Tortex is a type of plastic manufactured by the successful company named Dunlop. Jim Dunlop created the plastic known as Tortex to replace tortoiseshell guitar picks- since an international ban on tortoiseshell in the 1970’s restricted the sale of one of the best guitar pick materials used around the world.
Figure 1 - Standard Dunlop Tortex Picks
Tortex has since grown into an internationally recognized material. Popular bands such as Metallica, NickelBack, and Linkin Park use such guitar picks- even older musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Aerosmith were well known users of the brand. Tortex specifically mimics the ability of tortoiseshell to stay in the holder’s hand- which efficiently prevents dropping orslipping picks. Dropping a pick during a live performance can be a very serious problem- especially when sweating from pressure.
Luckily, the Tortex brand of picks won’t hurt the bank account, either. A dozen picks will run a few dollars- with customizations available for those looking to spend a little more money. In fact, Dunlop Tortex picks are the number one brand of customizable picks- and they are frequently given away at concerts by musicians. Snagging one of these picks can be a great investment- as some AC/DC picks can run for well over $100 or more.
Figure 2 - Custom “A Fire Inside” Guitar Pick
If a little extra tone is what you’re after, the Tortex brand delves deeper with specialized piks. The Jazz Guitar Pick series is perfect for a little extra tone control, although these specialized picks can run $10 for a dozen. This is around three times the normal price, but the extra durability and tone control can make even one pick last months- but don’t be fooled by the name. While the Jazz Guitar Pick suggests it is for Jazz, it has a very broad plectrum that spans metal, rock, and many other playing styles.
Compared to other picks such as the Fender line of picks, the Tortex outweighs the competition. For instance, some celluloid guitar picks make a clicking sound when a guitar string is plucked. This click sound is also apparent with more weird guitar picks- such as the six pence coin Brian May of the band Queen used. With a Tortex pick, this click sound is eliminated. Most celluloid picks are also quite slippery, and tend to wear out. With Tortex picks, extra grip is provided, and the material lasts much longer. The only complaint that could be given is that trough extended use, the lettering on the picks wear off- but honestly, who is going to be reading a pick in a live performance?
Overall, the Tortex pick is famous and renowned for a simple reason; dependability. Famous bands from all across different styles of music, time, and genres all flock to the durability and style of the Tortex pick. From the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Alanis Morissette, to your own garage; the Dunlop Tortex pick has no doubt become an internationally accredited guitar pick.