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Thread: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

  1. #1
    Mando-afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Question Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I think I am going to break down and do it. I have played every imaginable pick-- an old "T.S." I have had for years, Wegen, Dawg, Red Bear, V Picks, Dunlop of all types and others, but I have never played with a Blue Chip.

    I am looking for something that will allow me to relax my hand more, and if I do happen to hit the scooped extension, it won't click as loudly as my other picks do.

    I wonder about the dropping? I have used some picks that are easier to drop while the V Picks don't drop, or very seldom.

    What shape do you prefer? I think I would want rounded corners but not so thick. I want it to have a bit of snap back. Make sense or...?
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    Dave Sheets
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I find them easy to hang onto, they allow me to grip more loosely without dropping it. I have a BC TAD 60, which is pretty stiff. It sounds really good on one mandolin, not so much on some of the others. Definitely worth a try. No financial interest on my part.
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    Registered User MissingString's Avatar
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I continue to try to like something better but the two BC’s I use are just superior in tone and feel than anything else for me. My alternate choice would be Wegen’swhich I really like too. For both manufacturers there are two shapes I like: a smaller rounded pick for more finesse playing (and tremolo heavy songs) and a larger triangle for more “aggressive” playing. In the Blue Chip world that is a SR60 for the round (heaviest, with the SR50 and even 40 being thinner versions). My larger triangles (beveled) are CT55’s. I’m sure you can guess who’s signature pick that is, but the thickness falls between the 50 and 60 weights and is just right for me. Good luck, this is just one opinion but one that has been arrived at through a couple years of trial and error. Hope that helps a little. Chris
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I used them for years, went to a Wegen as I like the sound better. They are smooth against the strings and if you keep them clean tacky in the hand. I liked the lightest, 35 over the 60 I started out with. Went right down the line. Truly it depends on your mandolin. If your G string is not deep you may like it. It wasn't clean enough for my G string so changed. I do love the way it glides over the strings tho.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I think it's well worth investing in at least one Blue Chip to see if you like it. I find they bring out a bit more of the woody tones of the instrument, while also producing bell clarity to the notes, and they play very smoothly, as well. The TAD-1R 60 is my go-to pick. I use the angled corners for more aggressive playing, the rounded corner for a rounder, deeper, mellower sound. For what it's worth, my second choice is the Wegen TF 140, which I use quite a lot.

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I like the CT55. I also have a TAD 60 somewhere and they are very similar to each other but I play faster/cleaner on the CT55. So now I have two CT55's as Ive worn the tip down a bit on my first one. Thats how much I like it. Its the right size/shape for me.

    Prior to Blue chips, I used the Wegen TF140. Its a good size and a good pick but just not as slick over the strings and not as sticky to the fingers.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I have the CT-55 and TD-60 and while they have a glossy finish that looks a bit slippery, they never really fall out of your hand. They produce a very loud and crystal clear tone. They're great if you need volume or a cleaner sound. I don't like them for any kind of muted percussive type of playing though. They sound very thin and weak to me when playing mutes.

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    If you’re not in much of a hurry to get one, you should sign up for the “Traveling Pick Sampler”, there are two Bluechip picks(CT55 and I think a TRD50 possibly, not sure) in Sampler #1, not sure about #2. It would only cost you $7 or so to ship it to the next guy, and you could try a couple Bluechips up against a lot of others, before you sink $35 into one pick.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Lots of interesting replies! I was interested in all, but wanted to comment on the mention of the muted playing mandolin wild mentioned. I do sing with my mandolin a lot, though I also like playing reels and fiddle tunes. When I am playing more percussively, I hope that the Blue Chip would handle that well. Good to hear from several of you that I hadn't talked to in a while!
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    What about one of the smaller ones? The guitar pick width is something I am very accustomed to and I was pondering the KS40 vs the CT55. The wider one needs the middle finger added for control. I do better when I am able to use my first finger and thumb with just a bit of an assist from my middle. Anyone used the smaller Kenny Smith version?
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Just how many threads about Blue Chip picks do we actually need? It really puzzles me that the Primetones, Wegens, etc. don't get anywhere near as much attention.

    Judging by your description, the TD range may be a good starting point. This is the standard guitar pick shape with rounded corners, one point, and two shoulders. Other shapes are available if I've misunderstood your requirements. Check them out on the Blue Chip web site. They have included measurements too, so you can compare with your current favourite pick.

    I recommend a round bevel and no personalisation on the first attempt. That way, you can return the pick for a refund if it turns out not to be right for you.

    Also consider the Gold Series from Gravity Picks. They are made in California, so fairly local to you. I find their tone a little brighter and the feel a little smoother than the Blue Chips. But it will depend on your instrument, playing style, and personal preference. Gravity make some excellent picks, but don't get hyped around here in the way the Blue Chips do.

