Invented by guitarist Paul Slingsby, who resides in Australia’s fabulous Gold Coast, the SnakePick has been primarily designed to mitigate the risk of your standard pick from slipping from your grasp due to sweaty fingers, especially whilst performing live. However, Paul also noticed how much his guitar students were having to concentrate on controlling their picks whilst trying to correctly position their fingers on the fretboard. A problem I am sure we have all faced at some time or another.
The SnakePick coils around your finger, with the tension created by the coil, and resembles a snake in appearance comprising a pick shaped head and coiled body. It is most commonly worn on the index finger and can be coiled clockwise or anticlockwise depending on whether you are a right-handed or left-handed guitarist. It is most common to wear it on the on the index finger and positioned optimally facing the thumb. It allows you to play various styles. Unlike finger picks you can strum and pick or use your 3 pick free fingers and thumb to pluck strings and it also allows you to turn the pick for different angles for various tones, just like a standard pick.
Having tried the soft, medium and hard gauges, I immediately noticed that, just like the standard pick, you really can achieve different tones with each plectrum with the added bonus that you can simply rotate the position you strike the strings without the fear of it slipping off. I also immediately felt a refreshing sense of freedom that I could imagine enhancing during my next live performance. It was slightly more difficult to manouevre into the right position to achieve the desired change in tone, but I put that down to the fact I am new to it.
It’s great fun to use when vigorously strumming down the neck towards the machine head. If you take your thumb off the pick when strumming, it really mellows the sound, almost like using your fingers, but with more edge/scratchiness – and I knew it would not jump out of my hand and leap behind the sofa. And one more thing – with a bit of practice I was able to achieve some excellent pinched harmonics (Nils Lofgren style) that I find exceptionally difficult whilst holding a standard pick.
These SnakePicks are good quality, easy to use and I reckon could help guitarists with arthritis that may find difficulty in holding a conventional pick. And although they may not be to everyone’s taste (especially the purists) I like them and think they are great value at $5.99 for a pack of 3.
I will be using one in one of next month’s teaching videos, so you can see and hear for yourself. The proof of the pudding and all that!