that is already designed with the player’s orientation in mind will help their musical creativity even more, and at the same time, boost their sonic capabilities.

The Other Way
Most left handed players have tried to play a right handed instrument upside down. It is uncomfortable and bewildering and the same can be said of a plectrum that is not tailored to you. It is most certainly recommended to look at a plectrum that is designed for the player in mind. Although a more expensive option, a fully left handed instrument is worth investing in if you feel that will aid you in your playing. Likewise a left handed plectrum can be seen to do the same.

International Rescue
Whilst left handed players will continue to be in the minority, help is at hand with gear that we can use to our advantage. Right handed players are encouraged also to seek a plectrum for their orientation and the majority of independent makers offer left-handed bevels. Taking small steps to seek gear that can assist us as musicians is a journey we all undertake, and one that can we always learn from.

Lawrence is a collector of gigantic picks. With a collection spanning Hufschmid, Plumstone, Iron Age, Hippie and more. Follow him @l_chaventre and listen to our chat here:

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