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RIKI LE PLECTRIER

PICKS OF MADNESS !

 

Many guitarists have the same questions

Which pick to choose ?
Made of what material ?
How thick ?

I also asked myself these questions, and I tried a lot of different picks. Some models slip, twist, wear out too quickly, etc.

Of course, there are high-quality picks from Dugain, Dunlop, etc., but visually, I never found anything that really excited me. The designs are often neutral and dull, or flashy but not really exciting.

Out of frustration, I stuck with basic models that are cheap, no more than 1 mm thick, and I had to replace them several times a week because of premature wear that inevitably rounded the tip.

One day, I stumbled upon the French brand “Riki le Plectrier” by chance, and I have to say that this time, visually, I finally took a blow ! Some of these picks are beautiful objects, like the “Steampunk” series, in which tiny gears are hand-set one by one.

Personally, I have never seen a pick like that… and I really fell in love with it.

Here are some handmade picks by RIKI LE PLECTRIER, french craftsman based in Alsace.

 

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Sure, it is more expensive than a plastic Dunlop, it is a handmade work, with products that cost a lot and are often hard and long to work with.

Prices range from 3 to 4 euros and can go up to a hundred euros for a model made of precious metal such as titanium, with gears cast in resin. These models are almost indestructible and are considered “Jewelry” on par with a ring or pendant, with a small hole to hang as a pendant, it is a gift for a guitarist, but they are real picks with real playing comfort and a lifespan….. maybe for life for the all titanium model !

For the sound differences of each material, I only used my ear to deliver my impressions, no measuring instruments or super ultrasonic frequency computers, no no, just my 2 ears and my musician’s feeling. All the nuances of sound that I speak of here are either blatant for some and more subtle for others.

Before starting, here is a little lexicon on some of the names of materials used:

POM Delrin: POM is a polymer, it is used in the automotive industry, sports, etc. Thanks to its structure and high crystallinity, POM offers very good physical characteristics, high resistance to traction, shock, wear, very low coefficient of friction and very good resistance to abrasion etc.

Polycarbonate: This is another polymer, the excellent resistance to shock and wear of polycarbonate makes it a hard material, very suitable for the manufacture of motorcycle helmets or police shields, but also furniture.

PMMA: This polymer is better known under its first commercial name “Plexiglas”, PMMA has many advantages including two main ones, it is transparent and it is resistant.

Alright, let’s go, let’s start with…

 

THE “RIKI WOOD”

 

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One virgin wood side and one side inlaid with an instrument (inlays made in marquetry style to avoid fading over time) It is made of Cocobolo, a wood that visually resembles the rosewood fingerboard of my guitar but a little more “rosy”.

Thick but comfortable in the hand, a very pleasant touch… the warmth of the wood.

SOUND

Being wood, the sound is more “muted”, warm, not flashy, the attacks are also precise, the tip is very pointed, an exotic wood that gives all its soul in its sound, one feels something special when playing, a feeling of something precious, almost spiritual. (I may be too sensitive)

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Length : 3 cm
• Width : 2,5 cm
• Thickness : can vary between 2.5 and 3 mm

 

CARBON MODEL WITH PMMA TIP

 

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A black carbon body, with the nice braided appearance, on top a sequined logo (see photo) and an orange and transparent PMMA tip, transparency that goes up on one side on three quarters of the pick.

SOUND

This model sounds more “soft” than the all PMMA model, the carbon body brings a little more roundness to the rendering while also being punchy.

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
•  Length : 3 cm
•  Width : 2,6 cm

 

CARBON MODEL WITH POM DELRIN TIP

 

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Again, a visual that I find very successful, a carbon body and a white Delrin tip. When playing with the light, the carbon body takes on a nice “braided” effect which is very effective and a mini hole adorns the top of the pick for those who would like to wear it as a pendant or keychain, great idea.

It is a featherweight, extremely lightweight and very hard, again, indestructible robustness. For the hold no problem, the coco stays well in hand and is very pleasant, a real discovery this model.

SOUND
The Delrin tip is not as pointed as those of the Riki Slide, the attack here is a little more “subtle” (especially in rhythm) this must also be due to the lighter carbon body than the all brass body. The sound on the other hand remains open, soft, rich and ample.

I really like this model.

