View Full Version : Tortis pick vs Wegan pick

Dec-16-2003, 12:26pm
I've been researching the two different brands of picks, the Tortis brand faux tortoise shell pick and the Wegen picks. I haven't had the opportunity to play or try either, so if you've played either or both, let me know what your thoughts are. Tortis claims that their new picks are as close to the real thing as humanly possible, but the Wegen pick with it's grooved out surface and beveled tips sounds like a very accurate and nice pick. I'm curious about the sound provided by both picks as well. Right now, I'm leaning toward the Wegen Trimus 250 model or the M250 looks good, but it doesn't have the grooved surface.


Kevin K
Dec-16-2003, 12:45pm
Try the Wegen Dipper, I like it better than the M150 myself and over the new tortis picks. But this is my opinion matched with what I like to hear, my mandolin and strings.


Dec-16-2003, 1:44pm
I recently bought both. I find myself using the Tortis exclusively. The Wegen is nice. It's like a brighter Dawg pick. The bevel makes it slide through the strings nicely. But the Tortis material feels like real TS (if you are referring to the NEW Tortis offered by Red Bear Trading), and it does not "catch" in the strings at all like plastic picks.
At first try I thought I liked the sound of the Wegen better than the Tortis. I thought the Tortis was a bit too bright and had too much pick noise for my taste. This was because my initial test was at home, solo.
Once I tried both picks in an acoustic ensemble environment the choice was clear. The Tortis has the brightness needed to really be heard with very little effort.
One heads up. Even though the new Tortis are vastly better finished than the old ones sold through FQMS, I still like to reshape them a bit. Take a little of the point off and round the edge a bit. The Wegen's are fine as they come.

But why are you asking us? For 35 bucks you can have them both and see for yourself. That's the great thing about picks. They are a great way to alter the results you get from your instrument, and even the "expensive" ones are cheap.

Dec-16-2003, 4:36pm
Funny you should ask, I had the same question yesterday so I went to the store to try them both out.
I had my heart on the tortis so I bought it but just for the heck of it I tried the wegen bluegrass pick (not sure of the model, it's thicker than my other wegen and is teardrop shaped and white) Wow! the Wegen felt like butter, it was very smooth through the strings. I bought it for $3.75 and also got the tortis but I think I'll be using the wegen more. The tortis sounds really good but for me, when I play fast it wasn't as precise as the wegen. Maybe a little shaping would help. I like a bit more point on my picks anyway. By the way, I bought the triangle tortis not the dawg style.
You know, you should try them both, you will come up with your own conclusions which may be different. They are both good picks.

Dec-16-2003, 4:56pm
I'm using the large Tortis triangles. #I think they are called the "C" shape. #Went with the heavy. #Took the points off. Rounded the edges and smoothed the bevel. #
There is nothing slicker feeling though the strings. They do have that "tortoisesque" quality to the high end too. #Nothing else like them except the real thing.

Dec-17-2003, 12:07pm
Where abouts can you purchase a Wegen or Tortis pick .

Dec-17-2003, 12:16pm
A number of places carry the Wegens. I got mine from Big City Strings (www.bigcitystring.com), but others sell them, too. There's a list of dealers that carry Tortis picks on the manufacturer's Web site: www.redbeartrading.com


John Jesseph
Dec-17-2003, 2:15pm
FQMS has the new Read Bear TorTis picks for 20 bucks. Not cheap, but several thousand dollars cheaper than a good violin bow...

Dec-17-2003, 7:00pm
I have been using my Wegen for about 2 months now and cannot imagine ever using another pick. As a player, you always find yourself searching for the ultimate pick, but usually get less than flattering results. The Wegens are perfect right out of the bag. I cannot comment on the Tortis because I have not used them, but remember many of hours spent shaping my Saga distributued faux tortoise (horn). Great material, but they come very blunt and unusable. The Wegens bevel is great and you can tell that the spent a lot of time making them just right. They are pricy, but well worth the $$$$. http://www.mandolincafe.net/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

