A line of guitar picks attached to a microphone stand has been a common sight at gigs for many years. Should a particularly energetic solo result in flying plectrums heading out over the crowd, the player is thus assured that more are at hand. PicBand takes a different, and very direct, approach to solving the problem – it allows guitarists to wear extra picks on the wrist and also keeps that pesky piece of plastic from wandering off on its own by tethering it to the wrist or fingers.
While there have been a few occasions when I have suffered from a pick flying off mid-solo, it hasn't taken any great effort to quickly grab another without impacting too much on fluidity. Had I been wearing a PicBand, the pick's desperate attempts at string-bouncing freedom may well have been short-lived.
Invented by ex-Air Force pilot James T Hollin, the PicBand consists of an elastic wristband which has room for extra pick storage, three picks of varying thickness, and a lanyard. Each of the special picks features an extended gripping surface and a gooseneck design that allows players to slot through a lanyard. The guitarist has the option of wrapping the lanyard around the non-playing fingers of the pick hand or attaching it to the wristband.
The company claims some ergonomic benefit too, saying that by simultaneously holding the tether and pick: "the musician consciously positions his/her inner wrist bone and forearm to maintain the proper orientation with respect to the forearm static vector (parallel to the guitar strings). The forearm muscles are then recruited to provide rotation of the wrist, and the corresponding up-and-down Pic movement causes more efficient contact with the strings of the guitar."
Having the pick always within reach is an appealing proposal but I'm not entirely convinced that positioning the lanyard on the outside of the picking hand would keep the pick within easy grabbing reach should it break away during a performance. I also worry about accidental lanyard string contact if positioned through the palm, although this doesn't appear to be a problem encountered during the demonstration video.
I can, however, see it being a useful aid to players who have problems palming a pick when chopping between fingerstyle and pick playing.
The full PicBand package is priced at US$12.98, with individuals components being available for purchase separately. A six pack of picks, for instance, is priced at US$7.
So is it a great idea or should leashes be reserved for the likes of dogs and surfboards? If anyone has tried it out, we'd like to hear from you.