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History of Steve Clayton, Inc.

Clayton Guitar Picks

Steve Clayton, Inc. is a manufacturer of musical accessories, primarily guitar picks based in Talent, Oregon. Founded by Steve Clayton, who started in the music business in 1966 at the age of 16, by selling poster chord charts to music stores around the nation. The company has now grown to occupy a 16,000 square foot factory.

What inspired Steve Clayton to start making guitar picks?

Steve started out in the guitar slide business however when a competitor moved in on his slide business it pushed him to expand in the pick direction. He knew it had to be something that would be successful and would last long term so he decided to sit down and come up with a list of what would be necessary for this to be successful.

The list was the following:

  • It had to be non-perishable.
  • Had to be small, because I did not have warehouse room at the time.
  • Had to already have an in place structure for distribution.
  • Had to be a consumable product meaning the same person would buy it more then once.

This list led him to guitar picks. In 1979 he created the first of what would be a long line of superior guitar picks for every type of player.


Acetal is a line of picks created by Steve Clayton, Inc. that are made out of a plastic named Acetal created by DuPont. This material gained its popularity due to its strength that makes it virtually unbreakable and resistant to notching during play.


Ultem is a plastic that was discovered by the company Steve Clayton, Inc. for use with guitar picks. It was originally discovered and marked by Steve Clayton back in the mid 1980's. The picks gained fast popularity due to its crisp clear tones and ability to brighten strings. The material has gained huge popularity among musicians and thus has been imitated by various other manufacturers in the industry.

How did Steve come up with the eagle logo?

I started out with my last name Clayton on the pick, then I did a really extra heavy pick with an elephant on it, before home computers. The only way to look at graphics back then was to look at books of clip art. The clip art came on a sheet that you had to rub down to get it on the surface you wanted it to be on. Back in those days the heaviest pick was 1.00mm, but I was able to make a 1.52mm pick with the elephant. Much to everyone’s surprise, you could take the cheapest guitar off the wall and it make it sound better! Then one day I saw an eagle that seemed to come out of the Roosevelt era, which was an eagle that said made in America on it. I really liked the made in America part and thought it was nostalgic. So I took the made in USA out and put in Clayton USA. Then I alerted the eagle a little bit to make it more edgy. The eagle fit on the picks perfectly!

Steve Clayton Products

Steve Clayton, Inc. offers a wide range of guitar accessories, including: guitar picks, custom guitar picks, guitar slides, guitar straps, guitar capos, and guitar polishes. They also license with many well-known companies and bands such as Playboy, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Ed Hardy, Warner Bros., and Tattoo Johnny. Many well known bands use their products, including Tenacious D, Eric Church, James Otto, Switchfoot, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Custom Guitar Picks

Steve Clayton, inc. was the first company to offer lower quantity customized guitar picks direct to the public. Large bands generally only created custom picks, however quantities of only 30 or 100 picks made customized picks obtainable to the general public. Steve Clayton, Inc. was also the first company to offer full color imprinting on guitar picks, which was also made available to the general public. Steve Clayton, Inc. uses a proprietary printing method developed in house to create full color designs on guitar picks with a fast turnaround time, with amazing clarity and durability.

Steve Clayton Inc
Steve Clayton Inc, History