On the weekend of the 15th, I was volunteering at the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Arlington Guitar Show. It was slower this year than it was last year – the booth and the guitar show. Bobby Montgomery and I were there for most of both days. Marcus Belmore helped out on Saturday with Harry Hewlett and Steve Sullivan helping out on Sunday.
There was plenty of time for each of us to wander around and see all the booths. As I tell people, if I bought another guitar I’d have to get divorce papers on the way home. So, while I look at the guitars while I’m walking around, I mainly concentrate on picks, capos, and accessories. I have impressive pick and capo collections.
Regardless of the collections, fortunately people are always coming up with something new. Despite the lower attendance, there were more booths. At the same time, some of the regular booths weren’t there this year – V-Picks being one. So there wasn’t a whole lot of new booths. Then Gus Gustafson dropped by the DSA booth. He told me about the picks that he and Jim Cobb had created and told me to stop by his booth.
I stopped by the Ultimate Fingerpick booth at the first opportunity. I believe it was Gus’ brother, Bob, I talked to. He explained to me about dipping my fingers in water to get them to feel snug. The idea for them came from the making of prosthetics. With a couple of close friends with prosthetics, I was fascinated. And the picks – or “fingers,” as the case may be, felt comfortable.
I bought the show special which included two packages of two fingers (Ultimate Fingerpicks) and two one thumb packages (Pick Pocket Ultimate Thumb Pick). I liked the way the samples felt, and I was anxious to see how they worked. When my son, Cameron, and I got home, I tuned my guitar and put the picks on. The way the picks are on my fingers in the picture is not how I use them.
I wanted to illustrate the two ways you wear the fingerpicks. You can either wear them as extensions of your own fingernails or upside down – which is how I wear them. You can also file the nails down to the shape you want. Gus said he takes his to the manicurist. If you’re picky (sorry), that would be the way to go. Particularly if you’re using them as extensions of your own fingernails – to keep the underside smooth. I use Cyndy’s bigass emery board. But it’s not easy or quick.
When you’re playing with them, they actually feel like your fingers – as opposed to regular picks. With no chance of them falling, particularly the thumb pick. I used to finger pick with just my thumb and first finger because the fingerpick felt weird on my second finger and it just didn’t happen. When I was using these picks on Saturday night, it felt entirely natural and, of course, added to the sound. You can also use any regular shaped pick in the thumb pick. Just wet it a bit and slide it in. Wet your thumb before you put it on and it will slide on easier.
On Sunday at the Arlington Guitar Show, I went back by the booth. Bob was talking to a customer so I looked at the picks while they talked. I interjected that I had used them the night before and they worked great. Which I hope helped make the sale to the customer.
I tried them out in a live setting at the Poor David’s Pub open mic that next Monday, hosted by Mr. Troll. Overall, they worked just fine, as expected. When I used the thumb pick as a regular pick – without the other two – it caught on the strings at times. But it was a blues tune, so it was more a matter of my not being used to them. As well as the fact that it was not designed for that. However, on one of my songs when I used the thumb pick alone on parts, it worked really well.
If you’re a guitar player and/or singer-songwriter, do your self a favor and try out these picks. The price is reasonable and it’s always fun to try new things. Who knows, it may even spark some creative juices to flowing and inspire a new song or style.
Peace be with you.