This obsession lead me to a discussion with a friend of mine about his experiences with a guitar teacher. He was taking guitar lessons from a guy in Nashville. I share parts of our convo:
Q: but i cannot remember the name of the pick your teacher gave you: ebonite?
i think a blog about picks, etc. would be most amusing. i mean, it's like everybody is speaking a different language and we accept this idea of the shape, size etc. so readily, it's a good topic.
I've caught your pick bug. Seems Frippy is trying to be as scientific with the plectrum as the classical guys are with flesh and nails.
[A DIVERSION: Extract from Fripp's diary: Friday 15th June, 2001
Arriving at the club, waiting for John Sinks to open the door, I sensed an approaching presence: I know this sense - a fan was moving towards me, and they wanted something. Nothing "bad" about this person, a grey and mature King Crimson fan, and in any other context a joyful encounter. In this context, I was an object. The exchange:
G&MF: May I ask a favour?
RF: I'd rather you didn't.
Why ask if you can ask a favour if you have no intention of not asking anyway? But, the question was also continually addressed to John Sinks at the show, and the answer is no. There is a good reason.
The picks I use are not manufactured anymore. I have a small supply, this supply is dwindling and, unless a firm manufactures picks to my specification (we have tried without success for 14 years) must last me for the rest of my performing life. These picks are a necessary tool for me in my playing & are specific to the way I play. Regardless of the "fetishisation of the inherent and delineated meanings of my picking style", I don't have picks to give away - not even to Guitar Craft students. ]
Continuing my friend's email:
Q: also, why did your teacher use this pick?
O: and for my own sake: how in the heck did he "fly" using such a large, inflexible object?
That's the way I think about it. I don't know how my teacher thought about it. Whatever he was doing, he was doing it very effectively. I mean, the guy had some ego problems, some emotional problems but he was a highly skilled electric player. He jammed weather report and chick corea tunes with a band in public. He knew all the chords in all the positions, and could grab 'em in an instant. He played 16th note scales at 180 regularly -- clean (on his electric). I don't recall his record, but he would occasionally announce that he'd played 5 two octave scales up in the 200s somewhere to beat the old mark.
I myself am trying to launch a line of "Cicada" picks.
Some purport to assure a solid grip. Dropping them, under live conditions especially, is always a possibility.