Jazz III 30-Day Experiment

Inspired in part by the Cult of Jazz III ads that Dunlop has published, I decided to try to play the Jazz III picks exclusively for the month of November. I’ve been using the standard Dunlop Tortex picks (.88 and 1.0mm) pretty much since I started playing many years ago. I’ve tried to play the Jazz III picks in the past, but I like the size and feel of the Tortex picks, so I’ve always ended up going back to them. The purpose of this 30-day experiment is to see if I can get used to the size and feel of the Jazz III picks to add another flavor to my playing.

As I write this, I’m currently 20 days into my experiment, and it’s going really well. I really like the clarity and precision of the Jazz III picks. And, I’ve largely become used to the smaller size of the picks. I’m aware that there are Jazz III XL picks that are about the same size of the Tortex picks, but I didn’t like the feel of the larger Jazz III picks.

Some people complain that the smaller Jazz III picks are slippery. I have not found this to be a problem for me, but I should also note that I have not tried to play the Jazz III in a gigging scenario. In my experience, the smaller Jazz III picks are easy to grip. However, I do find that if I’m doing a lot of strumming, the pick sometimes rotates slightly, making strumming more difficult.

Speaking of strumming, this is the area where the pick becomes more difficult to use for me. I have a heavy right picking hand, and I find that I hit my right index finger a lot if I’m doing a lot of strumming. Frankly, my fingernail on my right index finger has been mangled this month. I’ve had to keep my fingernail shorter than usual, which affects my fingerstyle playing. I’ve been adjusting my approach to strumming to use a lighter touch, which has helped but hasn’t completely kept my fingernail from getting mangled when I play.

Strumming issues aside, the precision and clarity of the Jazz III picks make them worth the effort, in my opinion. I’ve still got another 10 days or so in my experiment, and we’ll see if the strumming issues work themselves out, but I would consider the experiment a success so far. While I can’t say for sure yet if I’ll continue using the Jazz III picks exclusively after my experiment is over, I can say that I’ll definitely be using the Jazz III picks in some form after the experiment is over. They add a new sound to my playing that I can’t get from the regular Tortex picks.

As an aside, I’ve ordered a pack of the newer Tortex TIII picks, which (theoretically) combine the feel of the Tortex picks with the precision of the Jazz III picks. This combination seems like it could be a perfect fit for me. Perhaps I’ll do a 30-day experiment using only TIII picks in December.


  1. Robert says

    I switch to the Jazz III about two years ago from the tortex pics and love them. I tried the tortex tiii and for what I was playing I ran through them every few days. The tips wore out quick, so I went back to the Jazz III. I also had the problem of the pick spinning in my grip so I started using these : http://www.jimdunlop.com/product/max-grip-jazz-III

    gives you the precision of the Jazz III with some grip enhancement. Although one of the guys I played with couldn’t stand the feel of them.

  2. Josh says

    Thanks for your comments, Robert. I haven’t received my TIIIs yet, but I’ll see how long they last. I haven’t tried the max grip Jazz IIIs but I’d also be concerned about how they feel. I’ve tried a larger max grip-style pick that I didn’t like at all. Thanks for the info.

  3. says

    Cool post Josh! I am most interested in the T3 picks. I have always thought the Jazz 3 would only be good for shredders/single line players, so I have avoided it. The T3 might be the best of both worlds.

  4. Josh says

    Jim, I’m really interested in trying out the TIIIs. It does seem like the best of both worlds, but I’m also curious about how I’ll like the sharp tip on a larger pick. Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to try them out soon.

  5. says

    I agree with the previous comment about the TIIIs. I switched from a mid-gauge Tortex Pick to Nylon Jazz IIIs a few years ago, but wanted more grip…(I was quite fond of the Nylon JIII sound over the Tortex personally). I wore the entire pack down in a month…no joke.

    Recently, I started using the Ultex Jazz IIIs and the Ultex 2.0 version. Super thick…but I really like the clarity of response…way different sound than the nylons (not as warm, better dynamic response etc)….I prefer the 2.0s…but mostly because they are black…and the translucent yellow of the regular ultex Jazz IIIs can be a pain if you drop them (though depending on the environment…black is not much better).

    Also Ultex lasts practically forever. If you don’t lose them a pack of 6 could easily last you a year+

  6. Josh says

    I’ll have to try the Ultex picks out. I got a pack of TIIIs, and so far I don’t like them that much. If I’m going to use the Tortex, I think I’ll stick with the standard picks. However, even after my experiment, I’m finding that I pick up the JIIIs more than any other picks right now.


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