View Full Version : Tortis VS Golden Gate
I typically use a Golden Gate pick, but was wondering if anyone could tell me about the Tortis "Mondo" picks they have at Elderly.
$20 is a lot to experiment with a pick, so can anyone give a comparison or let me know of their experiences with Tortis picks (or the Dawg pick, for that matter).
El Rey del Mando
Hey Soap,I use the golden gate because it gives me a warm,bassy,dark tone.My 96 Mt.made Flatiron F5A is dark sounding already and this pick keeps it nice and dark sounding to me.On the same mando,the tortis makes it sound brighter and so does the dawg.The dawg is not as bright as the tortis.I have the same results when I play my Gibson F5G.This mando has the gibson sound but the picks make it sound bassier with golden gate and so on.Real tortoise is even brighter in my opinion.I like the dark tone and golden gate gives me that.You are right,20 bucks is alot to spend to try one out but I try too many things sometimes and end up with a box full of stuff I don't use....
I recently visit with the Tortis manufacturer, Dave Skowron #last Saturday. He lives in my area so I contact him for a demostration. Like you, $20 for a pick seems alot. He let me try several of his different picks. I stopped at his new E style and didn't get to the Mondo pick, but is very similar in design and is close to the Dawg pick.
I started using the Dawg pick about 2 months ago. It has a nice woody sound but I found it was hard for me to get a nice tremolo. In fact, I had to change my picking style which was a good thing because the Dawgs seem to require perfect technique. Good training tool for about a $1.50. I haven't tried the Golden Gate so I can't compare it to the Dawg or Tortis.
When I tried the Tortis pick, I found it to be less thick but gave the same woody tone as a Dawg. It felt like silk over the strings, unlike the Dawg and my tremolo improved alot. The Tortis will last a long time, if you don't lose it. But I have to say that for $20, it was worth it to me to get the sound I like, the great "feel" of the pick and the way it glides across the strings.
No financial interet here.
But to help you put the expense into perspective, I recently bought my daughter a bow for her voilin. She attends a performing acts high school for music and the bow she had was not cutting it for performance standard required by her school. She has a nice student model violin which I paid around $700 several years ago and included a cheap bow. The bow is a very important part of the sound of a voilin and a great bow will make a mediocre voilin sound very good. The bow cost $150 and that was at a discount. I paid 1/4 of the cost of her instrument.
OK so what is the average cost of a mandolin, good student models about $200, mid range around $1000? So for a good student model a $20 pick is 1/10 of the cost of the instrument. This is for something that gives your instrument its voice,just like the bow for a violin. I think we have gotten to use to the $.50 pick so when we see $20, we gag at the price.
The making of the Tortis pick is very labor intensive, thus the high price. But IMHO, it was worth it.
Ok. I forgot to mention that I play an Eastman 805 and I have been playing the mandolin about a year now.
Here is the Tortis website, if you want to check it out:
Red Bear Trading Co. (http://www.redbeartrading.com)
I just bought the new "E" style from Gryphon. #I consider it to be a cross between the ProPlec and the Golden Gate. #I like the size of the ProPlec but the round of the Golden Gate, so hopefully it will meet my needs as I have been rotating back and forth between both picks. #It should be here anyday. I'll post an opinion when I get it,
There has been a huge discussion about them on Comando. #I don't know if that discussion is archived or not. #Anyhow, the $20.00 doesn't bother me. #I figure thats just one or two less pizzas I will eat in my life.
I have used Golden Gate, Wegen and Tortis picks. All of them are first-rate picks and each produces a different sound and picking experience (one of the most interesting things I discovered after starting the mandolin was the difference in sound different picks make -- I had always thought a pick was a pick. The above analogy to a violin's bow is dead on. I've known people who paid more for their bow than they paid for their violon). I play an MK Firefly with an upgraded birdge and I settled on the Tortis. Golden Gates didn't produce enough volume for me. I liked Wegens a lot and would still be using them if I hadn't decided that $20 was not too much for trying out a first-rate pick (the Wegen pick, by the way, ain't cheap either -- about $5).
The Tortis produces great volume, and seems to "communicate" to the mandolin effortlessly. The tone is bright, but not harsh or brittle.
Ultimately, you have to try it for yourself and see whether it suits you. Just because other folks rave about it, doesn't mean you'll love it, too. I can see how $20 seems steep for trying something you might not like, but uless you run across another player who has one you can try for free, there's no other way to know.
I alternate between the big ProPlecs and Golden Gates. There are qualities of both that I like. Can someone post a life-size image of the new E-style Tortis pick? Also - how thick are they?
Here is a drawing Dave sent me. Each square is 1/4". Style D and E are new designs.
I'm sold on the wegens. I used horn for a while, then had two tortoise. I've tried out the tortis and they feel the same. I finally got a wegen, and I like it much more. It's cheaper ($5!), seems to me like it lasts longer than tortoise (been using the same one for about 6 months with relatively little wear, and only on one of the three corners) and I like the sound more, it slips across the strings just like it should, and sounds great. I just started using the for guitar too, and they're great!