View Full Version : Tortis Picks

JD Cowles
Mar-25-2004, 12:45pm
howdy cafe'ers-
i just ordered one of the large triangle "C" tortis picks from fqms. #any one of you try one of these? #i'm still on the quest for the holy grail of plectrums, and cow horn has brought me close...but still i search on...

John Ely
Mar-25-2004, 2:45pm
I got one of the large pointed Tortis triangles, and I really like it. I am also a big fan of cow horn, but the Tortis is my current favorite. I left one corner the shape it came in, but rounded the other two corners by varying degrees. I think this stuff does sound very tortoise-y. It is a little zingy-ier than cow horn, but not twangy or brittle, which I do not like. I'm using Gibson monel strings right now, and I'm looking forward to hearing the Tortis on my usual (and favorite) strings, the Thomastik Infelds.

Mar-25-2004, 2:51pm
I'm using the Tortis mondo rounded triangle and love it. I'm also using TI strings. I had been using a Wegen, and liked it, but the Tortis gives me a brighter sound, yet full. Plenty of volume and it glides over the strings very nicely.

JD Cowles
Mar-25-2004, 5:49pm
thanks for the feedback. mine come in next week.


Scotti Adams
Mar-26-2004, 7:21am
..Although those faux tortis pics from FQ are great items..theyve really come a long way..I still find myself falling back to the real deal...in fact I gave my dad my faux pick...

Mar-26-2004, 10:33am
I had a problem with the first one I had warping and emailed the dealer and they replaced it free (Red Bear Tading, great customer service). #My new one looks and feel different, a lot like my real TS.....but IMHO you can beat the real deal..

Dru Lee Parsec
Mar-26-2004, 1:27pm
BTW, I've had an order in to Folk of the Wood since January to get a Tortis pick. They told me that they're just having trouble getting them. The manufacturer is a one man shop and it's sometimes tough for him to meet demand. I called Gryphon and they had a few in stock. So call around first before you put in your order because availability may be an issue.

JD Cowles
Mar-26-2004, 2:13pm
hey dru-
FQMS has some in stock right now (they just came in). they are still waiting for the mondo (golden gate) style, so being impatient, i tried the style b and c instead. they shipped yesterday.

scotti and mando-
i'm sure you can't beat the real deal, but i haven't been lucky enough to stumble across any. i'll keep prowling the flea mkts and antique shops...


John S
Mar-26-2004, 2:31pm
For me, I couldn't use the Tortis without shaping the edges first. But I can't re-shape picks with any consistency at all and I like having a pick that comes ready to play, so I stuck with the Wegen TF140 which I really like.

Don Grieser
Mar-30-2004, 10:04am
It's my new favorite. I did need to work on the edges. I've been using a 3 step nail polisher/buffer available in your local supermarket. Doesn't take off too much at a time, and you can really get a nice slick finish.

Brian Ray
Mar-30-2004, 10:40am
I tried one out as well. They are damn close to the real thing... I mean damn close. Mine broke near the end of the first jam I played it at though... Luckily, it can be replaced easily where my real one can't.

JD Cowles
Mar-30-2004, 11:31am
got mine yesterday and am pleasantly surprised. they sound great.

Tom C
Mar-30-2004, 2:13pm
I picked #6 or is it #9. But my opinion is #2 has the legs and runs better at long distances.

Scotti Adams
Mar-30-2004, 6:26pm
..leave it to you Tom...haha

Tom C
Mar-31-2004, 7:44am
By the way... That is not me or anybody I know, met, seen, talked to, or heard of.

Bob DeVellis
Mar-31-2004, 3:03pm
I have one and have also had the warping problem. I followed the instructions for putting it right -- boil it and clamp it -- to no avail. I even heated it in the oven and then clamped it for 24 hours. The warp always returns. I prefer a thinner pick than many folks. The heavier ones may not have this problem. I also found the edge to be a bit too sharp, but that was an easy fix. I actually do like the tone but I'm not convinced that it's any better than one of those Dunlop rhino picks after it's been polished up. And the latter are considerably less expensive. I consider the Dunlops to be my favorite after the "real deal."

Mar-31-2004, 3:43pm
By the way... That is not me or anybody I know, met, seen, talked to, or heard of.
My first thought was that it might be mandopete... but then I noticed that the guy in this photo's wearin' pants...


Mar-31-2004, 6:00pm
Hey, hey!

BTW - I like the Tortis pick, I'm using one for my D-18 these days.

Dru Lee Parsec
Apr-01-2004, 2:42pm
OK, I got a Tortis mondo pick, some Wegen M150's (which is what I've been using lately), and some Wegen Bluegrass Guitar picks 2 days ago. #Here's how the various picks I've been using seem to compare:

Jim Dunlop 0.96 sanded to a rounded triangle shape for mandolin. $0.25 each
Nice sound, cheap and easy to find, takes about a minute for sand them to the right shape. Nice bright tone. #Moderatly easy to tremelo. #Noticable pick click.

Wegen M150. #pkg of 3 for $15
Great feel, nice bright tone moderatly easy to tremelo. #Easier to tremelo than the Jim Dunlop. Pick click is not very noticable.

