Tommy Emmanuel's Thumbpick
A little story about music, wine, good times and a thumbpick

This was a fun little web page to post because I'm thinking back to some good times in Austin Texas with many great friends. Mike Crixell, one of my closest friends is the best host because he's an Austin native and knows everything about this wonderful music oasis in the middle of the Lone Star State. Austin is known not just for it's fantastic musical talent but also the interactive highly appreciative audiences. Which only fans the flames of the music higher no pun intended. Now this is not George Bush country down there and they almost ran Walmart out of town. These folks are pretty hard core but they know how to party, work hard and enjoy life. It's a very special town and Mike goes all the way back to the Armadillo World HQ days.

I don't just think, I know when Tommy Emmanuel comes to Austin on tour he looks forward to it. This is the only town I've seen him eagerly play 3 sets and get a standing ovation going on and off the stage and almost between every song. His playing seems to go to 3-4 other levels there and you can tell he's on fire. He usually goes out after the show and relaxes with fans and this time we all went to one of the huge hotels down town where he stayed and simply partied in the hotel bar. After all those hours playing Tommy pulls out his guitar and offers it to everyone. Master Luthier and a darn good picker John Greven was sitting next to me with his wife Celia and he picked it up first and of course not only played a bunch of tasty stuff  but scanned how it was made and all the guitar wizard stuff. We were actually expecting the Maton OM to be some beat up wreck but we were only half right. It was just beat up but far from a wreck. I think this was Mouse #2 and it had recently been refretted and played like butter and to my surprise has the same tone you hear on stage with the pickup. I thought Tommy's trademark sound was due to the custom Maton pickup but it's not. This guitar has that trademark T.E. tone acoustically as well. He also plays low fast action almost like and electric. He also has the speed and finesse to make it work. After we finished off several expensive bottles of wine one of his long time fans and friends had brought him some very expensive wine from overseas hand carried from some special place, etc. He slipped it to Tommy whispering "don't drink this, save it for later". Well as you might guess as soon as the guy walked away Tommy winked, grinned with a silly laugh and said "Let's drink this!".

To my amazement I had the nerve to play for him and he complimented the bounce in my thumb and handed me one of his picks. He said he had a couple in his pocket that have been there for years and it was a worn Dunlop medium and fit really well on my thumb which surprised me since I usually use large. The blade was close up to my thumb. I was pretty happy about how a player of this caliber was sitting and listening to me so I ripped into some Merle Travis style stuff. My very best and only guitar store licks. He was probably about 48 at the time but his face instantly looked like a 7 hear old kid in a toy store about to burst with excitement and he reached over and just uncontrollably grabbed the guitar back like we were kids wrestling over a toy.  He then said "Let me show you what you can do with that tune" and he went off like a parade of Chinese fireworks. I was laughing with joy and so was everyone else. The wine and the music were taking their toll on us blibbering fools. The security guy reminded us we should not be so loud at 3-4 in the morning. By this time his whole crew and fellow co stars gave up on him and went to bed so we walked Tommy to the elevator and made our way down the sidewalks of Austin over to this famous 24 hour NY style Deli that I cant remember the name of.... Oh well it was fun and here's the thumbpick to prove it. I've had friends that wanted to shape theirs like this and try it for a spin. You're welcome to the specs. I could not tell if these precise opposing bevels were from his playing wear or if he intentionally filed them this way. Oh I think Katz is the name of the Deli!


It has a bevel like this on both sides but the front bevel is on the bottom and the rear bevel is on the top of the blade on the bridge side.




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