Allow me to introduce the TEAM:
Jim Cobb- professional guitar player/singer-songwriter/performer
Gus Gustafson (me)- guitar player/singer-songwriter/business owner
Bob Gustafson- designer/product development.
Videography & post production by John Malcolm Smith
If you play guitar, banjo, resonator, pedal steel, or any other stringed instrument where you'd use a pick, you may have already experimented with various fingerpicking techniques to expand your playing styles. Most guitar players use a flat pick. Banjo and steel players use finger picks. Growing one's nails and adding a thumb pick to the mix is one common solution to gaining volume and tone from your thumb and fingers, since using the flesh part of your fingertips just does NOT produce the volume or tones that match up with that of a thumb pick. For those of us that just can't grow our nails with any consistency, or with the necessary strength to hold up to the steel strings, various finger picks have been introduced over the years into the marketplace. Also, acrylic nails, applied at the local nail salon, can serve a finger picker well, provided there is proper maintenance and under-the-nail fungus prevention. A percentage of the stringed instrument players in the world experiment with these types of artificial nails to double as finger picks. My fellow-inventor, Jim, even went through a phase where he'd GLUE flat picks to his fingernails to try and achieve the tones he needed, since, as a professional guitar player, he has always preferred playing with thumb & multiple fingers, over using any of the available flat picks.
Most of the aforementioned have their drawbacks and imperfections, with the biggest drawback of the various finger picks being that one is limited to the upstroke motion only; guitar players will relate, especially if they ever accidentally down-stroked and had the picks get ripped right off the end of their fingers! Flat pickers that cup the flat pick during portions of songs, so that they can finger pick, lose volume & tone if it's the flesh part of the fingertip making contact with the strings during that part of the song (plus, they sometimes DROP the flat pick that they had hoped to use again at some point in the song).
I was experimenting with acrylics, while taking guitar lessons, and was actually learning some finger picking techniques. Jim was having much better luck with the artificial nails. I had troubles with the acrylics, including fungus and improper maintenance, and even tried attaching various picks, in various ways, to my fingertips. One morning, while visiting Jim, we brainstormed some ideas for reusable styles that would attach to the ends of our fingers, and the lights came on! Through much experimentation and many trials, enter the Ultimate Fingerpick [UF]--PROBLEM SOLVED!!!
The Ultimate Fingerpick fits over your fingertip and has the look & feel of your natural fingernail, but with the strength of a pick. A musician can use one, two, three, or even four Ultimate Fingerpicks on the picking hand, and they are RE-USABLE. Even though they are not flat, the index fingernail can be used as your flat pick, simply by gripping it with your thumb as if you were gripping a flat pick between your thumb & index finger! The fact that one can DOWNSTROKE sets the Ultimate Fingerpick apart from all its competitors. Finger picks really haven't changed much in a hundred years, except for materials they're made from---UNTIL NOW! The Ultimate Fingerpick can really add an advantage to all stringed instrument players of the world, allowing for improved technique, with a feel as natural as your own fingernails. Touring musicians will want to keep a few in their gig bags, especially if they rely upon their nails for their performances. What do you do if you break a nail in the middle of a show?? The Ultimate Fingerpick to the rescue!!
For those professionals that prefer the viewing audience NOT be completely aware of how they create their sounds on a stringed instrument, we plan to eliminate the orange color, and go with natural flesh-tones/nail tones, so that the Ultimate Fingerpick will blend right into the hand.
Risks and challenges
Our "ideal" prototype vision & creation will NOT be right for every musician that may benefit from the mass-production of the Ultimate Fingerpick. In today's market, we certainly realize the need for size variations & pick material options. Ideally, at least two sizes and two pick materials need to be offered to the music world, right out of the chute! This goal will require multiple molds and multiple manufacturing product runs, which is why our dollar amount is set where it is set. Since we don't have a firm commitment from one particular manufacturer yet, we can't be sure whether or not we'll be able to launch two sizes, two pick materials, in two different flesh-tones [NOT the optic-orange as in the prototype], PLUS a latex-alternative product, simultaneously. We will, however, be able to successfully deliver a medium-sized, flesh-tone, latex rubber Ultimate Fingerpick with guitar pick material as the nail for our initial run, which will be used to fulfill the reward promises. Any funding that arrives from our backers above & beyond our goal amount, will only expedite the introduction of all the variations to the Ultimate Fingerpick we've described as necessary to satisfy the various needs of finger pickers the world over.
