Click the image above for a larger view of all our picks with dimensions. These dimensions are approximate.
Note that our No. 9 pick has been redesigned to a larger format.
Note: For those of you not familiar with American money, the coin
above is what we call a "Quarter".
It is what our dollar is worth.
the mid-to-late 19th century there was a high demand for items made
from the shell of the sea-going Hawksbill Turtle. It's shell had
proerties that made it very desireable to the touch. It was warm and
comfortable. It just plain "felt good" to the touch. It was immune to
static charge. That's why so many items made from it were items that
were held close to the body. Ladies' hair combs, knitting needles and
fountain pens were but a few of these items made from the shell of the
hawksbill turtle. The problem was that the shell material was difficult
to come by and therefore very expensive. An alternative was sought out.
Our material is a polymerized animal protein that has many of
the same physical properties as real turtle shell which makes it ideal
for guitar picks. You could look at it as cultured turtle-shell. Many people who have tried picks made from this material cannot tell them apart from the real thing. Red
Bear Trading Company is the sole manufacturer of these picks.
Light: 1 - 1.10mm, Medium 1.11-1.30mm or thereabouts, Heavy 1.30 - 1.65mm, Extra Heavy 1.65 to 2mm or so and Gypsy Jazzer 2mm and up.
Note: If you are a heavy-handed picker, then use our
medium or heavier gauges of picks. The lights work great if you are
playing solo, or with a group in a quieter setting and also for
electric guitar. If you get into a flatpickin' frenzy (and who doesn't
every now and again), a light-guage pick could very well break. In
short, all these picks are brittle, as is real turtle shell. Be careful
with them. They are consumables.
HOW I MAKE THEM
First off - let me say that I do not make the material that these
picks are produced from. That process is so highly technical and
actually quite dangerous that I could never do it in my shop. I use a
laser cutter/engraver to produce the picks once the slab of material is
sanded to thickness. I use a variety of sanders, abrasive sticks
(fingernail files) and buffers to produce the final product.
Some folks are "pickier" than others when it comes to the
edges of their picks. We ship picks with either a rounded edge or a
sharply beveled edge depending on the style. If you prefer a rounded
edge to a pick that we make with a sharp bevel, it is easy to modify.
The picks sand easily so you can sand them to your own preferred shape
or edge contour using 320 grit paper or emory board. A thicker pick
with a sharper bevel will result in a brighter tone and more pick
control and will allow more speed than a thin pick. If you need to
restore the glossy finish to your New Tortis pick, use a buffer with
brown tripoli compound. When I make them, after the tripoli, I touch
them on a wheel with some super-fine yellow compound which is used
mainly for plastics. This gives them a "wet" look. If you don't have
access to a buffer, a jeweler can buff them for you. You can also
purchase one of our Pick Maintenance Kits, which include all the tools necessary to keep your Red Bear pick in top shape.
While these picks do indeed sand easily, they exhibit virtually no wear
at all - even after several months of daily use (in most cases).
CARING FOR YOUR NEW TORTIS PICK
Your New Tortis pick is very similar to real turtle shell so it must be
treated as such. Store your pick in your guitar's pick compartment. DO
NOT store it in your wallet or carry it around with you in your pocket
with metal objects. If you also carry coins, keys etc. in there, your
pick will get scratched and may break. In your wallet, it is doomed to
failure. The picks are brittle and if flexed will most likely break.
Also, don't let your pick go through the washer and/or dryer in one of
your pants pockets (see above warning). The material is hygroscopic
(absorbs water) and as such it will most likely deform if allowed to
soak in water. Keep your pick dry and clean when not in use. Wipe it
off during play time and do so often. I like to rub it on my pant leg
between tunes. This keeps it clean and ready. If you absolutley must carry your pick with you (and who would blame you?) please consider one of our Pick Fobs.
With proper use - as a guitar pick only (not a screwdriver, scraper,
knife, box-cutter etc.) it will likely last you a very long time.