The Maker’s Dozen – Matthew Halliday of Stone Age Guitar Picks
If you’re looking for a plectrum that you can hand down to your kids and maybe their kids, you’ll need something that doesn’t wear. Luckily, Heavy Repping! has researched such an eventuality, and presents Stone Age Guitar Picks for your consideration. A year into their activity, I sat down with one-man masonry machine Matthew Halliday to talk stone, sweep-picking and tonal superiority. Read on!
HR – Thanks for talking to Heavy Repping! To the uninitiated, how would you describe Stone Age Guitar Picks?
MH – Good to be here John. Simply excellent. I could describe stone age picks in one word. Different. It just feels different. Good different. Not everyone is into a rigid pick, but I assure you a thicker, more rigid pick can enhance your overall tone if used in the right fashion. Your pick attack, your alternating picking and tremolo picking can all benefit from stone.
HR – How did you get started making picks? What was your background prior to plectrier work?
MH – How I got started was around 5 years ago a friend showed me his stone pick and I loved the idea. However, this one was a very crude specimen that was more for looks and show and was too rough and misshapen to be a good playable pick. Fast forward a few years I had thought about that beautiful pick and had idea to use agate stone instead. I set out to create a more playable pick that is smoother and has a more consistent shape and bevels. Prior to this I did a lot of hands-on work. A few manufacturing jobs, some assembly, cnc, metalwork, repetitive boring shit. Making picks is way more fun!
HR – Of all the materials available to you, what drew you to stone?
MH – What drew me to stone was its beauty and uniqueness – it’s alive. Each stone has its own personality, its own vibe. Plastic is lifeless…loveless…thoughtless, a piece made of yesterdays, a thing of the past. Stone age is the new age.
HR – What’s the hardest part about working with such a dense material?
MH – What’s hardest with working with stone is that it is a very unforgiving material to work with. Chips and cracks are prone to happen when proper care isn’t applied. It takes the right tools, and a fine touch.
HR – Can you take the readers through the process a bit?
MH – The process is timely, but it is broken down into 5 cutting/grinding steps. A diamond blade tile/masonry saw is used for rough cuts and diamond coated grinding wheels are used for more precise work.
HR – Of all the different types of stone you’ve used (Agate/Jasper etc) which has been your personal favourite?
MH – Of all the materials I use I would have to say agate is my favorite. The variation you can find is amazing, with endless colors and patterns. No 2 are the same.
HR – Which of your current models best exemplifies Stone Age as a company?
MH – Our main material is agate. I would say the agate pick best describes Stone Age’s product. Each one is unique and one of a kind. We offer 3 shapes and the model that is the most commonly sold is a Jazz size agate pick.
HR – Have you had any horror stories from working with stone?
MH – Not any horror stories yet! I’ve cut and scraped my hands countless times but nothing serious. Sometimes a pick will fly across the room from slipping on the grinding wheel. I’ve been lucky – nothing serious.
HR – You’ve got some pretty ace artists on the books, a particularly notable addition being Roopam Garg of The Surrealist. How did that relationship come about?
MH – I stumbled across Roop’s page about a year ago and I saw he had something special. The techniques he was applying were very unique and honestly mind blowing. His band – The Surrealist – blends atmospheric themes and technical guitar that leaves the listener speechless. I messaged him and we talked about how he could step up his pick game, so I sent him a sample. He ended up loving it and can’t go back to plastic. I’m very glad to have him be a part of the team. Stone Age picks greatly compliment his sweep harmonics and other guitar techniques. I highly advise you check them out if you haven’t!
HR – What’s been the highest point in the company’s history so far?
MH – The highest point in Stone Age’s existence is right now. We have only been around about a year now and the response has been great. We will continue to grow. right now we are in a transitional phase but soon there will be more stock selection and slightly lower prices.
HR – There’s a lot of smaller companies coming to the fore in all parts of the industry at the moment – why do you think that so many players are taking more interest in their setups and using smaller companies to get their tones?
MH – What’s cool about people going towards smaller boutique companies is that a relationship is formed. I’ve talked with many guitarists. I take into account everything they say about the product. It’s much nicer knowing who produced your product and its origin. The customer has more control over the product.
HR – What’s new for Stone Age in 2019?
MH – What’s new for stone age in 2019 is a new shop and more time for me to build this company up. A larger selection of pick sizes are to come. Some new surprise materials and stones in the works. Crazy lace agate, leopard jasper, bamboo jasper, spider web jasper, snowflake obsidian , green serpentine, and many more. 2019 is the year of the stone. Get your tone from the stone !