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Thread: Pick thickness & clarity !.

  1. #1
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Pick thickness & clarity !.

    When the Dunlop Primetone picks came out,i bought some 1.3mm teardrop shaped ones & i thought that they were terrific. Certainly the 'best' picks i'd used to that date.They made my old Wegen 'Bluegrass' picks sound dull (to my ears). Wishing to discover if a thicker pick would sound 'better',i bought some 1.5 mm ones,& to me,they gave me some extra 'punch' to the sound of my mandolins. I then went to the next stage & bought some 2.0 mm thick ones,primarily for my slightly oversized Lebeda mandolin,& again an increase in 'power'.

    I was playing my Lebeda 2 or 3 weeks back & i suddenly realised that the clarity of the treble strings just wasn't there the way i remembered it. I also remembered that a few months back,a Cafe member,Mike Edgerton - i think,commented on going back to a thinner pick for the clarity it gave him. I swapped over to a 1.5 mm pick & yes,some clarity re-appeared. I then went right back to the beginning & swapped over to a 1.3 mm pick & what a revelation !!!. All the clarity of tone that i remembered re-appeared, & listening carefully to the G & D strings,there seemed to be nothing 'missing' there. They did seem to sound a bit brighter (thinner ?),but they still sounded good.

    Since then,i've tried the 1.3 mm thick picks on all 3 of my mandolins,& they all sound much more 'clear toned' using them. The 1.5 picks still sound ok,but for sheer clarity,& still retaining the 'cutting power' of each instrument,the 1.3 mm picks have it !.

    I might have discovered the 'screamingly obvious' - i was aware of thin picks sounding 'thin' by comparison with thicker picks,but having tried thicker picks,i realised that i was compromising the clarity of my mandolins,& isn't clarity & the ability to hear 'everything' maybe more important than sheer 'power' (volume) ?. It was only by going backwards on the pick thickness that i regained what i'd lost - clarity of tone,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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  3. #2
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick thickness & clarity !.

    I tend to use as thin a pick as can be rigid - sometimes that's a plain .73 or so mm Ultex sharp.

    Sharp points, stiff, not TOO thick - that's the ideal pick for me, since I want that clarity of tone.

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  5. #3
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Default Re: Pick thickness & clarity !.

    Something hard and not too thick and sort of pointed is what works for me in the BC CT-55. The bonus being that they are easy to hang on to and show little wear. Technique and style impacts pick choice to a startling degree. Then of course your personal tonal preference....... I also wonder about hearing loss these days. What frequencies are slowly disappearing and changing in the way I perceive them. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  6. #4
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick thickness & clarity !.

    From UsuallyPickin - " What frequencies are slowly disappearing and changing in the way I perceive them.". That's a very important thing to consider especially if you're over the age of 40. Most folk of that age & upwards are able to hear up to 14Khz - that's down from 18 Khz for folk in their 20's - 30's. The top frequencies will loose their edge over time & sound less 'clear',but doing the direct comparison that i did,between a 2.0 mm Primetone pick & a 1.3 mm one,the difference was immediately obvious - it's the pick,
    Ivan
    Weber F-5 'Fern'.
    Lebeda F-5 "Special".
    Stelling Bellflower BANJO
    Tokai - 'Tele-alike'.
    Ellis DeLuxe "A" style.

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