guitar picks for the soul


My dad is a poet/writer and from time to time he sends around something cool by email (and sometimes I turn them into songs!) Here's one of his stream of consciousness jack-kerouac-meets-william-faulkner pieces about that ubiquitous tool of most guitar players, the pick:

guitar picks are an often overlooked area of knowledge. first off, they are a larval form of plastic coathangers. think, and you kin see that it's true! picks keep vanishing, and your closet gets more and more full of those dang hangers! they must taste good. many guitar players keep 'um in their mouth. it's a handy place, and I was told way early that such storage added to the flexibility of said gadgets. do the red picks taste like WILD CHERRY? but, I digress. they are produced in various thicknesses, colors, shapes and even modified versions. in the the '50's and '60's some plectrums (yankee talk for picks) sported cork rings or pads, rubber bands. or even molded thumb grips. picks will sometimes fly off yer thumb, and they will break from time-to-time. bluegrass and heavy metal music being sometimes prey to the latter. old timers often use a knife to crosshatch picks to avoid the former. thin picks are tricky to use. they make slappy sounds if abused, and heavy picks make buddy holly licks nigh impossible. the medium is a utilitarian way to go. now, the tip of the pick is not the only part that is useful. the rounded top edge offers tonal alternatives. also, a little work with a file can recover worn down points. shapes! hummm, the old 351 teardrop is standard. rounded and angular triangles are exhibited, but not frequently, and those little tiny mandolin picks? maybe somebody uses 'em, I never saw it. now, picks hide on carpets, between sofa cushions and fly into incredible hidden places given the chance. a bright "clown vomit" pick, or pink pick can save yer knees from clawlin' on the floor! tortoise colored picks can hide in broad daylight! you cannot get too many guitar picks. "picknappers" will rip you off, and yer main squeeze will knock 'em behind yer dresser while "dusting". this is revenge and don't let'um fool you. if you announce out loud, "this is my fav-o-rite pick", it will vanish within two days. 'no appeal, that's the LAW! keep a nice jar, with top, as a pick safe. if you are a real "picker" you'll often look at 'em like goldfish, or dump 'em out to look at them. the really odd, old or pretty picks, YOU WILL NEVER USE. once more, that's the LAW. picks like watchpockets. that's the little pocket you keep quarters or bus tokens in that are part of yer bluejeans. if you got a smile on yer face, a knife in yer pocket and a pick in yer "watchpocket" you kin feel safe. also, I have a bud who distains thumbpicks. he holds a flatpick (oldtime talk) wid his thumb and index finger, and uses his "old man finger" and "little finger" for "travis pickin'", "cotton pickin'" or 'most any black country blues stuff.!  hey, django reinhardt used a button for a pick! yep, I've seen people use a quarter, a plastic spoon and a haircomb to make good music!   now for the final french fry. the best wisdom I can offer is (drumroll), fool about wid yer pick using the index and middle finger and thumb while waitin' in any line or office. this is very needful for new guitar players. you kin "feel" the road through  tires in yer vehicle, right? 'same for getting the "feel"of the string array through yer pick. I've read WWII fighter pilots claim to have "felt" bullet or cannon hits in their aircraft wings. you might try watchin' TV holdin' yer axe. get comfortable wid it. hey, anybody, yer lover, mom, boss (oh crap!) ever say "put that damn thing down. I wanta talk"! cool, and good for yer chops! become ONE WITH YOUR TOOLS.


Photo is mine - my current preferred picks for acoustic guitar

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