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May 2014
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How to Pick your Pick

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How to Pick your Pick


Alternative Picks
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. jellifish.com

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. wirething.com

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. fredkellypicks.com

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. ebow.com/home.php

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