Childs Custom Guitars
"They Truly ARE 'Magic' Picks!!"
Let me start off by saying that I had never been one who ever enjoyed playing my guitar with wooden picks. To me it just sounded & felt.....wrong. Of course, all I'd ever used were cheap no name plywood-looking picks bought from eBay. The seller described them as being Lignum Vitae...a claim I questioned often due to the hideous sound it produced. I never really considered(which is ridiculous for a guitarist to say) the importance of the wood used on my six strings. Enter Magic Picks guitar picks made by Childs Custom Guitars.
In 2002, Mark J. Childs started The Childs Custom Guitar Company. Mark is not only a guitar player, builder & collector but he also is an artist(since the 1970s), selling a very unique method of creating fine art called solar-etched art. Childs is also beginning to apply this technique into his custom guitar building. This form of art uses both the sun's powerful rays and a simple magnifying glass. Using the word 'simple' in any sentence regarding Mr. Childs' art seems an insult. I think you'll see what I mean when you take a look a few examples of his work below:
Two fine examples of Mark's solar-etched artwork:
Some examples of Childs' custom guitar builds
With each contact from Mark I learned more and more about the process of his style of guitar pick making. Mark, himself, makes all of the guitar picks. Some of the pearl and abalone is machine cut. He does all the CAD drawing and programs all the tool paths for the more intricate picks. The rest of the process is done by hand with the aid of several sanders. Mr. Childs cuts all of the pick stock from larger pieces of wood, such as turning stock used for lathe work.
He explained that picks like the koi(inlays) can take several days to finish. He stated that this type of pick can be a bit tricky to put together due to the pieces being so small. See koi photo included on this page to see what I mean. Other inlays & designs, such as the 'tree', swirly/vertigo, puzzle, flags, and checkerboard picks are all cut by hand using a jigsaw. Amazing.
All of the final polishing of the picks is also done by hand. And to complete the process, Mr. Childs uses a wax finish consisting of carnuba wax, bees wax and walnut oil. Each pick measures 1 7/32" tall by 1" wide and are approximately 2mm thick, though at the tip it seems like a 1mm-1.5mm gauge(PERFECT!). Besides the standard 351 shape, Magic Picks can also be purchased in 'mini jazz'(teardrop) shapes shown below:
Upon receiving my magic picks guitar picks, I was immediately pleased with the presentation of the product. Each pick was carefully nestled in its' own velvet, silk-lined drawstring maroon satchel. An extra touch of class, if you will.
The first Magic Picks guitar pick I removed from its' satchel was a beautiful Japanese-style koi fish with tattoo-like water as its' background. The pick itself was made of ebony. The Koi is made of an abalone body, mother-of-pearl head, Hawaiian koa fins and blue pressure dyed water. It is a marvel to behold and truly a work of art. I almost feel guilty using it on my guitar. Using this pick produced mid-to-higher tones from my dreadnaught. And that was the first and last time it will ever be used on my guitar due to its' beauty. I want to keep it in pristine condition.
The 2nd pick I tried out was made from pink ivory wood. This pick pulled out unique mid-to-low tones from my guitar. Very nice sounding pick and very 'soft' to the touch. Expertly made and even though there is no artwork on it, save for the Child's logo, it too, is a piece of art in its' own right.
The 3rd pick happens to be my favorite because of the fullness of low tones it brings out on my treasured Takamine. I can't say enough about the beauty of the differing tones produced by this pick. The tones come out almost '3D' in nature, and it 'feels' as though the pick 'blows' over the strings like air, but this 'air' creates a monster volume! I can say with confidence, that this is one of my favorite picks in my collection.
This pick is made of Lignum Vitae(Genuine Guayacan Officionale--NOT Argentine). is a deep dark brown color with a unique built-in grip. This strategic placement of the grips in itself is a treat! Pictures below will show the grip placement used to accommodate both the thumb and forefinger.
More of my Childs' Guitar Picks:
This is just a small sample of the designs Mr. Childs has created. The picks Mark makes can be purchased in many different woods, wood combinations & design styles. From 'pistol' grip to custom inlays, every pick is a unique piece of art. Some wood types utilized by Childs are: Pink Ivory, Ebony, Cocobolo, Curly Maple, Purple Heart, Kingwood, Walnut, African Blackwood, Lignum Vitae, Koa, Brazilian Rosewood Osage Orange, and many many MANY more wood types. Each guitar pick has it's own Child's logo etched right into the wood. Just as each pick has its' own tone & feel, each pick is quite unique on its' own. I am very pleased, as a customer & collector, with the quality of Childs Magic Picks guitar picks. Mr. Childs talents even reach out to drummers. Not only does he make custom drumsticks, but he also creates each set's individual display tray in matching wood. Not to be left out, Mark's woodworking skills have even created a treat for marble collectors as can be viewed, as well, on his website. I not only invite you to visit Childs' Custom Guitar website's link below, but I also encourage it. You won't be disappointed!