Bob DeVellis
Dec-17-2003, 9:05pm
I'm intrigued by all the positive comments about the Wegan picks but I find that, as a non-bluegrasser, what I like in a pick isn't always what most other players like. My favorite "cheap" pick is a standard Fender heavy. For my style, I find most thicker and blunter picks rob the instrument of too much brightness, giving an overly "thunky" sound (which actually is great for chop chortds but not for some of the stuff I'm far more likely to play). Clown barf, Golden Gates, Dawg, have not worked well for the sound I'm after. I'm assuming that the Wegans, although different from any of these are sort of similar in producing a fat, bassy sound. Is this right? I really like tortoise because of their combination of thinness and stiffness. They produce the best note separation in my experience and you hear the string rather than the pick. My experience with thick, blunt picks has pretty much been the exact opposite of my experience with fairly thin (1mm) tortoise. Is a Wegan more like the thick, Dawg-style pick or more like tortoise? Has anyone that prefers less chunky picks found the Wegan picks to work well for them? Usually, with picks, it's easy enough to try something and just pitch it in the pick box if it turns out not to work that well, but the Wegan picks are a bit tougher to track down and a bit pricier than your standard fare, so I'm a bit reluctant to try them unless I can get a better sense from others whether they'd have the characteristics I'm looking for. I'd really like hearing what other people think.

Dec-18-2003, 7:55am
I've never tried tortoise picks -- I have a Golden Gate faux tortoise pick on the way for a test drive and will probably spring for a Tortis at some point -- but have been using a Wegen for a few months now. It's thick and very stiff, with more of a point than the Golden Gate, but I think it's the bevel that really makes the difference. I would say it produces a much brighter sound than the Golden Gate/Dawg style pick, but maybe not as bright as tortoise. I wouldn't call the sound of the Wegen "thunky." I've been impressed with the volume that comes from using a Wegen pick and also the responsiveness it possesses. Hard to explain, but it just seems like it communicates changes in attack very directly, so that I can really hear a difference depending on what I'm doing with my right hand. It's a very well-made pick.

Dec-18-2003, 8:13am
I met a guy last night at the Carolina Brewery where we did the clandestine pick swap thing - one of his Wegens for one of my barfs. Got home and tried it out, found it to be a good pick - along the lines of a GG, maybe a bit sharper. Don't beat the turtle, 'though.

Dec-18-2003, 9:17am
AlanN, are you talking about real tortoise or the tortis faux tortoise pick that you thought the wegen didn't beat? By the way, I appreciate all the input here. As bobd stated above, I don't care much for the dawg or GG picks, as they have the nice "thump" but not quite the brightness or volume needed for bluegrass, IMHO.


Dec-18-2003, 9:29am
I've tried most of the above plus ivory and TS, and I'm now using the Dunlop Jazztone 2.07-a powerful string mover that greatly enhances response.

Dec-18-2003, 9:30am
The real thing.

John S
Dec-18-2003, 10:29am
I'm assuming that the Wegans, although different from any of these are sort of similar in producing a fat, bassy sound. #Is this right? #Is a Wegan more like the thick, Dawg-style pick or more like tortoise? #
I've tried the Wegen rounded triangles only. I found them to deliver a fat tone but also had a pretty bright sound. Some woul say too bright for bluegrass. By the feel of it, I'd say that the 1.14mm thick Wegen was around the same stiffness is my tortois pick, more or less. A custom Wegen I use is a thicker version of the rounded triangle and isn't overly bright but still can cut through with good volume. I haven't tried to the Tortis pick yet but I'm tempted to give one a try.

Dec-23-2003, 9:27am
I have tried the Wegen 1.5 mando pick and the new
Tortis "Mondo" heavy. #For my Master Model, I prefer the
Tortis "mondo" pick(do they mean mando?) as it seems a bit
less bright than the Wegen and has darker overtones.

The tortis has to be shaped somewhat to reduce pick noise.

For my day to day playing, though, I seem to always go back to my favorite....the D'Andrea Pro Plec Standard shape, using the rear rounded corners. #A sweet, rich sounding pick with a beautiful bevel needing no shaping.

Dec-23-2003, 11:30am
i just got some wegen 1.0 bluegrass picks and i think they do improve my picking speed...not sure if it's because of the picks or the fact that they cost $15 for 4 of them. either way, i like 'em.

