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Thread: Hawk picks.

  1. #1
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Hawk picks.

    For those folk inclined to ''pick exploration'',i recently discovered a pick brand i'd not heard of before - Hawk picks,made in Salford,Manchester, not too far from where i live :-
    http://hawkpicks.co.uk/ i don't know how long they've been on the market,but apparently they're available in the US as well.
    I was searching for a YouTube clip of UK mandolin player,Simon Brady,the son of a good friend of mine. Simon's been playing since he was around 10 years of age,taught by his father,Bill,who's a very fine Tenor & Plectrum banjo player. He has a 'signature; pick which appears to have 3 different 'point' profiles on it. Compared to most picks,they're pretty expensive at around £12.0 UK ($17.00 US) but almost a 1/3 of the cost of a Blue Chip pick over here @ £35.00 ($50.0 US).
    Here's Simon demoing his signature pick on his Flatiron mandolin :-

    Ivan
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    Registered User Tavy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    That's a lot of money for faux TortoiseShell, especially when Ultex and TortoiseShell basically sound just the same - to my ears anyway!

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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    That looks interesting, might investigate further. Thanks,

    Rob

  5. #4

    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    I've been using Hawk's SB 3-point pick since they first became available some time around last October. I'm currently on my second purchase of 3 SB picks from Rob at Hawk having given away the first 3 to friends. It's well worth the effort to find and try one IMO. I've been a strong advocate of Blue Chip's CT55. However, I've found the SB pick to be a viable competitor for the CT55 as my preferred pick. I still like the feel of the CT55 in my right hand better than the SB pick for it's a little larger. But, there's something about the bevel of the SB that allows me to play more fluidly with it. It'll be interesting to read more comments on the SB pick as the word gets around.

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  7. #5
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    I don't think there's any real problem in finding them in the UK or the US. If the demand increases,then usually music stores will ask for them. Somehow,i can't help feeling that the price has been set at this price point because of the asking price of the Blue Chip picks. The makers of the Hawk picks have seen that folk are willing to pay a 'premium' price for a decent pick. Let's all hope that it isn't catching !.
    Tavy - I tried a real t/shell pick on my mandolin & it sounded as though i was playing with a broken bottle !! (no comments please). It could remove the wax from your ears at half a mile away. I posted it to another guy i know, & his reaction was the same. I've never found any 'plastic' pick to sound so harsh & strident.
    Re.the Hawk picks,i wouldn't mind trying a few to see if they could equal my current favourites,the Dunlop 'Primetone' 1.5mm thick 'teardrop' shaped ones. Those are a real power boost on my 3 instruments. Somehow the Hawk material looks too much like the stuff that the Dawg & Golden Gate picks are made from for me to be really enthusiastic about trying one (a few). I've re-shaped a few of those in the past & i still couldn't get any volume from them because they seemed to just slide over the strings,
    Ivan
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    Registered User Paul Cowham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Thanks Ivan,
    I've got one and like it - the three corners have different degrees of "pointiness" which is interesting, here is some more information:

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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Hawk picks are made from casein, the same as Red Bears. If you can get one, buying a Red Bear pick from the UK would cost about $42 before any taxes - that would be a more appropriate comparison.

    I bought an SB model before Christmas and also have four different Red Bears. They are very similar. I also have John Pearse and Papa's casein picks and I prefer the Hawk pick and the Red Bears to those.

    Patrick

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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    What song was he playing in the video? Very pretty.....

  13. #9
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Hi Paul - You've ditched the Blue Chip pick then !!!!. The tune is ''Summer rain''. Maybe a nod to Chris Thile's ''Raining at Sunset'' as Simon's a CT fan. As i have one pick per mandolin + a spare for each = 6 picks,i'm not about to sideline my Primetone picks any time soon !,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
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  14. #10
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    This looks like just another casein pick. They are all made out of the same material and I believe the supplier of the material is the same as there is likely just one or two last producers in the world - I believe New Zealand was country with last manufacturers of the stuff (perhaps some in China as well). Caseinate is rarer these days than real celluloid as it's production is not as easy as celluloid and the material cures far long periods in chemical bath.
    I just don't get the similarity to turtle shell... the material is animal protein based but that's all. Casein is very different from keratin. For me horn would be closer match as it is keratin like turtle shell.
    Adrian

