The Beginning Of The Moshay Pick

The Beginning Of The Moshay Pick

In 1958, I was working at a company that produced plastic parts for various instruments. One day I brought my Dad a piece of nylon bar about three inches long.

Dad asked what it was used for since neither of us had much experience with nylon other than clothing. Because Dad was a society orchestra leader for 60 years and was known as "Mr. Society of the West Coast," nylon was not something he came across very often. I told him that we made all manner of bushings and bearings from nylon since it was very durable, self-lubricating, and almost indestructible for those uses.

We talked about the many other uses for nylon, and Dad, being a violinist and banjo player, asked if it would be suitable for use as a banjo pick. Banjos have very tight and thin strings and wear out most picks very quickly, often after mere hours of use. So, to make a sample for him to try, I sawed a slice off the bar, filed and sanded it to a useable thickness, and gave it to Dad to use the next time he played the banjo.

After using it on a couple of jobs, he said it was perfect for playing the banjo. I then made a couple more samples for his guitar player. He also loved them. About that time, the company I worked for started to produce nylon material in sheets of various thicknesses, and I brought some home to show Dad. I made a couple more picks from the different thicknesses, and they proved to be more well-received than before

Therefore, it became a quest to find out if we could produce picks in different sizes and thicknesses. A mandolin player would use a different size and thickness than a guitar player or a Fender bass player. We tried various designs and finally came up with the design that had a hole in the middle to make it easier to keep it held between the players' fingers since the smooth nylon itself could allow the pick to slip while playing. Dad called it "The Skin Grip Pick," and he was able to receive a patent on it because of its unique design

We distributed some samples to the many string players Dad knew at the Musicians Union #47 in Hollywood. The "Skin Grip Picks" were an instant hit with all the musicians who tried them, so at that point, we decided to produce and sell them

We had dies made in three sizes in order to punch the picks from the sheet nylon that we purchased, and in the four thicknesses we found were the most useful to the musicians that worked with us in the design phase

In the early years, Dad did all the production himself: ordering material, punching out the various sizes and thicknesses, hand finishing the edges, heat stamping the name, as well as packing and shipping, the whole job

Since he was an orchestra leader who played only for private occasions, he had the time to manage and make the business come alive with his own hands

We were all very proud of his creativity and determination. After a few years, with all the production kinks worked out, we established a shop just to produce Moshay Picks

We guarantee the Moshay Picks will never break, chip, crack or peel and to this day, we have never had to replace one because of any flaw

When Dad retired, he turned Music By Moshay and his Moshay Pick Company over to my brother, Ray, a band leader and musician, who continues both businesses still today

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3 comments

I have been using Medium/Green Moshay picks since 1975ish.
Jack Grassel (world class guitarist from Milwaukee) gave me one and said he recommends nothing else.

I loved it instantly and bought every Medium/Green pick my local music store had in stock.
That poor music store has long been closed up but the Moshay picks have NEVER failed me.

I play guitar and Plectrum banjo and play hard!!
As I said, the Moshay picks have NEVER failed me.
They NEVER show ANY signs of wear, whereas the standard plastic pics i used to use would only maintain their size for 2-3 gigs playing the banjo.

I FINALLY LOST MY SECOND LAST PICK and it’s time to replenish my supply as I have not yet assumed room temperature.

Thanks for making one of the finest products still made in America.

Jim Kerhin

I’ve been using my last 2 picks for about 30 years and I’m shopping for spares.

Randall Dague

The first Moshay pick that I had was given to me by Ken Cartwright when I went in to visit his music store in Salem, Oregon. Ken has been a big voice in Oregon Bluegrass. He pulled a pick out of his pocket and suggested I take it and try it. It was smoothed and the name almost worn off, but it good shape. He said he’d been playing with that pick for 7 years. I felt honored he’d give it to me! I took that pick and discovered it was the best pick for an acoustic guitar I’d ever used. I played with that pick almost exclusively for the next 10 years! I would STILL be using that pick, but I was on stage with a bunch of musicians at a jam after a funeral for a professional jazz guitarist. I was worried someone might grab (and lose my pick), so I tucked it away in a pocket… and it was ME that somehow lost that pick after 17 years. – I still hope I’ll discover it somehow.
It took some research to figure out what kind of pick it was… and then I found a shop in New Jersey that would sell me some. I didn’t know what type I’d had so I ordered green… (I now know that “perfect” is the large blue pick)… I’ll save some money for an order.

Now, I recommend the Moshay pick to the developing musicians that I work with.

What stands out (besides the good grip), is the better tone that I can get with the Moshay. I never play with the point… I use the rounded back of the pick and with a slight angle to the strings, I can get a strong strum without any “slap” on the strings… no other pick can match that clean tone.

Moving Forward,
Daniel

Daniel Russell

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