Picks

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Picks

Postby atticus » Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:10 pm

What picks do people prefer to use, and why?

I suspect that the answer is that this is a matter of personal preference.

When I started, I bought a pack of 6 Jim Dunlop tortex picks, of different widths. I have always found that the thickest one produces an almost muffled sound. For a long time, I preferred the medium sized picks, but as my lessons have been progressing over the last few months I have worked down to the thinnest one. But then when I practice tremolo, I find that the thin picks seem not to be stiff enough.

I have been told I should try jazz picks. There seem to be a lot of different types of these. I have just ordered a pack, so we'll see how they work.

In the meantime, I'll be interested to read any comments anyone may have.
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Re: Picks

Postby Dave Hanson » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:00 pm

My own preference is for Golden Gate or Dawg [ and fairly thick Ultex occasionally ] picks, but it is purely a matter of personal preference.
As you become more used to playing you will find you need to play with a thicker pick as thin ones do not respond quickly enough to play fast tunes and produce a thinner tone from your instrument, if you persvere with a thicker pick it will become easier.

Try strumming accross the open strings with a thin pick and a thick one held quite firmly and see which makes the fuller sound.

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Re: Picks

Postby John Kelly » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:09 pm

Dave gives you the answer in his opening - it is a matter of personal preference. I have tried many different picks over many years, including a time with one of the much-lauded Blue Chips picks, and I keep coming back to ones I make from old credit cards using one of those punches you can get for pressing your own. I modify the point ofthe pick to make it rounder and polish and bevel the edges as the punch leaves the pick blank with very sharp edges which create a harsh, scraping tone. It dependes too on the instrument being played. I use different picks for guitar and mandolin.
I have never really liked thin picks but other of my regular playing buddies swear by them, and I am not too fond of very thick ones, such as many of the jazz picks are. Round about .80mm to 1mm seems to be my preference. I developed a liking for the more triangular shapes as, if they rotate in your fingers while playing, there is still a playing profile; but this is more a matter of having a good grip! The ones I make from credit cards have the raised numbers which give me a good grip and are of a thickness which seems to suit me. My only fear with them is that if the police ever raid my house they will want to know why I have so many old credit cards in a drawer. :lol:
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Re: Picks

Postby Dave Hanson » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:59 pm

I've tried old credit cards John but as they are laminated I find the tend to fray very quickly.

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Re: Picks

Postby John Kelly » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:11 pm

I found this with one or two as well, Dave. Smoothing and bevelling the edges has helped, and in fact a couple I use on mandolin have the clear laminated layer peeled off totally and still make a good pick (for my playing). Old Visa and Mastercards seem to last better too.
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Re: Picks

Postby Ray(T) » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:11 pm

Just to prove that it's really a matter of personal preference, one of Dave's choices is the Dawg but, as far as I'm concerned, I've never been able to get any sound out of a mandolin using one and I use either the Wegen M100 or M150 almost exclusively. (they are 1mm and 1.5mm thick respectively)

The Wegens are triangular and relatively blunt - like the Dawgs - but they come bevelled, which the Dawgs don't. I/they consider this important to the extent that they produce both left and right handed versions.

I should add that I don't use the same picks on mandola or octave mandolin so it's a matter of horses for courses. For what it's worth, I find that I need to go lighter and pointier the longer the scale length.
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Re: Picks

Postby Daniel » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:30 pm

I use Wegen TF-140s on everything. The white ones are a bit harder and wear more slowly than the black ones. The black ones are a bit softer sounding.
Prime-Tones are a good alternative.

I think if you try a heavier pick with a decent point, you'll notice that you can get the articulation you want as easily as if you use a thinner pick.

I've never been comfortable with rounded "mandolin" picks. But I suspect using them effectively requires a different right hand technique than I employ.

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Re: Picks

Postby Beanzy » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:30 am

I'd be another who goes for a thin edge backed up by rigid support from a thicker pick.
But the shapes I use are not something I would even begin to recommend anyone else try, they take way too long to make and a bit of time to become good at using. However they do eliminate a lot of pick click and wasted energy so have been worth it for me.
II still go around with a pick pouch with BlueChip CT55, Wegen TF140 and Dunlop Primetone ones, but I only have them in case anyone wants to borrow something, as they all fall short of what I want. However they are probably the ones I would recommend to try before you begin making your own.
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Re: Picks

Postby JIMMY POWELLS » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:48 pm

I've used Wegen picks for 12 years and never found anything as good. Michael Wegen (Holland) originally did 1.0 and 1.4 for mandolin but I got him to make me 2.00 and I use them for guitar and mandolin and nothing else comes close including Dawg. It's just my personal taste but I've been playing for over 45 years and I reckon a Wegen pick can make a £500 mandolin sound like a £1000 one. Volume and tone-end of story.

When I pick up a 1.4 by mistake I notice right away. It's got to be 2.0 for me.

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Re: Picks

Postby atticus » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:12 pm

Thanks all, some interesting replies.

The Wegen picks seem really expensive, on Amazon at least.

I have bought a pack of these Dava picks, having read the generally positive reviews and after looking at various others. I am now trying them out, getting used to the sharper point.
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Re: Picks

Postby JIMMY POWELLS » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:51 pm

When people say the Wegen picks are expensive it's rather like buying a really good pair of shoes and putting on cheap thin laces which will fray etc and not really be right for the shoes. Lots of other similar comparisons.

Buy cheap buy twice is a familiar phrase and I've found t to be true. People upgrade instruments from £150 mandolins/guitars to £500 or a lot more to get a little more volume or tone (plus I suppose cosmetic things/bling). Upgrading from a 50p pick to a £6 pick is a much better idea and in many cases will indeed give you that extra volume and tone.

Go for it and you'll never regret it. I changed to Wegen picks in 2005 and have never found anything as good. I carry about 10 around my house, mandolin case, guitar case and never have to worry about having the right pick. I carry a spare on on the back of my mandolin and guitar headstock via small piece of self adhesive Velcro.

It's all about QUALITY.
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