Clark JM Jazz Mandolin
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"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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January 24, 2013 | The V-Picks Story


Terrific in-depth interview with our friend Vinni "V-Picks" Smith on The Gear Page. Columnist Brian Scherzer explores details of Vinni's intriguing history with the innovative pick design process and the explosive growth of his company. We've enjoyed working with him the last couple years we've offered our own custom JazzMando V-pick in our Merchandise Center in both clear and blue.


From the article:

Brian: What is different about V-Picks and why should musicians choose them?

Vinni: Well, first of all, we are the original acrylic pick maker. I started making these in 1980 and started the company into full swing in 2004. Other cast acrylic picks other than lexan were just not around until about 2 years ago. Now some are trying to follow the trend. However, we have a couple of secret sauce tricks that make V-Picks far above the others. We work with our suppliers and have mixed 2 different types of acrylics and added an inert material. This gives V-Picks even more of that gripping quality and characteristic. We also heat treat/temper our material. I learned this from an aquarium maker after moving here to Nashville. It changes the density and strength of the acrylic. These big aquariums you see that hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of water need all the strength their creator can come up with. This is why they heat temper them. What does this do to a guitar pick? It makes it much, much stronger and wear resistant. I can tell in 2 seconds if brand x acrylic pick is heat tempered. None of them are. This is why some of them chip and wear jagged edges and some even leave a dust residue on the front of your guitar. This does not happen with V-Picks. But honestly, for me, the biggest benefit our picks have over the competition is SOUND. The wide spectrum of tone generated by our plectrums is truly amazing. There is undeniably a big difference in tone. Every day I get letters, emails and calls from customers that are just blown away by the tone difference.

Brian: What exactly does "Heat Tempered" mean? How does it affect guitar picks?

Vinni: It means the same thing that it means when you heat temper metal or glass. It really does not change the composition of the material, but it does indeed compact it. This process makes it much stronger and denser. Just as with metal or glass, it must be heated up with an extreme temperature and then quickly cooled off. I am not talking here about the pick being heated up on a bench grinder or buffer. I am referring to a process that is purposely done for strength and longevity of the pick. If you are playing an acrylic pick, just call them up on the phone and ask them if their picks are heat treated/tempered. If they are not, then you are playing with an inferior guitar pick.

Read more: The V-Picks Story

Vinni Smith, founder V-picks, Summer NAMM 2011

Vintage Vinni on pick angle:

Posted by Ted at January 24, 2013 5:21 AM

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