Amazing invention by Transylvanian music accessories company

Amazing invention by Transylvanian music accessories company

Image from twinpicks.com

The revolutionary double-blade guitar plectrum invented by the funnily-familiar-sounding Twin Picks company — and covered, among others, by Buzzfeed — is no longer an obscure webshop. It has distributors in 27 countries and is predicted to appear in even more places around the world. But is it really as unique as they claim? In a regional startup hub like Budapest, any success story is met with increased curiosity, so let’s take a closer look. 

Twin Picks display shelf at a music store in Budapest, Hungary. (Image from distributor musicmall.hu)

First of all, the Transylvanian part is not meant to be a joke: the inventor is truly from that region of Romania, with some of the operations in Budapest, Hungary. The reason double picks are special is that they increase and brighten the sound by basically having two picks strike the strings as opposed to one, as depicted on our cover photo.

Our initial findings show that most guitar experts who have examined these picks think that they’re a great product, but perhaps not for everyone. Extensive testing has so far produced a 60-40% ratio in favor of the pick, so the majority of guitarists would definitely buy it if they saw it in the accessories department of their favorite music store — and if they were also properly informed on what these are.

If you’re a guitar player, you can decide if it’s for you by looking through the demo videos further below or finding a local store that carries them, like Coda Hangszer, perhaps even ordering some samples from their rather inexpensive webshop.

Endorsements

“Awesome product, always in my gig bag.”

In an attempt to find truly independent expert opinion, we gathered some quotes straight from the source, not the company management. They are from guitarists with significant recognition in their field, who use Twin Picks.

Steve Kara from the Los Angeles-based old school psychedelic band The Electric Prunes (originally established in the 60’s) says:

“…there is no reason to not to have a Twin Pick or 2 in your arsenal…it gives you another color to pick from your tonal palette. I use a stock Twin Pick and a modified one for different flavors. The modified one has one of the two “blades”  filed down so it gives a more pronounced double pick sound turned one way (short blade face down) and a single pick sound turned the other way (long blade face down). I’ve tried rotating the pick to get the single pick feel, but the ridges hang up on the strings when picking fast…I also don’t like holding the pick so far away from the blade edges, so for me the big ridge where the twin blades meet gets uncomfortable after a while and leaves an imprint on my thumb. Most fast pickers like to hold the pick with as little tip protruding as possible.”

Noel Mayer, front man and songwriter of the Fonogram-winning band called The Poster Boy says:
(Note: the Fonogram Award is the equivalent of the Grammys in Hungary.)

“As a — mainly — rhythm guitarist, I always want to make my instruments sound thicker without destroying the strings, turning the volume on my amp too high, or having to use extra equipment. Twin Picks allow me to do just that. My acoustics ever so slightly, but very noticeably imitate 12-strings, while my electrics get a little extra boost from being strummed twice in less time than a blink of an eye. They’re very comfortable thanks to the dents for your thumb and index fingers, so I don’t even have to swap picks for the songs I play solos in. I even use the soft ones with my uke. Awesome product, always in my gig bag.”

Yet another endorsement comes from someone certainly not an acoustic rhythm guitarist, but a true rocking virtuoso soloist on the electric. The Brasilian Carlos Lichman does not only use Twin Picks, he believes in them so much that he actively promotes them. He created the video above at his own initiative.

Single vs. double pick demo

In all likelihood most people can just listen and notice the difference on these very short video demos taken from the Twin Picks Instagram page:

Single pick:  


Double pick:


Is it really a new idea though?

The invention appears so simple even to a layperson that it’s hard to believe no one has ever thought of it before.

For additional insight we again went to the source, which is easy in Budapest. Twin Picks managing director and inventor Zoltán Szilágyi happened to be at the Budapest Music Expo, sharing an entire corner section with the regional distributor of Warwick guitars, which at the time was also the Hungarian distributor of Twin Picks. As he admitted:

“Many people have experimented with double picks already, but none of them managed to tackle the problem of thickness. What others have done before was basically glue two picks together with a spacer, rendering the new product’s grip three or four times thicker than normal. But, you see, if you’re a guitar player who’s been using regular picks for many years you don’t want to suddenly switch to something so different from what you’re used to. Twin Picks, however, offers what we call a ‘slim grip’ design. It will feel like you’re holding a regular-gauged pick but still get that special sound.”

The secret is the patented "slim-grip" design: it feels thin to hold, thick to strum. (Image from twinpicks.com)
The secret is the patented “slim-grip” design: it feels thin to hold, thick to strum. (Image from twinpicks.com)

So, to get it straight, the idea of a double pick is not new. This design is, which Szilagyi has obviously patented.

Previous attempts have never become very widespread and perhaps now we know why.

Many guitarists are rather picky about changing their habits, no pun intended, but still appreciate a diverse sound. With the slim grip you can stay within the comfort zone of your routine and style well-developed over the years, but still experiment with new effects.

Business perspectives
Twin Picks inventor and managing director Zoltán Szilágyi (Photo by Mihaela Racolta)

According to Szilágyi, the company is working on multiple fronts. It is ready to expand its global network of distributors, while constantly developing new products and refining existing ones. The management is also open to new partnerships in joining forces to find all those guitarists whose playing could benefit from Twin Picks.

Given that there are an estimated 59 Million guitarists on Earth, it sounds like a job and half. But we do wish them the best of luck, as it also sounds like a humongous market to absorb unique new products.

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