Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 28

Thread: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    115

    Default Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    I've got 7 mandolins (an obvious case of MAS but that isn't my problem at the moment).

    Three of them are American style, two A5's and an F5. On those, I use EJ74's and my favorite (really only) pick is the Blue Chip CT55.

    For mandolins without a brace in the neck, I use GHS ultralight strings, and for these I use a regular guitar pick, the kind that costs 10 cents.

    Now here is the weird thing. I had four CT55s. My wife ordered one, and about the same time I bought one at Fiddler's Green in Austin and then a bit later my wife ordered two more, this time with initials.

    The two oldest ones are slightly darker brown than the two with initials, and when I first got them I did not like the later ones nearly as much.

    Of the two oldest, one ended up stuck under the strings of my favorite 2004 Lebeda F5, so it saw a lot of use over the next year or two and the other three were under the strings of less favored instruments, and so were not played much.

    Last weekend I was sitting on my bed playing, when the phone on the chest of drawers to my left rang and I turned to look at it. At some point during this maneuver my pick slipped out of my fingers. I heard it hit wood (meaning the bed or the drawers) but it has not been seen since (despite taking the bedroom apart).

    So I turned to my second of the two oldest CT55's. And I didn't like the sound at all. It had in fact, most of the characteristics of a "bad" pick (keep in mind that my right hand technique is atrocious and so the problem is probably not really with the pick). But I had not noticed this before.

    So I then went to one of the newer CT55's that had initials on it. And I liked it quite a bit. Now its my favorite pick.

    None of this makes the slightest bit of sense to me. The edges of the picks I have, viewed under a high-powered lens, appear identical, both the one I like and the one I don't like. I wish I could also view my favorite pick but I am coming to accept that it is lost forever.

    To me, the material from which a CT55 is made seems indestructible. After whacking one against metal strings for hundreds of hours I can see no sign of wear, but this made me sit up and think.

    Do you think that playing with a CT55 every day for a year or more would change its characteristics at all? If so, is there a way to renew it? Is there a way to take the unplayed pick that doesn't sound right, that looks just like the unplayed pick that sounds good, and give it some kind of treatment to improve the sound of it?

    Basically picks seem like some great mystery to me. The facts of picks, for example as explained in the little booklet you get when you buy V picks, don't seem true for me at all (although this could be because I don't hold them right or some other fault of my own).

    I'm interested in other people's general thoughts about picks, maintaining the edge of a
    pick and pick stories.

  2. The following members say thank you to RodCH for this post:


  3. #2
    Registered User George R. Lane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Helena, Montana
    Posts
    2,839

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    I have used a TAD 50 for five years and I can see no wear. The other pick I have been using is a Hense 1.4., it makes the tone a little brighter. Not a big fan of the Primetones, at the moment.
    2010 Weber Yellowstone

    I maybe wrong, but it is highly doubtful.

  4. The following members say thank you to George R. Lane for this post:


  5. #3
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Bozeman, MT
    Posts
    517

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    I have caused wear to BC picks, but it takes over 400 or 500 hrs of full power gigs with a high energy band.
    Like George, I'm loving my Hense triangle, and a redbear medium big picker. Casin makes a delightful tone and cut with my mandolin.
    2007 Weber Custom Elite "old wood"
    2017 Ratliff R5 Custom #1148
    Several nice old Fiddles
    2007 Martin 000-15S 12 fret Auditorium-slot head
    Deering Classic Open Back
    Too many microphones

  6. #4
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    13,830

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    I've found that the slightest difference in the 'point' of a pick,can make a difference to the 'sound'. I prefer the 'teardrop' shaped picks,& on a few ocassions,i've found that filing the point a bit more pointier,will make the tone a tad brighter = better for my 73 year old ears. A more rounded point,makes the pick less bright. Some pick materials also give different tones to the pick,despite the picks being of identical shape. I use Dunlop Primetones,& the smooth,brown picks sound 'softer' than the 'grippy' style ones.
    They're 2 different forms of the same material. The smooth ones are made from sheet,& the 'grippy' ones are made by a moulding process,so presumably the material is ''pelletised'' for use.

