View Full Version : thumbpics to avoid slippage

Feb-06-2004, 3:23pm
as many of you know, i am always looking to fight the battle of pic slippage (the bane of all pickers).

last night at the local open mic, there was a guitarist (who was killer by the way) who used a thumbpic as a flatpic. no fingerpicker he. it was used like a plain old plectrum.
i was most intrigued.
anyone try this method. pros/cons?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif?


Feb-06-2004, 3:32pm
I would think it would be pretty tough to get a good tremelo with a thumbpick...

Feb-06-2004, 3:54pm

Feb-06-2004, 3:54pm
Or even up/down strokes, unless you pinched the thumbpick against your pointer finger to keep it from flying off.

Feb-06-2004, 4:03pm
Generally for a tremelo you want to hold the pick loose and let it sort of roll back and forth between you thumb and finger. I don't think the pick would be loose enough to get a nice clean tremelo....But, I guess it all depends on your style...

Feb-06-2004, 5:01pm
What he said , agree I do.

There is a thumb/flatpick, Herco #brand.
Heavy guage is not that heavy,
it is a thermoplastic loop formed while warm, bodyheat softens the loops hold around your thumb after awhile
BUT, it has some usefulness.

Flat pick and handwashing combined help me, as skin oils acuumulate on the pick , too.
Take yer pick with ya to the W.C. and wash it when you wash your hands.

Other bene suggs: roughening the middle of the pick. sandpaper, scratching with sharp point,
vibrating engraver etc, punching 3 holes in the center with a leather punch, all have some effect, give em all a try and see what works for you. # # # # http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/mandosmiley.gif

John Flynn
Feb-06-2004, 5:53pm
I just dug a Herco Medium out of an old bag of picks I have had for X decades. I bought it on whim back in my electric guitar days and never liked it back then. I had never tried it on a mando until just now. It actually works better than I thought it would. It might be a solution for you.

However, and please take this in the way it is meant, which is completely supportive and constructive, I think you should examine your technique also. Your pick slippage may be a symptom of issues that will hurt your tone and speed, even if you find a technical solution to the slippage problem. #I use really slick picks and the only time one slips is when I get sloppy with my technique. Just a thought.

Feb-06-2004, 11:04pm
my slippage happens primarily when i play out, and i think that it is sweat related, but looking at technique is always valuable.

Feb-07-2004, 12:20pm
when going thumbpic shopping, found something called the ice f-1 by icepix. it is a pic that curls up and around for a little indented space for your index finger- anyone try this?http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/rock.gif

Feb-07-2004, 5:07pm
hopefully the link will work.........
I tried this and to my amazement, it not only helps to avoid slippage, but it helped me learn to play (mostly) without posting my pinky. I say mostly because I still want to post while doing the tougher solo licks

Feb-07-2004, 5:08pm

Bob DeVellis
Feb-07-2004, 5:35pm
I used to use a thumbpick ages ago when I briefly played one of those round, noisy instruments with one short string. I also played a little guitar at the time and, naturally, did some fingerpicking. I tried using the thumbpick as a flatpick and it didn't work for me. Definitely for tremolo but also just for upstrokes, you need the pick to hinge between your fingers. Thumbpicks are designed not to do that, but to stay put. This isn't to say that there aren't some types of picks out there that would work, but the standard heavy, stiff, tight-fitting thumbpick sure didn't work for me.

Feb-07-2004, 9:12pm
I use something call Gorilla Snot, most music stores carry it. It is basically a small jar of what smells like pine tar. All you do is put a small amount on thumb and index finger. If it is cold like it has been for the last 3 months you need to work it between your fingers to get it sticky. Works great and lets you lossen up on the wist action because you don't need to grip the pick as hard.

Feb-07-2004, 11:32pm
bluemando, just checked out the link to the orbit pick. looks exceptionally cool. was it hard to learn to pic with the ring around your finger??? what is the guage of the pic? could you liken it to a commonly used pic re: the guage, tone, etc...

anyone else try this baby? i'll be ordering manana.


