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Also known as a plectrum, the pick is designed for playing acoustic and electric guitar and bass. Over the years, picks have been made out of various materials, including tortoiseshell, wood, metal, stone, and nylon, but today the greatest majority of picks are made of plastic. What’s more, most of today’s pick shapes were created by the same company that produced the very first plastic pick in 1922, Greenwich Village-based D’Andrea Picks. Luigi D’Andrea and his son came up with the idea after buying a few sheets of celluloid material from a street vendor. Since the first plastic pick was made, the thickness began to vary to accommodate the wide range of player styles and preferences. Thicknesses may vary across a wide range from 0.014″ for an extra thin pick, to 0.060 or more for an extra-heavy pick. Today most picks bear the logo of a guitar manufacturer, a music retailer, a famous band, or, in some cases, the signature of a notable guitarist. There’s even a global network for collectors to trade their picks called PickNET.

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