Collector’s Tales – Jürg Itten

John Tron Davidson
May 6, 2021
May 7, 2021

I’m happy for the contributions of my son in my Instagram account. Here he made a little Lego arrangement to represent me with plectrums, camera and mandolin.
Jürg Itten

If you’ve spent even a few hours in the pick community you’ll have seen the incredible photos of Jürg Itten, known on Instagram as @jamabiko. Aiming to capture his definitive style, I felt it would make more sense to talk to the man himself, and he graciously obliged with this gallery of some of his favourite images.

For those who don’t know, can you introduce yourself?

I’m a plectrum collector and mandolin player from Switzerland. My musical background is mainly in the field of Jazz and composing. I have a great little family and work in social matters.

What was it that got you into collecting picks?

The first intention was just to find a good mandolin pick. But I soon discovered that there is a whole world in it. Then it really grabbed me with entering to Instagram and coming in contact with pick makers and collectors.

You’ve got a fairly extensive mix of old and new picks in your collection. What do you think of the shapes/colours in the modern era compared to the older styles?

I read a lot about vintage picks but I’m not really a collector of them. I just have a small bunch of pieces that I like. The most of the available older picks are made of celluloid or nylon. There is a much wider variety of materials and also gauges nowadays. But most basic forms of the current plectrums were there long before.

Of the picks you’ve collected so far, what are the most important pieces to you?

My very personal tuya pick from Zwart Plectrums, the Gretsch falcon (still one of my most played picks) and the stunning Apollo in Ultem from Purple Plectrums.

What inspired you to start taking photos of picks this way?

I love to do these little arrangements. The main inspiration is from some Japanese and Iranian artists I’m connected with. I try to improve my skills in natural light object-photography and to find my own style.

What advice would you give to anyone who hasn’t stepped into the broader worlds of boutique picks and collecting?

Don’t collect everything, make a good focus. Be conscious about how much passion and working time is inside a handmade plectrum and help to support small business.

If you have a collection you’d like to share with the community, contact me at [email protected] or get in touch through Instagram @heavyrepping.

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