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Thread: Pick Click

  1. #1
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    Default Pick Click

    For some unknown reason I've gotten into listening for pick click much more lately and was wondering what may be done to attenuate it. We can not get away from Neuton telling us that whatever energy we put into the string we also put into the pick. I suppose its ok to imagine the pick as a "sounding board" so it naturally makes the offending click.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    I have not found a pick that eliminates click, but there are various picks and various techniques that seem to minimize it to the point that you have to listen for it to hear it.

    In my experience the angle of the pick with regard to the strings seems to make a bit of difference, and the type of bevel on the pick seems important.
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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Simonson View Post
    For some unknown reason I've gotten into listening for pick click much more lately and was wondering what may be done to attenuate it. ...
    You want to be able to hear the pick click more clearly? If that is indeed the question, I have to admit I haven't really pondered the phenomenon in that vein.
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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    I have never had a problem with my own playing or any one else's "pick click".

  6. #5

    Default Re: Pick Click

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Simonson View Post
    For some unknown reason I've gotten into listening for pick click much more lately and was wondering what may be done to attenuate it. ...

    Quote Originally Posted by HonketyHank View Post
    You want to be able to hear the pick click more clearly? If that is indeed the question, I have to admit I haven't really pondered the phenomenon in that vein.

    Definition of attenuate:

    "To make (something) weaker or less in amount, effect, or force."
    - from LearnersDictionary.com

    OP is aware of pick click, wants to know how to reduce it.

    Now as to the original question, if the sound occurs during recording with a mic, I would try moving the mic a little further away and/or have the mic at a slightly different angle. Also, JeffD's advice is good, try different picks.

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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Pick click is one of those things that's hard to ignore once your keyed in on it. I use a BC TPR45 pick w/bevel , heavy angle, and shallow attack for a quieter pluck. But of course "what" your playing has a lot to do with how you pluck the strings. The whole act of plucking the strings should leave no sound but the note. IMHO...

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    Default Re: Pick Click

    There are six main factors that tend to control the amount of pick click that's produced:

    1) The pick angle as it contacts the plucked string. This angle can be decomposed into the inclination of the pick plane (flat part) with respect to the long axis of of the string (also called the 'horizontal tilt'), and the inclination of the pick plane with respect to the perpendicular to the long axis of the string (also called the vertical 'tilt'). The pick angle is just about the ONLY factor that is under your control as you play, aside from volume. If you intend to play both loud and soft, then you cannot modulate pick click by adjusting the playing volume, obviously.

    2) The pick friction on the string. This 'slipperiness' is set by the type of material used for the pick, and the smoothness of the pick surface. BlueChip picks have among the lowest friction of any pick surface. Pick friction will change as the playing surfaces get roughened with wear, particularly near the tip and on the edge (or bevel). You can polish these edges to reduce friction.

    3) The pick material. Related to (2). Some pick materials are hard, or brittle, and intrinsically 'clicky.' Glass, ceramic, polished stone, and metal picks are in this category. Some pick materials are pretty soft and tend to dampen the sound of any string contact. Wood, hard rubber, and softer plastics, like nylon, are in this category. The give little or no click, sure, but they also tend to give pretty poor tone. Most of the plastics used for successful mandolin picks are something in between: they offer better tone while reducing some of the contact noise. But not all plastics are the same, and some plastics click more than others! And some give better tone than others.

    4) The sharpness of the tip of the pick. Of course, tip sharpness also changes the tone, not just the amount of pick click.

    5) The amount of any bevel in the pick edge near the playing tip. Same as (3): tone and pick click are both affected.

    6) The pick thickness. This affects pick click only a little, compared with the other factors.


    Item (1) is the only thing you can adjust, in practice, while playing. Items (2-5) are all related to the material, type, and shape of the pick you choose. My advice would be to experiment, because some of the items (2-5) will matter for for you than for other players, and some will matter less. You might find that a rounder tip with little or no bevel on a thicker pick reduces click the most. But you might also might hate playing with a pick like that, due to the change in tone, or you may find that it impedes your style of playing. In my opinion, you just have to experiment A LOT and find out what works best for you.

    That, or simply learn to live with a little pick click. Most of us are not as bothered by it!

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    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    To Larry (and all others) -- I apologize for my completely wrong idea of what 'attenuate' means. I am going to write "Attenuate means make weaker" 100 times.

    To JL277z -- thanks for the correction.


    Man, I was just so confident. Pride goeth before a fall. Age happens. I'm going to go take a nap.
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    I find pick click most annoying on short duration notes, like sixteenths and less annoying on longer notes. i think that this is because click noises are of about the same duration as the shortest notes.

