By Mark Grant

When I first heard of this new innovative guitar pick from Bog Street I was instantly skeptical. I have spent years trying different picks. Early on it was apparent to me the pick itself was an extremely important part of my sound. For the past 10+/- years I’ve been very set on my picks after trying nearly everything on the market. It was exciting to hear that Bog Street was launching a Kickstarter campaign for their LEAP Series picks and wanted to send us some demo samples to check out as I’ve always loved the pick testing process.

These picks are three-sided and have an ergonomic grip area. They come in “Rhythm” and “Lead” thicknesses. Each one of the three sides has a different shape and thickness. This creates different sounds on the strings. It’s a great tool for somebody that is looking for multiple sounds, especially in one pick. The Leap series picks performed equally well on acoustic and electric guitars and produced pleasing useful string attacks.

Each one of the sides produced very distinctive sounds. The tip with the open circle is the shape of your standard guitar pick. The black filled circle tip is very similar to my beloved jazz III’s shape. Personally, I use red nylon jazz III picks when I’m playing my electrics. Nylon has long been my favorite material for the electric. The Goldilocks material to me: not too bright, not too dark, just right. It was great to hear that Bog Street chose to use nylon for these picks. When I’m not playing finger-style on my acoustic I like the brighter sounding Ultex material that Dunlop makes. The Leap picks sound great on the acoustic producing a beautiful bright attack when compared to the Ultex.

Leap series picks are extremely easy to hang onto thanks to the center grip surface being well thought out. There is a concave riser with a hole in the middle that seems to lock onto your thumb with very little effort needed to hold the pick. After thorough testing, I can honestly say these are great picks. Next time I’m in the studio laying down tracks looking for different textures I’ll be quick to grab the Leap pick and see what it can do for me.

I know the sharp tip will be great for lead work and staccato runs. The rounded tip is going to be for rhythm and chord work. You might find entirely different uses for this pick but I’m sure you will find it useful. It may produce the sound you like or maybe you like it because it’s easy to hold? They have currently finalized their designs, tooled up and have produced a run of demo picks.

The Kickstarter campaign is now live and I had some questions for Bog Street about this new product…

Guitar Connoisseur: Hi, Paul, I hear you are launching a Kickstarter to support your new product, a 3 sided guitar pick. Can you tell us a little about your picks and what your backers will receive through the Kickstarter campaign?

Paul Holcomb: The LEAP Series picks feature an ergonomic central grip area with 3 different pick sides. The grip area has a contoured feature on one side designed to provide stability and comfort to the thumb, and the opposite side allows freedom of motion and control for the index finger. There is a hole in the center of the grip so the thumb and index finger make contact while playing. This was created to improve the feel and comfort during play.

There are 2 models. The sides of the Lead model was created with the electric player in mind and the Rhythm model features pick sides designed with the acoustic player in mind.

Kickstarter backers will have an opportunity to choose one or both models in various packages that discount with scale.

GC: What are the shortcomings of traditional picks and how do yours improve upon them?

PH: Like many products, the Leap Series picks by Bog Street started as a journey to solve a problem. In the beginning, I simply wanted to create a guitar pick that was extremely comfortable to hold and didn’t fatigue the base of my thumb after extended play. The pinch-grip required to stabilize and control a traditional guitar pick is ergonomically awkward. I personally struggled with this as a beginner and I thought there could be an opportunity to create a design that offers greater control and stability without sacrificing comfort.

Another benefit is that these picks provide players with options in their hand to create different tones or switch up style without switching picks. In one session or in a single song you can change it up in real-time.

GC: How long has this product been in development?

PH: This project began just over a year ago. I started off by talking with experienced players because I wanted to understand how they felt about guitar picks. My goal was to make a product an experienced player would use, not just one for beginners. The design process has involved a lot of research, prototyping, learning, redesigning and then repeating the process. We’ve worked with close to fifty players along the way to test and give feedback.

GC: Why a 3 sided pick?

PH: At the beginning of the design ideation, the 3-sided pick design was born out of a need to create a larger grip area in order to create the optimal shape for the grip. To be honest, the first reaction that most players had was that they thought they would only use one side, so they questioned the value of three. However, we soon discovered that after they started playing with the pick regularly they really liked having options to change things up. It’s just something they never had the option to do before, so it added a new dimension to their performance.

GC: What material are your picks made from?

PH: Out of the different materials that we’ve experimented with, Nylon seems to be the leader at the moment. One other note is that the coloring of the picks are not final. We want the picks to be as beautiful in form as they are in function, so backers should expect a nice finish on the final production.

GC: Will there be other materials offered in the future?

PH: I expect our process of testing, learning, and refining to continue into the foreseeable future. So, if we learn that there are other modifications and options, such as other materials, that user’s feel is important, we’re definitely going to respond to that.

GC: How do these picks expand on the traditional picks already available on the market?

PH: If you walk into a guitar store, you can find dozens of pick options that are basic variants of 3 variables; thickness, shape, and material. Our focus had been on prioritizing the human factors of the pick; comfort, playability, and utility. We’re not in the plastics business, we’re in the players business. We have respect for tradition, but we want to establish a reputation as a company that’s willing to challenge the status quo when it makes sense.

GC: What is the goal of your Kickstarter?

PH: We have brought the development process all the way through to the point where we’ve built tools (in America) and tested an initial production prototype run. With a few minor changes, we’re ready to scale and manufacture. What we don’t know though is how many players are willing to try something different. The primary goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to create more clarity about the demand and to provide more fuel needed to bring the product to market.
At the moment, our goal will probably be between $5,000 and $10,000

GC: Will you expand the line with different shapes and sizes?

PH: Our plan is to evolve and perfect designs as well as experiment with new ones. We will learn a lot from the market feedback after our supporters take this product through its paces. We plan to respond to what we learn in the same way we evolved the design over the last year and it’s likely that the process will spawn exciting new designs.

GC: Serious guitar players are very picky about their picks (hehe). How are you going to lure them into trying yours?

PH: We understand that guitar picks are a critically important tool because they connect a player to their instrument. Experienced players tend to get used to a certain pick because they’ve built a skilled muscle memory with that tool over time. In the same way, a fine woodworker might have a favorite hammer they’ve used for decades. Sometimes though, in order to grow as an artist, it can pay off to try new things and experiment with new tools as times change. We’re not trying to take away anyone’s favorite hammer, we’re just hoping players will experiment with a new tool.

We have a lot of skilled and seasoned guitar players in our testing group and many of them were skeptical and resistant in the beginning. Those users gave us some of the best feedback that helped shape the product to where it’s at today. Many of them also became our most passionate advocates. We’re not promising that these picks will be everything to everyone, but we are confident that these will be unlike anything else they’ve ever used before.

To learn more about Bog Street you can visit their website at: bogstreet.com

To contribute to the Kickstarter Campaign Click here

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