Photo credit: Brian Lary
They've been around since ancient Egypt. Jazz players prefer them small. And they have been at the sharp end of virtually every great guitar record ever made. What are we talking about? The humble guitar pick of course!
Drawings of musicians using quills to pluck the strings can be seen on the walls of pyramids and they have been used in one form or another ever since. Tortoise shell, ivory, cuttle bone, stone, ivory, even coin (Brian May reportedly uses a British coin) - all of these materials have, at some time or other, been used to make the plectrum for the purpose of changing the tone of the sound, and making it crisper.
Derek Bailey, the English avant-garde guitarist and leading figure in the free improvisation movement, actually made his own picks out of dentist's material used for making crowns and caps. It helped him hone his experimental techniques, such as scraping the string with the pick or plucking below the bridge.
Now reports from Cleveland, USA, talk of a new pick in town. Jerry Mearini, 52, has created a stainless steel pick coated with the same diamond-like carbon material used on the windows of F-18 and F-22 fighter jets.
“Creating this pick was somewhat of an accident”, says Mearini. “I just wanted a high quality metal pick that I could use when I play my 1985 Explorer [guitar].
"I decided as an experiment to put a layer of Diamond-Like Carbon on it. When I tested the pick, I realized that this is the best guitar pick I have ever used. I passed out some prototypes to fellow colleagues and other guitarists and everyone agreed it surpasses all expectations."
And if you've got money to burn, Mearini has even produced one pick made from a diamond that will sell for $7,500 to $10,000.
Get your hands on a super-charged pick at Rock Hard Picks.