    So,unless the points on the picks,are absolutely identical,then expect tiny differences in tone. Basically,this is why very rounded 'points' on picks totally destroy the tone of my mandolins,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  7. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Ivan Kelsall For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    533

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Blue Chip picks do wear. My oldest ones (which just say Blue Chip and 40) have some wear along the bevel. You might want to check and see if the one you don't like has the same bevel as the other picks. Not the wear, but angle and such. You can modify the picks, but I guess it takes work. Never tried it myself.

    And, yes, the picks can have different shades. Probably have 3 different shades in the 7 or so that I own.
    1910 Gibson A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 2018 Big Muddy MW-0, 2015 Ashbury Style E OM, 1983 Flatiron 1N
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/

  9. #6
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Frederick,MD
    Posts
    2,185

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    I wasn't familiar with Hense, so I just googled them. On the first site I found, under the name of the pick it said "Special financing available". Any pick that requires financing is too rich for my blood...
    For wooden musical fun that doesn't involve strumming, check out:
    www.busmanwhistles.com
    Handcrafted pennywhistles in exotic hardwoods.

  10. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Paul Busman For This Useful Post:


  11. #7
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,931
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Well ….. sorry to hear of your loss. I am currently looking for my Leatherman. Were the pants you were wearing at the time cuffed? Otherwise I would suspect the bed frame but you wrote that you searched it. Keep checking the vacuum cleaner. Luck... R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  12. #8
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    North CA
    Posts
    3,610

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    i've found that filing the point a bit more pointier,will make the tone a tad brighter
    I love hearing this kind of thing!

  13. #9
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,641

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    There is a tiny bit of visible surface wear near the picking point on the two Blue Chip TAD40-1R picks I keep in rotation. One is something like 5 years old, the other is maybe 3 or 4 years old. It's just a tiny bit of surface haze caused by contact with the strings -- a micro scratching over time, and only right near the edge of the pick.

    When I bought the second TAD40-1R, the previous one had been in use for a year or two, and I thought I could detect a very subtle difference in the tone with the new pick. Could have been a slight change in the bevel due to wear (although I couldn't see a difference), or the hazing effect, or it could have been a very small difference in the way the bevel was finished at the shop.

    And now, I can't feel or hear any difference between the two picks after playing them in rotation for a couple more years. Maybe the picks have both "worn in" the same way over time, or this could all be in my imagination. Tone memory in humans is notoriously unreliable. Also my ears are getting older. Too many variables.


    Anyway, I could experiment and buy a third TAD40-1R to see if it sounds different from these older picks, but I don't really need a third one. I'll buy one if I lose one of these two, but as you can see from the time I've kept them, I have a pretty good routine for knowing where they are at all times. And I'm satisfied with the tone and mechanical action of these picks, whatever degree of wear is on them (and it sure isn't much!).

  14. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Pacific NW, slightly outside BC
    Posts
    531

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Well I hope you find it, losing a cherished pick drives me insane. The only thing worse is stepping on a fingerpick you left on the floor.

    Anyway, I have a couple BC thumbpicks i modified with a diamond file, the kind used to file ski and knife edges, which was still a lot of elbow grease. The first was a JD Crowe I wanted pointier, and then i decided i wanted my other one pointier too, so i filed them just the way I like.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/s...eshaping-Picks

    or you could try this which would take awhile http://www.bluechippick.net/faqs/
    The Keepers: Kentucky km900, JBovier A5
    Yamaha piano, clarinet, violin
    some really really loud banjo's

    Shopping/monitoring prices: Yamaha brass and woodwinds

  15. #11

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    I have found the prime tone 1.4 (nongrip) to be a serviceable fill-in for a CT-55 in an emergency. Not quite the same, especially at high tempo picking, but will do in a pinch. None of my BC's show any wear that I can see.

