Dunlop Jazz III Picks: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Justin

The Dunlop Jazz III guitar pick, or Jazz III for short, is arguably one of the most popular and revered guitar picks amongst guitarists from various genres. Its unique size, shape, and material have made it a go-to choice for musicians seeking speed, precision, and control. This comprehensive guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the Jazz III pick, making it your ultimate resource on the topic.

Overview of the Jazz III Pick

The Jazz III pick, produced by Dunlop Manufacturing Inc., is significantly smaller than the standard pick size. It measures approximately 1.38 inches in length, contrasting the usual 1.5 inches of standard picks. Moreover, it features a sharper, more pointed tip that aids in precision picking.

Jazz III are typically 1.38mm thick, placing them firmly in the “heavy” pick category. It’s designed to provide little to no give, allowing players to achieve a level of control and speed that can be harder to reach with more flexible picks.

The Jazz III is most commonly made from nylon, known for its durability and smooth feel. However, in recent years, Dunlop has released the Jazz III in various other materials such as Ultex and Tortex.

The combination of the pick’s small size, sharp point, heavy gauge, and nylon composition results in a pick that is responsive, easy to maneuver, and capable of producing a clear, articulate tone.

Notable Features of the Jazz III Pick

1. Size and Shape

The Jazz III’s small size and unique shape are key to its appeal. These attributes allow for a tighter grip and more precise control over the pick, making it excellent for intricate lead lines and speedy solos. The pick’s smaller size may require a slight adjustment for guitarists accustomed to standard-sized picks, but many players find that it enhances their accuracy and picking efficiency once they’ve adjusted.

2. Material

The Jazz III is traditionally made from nylon, which is highly durable and provides a smooth attack on the strings. This smoothness can improve the fluidity of your picking and reduce unwanted clicking sounds. The nylon composition also ensures that the pick has a long lifespan, even under heavy use.

3. Thickness

At 1.38mm, the Jazz III is notably thick. Its substantial gauge ensures that the pick remains rigid during play, allowing for quick response times, particularly when playing fast passages or intricate solos. This rigidity also enhances note definition, ensuring each note is clear and distinct.


Over the years, Dunlop has released various versions of the Jazz III to cater to different players’ preferences. Some of these variants include:

Dunlop Jazz IIIThe standard Jazz III pick, made from warm-sounding red nylon, is an icon in the world of guitar picks. Its sharp tip and small size make it an excellent tool for alternate picking, and it is renowned for enhancing control and precision, making pinch harmonics a breeze.
Dunlop Jazz III StiffoThis variant has a stiffer feel, providing more resistance and thereby more control to the player. It is popular among those guitar players who prefer a firmer feel, resulting in a pick that does not flex as much as the regular one. The stiff Jazz III still uses the nylon, maintaining that warm tone Jazz III picks are known for.
Dunlop Jazz III XLThe Jazz III XL offers a larger size for added manoeuvrability, helping players who might find the regular Jazz III a little too small. This variant also uses the warm-sounding red nylon, resulting in a great pick that combines a familiar tone with a new playing experience.O
Dunlop Jazz III XL StiffoThe XL Stiff Jazz III combines the increased size of the XL with the rigidity of the Stiff variant. If you're a player who appreciates both size and firmness, this might be the best pick for you.
Dunlop Jazz III Max GripThis version maintains the warm tone of the red nylon while incorporating the Max Grip design's added traction. For fans of the original's tone but seeking a little extra grip, this might be your new go-to pick.
Dunlop Jazz III Stiffo Max GripThis variant enhances the gripping surface of the regular Jazz III, ensuring that guitar players feel confident holding their pick even during the most intense sessions. Its black color gives it a sleek aesthetic, while the more grip makes for a more secure play.
Max Grip Carbon FiberThis pick offers the enhanced grip of the Max Grip series with the added durability of carbon fiber. It still provides the sharp tip and control that Jazz III picks are famous for, with an added boost in resilience.
Signature Jazz III'sThe Jazz III series also includes a range of signature picks, endorsed by famous guitarists. Each signature variant brings a unique twist to the Jazz III design, offering a personalized touch from your favorite artists.
Tortex Jazz IIIThe Jazz III Tortex picks incorporate the popular Tortex material, known for its durable construction and bright tone. It's a perfect choice for those who love the feel of Tortex picks and the design of Jazz III.
Ultex Jazz IIIThe Ultex Jazz III blends the durability and crisp attack of Ultex material with the precision and control of the Jazz III design. It's a match made in heaven for guitar players who want a pick that can withstand heavy play while maintaining sharpness and clarity.
  1. Jazz III XL: This version maintains the shape and thickness of the original but is larger in size, making it a good option for players who like the Jazz III’s features but prefer a bigger pick.
  2. Jazz III Ultex: Made from Ultex rather than nylon, this variant offers a brighter tone and a more robust feel while maintaining the size and shape of the original Jazz III.
  3. Max Grip Jazz III: This pick features a molded grip surface, providing additional hold to prevent the pick from slipping during intense playing sessions.
  4. Jazz III Tortex: Combining the Jazz III design with Dunlop’s famous Tortex material, this pick provides a brighter attack and a more substantial feel. The great thing about the Tortex Jazz iii range is that you can get them in a wide array of gauges. From super thin and flexible, to medium and all the way to extra heavy and stiff and everything else in between.


The Jazz III pick is known to provide a bright, clear tone that is perfect for lead guitar lines and solos. The brightness of the tone is a product of its rigidity and sharp point, enabling the pick to strike the strings with more force and precision. This yields a tone that is sharp, articulate, and well-defined.

Having said that, the material of the pick will ultimately have the biggest effect on your overall tone.


The Jazz III’s small size lends itself to a tighter, more controlled grip. The player’s fingers are closer to the tip of the pick, which provides enhanced control and tactile feedback. This is especially beneficial for intricate picking patterns and fast, technical playing.

The Max Grip Jazz III variant also incorporates a molded grip surface for added security, ensuring the pick remains stable in the fingers even during the most vigorous playing sessions.


Nylon, the material used in the traditional Jazz III, is known for its strength and durability. It can withstand hours of play without significant wear or tear. The Ultex version of the Jazz III provides even greater durability due to the inherent toughness of Ultex.


The Jazz III has been endorsed and used by many professional guitarists across genres, but it’s particularly popular among rock and metal guitarists. Artists such as John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Eric Johnson, and Mick Thomson (Slipknot) have been known to use Jazz III picks. Petrucci and Johnson even have their own signature versions of the Jazz III.

Signature Variants

Dunlop has released signature Jazz III picks that feature small modifications according to the specifications of famous guitarists:

  1. John Petrucci Jazz III: This pick is slightly larger and has a polished bevel that allows the pick to glide across the strings with less resistance. It’s also made of Ultex for improved durability and a brighter tone.
  2. Eric Johnson Classic Jazz III: This pick replicates the properties of the Jazz III picks that Eric Johnson has used for years. It’s slightly larger and features a more rounded tip for a smoother, warmer tone.
  3. Kirk Hammett Jazz III: This signature pick combines the Jazz III shape with Dunlop’s signature “Vultex” material, known for its durability and bright tone.

All roads ‘lead’ to the Jazz III

In the end, the Dunlop Jazz III is a versatile and reliable tool that can enhance a guitarist’s performance, particularly when precision and speed are required. It’s a testament to the pick’s design and effectiveness that so many variants and signature models have emerged over the years. Experimenting with these different versions can help players find the exact pick that meets their specific needs and preferences.

Remember, while technical specifics are essential, the best pick for you is ultimately the one that feels the most comfortable and enhances your personal playing style.