Our vision is to create a more subtle unit, in flesh-tones that could make the Ultimate Fingerpick practically invisible, for those musicians that prefer their finger picking techniques to be less detectable by the viewing audience. Our current prototypes, being optic-orange, might keep some musicians from trying this new invention, and we certainly don't want that! However, unless the quantity of the initial order is large enough, there exists an unwillingness among potential manufacturers to substitute our preferences in latex colors, finger cot sizes, nail materials, or even nitrile versus rubber for those with an intolerance to latex. 10,000 seems to be the minimum order we're faced with. The funds raised through the Kickstarter campaign will enable us to get a manufacturer on board to create the molds, use the ideal materials, and fill the initial order that will get the Ultimate Fingerpick onto the hands of our backers & their musician friends the world over!
We'd ALSO like to deal with manufacturers here in the U.S.A., and there are Design2Part conventions on the horizon, full of potential manufacturers of our entire product line! Quantities will be the key to manageable cost-per-unit pricing, and a variety of sizes, colors, and pick materials are all spelled out in the non-provisional patent---all the options we feel are necessary to satisfy specific needs of stringed instrument musicians of all skill-levels.
Mass production will require the creation of molds--Obviously at a cost, and cost will determine lag time between initial model and its variations.
We've created hundreds of prototypes already, and if necessary, could do our own assembly in order to fulfill the orders of our backers. However, we believe DEMAND will dictate larger-scale manufacturing and distribution, so we've already lined up meetings with potential manufacturers of the Ultimate Fingerpick.
The final non-provisional patent is patiently waiting in a stack on someone's desk in the patent office, for its turn to be reviewed and awarded the official patent status!! We look forward to possessing the official patent this calendar year, which will also open the door to licensing opportunities by companies that would like the Ultimate Fingerpick as part of THEIR pick repertoire. Licensing for exclusivity is an option we will entertain. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to read through our story!
QUICK BIOS for the Co-creators:
Jim Cobb- Professional musician/singer-songwriter; Front man for the Diddley Squat Blues Band, which toured numerous times around the U.S.A., covering their own blues styling & original compositions, as well as songs of the many famous blues artists from the past & present; Guitar player extraordinaire; Singer/songwriter/live performer; Creator of the Jive Jumpers musical group; All-around great guy!
Gus Gustafson- Promoter/Owner/operator of Crossroads Music Company & Listening Room, which mainly keeps live music ALIVE in East Texas by bringing National/Global performers into "small-town USA" to perform on the stage inside the Winnsboro Center for the Arts, as well as other locations in Hopkins & Wood Counties. The nurturing of local talent is high on Gus' list of important life goals, and you'll see many of these performers as opening acts for the bigger names that come to town. As a singer/songwriter, Gus performs locally, singing & playing guitar & harmonica as a single act or with other local musician friends; Also runs a "Blue Monday" open stage night in a local restaurant/pub.
Bob Gustafson- Designer for a corporation in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex, and very helpful with the creative process that resulted in a workable Ultimate Fingerpick prototype design.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: Why the optic orange color, and will I be able to get the ultimate finger pick in something a bit more subtle, so the whole world doesn't see it on my fingers?
A: Orange was only used for the prototypes, since it was the only color we could get in the thickness we desired. The end-user product will be flesh-tones, helping the Ultimate Fingerpick blend and practically disappear on your fingertips!
Q: Why October? Can't you accomplish this any sooner?
Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
A: At this juncture, we're uncertain how long it will take the manufacturing set-up process, and whether we'll have the means by which to set up multiple runs of multiple sizes and pick materials. You have our word that we will make this happen as fast as humanly possible [I, personally, will use the finished product for MY musical performances, too, so I'm highly motivated to see this through to completion!]