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelsenbury View Post

    ... some excellent picks, but don't get hyped around here in the way the Blue Chips do.
    I think the word "hype" has a negative connotation. Blue Chip picks really are unique. Better is subjective, but they make a quality product and have earned the praise of many players.

    To the OP: buy a CT-55 and take some time to get familiar with it. It may take a little while to learn what it has to offer, so make it a part of this year's festival season. If, in the end, you don't like it you can resell and be out maybe $10-15 for the experience.

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    I am looking for something that will allow me to relax my hand more, and if I do happen to hit the scooped extension, it won't click as loudly as my other picks do.
    That's called practice. Not a pick

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    What about one of the smaller ones? The guitar pick width is something I am very accustomed to and I was pondering the KS40 vs the CT55. The wider one needs the middle finger added for control. I do better when I am able to use my first finger and thumb with just a bit of an assist from my middle. Anyone used the smaller Kenny Smith version?
    I used a KS60 for about a year and then moved to a KS80. It is pretty small compared to the other shapes and it definitely took some getting used to for me. On their website they have a comparison to a quarter for reference to see how small it is. It's very rounded compared to the CT55 (which I used before the KS60). Darker of course.
    You may want to use some cheaper options to narrow down what shape and thickness you think you like before ordering the BC....but that said they do take returns if they aren't customized and I imagine most would be a quick sell here on the classifieds for a little less than retail.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I will be the rare voice of dissent and say that, when I tried a CT55, it did not change my life. It didn't even change my playing. They are fine picks, sure, but not 10x better than a Primetone (either to me or my audience).

    In fact, when I recorded, I asked the sound engineer to rate the CT55 vs the Wegen TF140. Every time, he picked the Wegen because it had less pick noise and sounded "fuller" in his headphones.

    So the Wegen is my at-home pick, and Primetones are my gigging pick, because I don't feel so bad if I lose one. I have no issues with either of those picks slipping or wearing out.

    As for hitting the extension, that's a technique thing. Any pick made of hard plastic will make a noise when struck against an immovable object. There are even threads here (and marketing videos from various plectrum makers) about how the sound a pick makes when you drop it on a countertop predicts its tone when playing.

    Or maybe it's just time to scoop the extension

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    BC has a 30 day return to swap out as long as you don't engrave or custom order.

    For triangle picks there is the TP size and the tad bigger TAD sized pick. The CT-55 is a TAD sized pick. Same size as wegen TF120 in picture

    The 3 points rounded triangle is the TPR and TAD3R. I find those a bit too rounded for some playing but still prefer a rounded tip. Also rounding all the corners makes the pick feel a bit smaller than the non-rounded version.

    The 1R (one tip rounded) is a good way to try both tips

    IMO the BC picks have slightly less 'snap back' than similar thickness Wegen. My 1.2 wegen seems to flex a little more than a BC 50. BC's start to flex nice (imo) on the 45 on down in thickness.

    Not related to your question but maybe down the road, I custom round off one corner of my 'pointed' picks to my preference (CT-55 right corner, and wegen TF120 dotted corner) I'm kinda hooked on that slight rounded corner for volume and smoothness.
    ** The back of that CT-55 has my phone number engraved so unreturnable anyway.

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I like the TAD size in the 80 strength. It’s a larger surface area to hold onto and it’s thick and easy to drive thru the strings. Order one - or a few - and try them, don’t overthink just do it and then return or sell here in classifieds.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    What about one of the smaller ones? The guitar pick width is something I am very accustomed to and I was pondering the KS40 vs the CT55. The wider one needs the middle finger added for control. I do better when I am able to use my first finger and thumb with just a bit of an assist from my middle. Anyone used the smaller Kenny Smith version?
    I use a KS35 and sometimes swap back to the KS40. I bought the KS40 used here from the classifieds on a whim to try out the smaller size and was really surprised at just how much I liked it. I've tried going back to the TPR35 that I used for years, but end up picking up the KS35 again in short order.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Drew Streip the next sound you hear will be the pick police coming for you. I thought I was the only one that thought BC picks were not worth 10 times more than a Ptimetone, or 70 times more than a Fender extra heavy. I'm hiding from the pick police in a cave in the mountains don't tell anyone.

