I’ll admit, back when I was starting I belonged squarely in the “I play bass with my fingers, like a real man!” camp. Picks were for guitarists. But, as I gained more experience and started freelancing, I realized that a pick is like technique; a good tool to use when the time calls for it. But, with that came the search for that pick that would work for me. So, while I was at the LoHIO Bass Showcase back in July, I was happy to meet the guys from SkinTone Picks.
What Is It?
It’s a guitar pick, that utilizes a patent pending core design with an outer layer of leather. The combination will “deliver the natural tone of skin with the same attack and familiarity as a standard plastic pick.” It commands a premium – street price is $9.99 for one – but I was very impressed with the demonstration, and wanted to give one a try.
How’s It Compare?
I grabbed a couple of my current go-to picks; a Gravity Classic Standard 3, a GraphTech Tusq A5, and a Herco Flex 75 (special thanks to my buddy, Mark Damon of the Pretty Reckless, that gave me this one). While all three of these had a bit of that signature “snap” and high end bite that you look for in a pick (in varying degrees), the SkinTone had none of that. It grabbed the string a little, and pulled it much like your fingers would. The top end of the sound was much softer. I would equate it to the difference between new strings and two week old strings. There’s a little more “thump” in the low register, but it’s very defined.
Where I found the SkinTone shined was in that “palm muting with a pick” tone. You want that classic motown sound, but you use a pick? This is the pick you want. The softer top end and the fuller bottom emulate the sound very well. It’s not perfect mind you, but it’s really close. And in a band context, it’s going to keep everyone on the dance floor.
It also seems to be wearing very well. Because it’s a pick, the edges you use are going to show wear fairly quickly. However, because the SkinTone is leather, instead of the edge getting thin and sharper – leading one to dull it back down by rubbing it on a carpet (I saw someone do it…honest) – it looks to compress a bit on that side, much like you’d suspect the material to do.
The SkinTone Pick isn’t going to replace that bite and snap that you like out of a traditional pick; it wasn’t meant to. It’s designed to be a middle ground between a pick and your fingers, and it does that very well. With its design, I have every confidence that this pick is going to be in my gigbag for a very, very long time.
Unless I lose it. Which is another story altogether…
For more information, visit www.shopskintones.com