Golden Gate mando picks. $1
Tone is a bit darker than the Wegen. The rounder tips make it easier to tremelo but also add a bit of a "chuff" sound when picking the strings rather than a pick click sound.

Dawg Pick. $1.20 at Elderly
Thicker than the Golden Gate, very slightly darker sound. #Easy to tremelo but there is certainly a "chuff" sound when single strings are played. The pick feels like it "glides" over the strings more than plucking them. #Very soft feel against the strings because of the very round tips. Tone difference between Golden gate and Dawg are so close that it may not be noticable.

Tortis, $18 from Gryphon
Same size, shape, thickness as the Dawg pick but with almost the brightness of a Wegen. #Noticably brighter than the Dawg pick but without any pick click sound. #Just as easy to tremelo as the Dawg pick. #Since I've been using Wegans which have a slightly more pointed tip I'm use to the way a Wegen pick "pops" off of the string. The feel of the Tortis is nice, it's just different. #Like all the rounder tipped picks there is a bit of a "chuff" sound when picking the strings. #But the brighter tone of this pick make it less noticable than with the Dawg pick.

If you like the feel of a Dawg or a Golden Gate but want a brighter tone then you'll like the feel and brightness of a Tortis. #If you like a darker sound then a Dawg pick might be better. #If you like a positive "pop" feeling to your string plucks and a bright tone then you may prefer the Wegen M150. #If you want picks that still cost 4 for a dollar then use the Jim Dunlops.

My choice is now between the Tortis and the Wegen. #The more rounded Tortis has a much different feel than what I'm use to and that's the only thing keeping me from calling it the overall winner.

Apr-06-2004, 5:46am
red bear trading is now selling clown barf tor-tis.....it looks sort of like stained glass to me.......check out flatpickin.com.

i have a lot of those dugain picks...nice but pricey.....but my favorites are still dunlop gator 1.14mm and 1.5mm

Dru Lee Parsec
Apr-06-2004, 11:07am
The more I use it the more I "think" I like the Tortis. But at $18 a piece it stays in the case in it's little zip lock bag. The Wegen's stay in my pocket. I did about an hour long practice session yesterday at lunch entirely with the Tortise. It's a close call. Tortis or Wegen. Next week I play at our local bluegrass jam. Then we'll see how they work when I'm trying to get some volume out of the instrument. Right now it seems like it's a difference of feel, the tone is darn close.

Apr-07-2004, 6:23pm
I don't think I'll ever acheive pick satisfaction. I had been using a round ts pick, then decided i wanted to try a pointyer pick for awhile and I liked that, then I got the round pick back out and hit a couple of notes that sounded great so started using that.

Then I found that while the darker more muted tone was great for some things I didn't like it overall and decided the pick felt and sounded too tubby. I reshaped the pick and acheived more volume and easier use, but I still think it sounds too muted and dark...so I got my wegen out that I hadn't used in ages and right now it seems to be a nice compromise between the tubby sounding ts pick and the somewhat shrill sound of the plastic pick I had been using.

As a side note, I got my clayton golds out again and they really do sound a lot like the ts pick for those that like that sound. I don't think I do, at least not on my mandolin. It is kinda a dark sounding mandolin to begin with and I think the ts just is overkill in that dept.

Seems like every pick I try has things that I like and dislike about it, so I reckon the search for pick nirvana continues ;)

Apr-13-2004, 9:30pm
Well my big argument against the real tortise pick came true. I lost mine now I have to relearn to play.:p

Bobbie Dier
Apr-14-2004, 4:49am
I think tortis picks are overrated and too expensive . I just don't get what the big attraction is. Plus you have to gaurd it with your life. Maybe I just haven't played with the right one yet. :o

Apr-14-2004, 7:35am
I think this thread was about the imitation tortis picks from First Quality. $20. A bargain compared to real tortise shell. Also a great pick.

Dru Lee Parsec
Apr-14-2004, 3:43pm
Well, now that I've had mine for about a month. I like the Wegen better. That slightly sharper point just gives me the feel I like. Believe me, at $18 a piece I was trying to convince myself that I really like the Tortis pick, but the Wegen won out.

Walter Newton
Apr-14-2004, 9:41pm
FWIW: I haven't tried a Tortis yet (and at $18 don't think I will be anytime soon), but I've hit all the major stores in the area recently and bought one of just about every pick I could get my hands on to try. A few thoughts:

I generally agree with DLP - Wegen M150 is my current favorite for a "brighter" pick; Golden Gate is probably 2nd favorite for "darker" sound. I also like the Ultex 1.0 so much that the size/shape (standard "Fender" guitar pick) doesn't bother me.

For me the Dawg is a lot different (worse) than the GG, just too "round" in shape and "dark" in sound.

I'm not too crazy about "big triangles" like the Claytons or Pro Plecs. I've tried sanding down the White Claytons (the "Torke" pick), they're OK but to me Wegen and GG are better. I don't care for Dunlop Tortex or 500's.

A regular old Fender "Extra Heavy" (using one of the rounder points) isn't bad at all for a cheap/easy-to-find pick.