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Length : 3 cm
• Width : 2,6 cm
• Thickness : 2,5 mm

 

THE “RIKI GLOW”

 

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A completely transparent PMMA pick with a flashy color and the mark of its master engraved in the center.
Again, a mini hole in the top of the pick for you know what now..
It is light and hard.
A perfect grip, nothing to say, the 3 mm thickness frightened me a little at first but I didn’t even need any adaptation time, it rolls smoothly.

SOUND
With its flashy color, one might think that this is a pick that one owns just for fun… and well we would be dead wrong, it packs a punch, the attack is frank, and the rendering is rich, powerful, clear, shiny and ample, as comfortable in solo as in rhythm, it is all terrain and harmonics rain.

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Length : 3 cm
• Width : 2,6 cm
• Thickness : 3 mm

 

POLYCARBONATE MODEL

 

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A transparent pick with a thumb slot, carved in “amphitheater” style, meaning with tiers (which are visible) like the tiers of an amphitheater, hence the name. This pick is slightly smaller than normal. As for the “hollow,” it performs its function well, but I personally have never played with the thumb held in this way, and even though I enjoy playing with this pick from time to time because of its tonality, I always return to picks without thumb indentations, it’s a matter of taste and cannot be debated, it must be tried.

SOUND
Its size allows for fast playing, with a bright and clear tone.

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Length : 2,6 cm
• Width :2,4 cm
• Thickness : May vary between 2.5 to 3 mm

 

POLYCARBONATE “IRON MAN” MODEL

 

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Iron Man, super cool right? I love it. You can see through the eyes and mouth, and this little pick is impressive. It has a very good grip and a small hole to hang it, it’s top !

SOUND
Larger than the polycarbonate model above (with the thumb indentation), our Iron Man maintains the same clear and bright tonality but with a bit more roundness and less prominent attacks.

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Length : 2,6 cm
• Width : 3 cm

 

THE 3 TIPS “RIKI SLIDE”

 

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I think the aesthetics of this model are very successful, a triangular pick with 3 points, a little “jewelry” side that suits it well, it looks “classy” and some might even be afraid to hurt it with their big, hairy hands full of big fingers… the big, “hairy Guitarist”.

But fear not, friends, this pick is made tough, you can wear it out for a long time without making the slightest scratch on it. It has a solid brass body (Riki the Plectrier also offers them with an aluminum body, a carbon body, and a titanium body) and therefore has 3 different points.

On my model we have 1 POM Delrin point + 1 Polycarbonate point and 1 Brass point, the latter being the extension of the body.

A pick that really feels “professional” in the hand, which could almost intimidate beginner guitarists to possess such an object, but I tell them that beginner or not, it would be a great disservice to deprive oneself of it.

A little heavier than a “normal” pick but it’s quite surprising because you expect something even heavier from its visual, more massive, but in the end it is still relatively lighter than what you expect. For my part, I find this weight ideal, I love this “light heaviness” between my fingers when I play.

The brass body’s edges allow for slides on the strings, in terms of creativity you can have fun. Very good grip, does not slip and stays well in place between the fingers. The central circle on my model is not just there for aesthetics, it also serves as a good grip in the hand.

To switch from one point to another, a quarter turn (what do I say, 3 points = a third turn) is enough, it can be done in a flash with a little finger while playing.

SOUND
– POM DELRIN TIP
The attack is frank, the sound is rich, soft, warm and open, very nice rendering, excellent! !

– BRASS TIP
I thought the brass tip would sound sharp, metallic, a little weak and “twangy” but that’s not the case at all, the sound is softer and more open than I first expected and even if the highs are present they do not predominate in the final rendering.

– POLYCARBONATE TIP
It is for me the most warlike of the 3 points, the sound is open, full and punchy, the rhythmic attacks are felt well.

Due to their very pointed shapes, “the attack of the 3 points” (that would make a great film title, wouldn’t it ?) is of a formidable, almost surgical precision, moreover their “slip” on the strings due to the size in bevel make you gain in game speed, I’m not telling you that you will turn into Steve Vai overnight but the difference is there !

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Length : 2,9 cm
• Width : 2,9 cm
• Thickness : May vary between 2.5 to 3 mm

 

STEAMPUNK BRASS MODEL

 

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What can I say…

It’s a real little beauty, what a visual! The photos already impressed me a lot when I chose it on the site, but then after receiving it, seeing it in real life… it’s even “worse”, or rather… even “better” I mean !

