We’ve been exploring the possibilities of pick design since day one, always asking what else is possible and what more can be done to provide an improved playing experience. Tortex® Picks embody that pursuit—their bright, crisp attack and grip-enhancing matte surface are the result of a special treatment process painstakingly developed by Jim Dunlop more than 30 years ago. But we continue to ask what more is possible with Tortex Picks.

One way we’ve explored that question is through the expansion of available shapes. That’s because using a different shape can drastically change how a pick feels in your hands and interacts with your guitar strings. Today, Tortex Picks come in 11 different Tortex Pick shapes, more than any of our other pick lines. Here’s what each has to offer.

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The bright and timeless color palette of Tortex® Picks is just as important as their feel and tone. For countless players, the color of their favorite Tortex Pick gauge is part of their identity. Jim Dunlop first introduced color-coded gauges at a time when player choice and quality control were limited in the pick business.

For gauges, you were stuck with Light, Medium, and Heavy. Consistency was questionable not just from company to company—it was also questionable within individual companies themselves. Starting with Nylon Picks, Jim doubled the number of gauges available and noted the gauge right on the pick, in millimeters, to prove to players that he was serious about providing them with reliable options. Overnight, Jim established a new standard for player choice and consistency. Today, we take it for granted that a pick you buy today is exactly like the one you bought last month, or last year, but we can thank Jim for setting that expectation.

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Like long hair and a bad attitude, Tortex Picks are part of the fabric of rock ’n’ roll. Musicians worldwide have come to rely on their snappy attack, textured surface, and superior durability, and the turtle logo is an instantly recognizable icon to just about anyone who plays guitar. But Tortex Picks wouldn’t exist without the principle and persistence of the man who created them.

In the 1960s, Scottish immigrant Jim Dunlop brought his family to the United States from Canada and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. He worked as a machinist by day, but during off-hours, he pursued his true calling. Inspired by his love for playing guitar—he’s been known been to strap on a Les Paul and belt out a mean version of “Kansas City”—Jim was determined to use his machinist know-how to create guitar accessories that make playing music more enjoyable. He had a knack for finding the little details that kept good products from being great, the snags that guitar players just put up with because there wasn’t anything else on the market. Jim wanted to improve on those details.

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In 1967, the Jimi Hendrix Experience made its first major American appearance at the legendary Monterey Pop Festival. Jimi Hendrix demonstrated his almost supernatural mastery of the electric guitar, punctuating the performance by setting his guitar on fire, swinging it wildly around and smashing it on the stage floor. Hendrix had issued a manifesto in music form, ushering in the modern age of the electric guitarist.

His creative use of the tools at his disposal set a precedent for tone crafting and sonic texturing that countless numbers of players continue to pursue today. Hendrix was able to vary his tones in seemingly endless ways that fail to sound dated decades later. With equal parts sonic braggadocio and understated elegance, Hendrix used his hands, his instrument, his effects, and most importantly his ears to concoct a brilliant synergy of sound and song rarely, if ever, equaled.

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To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hendrix’s Monterey performance, we’ve created a special edition run of his favorite effects featuring iconic imagery from legendary rock ‘n’ roll photographer Gered Mankowitz. Below we take a look at how Hendrix used those effects to change the face of music forever.

So you’ve spent some time with the Cry Baby® Standard Wah, getting a feel for how its sweep works and when to use it to season up your licks. The time has come to step up your Cry Baby Wah game, to branch out and explore different tonal possibilities. But there’s so many to choose form—where to begin?

We put this cheat sheet together to help you find a starting point. This guide is broken down by musical genre/style. It’s meant to be a general overview—your personal tastes and playing style will, and should always be, the deciding factor when you choose your next Cry Baby Wah.

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