A while back (all the way back to 2012), I did a little interview with Peter Punchowski. Since then the product has changed, and I thought it would be cool to see what’s new with Swiss Picks.. what’s changed, etc. Swiss Picks are a clever way to increase grip on the pick. If your picks “spin” in your fingers, you might be experiencing more fatigue and loss of control. Control is a nice thing to have when playing guitar.
– Where is Swiss Picks located?
We’re in Los Angeles, CA.
– What started your interest in making picks?
As they say, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” To be honest, it was really the need for a pick to fit my needs. Where as I could use a generally commercial made pick, I always wanted something better. Now, I have it.
– Swiss picks has a great design, but how does that design translate to function?
When it comes to the grip factor, I tried picks with sandpaper style scoring, which while they did grip, readjusting the pick during play was restrictive. So, with the raised edge design and these strategically placed holes, I can have all my needs met of feeling locked in with the plectrum while still having the freedom to not only adjust, but loosen up on my grip. This pick feels like a natural extension for me. It just glides perfect.
– What is the biggest plus in using Swiss Picks?
Aside from the grip and feel, I make these out of the best Dupont materials here in the USA which are not only longer lasting in terms of wear, but sound much better than the average made commercial picks that most players are used to and accepting of. Another big issue I had was the ‘clicking’ sound of other picks on high gain settings. The Swiss Picks motto, “All of the speed, none of the click.”
– When we spoke last, you added some new picks – What’s the difference between the Standard Cheddar vs. the Delrin?
Yes, I’ve just released the long awaited Sharp Cheddar series, which have a sharp tip and are thicker than the original yellow one. The material base is actually the same Delrin base. Where the material changed is with the Rusty Cooley Edition Sharp Cheddar Series, which is a Polycarbonate base.
– How do these material differ from the Original Swiss Picks (and will you continue to offer the original)?
I’m happy to say that I have a great fan base for the originals, so they will always be a Swiss Picks staple and I use the 1.10 gauge from time to time myself. The Delrin is more of a pure warm tone, while the Polycarbonate has a brighter attack, which is what inspired the Rusty Cooley Edition.
– Tell us about these Rusty Cooley edition picks.. as well as Rusty Cooley!
Let’s talk about Rusty Cooley first. I believe it was in the late 90’s when Rusty debut CD came out, and I have to say that my friends and I were just FLOORED by this guy. Y’know, there’s a player that comes around every once in a blue moon that is a leap above everyone else, and Rusty is THAT guy. We’ve joked that he must be bionic. But what separates Rusty is his creativity in the speed realm. He does it his way, with techniques that though I can comprehend, I cannot recreate. Then he released the Outworld CD which further solidified his legend. I consider him to be a benchmark player in the idea that he’ll always be technically untouchable and 5 to 10 steps ahead of all of us. His new band/project, Day Of Reckoning is a brutal guitar assault that sets the bar even higher than before! Check out his music at www.RustyCooley.com
So,when I made the Sharp Cheddar’s, I sent some to Rusty and he loved ’em and they quickly became his only pick. Y’know, hearing that from one of your favorite players was just mind blowing!! But, there was an issue. Rusty felt the Delrin was too warm for his signature 7 & 8 string Dean RC models… So, to the drawing board I went and came up with a Polycarbonate base, which is a harder, glass like material that really brightened up & clarified Rusty’s low end. He was stoked & the Rusty Cooley Edition was born!
– You offer different shapes.. the Sharp Cheddar and the Sharp Cheddar Jazz. Will you be offering other types in the future? What’s next?
Now, I’m not Nostradamus.. haha.. but I think the Jazz Mini is must have and to be honest, I’d like to work with Tortoise toned materials and see if I can improve upon that sound. To work with Nylons would be interesting, and while our picks will have a common base, there’s always the extra ingredients that go in the mix to be bring out better tonal capabilities. My goal is to push the limits and stay cutting edge.
– These picks are stiff, sharp accurate pick, but will you be offering other gauges?
The Sharp Cheddars for the Shredders will always be a thicker heavy gauge, but we may work more with the originals in the gauge department. At the moment the 2.0 (Slab) will be the thickest offered, as when it gets thicker, I found that the string snap and dynamics suffer.
– How does the future look for Swiss Picks?
It looks great! I’m keeping this here in the USA, not bending to the corporate demands previously made on the company, keeping the orders website direct, and enjoying the great feedback from the players out there. The guitar players has been incredibly receptive and awed by my picks.. and at the end of the day, isn’t that the most important thing?