William Golding once wrote:
"The greatest ideas are the simplest."Every once and a while a product comes along that is so simple that it is a work of sheer genius. Monster Grips are that product in the world of guitar playing. Let me explain why.
Most guitarists play either a traditional heart-shaped pick, or the smaller Dunlop Jazz type pick. I was once one of those people. In fact I still use both of those pick shapes often, but I prefer picks made of delrin. That's usually not a problem for the heart-shaped picks, but for the delrin-based jazz picks, it is. I am constantly dropping them because they slip out of my hand. You know how it is; all those fans clinging to your leg during a solo and trying to tear your clothes off while you play - it's tough to hold on to my guitar pick. (Listen, a girl can dream alright? Focus on the pick-dropping issue!)
Many months ago, I made the decision to try out a more rare guitar pick shape: the home-plate shaped pick. If you've never heard of or seen one of these picks, it's because not many of your guitar heroes use them. In fact, Ritchie Blackmore and Lita Ford are the two biggest names that swear by the home-plate shaped picks made only by Pick Boy, a Japanese company. They are available through Osiamo, based in New York, but unless your local store stocks this kind of pick, you've probably never seen one.
I was inspired to try the home-plate shape because my guitar hero, Lita Ford, uses one and explains in several interviews how it allows her to use alternate picking techniques more efficiently. I figured that since I'm constantly trying to shred like she does, I may as well give it a shot. I was amazed by the impact of this new pick shape on my playing, but it also came with a separate problem: the material they're made of. Pick Boy makes their home-plate shaped picks out of celluloid. They look really snazzy, but I have a hard enough time keeping my delrin-based picks in my hand, and celluloid is even more slippery. Osiamo was kind enough to send me a multitude of picks to test and in that batch was also a bone-based home-plate pick, but bone is just as slippery as celluloid. How was I going to make my pick "grippier"?
I resorted to buying industrial "grip tape" that they use on stairs and steps for safety purposes. I then had to cut this very rough tape into tiny squares that fit on my home-plate shaped picks. Problem: the gritty material that the tape is made out of crumbles over time, and if you do a pick slide, the little crevices get stuck on the strings, making certain playing techniques tough to deal with. But I love the home-plate shape so I needed to find a solution. One that wouldn't result in any more X-acto knife marks on my fingers and picks.
This is where Monster Grips come into the picture. I did a quick Google search and came across their website. Monster Grips are a "super grippy, non-sticky, silicone grip that is ultra thin and stays clean." I figured this might work to fix the problem that so many sweaty-handed guitarists like myself have and offered to do a review of the product.
I was like a giddy school girl when they promptly arrived in the mail. I went from my mailbox into my music room and took out one of my much-loved picks. Would this be the product that finally allowed me to use my pick without a care in the world? Or was it going to be another gimmick? Lord knows the music industry is full of those. How did Monster Grips fare in my testing lab?
To say they passed with flying colors would be a huge understatement. This grassroots, Kickstarter-funded "invention" is quite possibly the product that revolutionized my playing the most in this past year. The Monster Grips work like a charm! They don't get sticky, they don't fall off the pick even after weeks of use, and best of all, you hardly notice they're on the pick at all. This product is sheer brilliance and as a result, I can use all of my favorite picks/pick shapes no matter what, and not fear dropping them due to a lack of grip ever again.
I also tried the Monster Grips on the regular heart-shaped picks and had the same results: strong, solid adhesion without sticky residue or change to playability and how I hold the pick. The product is so professionally and minimally packaged that unless you're looking for it in a retail store, you'd totally walk by it. But just like anything else worth knowing about, it's going to start out as a secret that a few "in-the-know" musicians are going to spread a little at a time, and if I know guitarists well, it will take off like wildfire. The good news is that while that fire is raging on, you'll be able to run knowing full well that your guitar pick isn't going to slip out of your hand any time soon.
While the target audience may be guitarists, Monster Grips knows that drummers, singers, and many other musicians and industry tech people will be able to benefit from their product. You can order Monster Grips directly from their website, where you can also find local retailers/distributors of their product. At $8.99 for a package of 16, this is a bargain that you just can't pass up.
Overall, I am thrilled to finally be able to use the pick that I feel most comfortable playing without having to take the asphalt-like "crumbs" from the stair safety tape out of my pocket any more. Monster Grips have got a hold on my pick collection, and they're not letting go anytime soon. In the words of Spinal Tap, if I had to rate Monster Grips on a scale of 1 to 10, they would definitely "go to 11".