Dec-28-2003, 9:45pm
I spent two hrs today trying out my different picks on mt new Ovation MM68 mandolin and still came back to a plain old Fender thin or medium as good as anything I have. I have GG's, Dawg, D'Addario, Dunlop Ultex light, etc... The tortoise looking fenders just slide through better for me and don't click, slap, as some have said. Maybe I'm not a fast enough player,picker. The GG's make a dull thud and steal the tone and volume for me.

Jan-20-2004, 1:52pm
I have been using Wegens since they came out , I was using his Gypsy jazz guitar picks for years asked him about making mano picks years ago. I just tried a tortis triangular shaped pick. reshaped the points and beveled the leading edge. I find the tortis gas a brighter tone and my high notes above the 10th fret are clearer. with the larger shape I can loosen my grip a touch too. I'm going with the tortis right now........subject to change..

Jan-27-2004, 5:39pm
Following up on that last post I got the TorTis Mondo shape and the larger triangle ("C" shape?) and I think I prefer the feel of the larger pick since I can "loosen my grip" and get a better tone. However, I'd like to have one end rounded, have hesitated for reason of the "I don't know what I am doing" factor, being concerned about screwing up this expensive pick by taking sandpaper to it. Any suggestions on proper sanding/finishing/beveling technique with a TorTis pick? #I note the Tortis has a pronounced bevel - very sharp angle.

Jeff A
Jan-28-2004, 8:50pm
Tortis sands easily. I use various grades of emery boards and finish with a quick polish from a felt dremel attachment. Altogether about 5 minute process. Two other things are important that have not been mentioned in this topic. First,the picks arrived warped and instructions are included as to best flatten them out. Boil or microwave, then clamp. Be careful what you clamp them between. I clamped a heavy triangle between 2 pieces of cedar and it now has a genuine imitation wood grain finish. Second, the bevels are hand made by the manufacturer and are not consistent from one pick to another.For $20 per pick it might be worth a call to one of the stores selling them and get a description of the bevel. Bottom line - I think they produce a terrific sound. My favorite is the heavy triangle with the tip rounded off a little.

Feb-03-2004, 7:06am
I have played the Tor-Tis now for a couple of weeks. It is definitely a different sound and feel and if you're interested bite the bulet and try one. I got the Mondo and the Large C (triangle) shape. I need to round the one corner on the C but at $20 a pop I'm nervous about screwing it up. I find myself reaching for it in preference to my "classic" Dawg Picks, which now seem slightly heavier feeling and a little too "muffled" sounding. I also am expecting in some D'Andrea Vintage ProPlecs, the large round triangles. Tryng out new picks is fun.

Feb-03-2004, 7:08am
Read and ye shall find. Thanks for the above Jeff, although I lack a Dremel. TorTis should just go ahead and make a modified large triangle with one rounded corner IMHO.

Jeff A
Feb-03-2004, 10:41am
Kevin, you can get a dremel for a little more than the picks cost. $27 bucks at amazon. Good tool to have around.

Feb-13-2004, 12:02am
thought i'd add my two cents also. #bought the triangle Tortis style c ..medium thickness (aprox 1.25mm)..and the wegen triangle m150 (1.5mm) and the thinner 1mm m100. i rounded the tortis points to look the same as my real turtle picks...the wegens are a impressive pick..the 1mm was a little too bright and lacked digging power for hard picking, but the m150 didn't..it will shoot mando notes out as good as a tortoise shell. it doesn't have the same hard solid note as tortoise, but it is as loud and really can pop notes.it pulls out a lot of tone..the tortis, frankly was a disapointment.it feels and flexes just like tortoise, but it has that same doggyness and lack of grab as plastic picks, like a golden gate or newer grisman pick...if you like a golden gate, you will probably love the tortis,,if you love the pop and punch of a real tortoise pick,,you will most likely be disapointed--ps--the wegan works great right out of the sack,,no shaping..for me it's wegen yes, tortis,they need to keep working on them..and i'm not even considering the difference in price..(wegen=$5..tortis=$20)