Feb-08-2004, 1:45am
The ring on the pick doesn't bother me. I found it pretty easy to get used to. For some reason it made me want to close my hand while I was playing though. I am not sure if there are different guages, but the one I have I would say is super heavy. I would compare its tone and feel to a Dunlop Stubby but with a ruber ring around your finger.......sounds strange but it did the trick for me

Feb-08-2004, 1:50am
I dont mean the pick sounds strange.....I guess I should've said "looks strange"

Feb-11-2004, 7:32pm
I don't claim to be a great player so maybe my technique stinks, but I use a medium Herco thumbpick for everything. They're very inconsistent in the shape of the loop, so you have to look through a whole bunch to find a couple that fit properly. You can also heat them and reshape them if need be. I played guitar for years (mostly fingerpicking and strumming) before taking up mandolin, and I've used them for so long that I can't hold onto a regular pick anymore. The medium seems to flex just enough for good up/down strokes, and for situations where I need to hold the pick loosely, I either slide it forward toward the tip of the thumb and put my index finger on the tip of the thumb and the middle finger where you would usually have the index finger with a regular pick or take it off the thumb completely and hold it like a very thick pick with the thumb on top of the loop. It just takes a little getting used to.

Feb-11-2004, 11:13pm
I've been experimenting with both the Herco and (http://www.elderly.com/accessories/items/HE112.htm) a Fred Kelly Bumblebee . (http://www.elderly.com/accessories/items/PKBB-LJ.htm) So far the Fred Kelly is the more interesting one of the two as - it has a flat pick which rotates. I have two of the "points" polished one way, and the third point is much rounder. This will work for tremolo or some triplets but it really seems to require a lot more practice - and a definate angle change of the pick.

Feb-12-2004, 2:26pm
I have tried various thumb picks on occasion, and I really haven't felt comfortable with them. I do on occasion find that some regular picks seem to slide about my grasp. Especially the Wegen pick which is the rave right now. The smooth silky texture makes the pick roll around so that I am playing with the flat side. Today I experimented with some 3M decorating clip adhesive tabs. They seem to work well in giving me a good grip on the pick without a lot of bulk. (here goes calkan again...experimenting with his mandolin!) Anyway, has anyone else found the Wegen Picks hard to hold on to?

Feb-13-2004, 2:03pm
If Ive understood right, Radim Zenkl has used fingerpicks in his highly original technique (like playing two voices with simultaneous tremolo on G and E courses). His tremolo sounds quite beautiful and even, but he is quite a wizard technique-wise. I wonder how his fingerpicks look like?


mad dawg
Feb-13-2004, 2:26pm
I experimented with conventional thumb picks a while back, and it didn't work out for me as it shifted the pick's (horizontal) axis of rotation from between my thumb and forefinger, to above where the thumb and forefinger meet (i.e., to the right side of my thumb, instead of under my thumb -- does that make sense?). In net: I found it extremely awkward.

However, I just checked out the Bumblebee Pick (pictured below) thanks to Dolomon's tip, and it looks like it would move the axis of rotation back where it belongs. I think I might have to buy one and check it out.

Feb-15-2004, 1:58pm
http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif One answer to slippage: I've still got my little Pug who often "custom chews" my picks that I drop on the floor. #Puts just enough tooth marks to make them easy to hold. #So if you'll send them...Pickles will chew them for you. #You pay postage. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/tounge.gif

Salty Dog
Feb-15-2004, 3:08pm
When I get the slippery pick problem I use a pick that I picked up at a local music store. #It has a sandpaper-like surface applied in an oval shape to the upper part of the pick. #They do not slip for me. #They are only marked as "Cool" on one side and the thickness on the other. #They come in various thicknesses with the body white and the non-slip oval is blue. #They also make a pearloid pick with what appears to be soft plastic dots in the oval.

Feb-15-2004, 4:32pm
I believe Ry Cooder uses a thumbpick when playing his old F4, and it's a very interesting sound...

Dennis Gordon
Feb-27-2004, 4:34pm
Geez, I haven't used a flatpick for 30 years. I thought lots of people used thumbpicks for pickin' guitars and mandos. I find that thumbpicks such as National mediums or smalls are very easy to use for tremoloes and flatpicking, and it makes it easy to switch from fingerpicking rhythm to leads. I never even tried a flatpick on a mando... Now I'll have to try and dig one up...

Mar-08-2004, 9:08pm
I usually just drill a hole in the center of whatever pick I'm using (usually Dawg or Golden Gate) and never seem to have any problem with slippage.