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Old 11-13-2017, 10:43 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Default Blue Chips and alternatives.

Hi, I've already given my opinion elsewhere that BC picks are worth it ..
IF:
You have instrument/s which are of a sufficient tonal quality to benefit from the very subtle tonal effects of the picks you use.
You have a playing style that will benefit from a high quality pick.
You can perceive the subtleties of the pic.

What I want in a pick :

1. Tone - the ability for the pick to sound the string clearly.
2. Speed - the ability to move across the string after striking, so quickly as to not impede the string.
3. Feedback - what i feel when the pick hits the string. - a minimal but important amount of flexibility to move the string optimally whilst not slowing the motion of the picking hand.
4. An optimal amount of attack - that click that can sometimes be heard.
5. clarity - smoothness of surface against string.

I don't think that any of the above means that the pick, or instrument should be expensive, but the chances of a fine instrument and/or pick being very cheap is less likely.

The Blue Chip I got used way back was a 346 (large triangle) shape and it immediately taught me the advantages over the 351 teardrop - i.e. three playing tips, and more grip, so this was the shape I sought out to compare.

So BC TAD series are my choice - ...however, for medium gauge strings on my dreads/jumbo/archtops - the .050 (1.25 m/m is optimal), and for light gauge strings on 000 and smaller, TAD 40 (.040" - 1 m/m) are more suitable.

I have one TAD60 (1.5 m/m) which for me it a "tad" too dull.

Similarly for a "tad" more power and for my 12 string Martin and Harmony. prefer a Wegen TF140. I also use these for back-up picks for my dreads.

I believe that overall BC's are currently the superior pick ...for me! but not the only choice.

In experimenting to find something cheaper and better than a BC pick I accumulated a pile of 346 style picks, and over the as few months have looked at them and tried improving them by attempting to emulate the BC "speed bevel" and polished finish.

This has led to some most interesting discoveries that I thought worth sharing with my picking pals.

My first experiments were on Dunlop Ultex - the yellowish 1. 2 m/m - which were relatively easy to work on, and improved somewhat.

Clayton 1.07 seem almost identical.

D'andrea "pro-plecs" 1.5 m/m were initially rejected as about as dull as possible, but the introduction of a deep bevel have turned them into a very powerful and pretty fast pick - Sadly there are none available i the UK at present, but I have ordered some from the US to continue my experiments.
However they are made of celluloid so when using power tools (my Dremel) they can melt.

Dunlop 1.14 "Tortex" purple picks have been my most successful results so far. As a cheap pick (£5.49) per dozen in a nice little tin - they present as a flat unpolished stamped out triangle which has no sonic quality initially and a degree of "scrape" against the strings.

They are easy to work and take burnishing well. The resultant tone is punchy and they are pretty much as "fast" as BCs.

Incidentally I've also tried the Dunlop PrimeTones -both the dull brown and the amber. I hear that they are the same material but to me the dull brown ones are as dull and brown sonically as they look, but with a nasty "clacky" attack. The amber ones are a little better but feel plasticy and fragile to me.

Here are the pics that I've been experimenting with and some models that I hope to emulate and ther second is an attempted close-up - showing the difference between a "raw" Tortex and a finished one - note the subtle colour change.

My conclusions are that the addition/finishing of relatively cheap picks can enhance them considerably.
Although I feel a minimum of 1 m/m is necessary to exercise control over a pick - I'd also add that thickness is not a constant inasmuch as a 1.25 might be softer in one make than a 1 m/m in another.

My methodology has also developed - I use a small grinding disc on my hand held Dremel to make the basic bevel, and then smooth it down with a sanding block, finishing with those little nail polishing blocks that are common ni Nail bars ....so I'm told ...I get mine in the pound shop.