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  16. #11
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Some of the earliest plastics were based on casein which was originally produce from animal milk,& Adrian has it right,casein is far from being similar to keratin ie. t/shell / horn / hair /finger nails.
    I've always wondered why pick makers equate their picks to t/shell. I've used t/shell & IMHO it's c**p !!. Back in the days when it was used,there were no widely available cheap plastics to make picks from,but as soon as ''plastics'' arrived on the scene,t/shell picks began their decline in use - thankfully !. The ONLY place for it is as part of the beautiful creatures it's named after,
    Ivan
    PS - Here's a bit of info.re.where to buy casein sheet material in the UK :-
    http://www.gpsagencies.co.uk/casein
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
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  17. #12
    Registered User grassrootphilosopher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Hawk picks are aparently the same kind of pick like the "Happy Turtle" picks from Martinsmusikkiste (https://www.martinsmusikkiste.eu/zub...py-turtle-pick). Happy Turtle picks are less expensive than Hawk picks that are less expensive than Red Bear.

    I think that Happy Turtle picks and the likes clearly outperform BC picks (by far). The tone is so much better. My old standby are Wegen picks. But on a vintage or a very noble instrument casein picks (followed by Wegen picks) come the closest to "the real thing".

    @ Adrian: I agree that horn picks should sound closest to "it". Though I have not encountered any decent horn picks that do. There are the Dugain picks (http://www.dugainplectrums.com/http-...l-matters.html) that I played a long time ago. My friend and colaborator in my duo days played a horn pick that sounded allright on his '90 HD-28, whereas it sounded dead on my '90 D-16M. I played a bone pick by Dugain and liked it well. But the picks are so freakishly thick that it wore me out. I was glad when I encountered Clayton Tortex Ultem which to me come in third behind casein picks and Wegens ("it" is not in the competition). My BC pick works allright on my D-16M but that´s all I use it for.

    I guess that horn is difficult to work with. I imagine that you might not be able to produce a pick that is thin enough yet stiff enough in order to produce "the" tone.
    Olaf

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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Keratin isn't all the same. Tortoiseshell is predominantly composed of beta-keratins making it much harder and more rigid than horn, which is mostly alpha-keratins. To achieve the same stiffness, a horn pick would need to be a lot thicker than a TS pick, so I wouldn't expect them to be that similar. At least casein-based plastic is very stiff even though it's chemically very different from keratin.

  19. #14
    Registered User almeriastrings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Quote Originally Posted by grassrootphilosopher View Post

    I think that Happy Turtle picks and the likes clearly outperform BC picks (by far). The tone is so much better.
    I suspect that depends on what tone you like, your instrument, your string choices, your playing style/technique and several other things I probably have not thought of.

    I have not tried one of these 'Hawk' picks, but I have tried Red Bear and Happy Turtle and must say that of the BC, the Dunlop Primetone 1.5mm triangles, the plastic Pro-Plec's and these casein picks, I find the Blue Chip by far the best (to my ears) followed by the Primetone (which I like better on guitar) with the Pro-Plecs and Red Bear/Happy Turtle in equal third place. I tried Wegen's and really hated them.

    So... very different experiences and opinions.... the main thing is you find something you like and who cares what anyone else thinks
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  20. #15
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Quote Originally Posted by PseudoCelt View Post
    Keratin isn't all the same. Tortoiseshell is predominantly composed of beta-keratins making it much harder and more rigid than horn, which is mostly alpha-keratins. To achieve the same stiffness, a horn pick would need to be a lot thicker than a TS pick, so I wouldn't expect them to be that similar. At least casein-based plastic is very stiff even though it's chemically very different from keratin.
    Horn can be very similar to TS, the main difference is the structure. TS grows on turtle in flat layers making it a natural "laminate" while horn grows in layers from tip to "root" which creates layers that go across the length, just like on your fingernails. I only owned one horn pick and it tended to split across its width like fingernail. The other corners worked fine ad the "grain" was oriented in more suitable direction.
    Adrian

