Eternal Life for Tortex Picks

By Matt Thompson

Here’s a little trick from my younger days as a highly-impoverished young guitarist. For many years I used Dunlop Tortex picks for two reasons: One, I liked the control I could get from the heavy 1.14mm-thick (purple) picks. Two (and most importantly), I found that I could easily re-sharpen them and get a TON of mileage out of a single pick. To resharpen, simply take a piece of carpeting, bed sheet, etc and rapidly pull the pick across the cloth, switching sides every few strokes to even out the “edge”. Minimal pressure is needed, as the heat from the friction is what does the work for you. The key is to pull the pick QUICKLY across the cloth, with the tip pointing away from you. He result is a nice, smooth and sharp end on what was a blunted-off, worn-out pick. If you prefer a more rounded tip, a few strokes “on end” will round this off nicely. This can be done with most types of pick material, but I found it worked best with the heavy Tortex picks, as they seemed to last the longest of any I tried. Instead of having to switch picks every few songs, I was able to use the same pick for a WEEK of more of 2-3 practices/gigs per week. I was able to very easily experiment with different sizes and tip shapes to find the one that was “right” for me. I grew to like the fine control I got from this combination of heavy and sharp picks, so I began sharpening them in this fashion prior to first use. Eventually, I noticed that Dunlop offered them in this “sharp” shape, so I started buying them that way. I figured I must have been onto something!

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