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by Dan Grigor
I hate having a microphone stand in front of me and usually put it off to the side or behind me. Therefore, the standard pick holders that you see everywhere don’t really work for me. I hate that look of the pick thingie that fits on a mic stand right in front of a guitarist. It’s distracting and it’s often mounted in the normal place you would grab a stand to move it. I gave up on them and, like many of us guitarists, keep a spare pick hung at the headstock, sort of half-woven between the tails of my top 6 strings. That works fine on the 12-string but not on my Strat. You can weave one in, but not in a way that would be easy to pull out in the middle of a song.
Then I found PickGrips at NAMM 2012.
Click through to see PickGrips in action
One of my favorite things at NAMM is cruising the “little guys.” The smallest booths are usually taken by small vendors, row after row of startups there for the first time. Often this is where you find innovation and invention. Usually it is some wacky musician with a great idea for improving the lives of a single style of musician. Often it is a wacky new instrument or tech device. Some of these guys you walk by kinda shaking your head, like “What was he thinking?” Sometimes you walk by a genius.
This time around I was nearly running down the aisle on the way to a scheduled interview at another booth when these two cute girls pitched the crowd as we walked by. They were the only booth in the row activly marketing their product to the passing crowd. They were handing out samples and I grabbed one, took one look at it and said, “I’ll be back.”
When I got back I talked with Tina, the inventor’s wife. She was delightful and I would have talked with her more just to hear her giggle again. I love that about NAMM: you meet such cool people there, you make friends, trade emails and stuff, maybe someday have a BBQ. It’s great.
Anyway, I have a group of songs I play with my band, “Live Music: Call For Info,” that start with my solos using the tapping method on the 12-string. During the break however, I like to switch to single note. I really needed a solution to grab a pic in the transition, in the moment, without skipping a beat. This is what I found. Singles or a strip you can put right where your hand naturally goes in your particular playing style, nothing to distract your audience or get in the way, and easy to customize as promotional items. Seems ideal for what I do. I hope it is a solution for you too.
This is why I want these. Below is a video from a fundraiser gig with my band. If you watch carefully at the transition where I grab the pick, I nearly dropped it – and nearly missed the beat as well. The video is cool, with a fun jam in the middle. It’s a great love song, In My Arms, with my band “Call For Info” featuring Mike Mountain on bass and percussionist Ric “Scratch’n'Sniff” Tortorete.
I am, of course, playing my Larrivee 12-string, using right-hand combinations of fingerstyle, tapping and single-note techniques. The potential for disaster is obvious. PickGrips may just help solve that problem for me – though practice, practice, practice might actually have to come in to play as well.
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