“Gian is a lyrical guitarist, which is a rare quality these days. His playing has freshness because of it. Also impressive is the range of composing that he does, which is equally energized” – David Tronzo (Associate Professor of Guitar)
Tell me what made you decide to start making homemade glass picks?
“I have always been interested in guitar picks and Chuck D’Aloia turned me onto what you are using as guitar picks since that’s where your tone starts.”
Are glass picks something people have been producing or using before?
“Not that many [people use them] and you can’t find a lot [of glass picks] online. At home, my mom does some stain[ed] glass as a hobby and I was just playing around in the studio one day and came up with a prototype glass pick…it turned out to be better than I thought. They are all free-hand made, so I didn’t use any templates, and [they] are based around jazz picks, but I have also made some larger ones and Fender-based ones.”
How do you make these and what is the secret?
“The secret is always love. You start out with a stain[ed] glass sheet – they are around 3-4 mm thick and cannot be made any thinner because it’s glass and won’t hold up with picking and everything. I then rough cut pieces with a diamond grinder to get shape and the edges and the final process is torching the sides to melt them…Each [pick] individually takes 10-15 minutes to make.”
You have sold some around Berklee and to teachers?
“Yes! Last summer I made about 200. I have probably sold around 90 of them. They are sold for $8. The teachers very surprised and happy with the tone the pick gives.“
You also do guitar setups, am I right?
“I do, and I do basses as well, and pretty much any electric string instruments. I learned about setups at home where I tried this out, doing research and reading up on it.”
What if you get a guitar that you find out that needs something you don’t have?
“I will contact the person to see what he wants to do. In my apartment I have all the tools, and I do regular setups, re-wires, and pickup installations.”
What are some of the different pick sounds compared to the glass ones?
“Compared to acrylic picks, such as V-picks or anything with that thickness, they are really punctual, with [a strong] attack. The glass kind of rounds off the attack and gives it a very smooth and warm sound, perfect for jazz and for telecaster guitars. The glass pick will dull down the sound, so you don’t have to mess around with the controls.”
Do you use them yourself?
“I do whenever I play electric guitar. Hopefully I will be able to market them more.”
Lastly, have you gotten good connections through selling picks and doing guitar setups?
“I don’t promote the picks as much as the guitar setups at the moment. Mostly the connections are referral based, because people have been spreading the word.”
There is no doubt that Gianlorenzo has a bright future ahead of him in terms of playing and fixing guitars. His composing skills, as his teachers are saying, are equally energized. I personally look forward to following his journey.