These tiny golden gears, with tiny little red beads in their centers and their reflections with the light, all coated in a kind of resin… what work, I can’t get over it: amen: They are handmade, each STEAMPUNK model is a unique model, there are no two alike.

The grip is very good, the thickness is a real discovery for me who has been stuck on 1 mm for ages, the grip is immediate and comfortable, the initial apprehension flies away within the first minutes of play. The lifespan seems huge considering other reviews I have read on the net, I will see in use.

The back (I say the “back” although there is no real sense in using it) has a more polished, more “brushed” brass, and is therefore more matte than the side where the gears are (which only appear on one side).

The price may seem high but considering the thing, it is top of the range, high couture, a real Jewel, a beautiful object that has a soul and a strong visual power, that sounds on its guitar, that one is happy to own, to show (I speak for myself)… otherwise have it given to you.

SOUND
A brass body with a (very sharp) polycarbonate tip, a “clear” sound and precise playing rendering. An open sound that surely comes from the brass body and a big peach with this very hard tip. Rhythms, solos, harmonics… no worries, he’s got it !

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Standard pick size
• Length : 3 cm
• Width : 2,5 cm
• Thickness : 3 mm

 

TITANIUM STEAMPUNK SERIES

 

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This is a model of the new “San Slide” Titanium shape, Steampunk series (this is the series with gears), titanium body and Peek tip.

This new series of picks, the “Titanium Series,” is to my eyes stunning in beauty, quality, and finish. This model goes beyond the pick, and beyond the simple sound test which, despite its qualities, no longer makes much sense here, at least for this model.

It is a jewel of goldsmithing, a handmade artisanal object, cut from titanium which is a precious (and therefore expensive) metal, each gear of the Steampunk series is placed manually one by one and makes each copy unique because they are all different (like the Brass Steampunk series as well).

Of course it is a real “pick” and in terms of sound on our favorite instrument we immediately hear that it is not simply hypnotically beautiful, no, it is indeed a real pick but thought of as a jewel! It is super light, it’s quite surprising, you feel like you have a carbon version in hand, it is lighter than its appearance suggests and I would even say it is lighter than the Brass model.

The titanium and Peek tip ensure enormous robustness and lifespan, titanium does not fear oxidation. Mine has undergone anodization to color it blue, other colors are available but I don’t know exactly which ones… You have to contact Riki for those who want the list of colors.

The price is high but it is well worth it considering the price of the materials used and the hours of work spent on it.

It is not the everyday pick and as I said, it has been thought of as a jewel.

It is an object with a small hole to wear on oneself, at the end of a chain or other necklace, always with the carabiner system that allows it to be placed or taken back in a flash. Do not make the mistake of considering it as a simple pick and telling yourself that you wouldn’t pay this price for a small plastic object that you can find for less than 1 euro (and which I no longer see the relationship with what is offered here) No, no and NO !

All those who take the plunge, guitarists or not, do not buy a simple pick at Riki le Plectrier, there are tons of music stores for that, you buy a work from Riki le Plectrier.

Since I discovered his Picks/Objects/Jewels, they have changed my perception of “disposable consumable” picks, these creations have become a reference for me, Riki is an artist, in the same way as a painter or sculptor.

It is a gift, to give, to give to oneself….. or to have given to you.

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
• Pick Size : Slightly smaller and less wide than a pick.
• Length : 2,75 cm
• Width : 2,45 cm
• Thickness : 3 mm

 

TITANIUM STEAMPUNK SLIDE SERIES

 

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And here, I’ll let you appreciate the work, as mentioned above, the sound test no longer has anything to do here, it’s the highest class !

Purity in the work… Purity in sound… It’s a marvel ! Surprisingly light when you have it in hand the first time, it is of “Titanic” robustness (hehe) A very sharp tip with deadly precision.

Solos are a joy and rhythms flow smoothly (isn’t that beautiful ?) It’s an addictive killer because it’s hard to let go once you have it in hand, you keep it, even when you’re not playing (and no, I don’t lend it out !) There are small strills of the most beautiful effect on one side of the pick for sliding and tearing yourself apart like crazy.

There is also always the small hole to wear it as a pendant… what an honor !

For the rest, you can read what I wrote just above for the San Slide because it applies even more for this model that hits hard, very hard !

Here are the size correspondences of the new shapes available on his website.

 

AVAILABLE SIZES AND SHAPES

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