Many pro guitarists have their favourite gear and no plans to change any of it, thank you very much. But others are often searching for new ways to evolve and absorb new approaches. And though they're often overlooked as a crucial part of the signal chain, guitar picks can be a huge part of that for all players. Myles Kennedy is a player who is very much aware of this.
It stands to reason; a guitar pick is in direct contact with your strings. It's a feel thing and guitar playing is all about feel. The quest is finding the 'right' one for you, and being willing to experiment. Well, Mr Kennedy has a head start on that; he simply looked over at his bandmate Slash.
Unlike Alter Bridge and his solo band, Myles is mostly vocals only with Slash and The Conspirators, but he's always taking notes from his guitar-playing bandmates whatever the situation, and it sounds like his riffs on the new Alter Bridge album Pawns & Kings (out 14 October) are reaping the benefits of that.
"I feel like I've hopefully evolved," he tells us of his journey as a guitar player since joining Alter Bridge and contributing as a guitarist to the band on the Blackbird album 15 years ago. "That's always the goal, right? Especially after 15 years. I think that I've certainly, from a technique standpoint, managed to get get certain things in my grasp a little better than they were just through woodshedding. And also having the opportunity to play next to guys like Slash and Mark [Tremonti] and you're right there; you can just turn to your left or to your right and see how they're holding the pick. How are they doing this? How are they doing that? And that will rub off on you to some degree."
And it was through watching Slash onstage that Myles decided to try a new gauge.
"I remember watching slash one night and asking him out of curiosity, what he was using for pick gauge. So I took it back to my hotel room later that night and was jamming with that and thought, I really like this. It gives it a certain attack and I now I see where he's getting some of that attack. And so that's now the same exact gauge and pick type I use. Little things like that you pick up along the way and you kind of incorporate into your bag of tricks that help you evolve as a player."
Choosing the best guitar pick for your needs can also mean multiple choices for different types of playing too – from acoustic to heavy rock – so we say keep trying out new types. It's certainly one of the cheaper types of guitar gear to audition!
In other Slash news, the guitarist was recently revealed as the first subject of the new publishing arm of Gibson guitars with the book Slash: The Collection.
The sumptuous coffee table tome focuses on the guitarist's incredble guitar collection and features photography from Ross Halfin and insight from Slash (obviously). It's written and edited by former MusicRadar man and current Gibson editor-in-chief Chris Vinnicombe.
Check out Gibson for more info on preordering.