"Music is a language that doesn't speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it's in the bones, it's in the bones." - Keith Richards
Sound Meets Science
Inspired in part by Led Zeppelin’s pick-playing multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones, Connecticut and New York-based musicians Mark Labbe and Michael DePietro crafted their own variation of that band’s “The Lemon Song” — they simply made lemonade out of the deficiencies they found in standard flat picks by creating their new Acoustik Attak brand of revolutionary 3D guitar and bass “piks.”
The patented series debuts with the “Attak” and “Ambush” models, each designed to achieve similar effects to electronic pedals or equalizers at a fraction of the cost. Unlike standard plectrums, Acoustik Attak Piks feature patented sets of ridges, bumps, diamonds and other designs on the top and bottom sides of their attack zone tips. These create multiple strikes on strings, enhanced harmonics, and new frequencies that were literally unheard of beforehand.
“It’s a new path for sound enhancement and effect production,” says Chairman & CEO DePietro. “We are attempting to do this through scientific engineering with the given components and tools of guitars and basses, rather than adding electronics to modify and enhance their sound.”
Chief Product & Technology Officer Labbe, a fingerstyle bassist with a background in physics and engineering, came up with the idea after experimenting with a pick to achieve different tones. Not different enough, as it turned out.
“I wanted to get a bit more crunch and distortion on my bass,” Labbe says. “I wondered about creating piks with ridges, and therefore causing multiple strikes on the strings. A flat pick can’t do that.”
Mark Labbe with his prized bass
DePietro, a guitarist well-versed in finance and complex technology, dug into researching if such pick designs were on the market. “I read practically every pick-related patent that exists,” he says. “More than 1,200 of them. What we found is that the majority have something to do with the grip of the pick or the use of material. There weren’t really any that focused on the tip of the pick, or modifying it.”
Using a 3D printer to create the visual he had in mind, Labbe crafted his first design in October of 2019. “I printed my first pick the day after that,” he says, “and it worked, but wasn’t as complex as the later ones have become.” That fact is the direct result of Acoustik Attak’s subsequent sophisticated injection molding process, which was required to produce quality plectrums featuring such technological advances.