Christmas gift ideas for guitarists

PickBay

PickBay is a great way of either framing a special pick to keep with you – the pick you caught at a Steve Vai gig, the promotional one that came with your copy of Paul Gilbert’s Alligator Farm CD, the one you used at your first gig, or whatever – or for just making sure you always have a pick or three handy when you need them.

Link: PickBay

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INTERVIEW: Kevin Grover of Grover Allman

Picks (or plectra to those of us who like to use big words) are all too often overlooked when it comes to grear, but dude, that’s where your sound starts, so you really owe it to yourself to make your pick your own! And there’s no better way to make a pick your own than to have it printed by a company like Grover Allman, who have been printing quality picks for years, and more recently have made huge waves in the industry for their revolutionary photo picks (not to mention being very active and entertaining twitterers!). As you probably know if you’ve been reading the site for a while, I’m a Grover Allman user myself (pick up some I Heart Guitar picks by Grover Allman here). My latest batch reads ‘My other pick is my fingers.’

Grover Allman’s Kevin Grover talked me through the company’s history and its products.

When did you start the company?

The company started in 1990, there were no Australian made guitar picks back then. We invested a small amount of money and had an amazing response from our Australian retailers, as they say – the rest is history. Grover Allman now exports to over 25 countries and has sold in excess of 30 million guitar picks.

Do you remember your very first pick? I still have mine, and it makes me all nostalgic to drag it out and think about all the bad notes I must have played with it…

I do remember my first guitar pick; it came from one of our current competitors, however I don’t have it anymore. It was a brown medium celluloid.

The first guitar pick that our company made I still have. We made a small test production run to trial our tooling and the picks are now kept in a big glass jar. They were .85mm white nylons. We still sell them today as our performer series. Every time I look at the jar I reflect upon where it all started and where we are today.

Who are some of your star clients?

We have a lot of star clients on our books now. Please forgive me if I have left your band off my list as there are so many, there is no order of importance here, just what came to my head – Motley Crue, Bleeding Through, Klaxons, Extreme, Silverchair, Nuno Bettencourt, Nick Sterling, Suicide Silence, Living End, Cannibal Corpse, Slash, Joe Robinson, Bring Me The Horizon, Rammstein and many more.

You get lots of work from non-stars too: what are some of the more unique custom pick orders you’ve received?

We get requests for just about everything you could imagine on a guitar pick. We had a run of porn stars on picks, which was quite funny – maybe there are some discounts being applied for guitar lessons for porn stars? Haha. Weddings are very popular, so are album releases and tours.

Tell us about the licensed products you do.

We have a number of licenses currently. The Simpsons, Family Guy, Chicks on Picks, Drop Dead Sexy, Triple J and Beached Az ,all proving to be very popular. With these licenses we manufacture picks, straps, music manuscript bags and guitars. We are always on the lookout for new licensing opportunities.

The photo picks are a very bold step. Was it tricky to perfect the process?

Photo Picks have certainly opened up a great deal of possibilities for our clients now. We were the first in the world to print photographic picks; this was in the late 90’s. Unfortunately to produce photographic picks then was an extremely expensive process and you could only print picks cost effectively if they were large production runs. That situation has now changed, with our new processes and machinery we can now print guitar picks cost effectively, with print runs as low as 30 picks.

Grover Allman has invested over $1 million in specialised printing machinery and we have no doubt that we have the most revolutionised printing machinery in the world.

What other services does Grover Allman offer?

Grover Allman offers a number of different products and services and our range is continuously growing. The range now includes picks, straps, music bags, guitars, tuners, slides, jewellery, keyrings, and capos. We are getting a lot of our artists now asking for customised products for merchandise. This is an area that we are focusing on; a lot of bands gain their income through merchandise. If the merchandise range can be expanded upon this gives the fan a lot more choice at the merchandise booth. Our 5 packs of guitar picks have been very popular; bands are using these for tour memorabilia and CD launches. We have also had bands approach us for customised jewellery, another popular band merchandise line.

LINK: Grover Allman

 

I Heart Guitar’s 1st birthday giveaway spectacular!

Today is I Heart Guitar’s first birthday. That’s right, one year to the day since I decided to follow Mrs I Heart Guitar‘s suggestion to chuck a couple of stories online and see what happened. That first story is right here. And birthdays need birthday presents! But since the blog itself is not a person, it can’t really accept presents. So how would you like to win some instead?

1st Prize

1 LiquiFire 7
1 Crunch Lab 7
1 2 inch black nylon cliplock strap
1 Blk Instrument cable
1 Blk Jumper cable

From Australasian Music Supplies (Aussie Dunlop/MXR distributors)

Signed Dunlop Kerry King poster
Dunlop Kerry King shirt

10 I Heart Guitar picks

2nd Prize
From DiMarzio

1 Urban Decay leather strap in white
1 hot pink instrument cable

From Australasian Music Supplies

Kerry King signature strings
Crybaby shirt

From Grover Allman

10 I Heart Guitar picks
Runner-up (X3)

From Australasian Music Supplies

1 set of Dunlop strings
Crybaby shirt

From Grover Allman

5 I Heart Guitar picks

To get your hands on this sweet sweet booty (and there might be more to come – I think DiMarzio may also be sending some shirts and other stuff in addition to what’s listed above, and Chris from Riot said he’d throw in some CDs and posters but he’s on holiday this week!), email me at iheartguitarblog@gmail.com with your name and location. Winners will be drawn at random on September 16. I promise I won’t use your email for any purpose other than informing you if you win.

There are a lot of people, sites and companies to thank for making the last year so freaking awesome. Premier Guitar, Guitar Edge, Jon at Guitar Noize, Laurie at Truth In Shredding, Lewis from Japan Guitar Journies, JP from Strat-O-Blogster, Ava from the Jemsite blog – in fact, just check out the blog list on the right side of the page and click on all those links, cos everyone there is awesome.

Huge huge huge thanks to Mr Kosta Linardos, my editor at Mixdown magazine, for not having a problem with me using Mixdown stuff on the site.

Others who have hugely helped me out include Taylor Guitars, Jim Dunlop, Guitar Toyz, DiMarzio, Peterson, Grover Allman, IK Multimedia, Waves, Zoxsy, Native Instruments, Australasian Music Supplies, CMI, RJM Music, Shire Music, Rob at 1988 Media, Bob at Roadrunner, Andrew at Melodicrock.com, Mitch at Bravewords.com … and if I forgot anyone I’m really sorry, my brain is fried today but if you send me an email I’ll add you to this list!

And let’s not forget lovely gents like Bryan Beller, Paul Gilbert, Steve Turner, Joe Matera and Nick Brown! And anyone who has ever left a comment, followed me on Twitter or sent me an email about the site.

Most of all though I’ve gotta thank Pilgrim because she’s gorgeous and beautiful and super-supportive and I don’t know how the heck I got so lucky!

And our son (almost 3 years old) gets special mention for being really cute and funny and for getting almost as excited about pedals as I do.