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Try the TAD-1R, you can swap between pointy and rounded ends. I'd suggest 40 or 50, I had a 60 and gave it away, it was too thick for my tastes.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    So much good information. I am enjoying the various ideas and opinions, too. It is good when musicians have their individual view developed over time. Me, I have played guitar as a songwriter for 55 years and the mandolin I added 5 years ago. I think it is such a special instrument and is a wonderful way to spend one's time. I am leaning toward the CT55 since I have played a lot with the same shape in Primetone and V Picks Saga, a 1.5 mm beveled triangle. Zack, my scooped extension on my MD805V extends into the spot I play my JB F5 which has a shorter fingerboard and is not an issue. I am just going to need to move back a bit and sacrifice a bit of the sweet bass on the G and D by doing so.
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Neverisky View Post
    I think the word "hype" has a negative connotation. Blue Chip picks really are unique.
    So are Dunlop Ultex triangles. The negative connotation was intended - not to disparage the original poster or Blue Chip, who sell a quality product; but to poke fun at the semi-mythological status and disproportionate attention given to this particular brand of picks.

    Again: I have nothing against Blue Chip picks. They are very good picks. No more, no less. They haven't made me a better player, they haven't changed my life, and they make my instrument sound as good as several other picks do too. I don't think it's to anybody's benefit when people feel there's something wrong with them if they don't find these particular picks a revelation:

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Streip View Post
    I will be the rare voice of dissent and say that, when I tried a CT55, it did not change my life. It didn't even change my playing. They are fine picks, sure, but not 10x better than a Primetone (either to me or my audience).
    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    Drew Streip the next sound you hear will be the pick police coming for you. I thought I was the only one that thought BC picks were not worth 10 times more than a Ptimetone, or 70 times more than a Fender extra heavy. I'm hiding from the pick police in a cave in the mountains don't tell anyone.
    The recommendation I'd make to any player - and I don't think that's controversial at all - is to try as many different picks as possible, see which ones agree best with your hands, instrument, playing style, and ear ... and be aware that your technique, taste, and pick preference may change over time. Blue Chip picks can be a part of that process, but they are not the end of history. There are many excellent pick makers out there, worth the same attention.

    For what it's worth, I'm not a good player. But I have tried a lot of picks. I have two Blue Chip picks: a Jazz 35 and a TD 35. Maybe I still need to grow into them as my playing gets better; or maybe they are aimed at players with particularly fine instruments who are looking for a particular sound. For example, "dark" and "woody" are attributes I have read with reference to Blue Chip picks.

    Personally, I like a bit of treble (I play a high-pitched instrument, after all), and the Blue Chips seem to create less of it than the Gravity Gold Series, which I find equally easy to handle and glide off the strings. The Dunlop Primetone and Wegen picks also have excellent reputations, but I have only tried one each. I like the good old Dunlop Jazz picks and (for rhythm playing) Gator grips. V-picks have more shapes and feels than you can shake a stick at. John Pearse does nice little picks if you like the smaller sizes. I don't like big triangles (too clumsy) or round picks (can't get any string movement out of them). I look forward to trying some picks from the British maker, Hawk (just ordered). The point is that you will only find these things out by trying lots of picks. If the Blue Chip comes out on top in these comparisons, that's great. If not, that's great too. But the comparison needs to be made, and given the differences in instruments and players mentioned above, it's very hard to have other people make the judgements for you.

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Gelsenbury, I appreciate your thoughts and time taken to express them. Interesting. Always best when receiving advice to take it as that-- recommendations to ruminate over and consider. As a musician for so many years, I will always have so much to learn and I benefit from musicians such as yourself to help me grow as a mandolin player. Funny thing, after trying so many more expensive picks, i.e., Red Bear, Wegen and V Picks, for the last year I have been using basic Dunlop grey .88 nylon guitar picks. These work well enough, but the tone I get from my V Pick-- 1.5 mm "Saga" is fuller and rounder in character (same shape and thickness as CT55). I can try the CT55 as an opportunity and can flip it as Mark Wilson explained if it doesn't suit me well. Thanks again!
    Last edited by lflngpicker; Mar-06-2018 at 5:46pm. Reason: grammar
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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by lflngpicker View Post
    I think I am going to break down and do it. I have played every imaginable pick-- an old "T.S." I have had for years, Wegen, Dawg, Red Bear, V Picks, Dunlop of all types and others, but I have never played with a Blue Chip.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gelsenbury View Post
    The recommendation I'd make to any player - and I don't think that's controversial at all - is to try as many different picks as possible, see which ones agree best with your hands, instrument, playing style, and ear ... and be aware that your technique, taste, and pick preference may change over time. Blue Chip picks can be a part of that process, but they are not the end of history. There are many excellent pick makers out there, worth the same attention.
    If you just want to rant (and I enjoy a good rant) at least read the OP first. Otherwise it seems like you might just have a Chip on your shoulder

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    Default Re: Considering a Blue Chip Pick?

    I ordered the CT55 without engraving so that I would have the 30 day return option, as indicated by Mark-- Thanks Mark Wilson! I sure am enjoying my new varnish finished Eastman MD805/V!
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