Here are the answers to questions we receive every day. If, after reading through these, you still have questions, please contact us.
Q: How do I place an order?
A: Red Bear Trading cannot mass-produce guitar picks like most other pick companies so we make a few select styles of Flat Picks in different colors and gauges approximately once a week where orders can be placed in the Shopping Cart. Updated announcements are posted on the Front Page and the Shopping Cart Page with information about upcoming sales along with a list of picks that will be available.
Some styles sell out quickly so if you are interested in a Flat Pick that is on the list, please make sure you are logged in when the Shopping Cart opens.
Q: What if you don't have the pick I want to order?
A: We do try and rotate our different styles and gauges as much as possible in the Shopping Cart Sales, however some styles and gauges just do not come up often enough for our customers including our specialty picks like the Crafty, FAB and Flame.
So customers can get the style of pick they want a bit quicker, Red Bear has a "Pickers Choice" Sale set up in the Shopping Cart about every 10 -14 days.
Each "Pickers Choice" Sale features one of our gauges in a particular color and the customer specifies the style, grip and bevel option that they want.
Q: Can I place an order for a large quantity of Flat Picks or become a Dealer?
A: Red Bear Trading Company consists of exactly two people. Making our picks is time consuming and labor intensive. We are not able to work on large orders as it impedes our ability to produce inventory for the Shopping Cart or make quantities required to satisfy dealers. While it is true that we once only sold through a dealer network, this is no longer the case. We have fine-tuned our production process in order to provide the best quality possible and this has added a significant amount of time to the production of our picks. We would starve if we had to make the numbers of picks we once made, and it would take forever to fill all the dealer orders we used to receive. This is of benefit to you, the player, because we always strive to provide the very best pick you can get. Therefore, we only sell direct to the player. If you don't know what to expect from one of our picks, track down a real turtle shell pick and try it out. This is the closest approximation to a Red Bear pick that you will find.
A note about eBay
You can find our picks on eBay sometimes. Know that unless it is we who are selling them (which doesn't ever happen) you are getting a used pick at an inflated price. If you feel the need to buy one of our picks there, before you pull that trigger, email us to see if we might be able to help you. Also, if you purchase a used pick from someone other than us, we are not able to help you if anything is unsatisfactory with it.
Q: I have heard that your picks are indestructible. Is that true?
A: No, of course not! Our picks can last a very long time for some players - years, in fact, and for others, they do not last that long. It all depends on your style of playing, how you store and maintain your Red Bear pick, and the environment in which you live. The best way to assure the longest possible life for your pick in your particular situation, is to keep it dry and clean when not in use, and to use an oil such as our Pick Tonic to keep them protected from moisture. It is this moisture which is the enemy of your picks. The material is hygroscopic, meaning that it readily absorbs moisture. This causes the material to break down over time. An application of our Pick Tonic after each playing session will help mitigate this break down.
It is also important, especially for the lighter gauges and for picks with the grip holes, to make sure you do not store it in your wallet, pocket, with keys, coins etc. as these things can cause the picks to become fractured.
Thumbpicks should be adjusted by squeezing the band around your thumb until it is comfortable. Mashing the blade down against the table top will cause it to break.
Q: Why are your picks so expensive? I can't afford to spend that kind of money on a guitar pick!
A: Other than using power sanders to prepare the material for picks, and a laser to engrave them and cut them to rough shape, our picks are all hand made. It is true that other so-called pick makers also make their products by hand, but here at RBTCO, we take great pride in our work. Since we were one of the very first companies to offer fine hand-made picks and plectrums to the general playing public, we feel that our customers deserve the very best we can offer and this comes at a price. As a Ferrari is to automobiles, our picks are very high-end. We refuse to compromise quality for price. Other picks are more expensive but they can never offer the player the same great feel and tone as a Red Bear. Our picks are comparable to real turtle-shell picks and nothing else can come close. All the fancy plastics, stones, moon-wood, unicorn horn and fairy-dust picks are made by people who know nothing about what makes one pick preferable over another. At Red Bear, there is constant experimentation with beveling techniques, different bevel angles and shapes - all in an effort to bring out the very best tone and feel from your instrument. We actually play guitar (43 years and counting), so we know what is needed in a great pick. Our picks won't cure your arthritis, they can be dropped, and you won't sound like (insert-your-favorite-player-here) simply by owning one. You will, however, obtain the very best tone from your instrument, and if you practice enough, your playing will definitely improve by using our picks. In short, our picks aren't for everyone. But for those who want the very best tone and playability available, and are willing to do what it takes to get there, Red Bear picks are simply the best pick available. We are constantly copied but never equaled.
Q: What constitutes a "used" pick?
A:One that has been removed from the bag it came in. When we make the picks they are not touched by our hands once they are cut on the laser. We clean them with alcohol as we take them from the laser to the beveling/buffing processes. There, they are handled with surgical gloves until they are bagged. When you purchase a Red Bear pick you are the first person to touch the finished pick with bare hands. Whether or not it has been played, once you take it out of the bag we consider it used and cannot sell it again.
Q: Why don't you hire some help?
A: We have tried hiring and training people to work for us on several occasions, the latest of which was just this past summer. For one reason or another, this doesn't seem to work out very well. When we first started out we were not crafting the picks in the same way we do now, and we did have a helper in the shop from time to time. We have since changed the way we make picks, adding an insane amount of attention-to-detail that we did not have before. Since what we do is so specialized there are few, if any craftsmen or potential apprentices out there who can perform to our standards doing the things we need done. What we do is very precise and so unique that we have had to design and build several of the machines used in the manufacture of Red Bear picks. There is no one who can just walk into this shop and go to work. An intensive initial training period would be required, along with a proper apprenticeship period before someone could produce a Red Bear pick from start to finish without close supervision. Nothing is perfect, but we try to get as close as we can, and most people simply don't work like that these days. It seems that the notion of "good enough" is prevalent now. That doesn't fly in this shop.