Chicken picks is a company I found most intriguing. The very name of the company made me assume that they were made for country style hybrid picking, and perhaps not the most appropriate for the more common contemporary styles that we tend to play in the UK. However, a little research in to their picks tells you that, despite the name, the picks are aimed at far more than just country shredders. This Pick name confusion is an interesting subject because when I began using the jazz iii I was about as hard core a rock guitar player as you could possibly be! yet I was happy to play a pick that was called a jazz pick because my idols played them, so I think no matter what style you play, you should look at the chicken Picks brand as just a catchy name rather than a genre specific tool.
Naturally Chicken Picks do a full range of guitar Picks, but the one that seemed most appropriate for my tastes is their Badazz iii range, which I am reviewing here. The Badazz iii comes from a series of picks that chicken Picks call the Tritone iii series. Within that series is also the Bermuda range of picks. Both the Bermuda and Badazz offer three playing tips, but for the purposes that I need, I felt that the Badazz iii was most suitable pick to choose. I ordered a pack of two from UK distributor strings direct. The picks came in a plastic wallet with a small leaflet telling you about the pick you had purchased and the company. On arrival, first impressions were that this was a quality product from a company that certainly had a mission to produce the best picks possible. I used the picks for a two week solid period for teaching, recording and practice, so let's see how it stacks up compared to the famous jazz iii pick in accordance with my other reviews.
Thickness, Size and Shape
The Badazz iii comes in 2 or 2.5 mm guise. I opted for the 2 mm version and I found the thickness of the pick to be pretty spot on. The shape is also very good indeed. I like the fact that you have three playing tips, however there is only one sharp tip, so you will probably find yourself using the more rounded tips for chordal playing, and the sharp tips for your lead. For me, the size of the pick is slightly on the small side. It's not too small, but seen as though I always preffered the XL versions of the jazz iii, I find this pick is too small for my preference. I feel that if Chicken Picks made an XL version of the Badazz iii it would be pretty perfect though.
Comfort and Grip
Chicken Picks prides itself on the fact that you will not drop these Picks during play, which I thought was a very strong statement before I tried their picks. However when giving them a very thorough test, I found that I never dropped them once, and found them to be extremely comfortable to use. They almost stick to your fingers, which is lovely. They feel fantastic, and grip superbly.
The first time I used the Badazz iii it genuinely shocked me at how fast I felt I could play with it. The release from the string is like lightning. The picks are super smooth, glide across strings and genuinely allow you to rip through your licks for alternate picking, sweeping and Of course hybrid picking. The Badazz iii really impresses here.
For lead playing the Badazz iii is superb in this area. Single note lines are easily executed with fine precision, whether it be for riffing, or soloing. I found that the pick is slightly lacking when picking through chordal phrases where you are alternating through arpeggiated chords. I find this is down to the size of the pick, and is an issue I have with all smaller picks. Again I think if there was an XL version of the Badazz iii it would score even better here, but on the whole this is a very accurate pick.
Material and Durability
The Badazz iii is made from the same thermosetting plastic that all of Chicken Picks guitar Picks are made from. They claim that the material is extremely durable, yet very smooth. I have to say, the picks are extremely smooth which makes them very easy to use. I like this a lot about these picks. They are also pretty durable, although for me they are not as durable as they claim. The Chicken Picks web page claims that their picks can last for years of heavy use. Unfortunately I doubt that somewhat. I agree that they do last well. And after a few weeks of heavy use from me showed only a little wear, but I can't see them lasting years. For me one of the nicest thing about the Badazz iii was the real sharp tip, but this did seem to wear down quite quickly. The pick doesn't wear down to a degree that makes it useless, but it did wear down to make it feel not as good as when it was brand new. For me, the material is very nice, for a plastic the pick plays brilliantly and i do feel that it is very durable, just not as durable as they claim. That's the only reason they drop a mark here.
Due to the thickness and smoothness of the picks,I find that it's very easy to control the Badazz iii. It's very easy to go from very quiet notes to very hard picked loud notes. Pinched harmonics and different articulations are all easily dealt with by the Badazz iii.
Tonally the Badazz iii is different to almost any other pick type. When I first picked up a Badazz iii, I tested it against many of the other picks I intended to try in my quest for a jazz iii replacement as I bought a lot of them in one go. When using picks made from nylon, delrin and other common materials, you don't find the tone changes too drastically. Then when you try natural substances such as bone or horn, the tone is different but not so that it makes your ears prick up. With the Badazz iii it genuinely sounds completely different to any other pick. It has a very warm tone that cuts out so many overtones that many other pick types deliver. It's a very honest sound that allows you to take control and make the pick do exactly what you want it to do.
I've used the Badazz iii for everything from pop, to rock, jazz, country, metal, shred, everything really. The pick does a superb job at everything that involves intricate lead guitar and riffing. Where the pick gets let down slightly is when you want to strum chords, whether that's standard open chord strumming or funk rhythm guitar. For me the size of the pick is too small for comfortable strumming and also for funk rhythm you can't seem to dig in with it enough. To be fair most people who would choose this pick aren't perhaps looking to play every single style, but for me I would like this pick to be slightly better at handling just a few more things. In fairness, i think expanding the size would cure this, as the grip area makes such a difference for strumming.
You can purchase Chicken Picks from their own website with free shipping which is fantastic. The picks are also available in selected stores across the globe but you will struggle to find them absolutely everywhere you go. In the UK you can buy them from strings direct online retailer, which is where I got mine. A very quick and reliable service. Due to the picks plastic material though I would doubt that they are often out of stock, so if you like them you should be well covered.
This is an interesting subject with this pick. It's very expensive, costing $7.95 in the US, or £11.99 for a pack of 2 in the UK. When the average pick costs 50p in the UK, this does seem very expensive. However, Chicken Picks argues that because of the durability of the picks you may only need to buy one pack a year. Now I used to buy a bag of jazz iii XL picks for around £15 probably twice a year, so when you look at it this way, they are pretty reasonably priced. Im sure many players out there though will argue that if they loose them, it's a lot of money spent on a guitar pick. Personally I think the picks would be worth the money if you can get the most from their durability, and you can look after them. I think I would get through possibly four picks in a year with the way that I play. This would still cost me less than my jazz iii's did though.
The Badazz iii is an excellent pick that needs to be tried by anybody who is in the market for fast, accurate jazz style picks. Tonally superb, fast, articulate and accurate, this pick is certainly a favourite among the new crop I've tried. It's only let down slightly by its size. Perhaps trying the Bermuda iii picks from Chicken Picks Tritone series would cure this issue for those wanting a larger pick.
Final score 84/100