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Old 05-08-2019, 08:55 PM
jklotz jklotz is offline
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Default So about this whole pick thing.....

I've been playing for years. Ever since I was old enough to take lessons, I've used Fender heavy picks. Mostly on electrics, but over the years I've gotten used to them on acoustics too. I don't know why, they just sound and feel right to me. Every time I pick up something else, I immediately know something is off.

So what's up with all those expensive picks you guys keep going on about? I'm not poking at anybody, just curious. What is it you get out of them that I seem to be missing?

For reference, somebody handed me a $40 pick in a shop one day. I played it. It felt way too thick and there was almost no attack to the note. I handed it right back and thanked the guy. Maybe I'm just plain dense?
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:07 PM
Willie_D Willie_D is online now
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Nope, you like what you like and you know what you like.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I keep trying those thick picks everyone raves about, but I really only like picks in the .70-1.0 range.

Except I do like a rounded corner 1.4 on the mandolin.

I'm very fond of any Ultex/Ultem pick, but I spend a little extra on Primetones because grippy. Personally, I'd say be happy that you aren't on a quest.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:20 PM
Slothead56 Slothead56 is offline
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Yup, Fender Mediums for me since 1974. No curiosity whatsoever.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:20 PM
Arch Stanton Arch Stanton is offline
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Default So about this whole pick thing.....

I use a plain dunlop black which is pretty stiff, i think 1.0 for picking melody notes and stuff. And a thinner one for strumming, .60.

Too thick and you will lose feeling and responsiveness. We're talkin acoustics only right?

Oh, and i get like 10 for $5.99 at GC.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:30 PM
Rudy4 Rudy4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
I've been playing for years. Ever since I was old enough to take lessons, I've used Fender heavy picks. Mostly on electrics, but over the years I've gotten used to them on acoustics too. I don't know why, they just sound and feel right to me. Every time I pick up something else, I immediately know something is off.

So what's up with all those expensive picks you guys keep going on about? I'm not poking at anybody, just curious. What is it you get out of them that I seem to be missing?

For reference, somebody handed me a $40 pick in a shop one day. I played it. It felt way too thick and there was almost no attack to the note. I handed it right back and thanked the guy. Maybe I'm just plain dense?
I'm with ya.

I played Fender medium 351's for something like 25 years. As my playing style, hearing, and skin texture, and grip changed as I "matured" I realized they probably were no longer ideal, so I went on the great pick search... but they had to be "common" and not so pricey that I'd shed tears over their loss.

After a bunch of experimenting Dunlop Primetone 1.4mm large triangles won out. The extra surface area helps with the grip and the triangle means you get three fresh tips for each pick used. The tone and feel also hit the sweet spot, and they are inexpensive.

I'm campin' happy, now.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:13 PM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
So what's up with all those expensive picks you guys keep going on about? I'm not poking at anybody, just curious. What is it you get out of them that I seem to be missing?
Like you, I have my favorite traditional style pick, in my case a D'Andrea medium-heavy, which measures out as .84mm. It's an excellent "do everything" gauge, and it's got that sweet celluloid tone that doesn't click or clack. I hold it fairly loosely if I want a good strumming tone, up tight and close to the edge if I want more control and a darker tone for melody lines.

I use these picks for every instrument I play, with the exception of five string banjo. But on guitar, mandolin and mountain dulcimer, they do everything I need a pick to do.

HOWEVER - the double string courses on mandolins really chew up celluloid picks. The wear on the edges quickly gets scraped ragged. Which, in turn, creates a rough tone.

I had read about Blue Chip picks and some other bespoke brands of high end picks, and at first I was dubious about what I saw as a fad. But I ran into a mandolin playing acquaintance of my at a music festival, and he was using a Blue Chip TD-35, the thinnest pick that Blue Chip makes. He let me borrow both his pick and his mandolin to play a few tunes.

The Blue Chip pick sounded good, and its flexibility was similar to that of my beloved medium-heavies.

But here's the thing: the Blue Chip TD-35 handles like and has the slight flex of my .84mm medium-heavies, but with practically ZERO wear. I've gone through and destroyed the edges of a celluloid medium-heavy during a single Sunday service, whereas these Blue Chips seem to last forever. I can't tell which are older and which are the newest: they all feel new.

I've got about five of them, which I acquired over a three or four year period that ended some two or three years ago. I like to have one in the case pocket of my main performing instruments, especially my stage mandolin and my acoustic baritone guitar. The Blue Chips are about the only picks I use on those two instruments.

On standard six string guitar I use them, too, but not as much as the celluloid picks.

So whether high end picks are worth the money really comes down to the use you'll put them to. To my mind, their robust resistance to wear makes them optimal for my mandolin playing, and I happen to prefer the tone on my baritone when I'm using a Blue Chip.

If I only played guitar I might be more indifferent towards them, but I still use a Blue Chip on regular six string guitars quite a bit.

But for me where they pay for themselves is how resilient and seemingly indestructible they are when used on the mandolin.

Hope that makes sense.


Wade Hampton Miller
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:48 PM
s2y s2y is offline
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A lot depends on the technique, pick, and the particular guitar.

My first expensive pick was a Blue Chip TAD60. Didn't really sound good with anything I own and/or my technique.

I picked up a Charmed Life NFR and CLF 1.15. The NFR sounded excellent with my Bob Thompson DN. The CLF didn't wow me until I got a Bob Thompson OM. The NFR sounds ok with the OM, but not as good as the NFR.

A little later, I picked up a Blue Chip TD40 and TD50. The TD40 sounds best on a Don Sharp DN. For whatever reason, the Charmed Life CLF and NFR picks that I have don't do much on this particular guitar.
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Old 05-08-2019, 10:52 PM
archerscreek archerscreek is offline
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I normally play at least 3 hours a day and use two of the three corners on a pick. A dunlop 1.14 Gator Grip lasts one day before it has to be tossed. A Dunlop Primetone 1.3 lasts one week (switching corners mid-week). A BlueChip 60 lasts 10 months to a year. For what I play, the BlueChip and the Primetone sound the best.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:08 PM
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justonwo justonwo is offline
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I think the high end picks feel super smooth and powerful. They wear so slowly itís hard to tell that they even age. Iíve played with the same pick for 9 years.

Itís worth getting into a little more deeply and maybe testing some other styles or thicknesses. Or not. If youíre happy, donít sweat it.
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Old 05-09-2019, 02:49 AM
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raysachs raysachs is offline
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There are no rules - use what you like. I never liked Fender picks, but played Dunlop nylon .88 mm picks from the time I was a kid. When I got back into playing again about 2 1/2 years ago, I tried a few different picks and then in the past 6-8 months I went down the rabbit hole, trying various Vespel (the Blue Chip material that Scott offers at Charmed Life too) picks and casein picks from Charmed Life, Red Bear, and a couple others. At first I really liked the Vespel picks and didn’t like casein at all. Then casein started growing on me and now that’s all I use. The skinniest Charmed Life (about .9 to 1.0 mm) on my electrics, and either a Charmed Life 1.15 or a Red Bear 1.25 (which is also larger and had holes for grip) on my acoustic. For a lot of strumming, I like the thinner picks on my acoustic, but for more percussive strumming and for picking, I love the larger heavier pick.

It was sort of expensive there for a couple months as I tried stuff, but now that I know what I like, if I don’t lose picks (which I don’t seem to anymore - a $30 pick will focus the mind not to!) these should last nearly forever. And they feel and sound phenomenal (to me). When I play other picks now, I don't like them - I've become a pick snob. And I'm not a particularly good player, but I guess I'm good enough to appreciate a nice guitar and so why should picks be different? One of these days, I should get around to selling my Blue Chip and Charmed Life Vespel picks, but i keep thinking they may grow on me again someday and I’d probably sell the lot of them for $100 or something, so it’s not like a major problem to keep them just in case. I kind of like them on my electrics, but I like those skinny casein picks more...

-Ray

Last edited by raysachs; 05-09-2019 at 04:36 AM.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:24 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jklotz View Post
I've been playing for years. Ever since I was old enough to take lessons, I've used Fender heavy picks. Mostly on electrics, but over the years I've gotten used to them on acoustics too. I don't know why, they just sound and feel right to me. Every time I pick up something else, I immediately know something is off.

So what's up with all those expensive picks you guys keep going on about? I'm not poking at anybody, just curious. What is it you get out of them that I seem to be missing?

For reference, somebody handed me a $40 pick in a shop one day. I played it. It felt way too thick and there was almost no attack to the note. I handed it right back and thanked the guy. Maybe I'm just plain dense?
Hi, for many years, I used a now defunct nylon/delrin teardrop pick by Martin called a Naturaltone 1.14 m/m.
They were my standard althogh I noted that they wore a rough bevel rather easioly (I was mostly a bluegrass rhythm guitarist at the time).

I can't remember when I first heard about Blue Chip picks, and a couple of touring bluegrass players showed me their mid brown unimpressive looking things at, nearly 100 times the price of most picks.

I instantly decided that they were a scam aimed at the folk with posh guitars who liked to buy the most expensive accessory whatever the cost.
On various fora, talk kept occurring about these things - $35 plus postage etc. I probably wrote threads saying they had to be a con.

Then, I got one - a used one - can't remember how - maybe on ebay or from another forum member?

I quite liked it, and discovered that the triangular shape (346) really suited me. I investigated further.

I discovered that these things had built in bevels and didn't practically wear, and felt good in my hand, and came in many and various shapes and thicknesses.

I spent a lot of money on every other 346 shape pick I could get, and even learnt how to emulate the BC bevels, including Wegen picks, which I like a lot.



Although I have a collection of old tortoiseshell picks bought from "back in the day", I found that the BC pick (a TAD40) gave me a superior feel, and didn't wear.


Then I ordered three more another BCs - a TAD40, 50, and 60. (1,1.25 and 1.5 m/m respectively).

I found that to play my dreadnoughts with medium strings the TAD50 suited me perfectly - and on smaller guitars with light guage strings the TAD40 was best.
I went crazy and ordered picks - one each for all my guitars, and for my mandolin (TAD50-3r) and two TAD60s - for my mando picking pal.

I have not yet lost, broken or worn a blue chip pick. I do tend to perfer the Wegen TF140 picks on my 12 strings though.

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Old 05-09-2019, 04:43 AM
Rpt50 Rpt50 is offline
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Has anybody tested if sound differences with picks are discernible to a listener at a distance? I've noticed that guitars with different top woods sound far more distinct when you are actually playing them than when sitting 8-12 feet away. I wonder if picks are the same?

I find that I adapt to whatever picks are available. Just by exposure I've come to favor those little red picks GC puts on the floor (in Atlanta it seems like there's a guitar center about every 5 miles). They don't last long, but usually at least one winds up in my pocket every time I visit a GC so there's always some around. But it is surprising how weird it is to fall back on the Dunlop picks I buy when I run out of GC picks.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:50 AM
Murphy Slaw Murphy Slaw is offline
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Originally Posted by Rpt50 View Post
Has anybody tested if sound differences with picks are discernible to a listener at a distance? I've noticed that guitars with different top woods sound far more distinct when you are actually playing them than when sitting 8-12 feet away. I wonder if picks are the same?
Picks make a big difference in tone in "front" of the guitar as well as behind it.

There are MANY youtube videos that will prove that picks do, indeed, make a huge difference in tone.
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Old 05-09-2019, 04:53 AM
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dhodgeh dhodgeh is offline
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I like a thick (1.5 mm) triangular pick. Don't know what got me on the Blue Chip wagon, but I gave them a try and liked them.

Then I decided to give the Dunlop Primetone sculpted a try. Again the triangular 1.5 mm version. Liked them just about as much as the Blue Chip, with the Blue Chip having a better grip.

So I drilled some holes into the Primetone, and that problem was solved.

Sold off my Blue Chip and mostly use the Primetones now. Sonically, there is not enough difference to justify the cost delta. Have yet to have one break or wear out.

I do have a couple of casein pick that I will use from time to time.

D
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Old 05-09-2019, 05:27 AM
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SalFromChatham SalFromChatham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Murphy Slaw View Post
Picks make a big difference in tone in "front" of the guitar as well as behind it.

There are MANY youtube videos that will prove that picks do, indeed, make a huge difference in tone.
murph what do you use?
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