The GAS Man: How to Upgrade Your Rig for 25 Cents



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I either use a .73mm yellow Tortex or the pink one's if I can find them for electric. Nylon black 1.00mm for acoustic mostly. Has anyone ever heard of twisted picks? The very tip is angled to help glide over the strings sounds like a damn good idea instead of twisting the wrist



Last year, as I was struggling to find a "feel" for what I was trying to learn, I was buying picks by the dozen and that just seemed kinda stupid as they'd sit in the bag by the elevens. By chance, I found Listia on facebook, an eBay type thing that uses credits instead of cash and they give you a bunch credits to start and you can earn more easily enough to begin with. The easiest way to earn more it to auction off stuff you don't use anymore. I was able to win all sorts of different picks, some thick as heck, some thin as my breath, some crazy shapes and I got all of them without spending a dime, no shipping, no taxes. I did auction off some strings that I got a great deal on at Hello Music and a few other things, but I also scored a few tuners and pedals, also at no cost to me. For a beginner, I really appreciated the gear without having to invest a ton of money, just to feel my way through the growing pains. I've also won some Finger Ease, a GripMaster finger exerciser, an assortment of other types of strings and I could have won actual guitars (you've really got to be careful with those, they seem to be the favorite scam, though there are honest folks who deal with them), But, you get the same crap at eBay. I almost got scammed on eBay on a pair of Seymore Duncan pups on the cheap and they were so NOT SD's but I was able to return them and got my money back. Listia also has protections for scams, but you just can't be a pushover, just like most things in life. Anyhow, it's a great place to score tons of picks without throwing money away, I guess that's my point. Also, if you have someone send you an invite, you get extra credits, (so would I and I'm okay with that!). Anyhow, I actually have nothing to gain, but you can get free crap just like I did. Also, if you have stuff you don't need, you can help someone else save money like I got to. What's wrong with that?



As if to highlight my point, I just opened an envelope today from another Listia member. It had a variety of 32 guitar picks to dig through.



Chaosdsm, I think you've just inspired me to try yet another kind of pick!

Tom from the pickingzone, I never thought of the whole "attitude" thing, but you're right, a different pick changes my approach, which definitely changes my attitude.

By the way, I've noticed that significant others are VERY supportive of having GAS for picks--doesn't affect finances, and doesn't suck up storage space. In fact, my wife made me the pick box shown in the article. Inside, she wrote, "Life is short. Play Loud!"

Anyways, thank you both for adding so much to the article with your comments!



Hey William,
in the first lines of your nice article I get the feeling you can actually look into my brain ;-)
But I couldn't agree more: A pick is definitely a great way to change your tone. I'm currently doing a lot of sound comparisons, and while some sound pretty much alike, there a huge differences wetween others. Plus there is another cool aspect:
I think different picks sometimes give you a totally different attitude while playing. You play in a different way when playing a wooden pick you like, or a acrylic pick or whatever ... compared to the standard plastic pick. So I think it's a combination of the "changed physical attack" and your changed playing that make you sound different when playing with another pick.
And: there are absolutely great & cool picks out there! :-)

Tom from the pickingzone



I used to try just about every plastic pick under the sun looking for a pick that retained grip, and provided good tone... Not as cheap, but stone picks will last a lifetime & have some of the cleanest sound around & less pick noise, especially the beveled edge picks. Available in many different types of stone, including: Brazilian Agate, Jasper, Bloodstone, Jade, Obsidian, Turquoise, & even Amber which is said to very closely resemble (the illegal to purchase) tortoise shell picks.

Couple of online vendors: (they'll laser engrave your picks)

Just like with plastic picks, different thicknesses will give different tonal qualities. But unlike plastic picks, none of the ones I've used have any flex to them. I have a 0.84mm Brazilian Agate pick & it's as rigid as a plate of steel. Even though they are much harder than plastic, they don't seem to wear nickel / steel electric guitar strings at all, though they will wear down bronze acoustic strings pretty easily.

Only drawback is sweat, if you don't get a "grip pick"... sweat + glassy smooth surface = slippage - I've inadvertently slung that 0.84mm agate pick 12 feet onto solid concrete floor because of sweat & no chips, cracks, or damage to the pick of any kind. I've since bought a diamond bit for my Dremel & hand cut a cross-hatch pattern into both sides of the pick for maximum grip.

Bottom line, I haven't used anything but stone for 4 years, and I doubt I'll ever purchase another plastic pick as long as I live.

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