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Thread: Again with the picks

  1. #51

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Some boutique makers, (Blue Chip) show their sizes related to coins but I don't know of any who list dimensions. I'm sure if there are, it'll be pointed out

    Get on the pick sampler list. With over 100 picks, you can easily identify sizes.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  3. #52

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    I always come back to the celluloid Fender Heavy or equivalent, in the 351 shape; a dozen for less than four bucks, last time I looked. It might not be best, but it is likely all I need... something about its homely familiarity lets me forget its presence and focus on my music.

    But heck, try 'em all...

  4. #53
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Tony: You say your guitar picks don't cut it but what guitar picks are you using? And what it is about your picks that don't work or is it you are just not used to the different feel of a mandolin. Before you spend $35 for a Blue Chip...

    When I first started mandolin from playing guitar I just used the guitar picks I was used to. Get yourself a bunch of possible picks but you may want to not spend a lot of time worrying about the nitpicking (no pun intended) stuff. Generally I would agree that a heavier pick is probably better.
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  5. #54
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    People, people, people! You are all stuck in the past with the "plectrum".

    This is the wave of the future........

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRPr...ature=youtu.be

    Or the wave of the past... playing your guitar like a hammered dulcimer or cymbalom.
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  6. #55

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Well, I'm a newbie player, so that's my disclaimer.

    A friend of mine who's been really helping me out a ton with learning the mandolin recommended a much thicker pick than the ones I was using - guitar picks, which I assume is the mistake we all make when we are already guitar players trying to learn the mandolin.

    Anyway, I host open mics, and a week ago someone stole my one good pick. I know.

    So I ordered these - Dunlop Primetone Triangle 1.5mm Sculpted Plectra (Grip) - 3 Pack - from Amazon and my word, the following is what I right away was able to realize:

    1. Volume: my mando barks now, the volume I get out of it is much louder than anything I was getting before.
    2. Tremolo: I couldn't get it down, but with this pick I'm well on my way to having a consistent tremolo
    3. They're large, but they don't slip out of my hand
    4 They were affordable: $5 for a 3-pack

    I'm sure they're not the best thing out there and that more experience probably scoff at them, but for this newbie, they've been great - and I didn't have to mortgage the house or sell a kidney on the black market. Which is great, because I don't own a house, and I'd have no idea where to find potential buyers on said black market.

  7. #56
    Phil Goodson Philphool's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    You mention in "3." that "They're large, but...."

    If you like a slightly smaller pick, the Primetone triangles also come in a 'small' size, which I like a lot.
    Phil

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  9. #57
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Mojocaster: Primetones are good picks, and I agree with everything you say about them, particularly compared with picks < 1 mm thick, but they do wear more than Wegen or Bluechip. Wegen may be a good next step when you get bored with the Primetones. I think they’re 15 bucks for 2 or 3 depending on what thickness you go for, but they wear so little it’s literally been years since I bought some (so if I’m off on current pricing, I apologize).
    Chuck

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  11. #58
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    My choice of picks has evolved over the 4+ decades of my playing mandolin. I usually liked a pointier and smaller pick for mandolin but over the last year or so I have started playing with rounder tips. I ended up with a BlueChip TPR50 which I liked a lot but then tried playing with my TAD40 (my main guitar pick) and decided to give my self an early Christmas present of a TP50 which sounds a little brighter with the pointier tips. I like the smaller size from the TAD and since my main mandolin is an oval hole I wanted a brighter sound. You can see the others I have tried and liked for different sounds. Sometimes it is just fun to list to the the same tune or phrase and see which one is pleasing at that time of day. For a time I liked the Wegens but i find them a little rougher sounding on my mandolin and with my playing than the BCs.

    A lot does depend on how you play, the angles that you may hit the strings, or want sweeter, brighter, or more mellow tone.

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  13. #59
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    I keep rethinking picks and have several times over the past 1/2 century. We change and grow and with that so does our perspective on things. The main thing is to feel comfortable and able to perform. It all serves that mission.

  14. #60

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Despite my username, I play more guitar than mando. For the money, I really like the Wegen Bluegrassers and Triangles. I confess I haven't done an A and B with them versus. I tend to stick with one thing when I find something that works for me.

    M&M

  15. #61
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    This article really explains the why's and how's of mandolin picks. Deserves a squint.
    Indulge responsibly!

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  17. #62
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    So very much of pick choice depends on type of music, type of venue, type of mandolin. No one pick does everything, and it is better to get a pick for each thing you do, rather than a sort of good enough but not great pick for everything. (The swiss army knife of multiple tools might be a good idea in the glove box, or pocket, but I don't think anyone puts it in a tool box.)
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  19. #63
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffD View Post
    So very much of pick choice depends on type of music, type of venue, type of mandolin. No one pick does everything, and it is better to get a pick for each thing you do, rather than a sort of good enough but not great pick for everything. (The swiss army knife of multiple tools might be a good idea in the glove box, or pocket, but I don't think anyone puts it in a tool box.)
    Well, sometimes and for some people, the One Pick to Rule Them All does actually work.

    I use the same Blue Chip TAD40-1R for my mandolin, my octave mandolin, and my steel string acoustic guitar (when I'm not fingerpicking it). I honestly don't feel like I'm compromising anything, it just works.

    It probably wouldn't work if I played Bluegrass because I might want a heavier mandolin pick, but for the Irish/Scottish trad I play, and the occasional remembrance of life as a Blues guitar player years ago, it's a perfect fit for me.