  16. #12
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    1,931
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Yeah …. I have to say that any wear on my in use BC's hasn't seemed to change their feel or impact their tone enough for me to notice. As stated above some very fine surface scratching but no wear near the point of getting out some emery cloth or the sharpening stone. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  17. #13
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    13,830

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    I haven't noticed any signs of wear at all on the Primetone picks that i've used since they came onto the market. As i mentioned in post #4,i like a fairly 'pointy' pick. If my PT's had worn,i'd have filed them to their original shape. The beveled edges are 'as new',
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  18. #14

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Great discussion, but reflects the modern age we live in, IMHO. A 100 years ago when crops were farmed by hand, requiring 16-18 hour work days, people were just too tired to file on their picks after a hard days work. We may be spoiled with too much time on our hands these days.

    I read about workers during the great migration leaving the farm to work factory jobs in large Northern cities and didn't know what to do with "all" their free time after working 8-10 hours in a factory......

    I was going to stop short of saying "when I was a kid we had to walk 5 miles in the pouring rain to the old one-room country school house, but I guess it is too late for that........."

  19. The following members say thank you to Jeff Mando for this post:


  20. #15
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    13,830

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    From Jeff above - " when I was a kid we had to walk 5 miles in the pouring rain to the old one-room country school house,..."

    And you think that you had it 'ard ? :- Original Monty Python ''Four Yorkshiremen'' sketch,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  21. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Ivan Kelsall For This Useful Post:


  22. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Houston TX
    Posts
    115

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    How the story ended . . . my wife found the pick this afternoon. It was attached to the back side of the headboard of the bed.

    And of course, when I first started to play with it again, I didn't like it. Probably proving that the entire thing is in my head. Anyway, I have been playing with it a few hours now and it is my favorite pick again. But other than being a deep chocolate, as opposed to a milk chocolate, I can't see any difference in the picks.

  23. #17
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    640

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Try a blind test and see if you can really tell which one you like better without seeing it.
    Drew
    2016 Skip Kelley Vintage F-5 (#54)
    2003 Flatbush V4
    2015 Eastman MDA815 (mandola)
    https://www.facebook.com/3rdCreekBluegrass

    "Thank you for making it through a truly unreasonable amount of mandolin playing" - CT

  24. The following members say thank you to Drew Egerton for this post:

    RodCH 

  25. #18
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Manchester - Lancashire - NW England
    Posts
    13,830

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    From Drew Edgerton - " Try a blind test and see if you can really tell which one you like better without seeing it. " There's a lot of truth in that statement Drew,for ANY blind listening test on ANY item that produces 'tone'. We can fool ourselves into believing that item A is far better than item B,in such a test,whereas in some cases - it was the 'same' item.

    My advice - keep your eyes open & enjoy what you've got !,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

  26. #19
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,867
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    Great discussion, but reflects the modern age we live in, IMHO. A 100 years ago when crops were farmed by hand, requiring 16-18 hour work days, people were just too tired to file on their picks after a hard days work. We may be spoiled with too much time on our hands these days.

    I read about workers during the great migration leaving the farm to work factory jobs in large Northern cities and didn't know what to do with "all" their free time after working 8-10 hours in a factory......

    I was going to stop short of saying "when I was a kid we had to walk 5 miles in the pouring rain to the old one-room country school house, but I guess it is too late for that........."
    Well it was't a hundred years ago (albeit in a different century) but I actually did walk to a one room school house every day but it was only a half-mile from the ranch.
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  27. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Bernie Daniel For This Useful Post:


  28. #20
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,867
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by RodCH View Post
    How the story ended . . . my wife found the pick this afternoon. It was attached to the back side of the headboard of the bed.

    And of course, when I first started to play with it again, I didn't like it. Probably proving that the entire thing is in my head. Anyway, I have been playing with it a few hours now and it is my favorite pick again. But other than being a deep chocolate, as opposed to a milk chocolate, I can't see any difference in the picks.
    Glad you found it -- the floor of my office is somehow attached to a black hole in the universe -- things disappear with regularity on falling there.

    One thing though and I am sure this is not really news to many of you. When a hard plastic pick (Blue Chip, Red Bear, Prime Tone, even Wegen) hits a hard floor like tile or hard wood it can often be found 8 - 12 feet away from the point of impact -- even though you only dropped if from the height of your chair. Sir Issac Newton never took this into account probably.

