Tucked away in Tennessee is a man by the name of Anthony Crawford. A chemical engineer by day and gigging bassist by night, Mr. Crawford has spent the last few years making some of the toughest, most unassuming plectrums on the market. Today, let’s dive into the quietly powerful world of Ace Performance.
Like the pedal world, there’s an abundance of outrageous-looking picks out there. Makers like Zen, Honey and Killy Nonis all make fantastically-coloured, brass-inlaid wonders that pulse with vibrant tone, and at first glance the Ace Performance range look undramatic. Despite this, they deliver some of the biggest sounds in the Plectroverse, and a wear resistance on par with any plastic you’d care to mention.
Anthony is guarded about the material, much in the same way as Michel Wegen. Whatever the substance, the amount of power in the Force range is simply incredible. I’m lucky enough to own several of Anthony’s earliest pieces, and even the thinnest examples (down to the 0.7mm mark) have more depth, bass and warmth than plectrums 4 times their size.
Clearly a fan of the traditional 351 and 346, Ace also offers a Jazz III-style pick, with polished and matte finishes in their principle material. Celluloid, Acetal and Teflon are also offered, with the Teflon picks being ideal for those who get especially sweaty. I’m a big fan of these for acoustic work particularly, as they produce a great bloom from even the smallest bodies, and the matte versions have negligible string noise until you pass the 2.5mm threshold. The self-lubricating nature of the material, not unlike UHMWPE, makes it excellent for baritones, as well as lower-tuned instruments with heavier gauges.
Ace are a perfect example of how much difference the material your pick is made from can make. If you want a rhythm pick that will last for a silly amount of time, or a bass pick with more thud than a pillar of beef, look no further.