    Using just one pick feels like an extension of my hand. I adapt the technique on different instruments with more angled attack on mandolin, more of a flat attack on guitar, but the pick doesn't change. I haven't dropped a pick while playing in years (knock on wood), and it might be because I'm not constantly changing the shape and feel.

    As a side bonus, it saves me money. I just need one pick and a backup for all three instruments. I haven't bought a new pick in something like 4 years now, and I settled long ago on the brands and gauges of strings I use. With all that "finding the right gear" stuff behind me, I just focus on the music now.

    YMMV, and for anyone still on the path of trying to find your own best pick, strings, instruments, etc., keep looking! It might be out there somewhere. Or you might already own it, and just need to spend more time getting comfortable with it. When it feels like an extension of your hand, and you're not even thinking about it, the music just flows... then you've got the right one.

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  21. #64
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    I was that way for a long time, TAD40-1R on everything. As in, long enough my oldest just say BlueChip 40 on them.

    But in the past year, have been experimenting and changing. Now finding that BC TD 35 works best for both my Collings and A-50. A bit more snap to the tone and easier to get triplets and tremolo. Still haven't settled on what works best on the Kalamazoo KM-21. The deeper than normal body and mahogany b/s seems to need something with more treble. Been going back and forth between Tortex .88 and Wegen Bluegrass 1.0. Latter combination seems to get the most compliments.

    Then again, have also been modifying my pick grip after 20+ years. Have discovered that what used to work fine has now created a bad problem as I age and need to change the entire grip to get things to work again.

    But, yeah, if you find something that works for you, then keep it. Hopefully these latest adventures into pick and grip settle down and I can just concentrate on playing.
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  22. #65
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    I like various thickness of picks depending on the song I am playing or tempo of song. Normally I I prefer a thinner pick vs a thicker one.
    My two favorite pastimes are drinking wine and playing the mandolin but most of my friends would rather hear me drink wine! Adapted from quote by Mark Twain------supposedly !

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  24. #66

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    I’d start with a Wegen Dipper, which has three different points. 1.4 should do. I have a Blue Chip 1R 60 that would give you two choices. I like some of the Dunlop’s too. Primetones mainly.
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  25. #67

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Pick preference is an extremely personal thing, with no right or wrong choice. In general, it is preferable to use a heavy pick for the mandolin as it enables you to get a much better tone out of your instrument, and improves the playability of the mandolin. One advice I would give you is to give picks with a rounded edge a try, be it Bluechip, Primetone, or other Dunlop picks. Although you lose a bit of the clarity of notes with a rounded pick, you get a much warmer sound. Several of the bog names in the mandolin world use either a rounded pick or the round edge of a regularly shaped pick, people like Matt Flinner, Peter Ostroushko, Sam Bush, Tim O'Brien, John Reischman, Sharon Gilchrist, etc...I even saw a video of Roland White using the rounded edge of a pick. Additionally, even Dawg picks (or the older Golden Gate picks) have rounded edges.

  26. #68

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    A third vote here for the TAD40-1R. It has become my go-to guitar pick for playing rhythm guitar in contra music, LOTS of control and just the right amount of give string noise in the chop. It'll do in a pinch on mando but I find it a bit on the bright side. I do keep an extra primetone 1.4 big triangle (smooth finish, speed bevel) in each of my cases for a backup. My preferred pick for mandolin remains the BC CT-55, flawless grip, great speed, and a just-right tone for me. The Primetones are a close second, but the Bluechip just takes less effort and glides through the strings like no other. Amazingly, I haven't lost this pick in 5 years or so, will buy again in a heartbeat.

  27. #69
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Shape ala 346 Fender big enough to hold onto Heavy , because extra heavy I have to buy 72.

    BC CT 55 is that shape .. 1 costs same as 144 Fender picks s,
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  28. #70

    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Quote Originally Posted by SRNassif View Post
    Pick preference is an extremely personal thing, with no right or wrong choice. In general, it is preferable to use a heavy pick for the mandolin as it enables you to get a much better tone out of your instrument, and improves the playability of the mandolin. One advice I would give you is to give picks with a rounded edge a try, be it Bluechip, Primetone, or other Dunlop picks. Although you lose a bit of the clarity of notes with a rounded pick, you get a much warmer sound. Several of the bog names in the mandolin world use either a rounded pick or the round edge of a regularly shaped pick, people like Matt Flinner, Peter Ostroushko, Sam Bush, Tim O'Brien, John Reischman, Sharon Gilchrist, etc...I even saw a video of Roland White using the rounded edge of a pick. Additionally, even Dawg picks (or the older Golden Gate picks) have rounded edges.

    I forgot to mention, however, that I recently tried the Dunlop FLOW picks, and these picks are incredible. Sharp point with no bevel, kind of remind me of the famous Jazztone 208 (one of the best picks I've ever used, tone wise), but seem to be more durable. Definitely worth a try.

  29. #71
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Again with the picks

    Interesting how we can play the same picks and hear them differently. Rob Roy mentions his TAD40-1R is bright on mandolin. I hear it as almost the opposite, dark. Brighter than a 50 or 55, but darker than a Wegen Bluegrass, IMO.

    But it all relates to the sound you hear in your head that you try to get from the instrument. In my case it's brighter and more biting than a lot of folks want. Seems to be more common with folks who play Nordic, Irish or French Canadian music. At least that's been my experience so far. And yes, there are folks who do the exact opposite of that and have a great tone.
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