I hope this s of some interest.
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File Type: jpg DSC_0632.jpg (22.0 KB, 282 views)
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Last edited by Silly Moustache; 11-13-2017 at 10:50 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-13-2017, 11:11 AM
jaymarsch jaymarsch is offline
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Thanks for sharing. I admire folks who take the time to experiment with shaping picks to their liking. Maybe when I retire, I will explore some of those possibilities. In the meantime, I have found that Charmed Life picks have given me the tone and feel that best works for me. I use their red, brown and black models in a variety of thicknesses. But, I have used other picks and down the line it would be fun to put a bevel on them and see what is possible.

Best,
Jayne
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:14 AM
HHP HHP is offline
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So far, "best at any cost" for me has been a modified John Pearse Fast Turtle pick. Made of casein, it is very slick when polished out and I get great control and volume from the 4mm thickness. They are a bit long from the factory so I shorten them a bit when I redo the tip profile. They have a thumb depression and the shortening gives me about the right amount of tip extended in my normal grip. They run about $9.50 each and it takes about a half hour to rework them.



In the more inexpensive category, the Jim Dunlop Primetones have worked very well for me. I start with the rounded triangle in 1.5mm, reshape to give me 3 distinct tip profiles, and then re-bevel all 3 points. These run about $2.00 each and are probably the best bargain in picks.

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Old 11-13-2017, 11:32 AM
Moocheng Moocheng is offline
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lots of useful info' there thanks for taking the trouble Silly.

I have to confess my knowledge of picks as a finger picker needs some updating.

interesting to see a tortex pic amongst the herd. how do you rate it ? out of all the cheap picks available its the only material I've liked

again thanks, great post


edit..ah I see what you done most of the modded picks are in fact tortex, sort of answers the question, yep' its good stuff

Last edited by Moocheng; 11-13-2017 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:40 AM
Silly Moustache Silly Moustache is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moocheng View Post
lots of useful info' there thanks for taking the trouble Silly.

I have to confess my knowledge of picks as a finger picker needs some updating.

interesting to see a tortex pic amongst the herd. how do you rate it ? out of all the cheap picks available its the only material I've liked

again thanks, great post


edit..ah I see what you done most of the modded picks are in fact tortex, sort of answers the question, yep' its good stuff
Hi, I think my best answer is in my initial posting:


Dunlop 1.14 "Tortex" purple picks have been my most successful results so far. As a cheap pick (£5.49) per dozen in a nice little tin - they present as a flat unpolished stamped out triangle which has no sonic quality initially and a degree of "scrape" against the strings.

They are easy to work and take burnishing well. The resultant tone is punchy and they are pretty much as "fast" as BCs.
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I'm here to help and advise only

By request, I offer one to one lessons/meetings/mentoring via Zoom! See: https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...d.php?t=589058

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Old 11-13-2017, 11:41 AM
Marshall Marshall is offline
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Picks are very personal.

I've tried a Blue Chip. And I liked it a lot. But not significantly over celluloid. And the price differential allows me to buy 70 celluloids per every Blue Chip. And I misplace picks a lot. So it turned out to be a no-brainer.

I sold my Blue Chip here for half price.

Nylon, and delron, and acetate, and whatever don't work for me. They don't have the clarity of tone.

I'm with you on the #346 shape, though. Like getting 3 picks for the price of one.