    On your last point. First I am sure there is nothing wrong with your head LOL - but I agree with you this conundrum is probably more "you" than it (i.e., the pick)!

    I think that much of the conjecture, speculation, and absolute certainty about mandolins "opening up" after 10 - 20 minutes of playing and of identical picks sounding different are MUCH more an issue of inconsistency in human hearing (the biological mechanics and neural transmission) and listening (concentration, other factors) than anything real e.g., the sound waves actually produced with the strings, wood, or pick materials.
    Last edited by Bernie Daniel; Oct-13-2018 at 9:17am.
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  29. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Redwood City, CA
    Posts
    1,816

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    I think that much of the conjecture, speculation, and absolute certainty about mandolins "opening up" after 10 - 20 minutes of playing and of identical picks sounding different are MUCH more an issue of inconsistency in human hearing (the biological mechanics and neural transmission) and listening (concentration, other factors) than anything real e.g., the sound waves actually produced with the strings, wood, or pick materials.
    Watch out, Bernie -- you're asking for it! You have just touched the third rail of MC politics! Nothing like opening up another discussion about opening up.

  30. #22
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,867
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Watch out, Bernie -- you're asking for it! You have just touched the third rail of MC politics! Nothing like opening up another discussion about opening up.
    LOL yes I was fully aware but like a moth to the flame I guess.

    But being a life long biological scientist I just cannot understand why probably most people might openly acknowledge that their hand/eye coordination might have "good days and bad days" or might start out rough and then "warm up" as they play and flexibility comes back into their hands and fingers.

    But these same individuals cannot seem to accept the fact that their hearing is bio mechanical also. The three tiny bones and muscles (e.g., the auditory ossicles) or the middle ear work off the ear drum work to transmitting sounds to the inner ear and then it is converted into an neurological signal to the brain. This entire system is BIOLOGICAL not like a an commercial microphone & speaker system on stage -- some days your hearing works better than others and I am sure they are subject to "warming up" just like your hands!
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  31. #23
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Statesville, NC
    Posts
    2,777

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    ...
    But these same individuals cannot seem to accept the fact that their hearing is bio mechanical also. The three tiny bones and muscles (e.g., the auditory ossicles) or the middle ear work off the ear drum work to transmitting sounds to the inner ear and then it is converted into an neurological signal to the brain....
    And don't forget that the brain is also biologic and varies in efficiency. Interpretation of the auditory signals received may also vary from day to day, or minute to minute!!!
    Phil

    “Sharps/Flats” ≠ “Accidentals”

  32. The following members say thank you to Philphool for this post:


  33. #24
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,867
    Blog Entries
    4

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    And don't forget that the brain is also biologic and varies in efficiency. Interpretation of the auditory signals received may also vary from day to day, or minute to minute!!!
    Yup! We all have days that the old grey matter does not hunt eh?
    Bernie
    ____
    Due to current budgetary restrictions the light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off -- sorry about the inconvenience.

  34. #25
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    749

    Default Re: Pick madness, maybe pick maintenance?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernie Daniel View Post
    LOL yes I was fully aware but like a moth to the flame I guess.

    But being a life long biological scientist I just cannot understand why probably most people might openly acknowledge that their hand/eye coordination might have "good days and bad days" or might start out rough and then "warm up" as they play and flexibility comes back into their hands and fingers.

    But these same individuals cannot seem to accept the fact that their hearing is bio mechanical also. The three tiny bones and muscles (e.g., the auditory ossicles) or the middle ear work off the ear drum work to transmitting sounds to the inner ear and then it is converted into an neurological signal to the brain. This entire system is BIOLOGICAL not like a an commercial microphone & speaker system on stage -- some days your hearing works better than others and I am sure they are subject to "warming up" just like your hands!
    And mandolin tone varies day to day and even hour to hour based on the humidity of the room you are playing in. And yes, my playing gets better as my fingers warm up, but I also get more annoyed till I can't take it any more when a string is EVER SO SLIGHTLY out of tune that it may take me several times up and down the strings to figure out which one the culprit is and fix it!

  35. The following members say thank you to LadysSolo for this post:


Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •