Dava Picks are quite a revolutionary plectrum as each Dava Pick doesn't fit any one particular gauge. You don't buy soft, medium or heavy gauge Dava picks, but you buy one pick that is designed to give you the best of all three worlds. Dava picks aim to achieve this multi gauge playing ability from a very clever grip area. The idea is based around three ridges in the center of the pick that Dava call the control region. How it works, is by gripping the pick by each different ridge to achieve different physical and tonal characteristics. Grip the pick by the first ridge, and your pick reacts in the same way as a soft gauge pick. If you move your grip to the second ridge the pick starts to stiffen, so behaves more like a medium pick. Finally when you move your grip to the third ridge, the pick is playing in its stiffest guise. This was first seen on Dava's 'control' pick, and is a novel idea that allows guitarists to change pick gauge on the fly for different genres and musical roles, such as rhythm or lead. On review here we are looking at Dava's Jazz Grip Pick, as this is the obvious contender to our Jazz iii throne, but for those of you reading this that are intrigued further by the brand, their range also includes Dava Grip tip, Dava Control and Rock Control picks. I ordered a mixed set of Jazz Grips, which came in a nice little plastic wallet including two of each of the three materials Dava offers for the Jazz Grip. So without further ado, lets see how these interesting picks stack up!
Thickness, Size and Shape
In terms of thickness, the Dava picks feel very similar to a Jazz iii, they certainly don't feel too thin, but are not edging towards a fat pick either. I found that the multi gauge grip area doesn't seem to have too much effect on whether the pick stiffens or relaxes. If anything, it softens up more when going for a rhythm grip, but doesn't really stiffen up much when you go for the lead grip. I think this is partly due to the fact that Jazz style picks are small in comparison to other picks. Players that are used to Jazz picks though will have no trouble making a transition to these. In terms of size, the Dava jazz grip is a kind of middle ground between a standard jazz iii and an XL jazz iii, which i found very comfortable. The shape is also very similar to a standard teardrop, which makes you feel quite at home with it if you've been used to playing with this style of pick.
Comfort and Grip
I found the Dava picks really comfortable to hold, and are super grippy. This is due to the rubber over mold the picks have. For whichever material you go for, the jazz grips all have a rubber over mold that grips amazingly in your fingers. These are possibly the best gripping picks ive ever used and they seem to sit in your fingers really nicely, a genuine pleasure to hold.
For out and out shredding these are some of the fastest picks you will find. I find that this is due to their slightly flexible nature. The fact that the pick is inserted in to the rubber over mold means that the pick flexes slightly more than you would expect a jazz pick to do, which really allows the pick to rip through the strings for alternate and economy picked lines. This does cause issues elsewhere though unfortunately.
This one is dependent on the material used which we will discuss in the next point. My favourite of the three materials are the nylon picks, and these are very accurate indeed, in my opinion due to the nice intermediate size, very sharp playing tip and excellent rubber grip. I'm not so keen on the other materials and didnt feel as comfortable with them, so the pick will lose a few marks here. If i'd tried only the Nylon picks i probably would have given it full marks here.
Material and Durability
The Jazz Grips are available in three different materials, Nylon, Delrin, and Dava's own Polycarbonate gel. All three materials have quite a nice playing feel, with a quick release form the string allowing fast precise picking to be easy. I personally found the polygel picks didn't give me much response, in terms of the fact that i couldnt really feel the string through the pick. At first i was shocked at how fast i could play with the polygel picks, but felt that the Nylon and Delrin versions of the pick felt more natural, probably as they are more common materials. I also found that of the three materials, the Delrin picks seemed to wear out the quickest. For me, the Nylon picks gave the best overall playing experience, with a great feel, and a fantastic durability. I cant work out why, but the Nylon picks by Dava have lasted me a lot longer than Nylon picks by other brands. This could be partly due to the flex in the pick, as the less resistance there is from the pick means it perhaps doesn't wear down so quickly. Overall i liked all three materials, but was the biggest fan of the Nylon. All three material types come equipped with the fantastic rubber over mold grip which i really liked.
Due to the more flexable nature of the Jazz Grips than we are used to from other jazz style picks, it does feel harder to dig in and get some really loud and aggressive notes with this pick. It does an alright job on this front, but isn't the best in class by far.
Tonally you get the same characteristics from the Jazz grips Nylon and Delrin picks as you get from all other picks made from these materials. The polygel version has its own slightly different character, but on the whole doesn't sound too different to the other two materials. The Nylon and Gel picks are probably edging towards the brighter end of the tonal spectrum, while the Delrin picks are slightly warmer, but overall these picks all give quite a rounded tone.
Ive played everything from jazz, to rock, blues, fusion and everything with this pick. It seems to handle everything pretty well, but i would say that its not quite as forgiving on a warm clean tone as a really stiff pick. On the whole the pick is pretty versatile though.
Dava's seem to be pretty well distributed world wide, discoverable in many places on the internet. I haven't seen them in too many shops in the UK yet, but getting hold of them doesn't seem to be difficult according to their website. I bought mine from strings direct in the UK. Arrived within two days.
My assorted Jazz grip pack cost £6.99 in the UK. This makes them dearer than a jazz iii, but i think at this price they are reasonable considering the nylon ones have lasted me ages, albeit not with constant use. I'd happily pay this for another pack of six Nylon ones, however i appreciate some readers may find this too dear in comparison with something like a jazz iii.
Overall i like the Dava Jazz Grips, but have to say my personal favourite is the Nylon. I would definitely go for a pack of these rather than the mixed bag in future, but this is obviously just down to personal taste. I find the picks to be versatile enough to cater for my needs, but perhaps are slightly too flimsy to be the only pick in my arsenal. I love how well it grips though, and its certainly really nice to play rhythm guitar with. The pick also really lends itself well to sweep picking. The Jazz Grip is a great pick, and with a bit of tweaking it could have been perfect for me. Definitely going to be a part of my rig going forwards, and perhaps will be a pick i use for teaching more often than live work.
Final Score 83/100