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Picks!: Colorful Saga of Vintage Celluloid Guitar Plectrums Paperback – 19 Dec 1998

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (19 Dec. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879303778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879303778
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 16.5 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,061,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
The origin of the stringed instrument plectrum, like the wheel, fire and other monumental achievements, has been lost to antiquity. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Vile on 2 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
If you're a guitarist, like me you have probably hardly spared a thought for the pick you're using. Well this book will make you see them in a new light - a facinating history of the humble celluloid pick. It has the added advantage of giving you all sorts of interesting snippets of pick history with which to fascinate and entertain your non-guitar playing friends (not!)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
".... Picks. Funny little things. Nobody takes them seriously - confined to the musical periphery as picks are. Unnoticed. Humble. Overshadowed by performer and instrument. Residual servants that go about their task without fanfare, never to be included in a bow or curtain call. Ready to serve without notice. Asking nothing ...."

Thus begins what must be the most unusual and yet surprisingly fascinating book which is aimed at anyone who plays a guitar or any fretted instrument. (Banjos and mandolins feature heavily in the origins and development of picks).

I never knew this book existed until I landed on it by accident and, as the author quite rightly assumes, I never really ever gave many thoughts to picks as being worthy of much consideration beyond finding the type that suited me .... and therein lies the history and fascination of this book because the history of pick design, development, materials and style is much, much longer and more complex than I ever dreamed .... going back to the days of prehistory and the possibility of arrowheads being used to pluck bowstrings to make primitive musical sounds).

Now be honest - have YOU ever thought of that possibility as you slipped your own preferred pick between your thumb and forefinger and played that first note or chord? And how about those times when your pick slips from your grasp and disappears into the darkness or goes somersaulting through the air in a neat parabola? How often have you considered the efforts and ingenuity of pick-makers as they fought to solve the problem of 'the flying pick'?

No. I thought not. But Will Hoover did and thus he set out on his quest to discover everything he could about picks - or should that be 'plectrums' or maybe even 'plectra'?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This is a guitar-picker's must-read! 14 April 1999
By James R. Harstad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you want to have a good time reading about one of the most overlooked essentials of good guitar-picking, read this book. Hoover's style is direct, yet whimsical; his information is authoritative and far-reaching. I intend to write a followup review once I've had a chance to digest and reflect upon this small gem, but, as a guitar plunker (as distinguished from picker) of small talent and great enthusiasm, I wanted to add my applause to the nice things already said about Hoover's accomplishment by Chet Atkins and B.B. King.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Spectrum of Plectrums 29 Sept. 2007
By Stevie Leavitt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As the founder of PickNET (a free online global trading network for pick collectors) one might surmise that I'd know a few things about picks, yet I have to bow my head to pickmaster Will Hoover for writing such an informative and fun history of picks and teaching me a lot that I didn't know. The author clearly did his homework and has the knowledge and a deep appreciation for his subject matter. If I had to say one negative thing about this book, my complaint would be that it was too short. The great details and photos of vintage, promo, and celebrity picks just left me wanting more. A great read for the serious guitar pick devotee as well as for the casual music fans who want to know more about these seemingly mundane musical accessories. PICK up a copy asap! (Sorry but I couldn't resist at least one plectral pun.) Well done Mr. Hoover....Well done indeed!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Information on Picks 12 May 2007
A Kid's Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is a superb introduction to the subject of the history of the plectrum/pick/pic. Not many people think about the pick as anything but a piece of plastic but in truth it is the unseen connection between the instrument and the musician. It can be made from many materials and has a fascinating history. This book is perfect for the new collector.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
fun 19 Jan. 2011
By M. Rael - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Its funny but true: when you happen on a pick shape and material you like, you tend to make sure you dont run out of them anytime soon. And so it goes. This fun little book will have many happy months of bathroom reading (!) after I've gone through it a few times first. Well written, in a style that does not take itself too seriously but is also not mindless or silly. Get it! Its cool.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Picks 15 April 2008
By Buck Dawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cool little book. Great photos. Fastinating history. This is book would make a fun gift for a guitar playing friend or family member.
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