Not everyone is content to use a pick made from cellulose, nylon, or even stone, and
even the most diehard tortoiseshell user may want to change things up now and again.
Fortunately, offbeat pick variations and other unusual string-strokers abound.
Jellifish Plectrum Effect
Looking a bit like Sigmund the Sea Monster, the
Jellifish pick is not really a pick at all, but a series of
18 small pieces of guitar-string-like wire arranged
on a slight grade and held together by a plastic,
pick-like fob. You can produce a chorus effect by
grazing it over the strings laterally, or arc it back
and forth over the strings for a sound not unlike a
cello or a viola.
The Wirething Guitar Pick
This little oddity comes in models that use a nylon,
acrylic, or plastic injection-molded body with a small
metal wire made of steel or copper alloy for striking
the strings. Jerry Donahue and Gene Bertoncini
sing its praises, which isn’t bad company to keep.
Fred Kelly Bumblebee Jazz
This interesting hybrid is basically a yellow thumbpick
attached to a small, black flatpick, giving you
the best of both worlds.
Heet Sound EBow
While not a pick in the usual sense, the EBow
has been cool for so long and through so many
phases of musical fashion, that its actual method
of actuating strings—by focusing “a sympathetic
oscillating magnetic field” on them—is almost
secondary. Used liberally by everyone from Robert
Fripp and Adrian Belew to Radiohead, Bloc Party,
and Opeth, it’s almost certainly the most popular
device for coaxing sounds from a guitar outside of
a traditional guitar pick. With a sound somewhere
between a guitar synth and an angry cello, it’s simply
a must-have for every recording player.