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Old 10-02-2010, 06:28 PM
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Dogberry415 Dogberry415 is offline
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Default Bone/ivory pick?

I notice that Bob Colosi sells picks made of bone, ivory, FWI, etc. I'm curious, but not enough to gamble the price he wants blindly. Does anyone have any experience with these? How do they sound?
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Old 10-02-2010, 06:44 PM
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I've carved and shaped about ten of my own bone picks from ram's horn material. I give some away and keep a few. My favorite pick is a BlueChip so I compare all my other picks to that. My best bone pick I usually pull out when I need a little more of a high toned yet earthy sound. Almost kind of "bluegrassy". Ok, all you true bluegrass players out there are probably rolling your eyes at that description but I'm kind of at a loss to describe it any other way. If I have a song in church that needs that sound instead of the mellower BlueChip sound I go for the bone pick. So, I like the sound of the bone, but its a situational thing for me. Hope that helps! :-)

-jay
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:14 PM
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In my mandolin days, I tried a variety of picks -- water buffalo horn, cow hoof, walrus ivory. Although I kind've liked the buffalo horn, I've never adopted any of these in preference to an appropriately sized and shaped plastic pick. Your milage may vary.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:25 PM
Indigocowgirl Indigocowgirl is offline
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Meh....

I ordered a Colosi FWI pick and I don't really like the tone it produces on my guitar. It is beautiful and a great conversation piece but I don't like it as much as my Bluechip.

I am in no way dissing the workmanship or quality, I just don't like the metallic sound it produced on my Rosewood/cedar guitar. It may sound better with a different wood combination.
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:09 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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When I was in Japan in 1985, my friends at Saga Musical Instruments arranged a trip for me to a koto factory in Hiroshima Prefecture.

It was an eye-opening experience, a lot of fun, and one of the nice things the people there at the facility did for me besides showing me how they made kotos was to give a set of of custom-sized ivory fingerpicks for koto.



Uh, just so we're clear on this, that's NOT me in the picture....

If you look carefully at the woman's right hand you can see the fingerpicks she's wearing. There's also a thumbpick, which is not visible in this picture.

They're rectangular pieces of ivory, with black lacquered paper rings that hold them on your fingers.

Okay, I found another better picture that shows them much more clearly:



Anyway, I have tried them on guitar and dulcimer, but am not really a fingerpicker to begin with, and I was worried about wearing them down with the steel strings, as well. So I haven't truly given them an adequate field test.

My brief experiments with them, though, confirmed for me that while they might be the right choice for koto, I wouldn't want to use them on any of the steel string instruments I do play.

They sound like a hard plastic more than anything else....

Hope this helps.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:20 PM
darylcrisp darylcrisp is offline
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go bluechip
dkc
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Old 10-02-2010, 08:38 PM
walternewton walternewton is offline
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If bone were a good material for a pick, tons of players would be using them - it is, after all, an easily, legally, inexpensively obtained material (as opposed to, say, tortoiseshell) - but practically nobody does.
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Old 10-02-2010, 09:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wade Hampton View Post
When I was in Japan in 1985, my friends at Saga Musical Instruments arranged a trip for me to a koto factory in Hiroshima Prefecture...
Wade Hampton Miller
Well, Wade, you win the prize for the most interesting post in this thread. Thanks for that unexpected little tale!
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Old 10-02-2010, 10:00 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walternewton View Post
If bone were a good material for a pick, tons of players would be using them - it is, after all, an easily, legally, inexpensively obtained material (as opposed to, say, tortoiseshell) - but practically nobody does.
Excellent point, and I have to agree.

My own favorite pick material is celluloid, and nobody has to kill ANY critters - endangered or otherwise - to produce it.

I recognize that cowbone is a byproduct of cattle production for meat, and I have no moral quibbles about using it for nuts and saddles, or for flatpicks, if somebody wants to go to that trouble. But I don't think it works particularly well in that capacity.

ivory, on the other hand, whether white or fossilized, I have a lot more qualms about. Here in Alaska we've got some impoverished villagers in the Arctic regions who go out and kill walrus strictly for their tusks, leaving the meat to rot, or who go out and dig up ancient village sites looking for fossil ivory. Once the fossil ivory is out of the ground it's impossible to determine whether it was collected legally, so if you want some your only recourse is to deal with reputable dealers like John Mickelson, who's scrupulous about his sources.

Others are not necessarily so careful or so caring about the legality and sustainability of their ivory sources. It's a major problem, especially since Alaskan law enforcement and regulatory agencies receive zero funding to enforce the existing laws regarding ivory.

If modern white or ancient fossilized ivory offered any readily discernible tonal advantages over bone, I could halfway understand the allure. But, quite frankly, it really doesn't. Not that I can hear, and I've heard a lot of guitars adorned with it.

If you want your bridge pins, nut and saddle to look like Keith Richards' teeth before he finally got around to getting some modern dental work done, then, fine, get some fossilized ivory appointments. But do it with the understanding that you're not really gaining any discernible, measurable tonal improvements, but are mainly spending ten times the money to get guitar appointments that look like bad British dental work...


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:08 AM
bkharmony bkharmony is offline
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I bought one of Bob's bone picks on a whim. Hate it. Lousy tone, lousy grip.
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