The guitar pick might just be the most variable part of a player’s arsenal. There are so many different shape and material options, each offering something different to both the sound and feel of your playing experience. There are picks that make you sound bright, picks that make you sound warm. There are picks that allow you to play faster leads and picks that allow for smooth strumming. There are even picks that stand up to the thickest bass strings with the heaviest of attacks. In recent years, players have ventured in ever greater numbers beyond the classic shapes and materials. Modern innovations such as Ultex® now sit comfortably alongside time-tested favorites such as Tortex® and Nylon, and the Jazz III and Flow® Pick shapes offer strong competition to the standard 351 shape for the attention of today’s players.

Even so, there remain a number of picks that we like to think of as “unsung heroes.” They don’t get a lot of hype, but each has their own devotees—and for good reason! Let’s look at why.

The statement “Black Lives Matter” has become a global call to action, bringing much needed attention to the issue of systemic racism in the USA and around the world. Music has always been a powerful healing force, and we are determined to support healing, unity, and love through music.

These picks were created as a way to participate in the fight against injustice and to shine a light in the darkness. Proceeds from the sale of this product will go directly to the NAACP Legal Defense And Educational Fund, Inc., an organization that is committed to fighting systemic racism by promoting educational and economic opportunities in the Black community.

Last year, Green Day’s groundbreaking album Dookie turned 25. We celebrated that milestone with a pedal that captures the record’s super rad guitar tones—the dirty and punchy yet articulate sound that would become Billie Joe Armstrong’s signature. He got that sound by running his signal through two heavily modified amplifiers—one scooped with a ton of gain and the other with a well-defined midrange. When it came time to mix the record, the band blended the two signals together in different ratios to match the vibe of each track.

The MXR team carefully dissected that sound and created the Dookie Drive Pedal, a stompbox worthy of the name. That pedal was limited in number, but popular demand inspired us to release a couple more with special finishes. The Dookie Drive Pedal V3—bearing the upchucking unicorn from Green Day’s latest release, “Father of All…”—is available now, so get yours while you can.

In the meantime, check out our video interview with Billie Joe below, as well as our printed conversation with master designer Bob Cedro and gear guru Bryan Kehoe to talk about how the Dookie Drive Pedal works and how they nailed the Dookie tone.

Playing at home is a different animal than playing on stage. Playing live requires many different choices to be made—which guitar and amp to use, which pedals to put on your pedalboard, and so on. At home, though, there are no limits. You can just reach for the other guitar or plug in the other amp, and your pedalboard can be as expansive as you want it to be. Here’s what we recommend when it comes to setting up your own practice and recording station, utilitarian and creative alike.

Every guitar and bass player should seriously consider modifying their instrument, especially since most of us aren’t getting custom orders straight from the factory. It’s like having a tailored suit—maybe the one off the rack fits nicely enough, but one that’s specifically tailored to make you look good? There’s just no comparison. Instruments are like that. With a few adjustments, you can turn a decent instrument into a great one, or take an already great instrument and make it even better. Which mods you make is up to your specific needs, but we have two in mind that we consider to be mandatory and universal. As soon as you get a new instrument, you need to install the Straplok® Retainer System and Super Pot Potentiometers. Like, do it as part of your first setup.

Here’s why.