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