Close Up: Strum-N-Comfort Picking Systems

Creating the Crossover Pick: A guitar playing hobbyist his entire adult life, Greg M. Atkin wondered what his next entrepreneurial venture would be after having a computer network support business in the early 2000s. Having trouble controlling the flat pick when he played his steel string guitar with fast tempos, he imagined what it might be like to have a more flexible pick. In 2000, he invented the SharkTooth Crossover Pick (a thumb pick designed for comfort), which quickly sold over 10,000 units and has been a popular product ever since. This ultimately gave rise to a line of Crossover Picks and the launch in 2006 of his boutique company Strum-N-Comfort Picking Systems. “My line of picks best serve guitarists who have skills in fingerpicking and flatpicking but have not been able to comfortably combine the two,” Atkin says. “With my picks, you can combine them on the fly, changing the technique—from sweep picking to strumming or flatpicking to finger style.” Early on in his new career, he joined the Association of Fingerstyle Guitarists (AFG), where he served as President and met many legends of the style.

SharkTooth: Named after the design of the flat pick that occurred when Atkin was first optimizing the custom shape, SharkTooth picks (sharktoothpicks.com) are made of pearl celluloid. They have soft and flexible sleeves with a plectrum designed to provide total freedom in guitar playing technique. The picking system facilitates what some have called a “universal stringed instrument method.” Three unique designs are available. The Traditional uses an interchangeable Velcro pick/strap assembly and can be easily adjusted for thumb size and for overall plectrum flexibility. It has a balanced up and down tension or playing feel. The second model, called the “Un-Thumb Pick,” is a revolutionary design that offers abundant technical flexibility, supporting the plectrum on the outside of the sleeve. Third, the “Hybrid” locates the plectrum on the front inside edge of the sleeve. Like a thumb-pick, it achieves a firm down stroke while also being suited for natural strumming and flat-pick applications.

Kodiak: Compared with the SharkTooth, the Kodiak Crossover Pick (kodiakpicks.com) is made of a polymer material that is more durable and longer lasting. They have a warm tone similar to the popular Tortextm brand flat picks from Dunloptm. It uses a simple twill nylon strap and offers a very snug fit if desired. The Kodiak model is a design combination that uses elements of both the Traditional and Hybrid SharkTooth models. The favorite of many pro players, the Kodiak’s basic package includes two nylon straps, two different gage flat pick strap assemblies (.8mm & 1.0mm) and instructions.

Altered States Guitar: Strum-N-Comfort Picking Systems is about to launch a new initiative centered around the Atkin created Altered States Guitar. Driven by the innovative AS 3D Split Bridge technology, this instrument offers a new way of voicing for the electric guitar. Atkin says, “With Altered States, there are many combinations of wood, metal elements and bridge configurations that contribute to the guitar’s timbre or voice. It always consists of two body wood selections. The neck design usually consists of a reversed cut laminated neck for strength and stability. The split bridge is the heart of the guitar which brings the pure wood resonations in the body to the guitar’s voice in a novel way.”

Tortex is a trademark of Dunlop Corp.

Contact Strum-N-Comfort Systems, 714-663-0071