Richard McVicker is one of those guys who when he runs in to an obstacle, immediately starts looking for a solution. We ran into him and his banjo picks in the exhibit hall during the IBMA World of Bluegrass convention in late September, and he explained what he has been up to of late.
As a novice banjo picker, Richard was frustrated with the discomfort he experienced with thumbpicks that didn’t fit him properly. Most banjo players can identify with this problem, as the picks are typically made from molded plastic, and especially when you are getting started, the “one-size-fits-all” approach tends to be less true than the concept suggests.
McVicker had spent his professional life as a draftsman, illustrating designs for patent applications, and the idea of creating something new was not alien to him. So he adapted the basic design of a ratchet cable tie into his Saddle Thumb Pick, and received a patent for his efforts.
He has been marketing these online and at shows for a few years, and satisfied customers began to ask for a similarly comfortable and effective finger pick. Back to the drawing board he went, and came back with a new Saddle finger pick using a split band design to hold them snugly on your finger. With a split band, he finds that the flesh which normally sits behind the pick bands – and attempts to push them off the fingertips – instead holds them firmly on your fingers.
Richard explains the process of developing and using both his original thumb pick and his new finger picks in this five minute video.
You can find both the Saddle Thumb Picks and Finger Picks for sale online. Thumb picks sell for $9.95 (2 for $17.95) and finger picks for $15/pair. A combo set of one thumb and two fingerpicks is offered for $22.