    Mandolin builders generally strive for getting the pluck energy imparted to the string to show up as sound. Is there any engineering that would allow pick builders to get this energy to show up as heat (damping)?
    -Newtonamic

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    Default Re: Pick Click

    HonketyHank, You are forgiven. I know lots of words but there are a whole bunch more I don't know.
    -Newtonamic

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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    There are six main factors that tend to control the amount of pick click that's produced:
    7. Where you pick. Pull back toward the bridge, zero pick click.

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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Been having the same issue. Been experimenting with different picks. But have just been coming back to my Blue Chip and Manouche picks. Realizing that to get the sound I want from the instrument, will have to live with the clicking.

    The mandolin also seems to play a role. Most noticed on my new Big Muddy. Least noticed on my Gibson. Also did a quick comparison with one of my guitars. On guitar, the same picks have no real noise. Either I'm blocking it out (most probable) or my picking angle changes enough from one to the other to cause the issue. Need to eventually spend time figuring that part out.
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Sometimes, lowering the mid-range on a preamp or equalizer can make a difference. I'd look at the other stuff first. The equalizer thing should be a last resort.
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    In Europe, classical mandolinists are fond of softer picks, like the Wolle, which minimize clicking. I like them but they are expensive in Canada--about $5 CAN each plus S&H. But I have found a very good solution--Dava Delrin picks. They are almost as large and flexible and the Delrin tips, while not rubbery, are not hard either. They sort of push and slide off the strings as opposed to clacking against them. I also like that these same picks work well with my octave mandolin.

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    Default Re: Pick Click

    [QUOTE=Cliff Seruntine;1636799]In Europe, classical mandolinists are fond of softer picks, like the Wolle, which minimize clicking. I like them but they are expensive in Canada--about $5 CAN each plus S&H. /QUOTE]

    Yes, the German school. Not for me, I like a stiff harder pick and roundwound strings.

    Are you guys with pick click issues playing archtop mandolins or bowlbacks?

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    Default Re: Pick Click

    I guess I’ve gotten used to the click, but what I can no longer tolerate is the metronome effect of the pick hitting an unscooped FB extension. Played a Loar inspired Rattlesnake a couple of weeks ago with the full extension. Drove me nuts...played it for less than a minute...The mandolin was great, but if I bought it there’d be scooping or amputation involved.

    I’ve also started noticing it on recordings by artists who play Loar or Loar styled instruments, too. Older Dawg like Tone Poems, Skaggs, etc. But, they’re good enough that I keep listening and eventually get over it...
    Chuck

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    Eternal Beginner Seamus B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    I have to say, as much as like my 1.5 Primetone, the one with the textured surface seems to be made of a plastic that really 'clacks' against the strings. I notice it a lot on songs I know well and play fast, and I know I need to move on quite soon. I have bought some Webers and the non-textured Primetone to see how I go.
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    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Are you guys mixing the terms that we usually use?

    Pick click threads are usually talking about the pick hitting the fingerboard and making a "click", thus prompting "scooping" FB ends.
    Noise of the pick hitting the strings has always been called "pick noise" in my experience.

    Are the two terms becoming interchangeable and generic?
    Phil

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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Quote Originally Posted by Philphool View Post
    Are you guys mixing the terms that we usually use?

    Pick click threads are usually talking about the pick hitting the fingerboard and making a "click", thus prompting "scooping" FB ends.
    Noise of the pick hitting the strings has always been called "pick noise" in my experience.

    Are the two terms becoming interchangeable and generic?
    No, they are different sounds from different reasons.

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    Eternal Beginner Seamus B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    It sounds like we need to consult the forum glossary forthwith!
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  30. #21
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Well, I use the term "pick click" to designate the noise associated with the pick hitting the strings. And so do many others. The OP will have to tell us whether he meant that, or the sound of the pick hitting the fretboard extension.

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  32. #22
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Quote Originally Posted by sblock View Post
    Well, I use the term "pick click" to designate the noise associated with the pick hitting the strings. And so do many others. The OP will have to tell us whether he meant that, or the sound of the pick hitting the fretboard extension.
    Thanks, because I have seen a lot of folks on this forum refer to "pick click" as the sound you get when a pick hits the fingerboard extension.

    "Pick noise" is the tone of the pick itself and its contact with the strings.

    That's what I have been assuming.

    So what do you call the sound of the pick hitting the wood of the instrument?

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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    So what do you call the sound of the pick hitting the wood of the instrument?
    Distressing.
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    Registered User Eric Hanson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Distressing.

    SO true!
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    Default Re: Pick Click

    My sense of"pick click" it none of the above. I believe that when the pick releases from the string, the string is set in motion and SO IS THE PICK. The force (and energy) needed to set the string in motion is the same for the the pick. I think of the pick as another sounding board, which I wish it wasn't.
    '
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