  21. #16
    Registered User LongBlackVeil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Casein picks break too easily from temperature change. That's why I'm pretty wary about spending big money for picks made of that material. I did once, bought one used. It broke in my mailbox before I even got to use it
    "When you learn an old time fiddle tune, you make a friend for life"

  22. #17

    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    I bought a couple of John Pearse Fast Turtle picks a couple of years ago (also made of Casein). Tried a 1.5 and a 2.5. The 2.5 was just way too cumbersome and clicky for me. The 1.5 is OK, has quite a nice tone, not as clicky but is REALLY quiet! It could be me, but I just couldn't get any volume out of it in a jam. Having said that, it does make a nice quiet practise pick and would be good for those who don't want to wake their young kids up when they're noodling late in the evening.

    Have got a couple of Blue Chips in the house - a CT55 and a TP60. Both very nice picks which really do bring out a very sweet sound. But, for a loud jam, nothing beats a Primetone 1.5 large triangle (non embossed) which is punchy, loud and really does a great job in bringing out tons of bass, treble, tone and volume. IMHO, YMMV, etc!

    I've never tried a real tortoiseshell pick, so I comment on how Casein picks compare to Real Turtles - but I'm of the opinion that the best place for a Tortoise shell is on the back of a living tortoise or turtle.

    Cheers

    Johnny

  23. #18
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Johnny - I've not found any pick,even the 2 Blue Chip picks that i've tried,that give me the sheer 'punch' of the 1.5 mm Primetones i use. I use the teardrop shaped ones,the triangles are a tad 'sticky out' for me,but they do sound good.
    I still own a real t/shell pick & it's utter crap !. It's hard,brittle & thin sounding,with all the tonal finesse of a broken bottle - or maybe it's just my playing ??,
    Ivan
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  25. #19
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Just ordered one of these, so I'll report back. Currently I am using one of Timber tones flex tones horn picks. This one here

    http://www.timber-tones.com/flexi-to...rum-1403-p.asp

    I find this gives a lovely warm, thick tone, almost the same as my nails on my guitars, but they do wear very quickly, and they are very quiet.

    Robbie

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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Just arrived in the post, but not had chance to play with it yet as my octave mandolin is at home. Initial impressions is that it is smaller than I thought. I usually prefer the bigger triangular plectrums now for mandolin, but we shall see.

  27. #21
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Well, having had chance to play with it this evening for a little while I must say I am impressed. I was wrong about the size, it is only marginally smaller than my preferred Timber Tones flexi-tone gipsy pick. Lovely thick tone, far more body to the tone than my usual pick, though marginally more clicky, especially when playing chord melody stuff. We will see how I get on with it, but so far nicer to use than my timber tone, and a nice tone than Dunlop prime tones.

    Robbie

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  29. #22

    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Robbie, if your Casein pick is anything like mine, it'll have a really fat tone. I'm glad you like it - just don't get it wet or leave in your jeans when you wash them!

    I do find mine a bit on the quiet side when playing with other people, although it's nice at home. Also, I guess it's also depends on the mandolin, the strings and how hard the player whacks the strings! My Northfield has a pretty deep tone, so the Primetone works for me in accentuating the bass, but also adding treble and volume. The casein pick just adds even more bass, so the mando doesn't cut as much. Blue Chips, in my experience, bring out great tone and clarity but are just a tad quiet in a loud jam - but that could be down to me!

    Last night I sat and noodled with the Prime Tone, a BC TP 60, a Vpick Saga and the JP Fast Turtle 1.5. They ALL sounded good, and all were different too.

    Horses for courses and all that!

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  31. #23
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    Default Re: Hawk picks.

    Someone gave me a Dawg pick to compare it with. Must say I am loving the Dawg- lovely thick tone, but a bit quieter, no doubt because the corners are more rounded. At the moment the Hawk SB gives me a fair trade off between tone and volume.

    Robbie

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