But they've got to be mediums (.72-ish). That's what I've used for 60 years and nothing else feels right.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:47 PM
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golfreggie golfreggie is offline
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I agree with the comment that picks are very personal. Like most of us I have probably tried dozens of picks. I have two plastic bags filled with all sorts of picks. But when I sit down to play now, I am primarily using the Charmed Life brown and black tri's. CLP are now making the black available in a .75. I have 3 brown .75's, 3 1.0 blacks, and now the blacks have become available in .75 so I just ordered 3 of them. The differences for me between the black and the brown are minimal, but I can tell. The browns are somewhat "mellower", and the blacks a little more powerful. Granted, the blacks are 1.0's, so am anxious to tri the .75 blacks that I just ordered. When I want to play REALLY fast strumming I do use a Guitar Moose .50, other than that I have two bags of unused picks! Just my experience, thanks for listening.
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Old 11-13-2017, 04:26 PM
Goat Mick Goat Mick is offline
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One thing that never gets discussed in pick threads, but I feel is very important is durability of the pick. I'm pretty heavy handed and aggressive so I can totally destroy the tip of a celluloid, tortex or other economy priced pick during one 3 hour show. However with one of the premiums like a BC or Charmed Life Black I can play with the same pick for months and never see any wear to the pick. Yeah the initial price is a bit hefty, but the durability negates the cost difference to me. Just don't lose the dang things!!!! LOL
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick's Goat Whiskey Picks View Post
One thing that never gets discussed in pick threads, but I feel is very important is durability of the pick. I'm pretty heavy handed and aggressive so I can totally destroy the tip of a celluloid, tortex or other economy priced pick during one 3 hour show. However with one of the premiums like a BC or Charmed Life Black I can play with the same pick for months and never see any wear to the pick. Yeah the initial price is a bit hefty, but the durability negates the cost difference to me. Just don't lose the dang things!!!! LOL
Mick and I have this sort of mutual admiration society thing going on. In other words, we're both shameless. Please check out his very cool hybrid thumbpicks, a unique design made from VERY high quality materials. They kick butt.

And on that note, Mick, stop being so nice to me. I AM the competition, you know.

memmer
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:18 PM
Goat Mick Goat Mick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed Life Picks View Post
Mick and I have this sort of mutual admiration society thing going on. In other words, we're both shameless. Please check out his very cool hybrid thumbpicks, a unique design made from VERY high quality materials. They kick butt.

And on that note, Mick, stop being so nice to me. I AM the competition, you know.

memmer
You're not the competition yet. But I am planning to announce a new flatpick line soon. When it's released I'll start slamming you online everywhere. LOL
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick's Goat Whiskey Picks View Post
You're not the competition yet. But I am planning to announce a new flatpick line soon. When it's released I'll start slamming you online everywhere. LOL
I'm shaking in my boots -- and I'm even wearing boots. Hey, everybody jump in -- the water's fine!

I'm sure they'll be awesome and I'm too busy anyway. I may start sending you referrals. Just make sure to drink enough of that Kentucky fire water and you'll dust me.

Go for it, dude!

memmer
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Old 11-13-2017, 05:26 PM
Goat Mick Goat Mick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charmed Life Picks View Post
I'm shaking in my boots -- and I'm even wearing boots. Hey, everybody jump in -- the water's fine!

I'm sure they'll be awesome and I'm too busy anyway. I may start sending you referrals. Just make sure to drink enough of that Kentucky fire water and you'll dust me.

Go for it, dude!

memmer
Good products are good products and good service is very important. As long as we all keep treating people right and supplying a good quality product, there's room for all of us and more. That's the great thing about this industry, there's a lot of really good folks putting out great products. From guitar builders all the way down to us accessory junkies. I'm really blessed with all of the great folks that all aspects of the music business have brought into my life.
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Old 11-13-2017, 06:55 PM
semolinapilcher semolinapilcher is offline
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I love the Fender 346 - either heavy or extra heavy.

Simple but in the center of my own little Venn diagram sweet spot. And there's no pressure... you can leave them around the house like my mom-in-law's dozen pair of dimestore reading glasses.
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:54 PM
sabatini sabatini is offline
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I tried to buy a Blue Chip pick, but I couldn't get financing.
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mick's Goat Whiskey Picks View Post
Good products are good products and good service is very important. As long as we all keep treating people right and supplying a good quality product, there's room for all of us and more. That's the great thing about this industry, there's a lot of really good folks putting out great products. From guitar builders all the way down to us accessory junkies. I'm really blessed with all of the great folks that all aspects of the music business have brought into my life.
Couldn't agree more, Mick. The people I've met the last couple of years have trully made the journey worthwhile. You know that I never bash anyone; I just don't believe in rolling that way. So we're always buds. Carry on, my friend. Excited for you.

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