Jack’s Journal: Fred Kelly Picks
In a small shop in the woods outside Grayling, a product is being made that has loyal followers like Charlie Daniels, Zac Brown, John Sebastian and other great guitarists in all genre’s ordering them up.
It all started back in 1975 when Fred Kelly, an amateur player, didn’t like the guitar pick he was using and decided to make one of his own.
“I carved it out of a flat plastic, shaped it, wrapped metal around it to hold the shape and some plaster of Paris. Threw it in the oven to melt it down. Then, broke it open and there’s my pick,” says Fred.
Things have gotten more sophisticated and precise.
Sixty different models with names like Bumble Bee, Flat, Freedom, Speed and Slick. Musicians are fussy and when they find something they like they stick with it. Charlie Daniels is one of them.
“He wants his picks a certain size, so I make them for him special,” says Fred.
Fred, now in his 80s, takes a little time to warm up, but he still enjoys picking when he gets the time.
He knows his product and his customers. That’s why he makes more types of guitar picks styles than anyone else. He even loves the lefties.
“I make 10 for the lefty. Ten different left handed picks. Where before they could get one, if they could find it,” explains Fred.
Fred loves the music, he loves the picks and he loves the musicians that come looking for that piece of plastic that will make their music that much better.
You can check out his picks here.