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Thread: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

  1. #1
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    Default PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    Attention guitar converts and mandolin newbies:

    If you currently believe, like I did until recently, that a pick is a pick, and that your pick collection from your guitar days is fine, and that you just need to learn technique, I'm here to tell you that you need to go down to your local music store, and ask them for a mandolin pick. It could cost you less than a buck (although I bought ten, so it cost me six bucks).

    It turns out that the thickness and bevel shape are actually super important! It will improve your tone, your tremolo, and your ability to pick up and down with ease. It will not improve your scales or coordination, but hey, you can't ask for everything, you lazy bum.

    Basically, I'm saying that I tried a real mandolin pick for the first time, and that I feel quite stupid that I never thought of trying it before. My cheap starter mandolin actually sounds a lot better and plays more easily.

    Experienced players can (and should) point and laugh at me for posting something that should seem obvious, but I feel like this is something that newbies or multi-instrumentalists like myself don't even think about. Hopefully this turns on the lightbulb for someone else!
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    No pointing or laughing from me! I had a similar epiphany after I'd been playing a couple of years when I got some Wegen TF 140s for Christmas one year. I'd been using a Fender Heavy prior to that and had been happy with it, but have never gone back. I use Bluechip and Wegen almost exclusively, though I will use Primetone in "high risk of pick loss" situations. There are those who love their 25 cent picks and make them sound great, and most of my friends wouldn't notice a difference if I went back to a celluloid pick, but the difference in feel is huge for me...
    Chuck

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  5. #3
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    So what's your idea of a mandolin pick?

    I have used triangles and pointy thin and thick picks. My favorite currently is the Blue Chip Large Jazz pick. I use it on my Gretsch Penguin as well as my OldWave A. I like the tone from the pointy pick better but sometimes I feel like less so I turn it around and use the back corner or even the back end.

    I think people should try as many picks as it takes to get the one you like.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

  6. #4
    Orrig Onion HonketyHank's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    The pick sampler is out there somewhere. It has opened lots of eyes on the non-mundane topic of picks.
    New to mando? Click this link -->Newbies to join us at the Newbies Social Group.

    Just send an email to rob.meldrum@gmail.com with "mandolin setup" in the subject line and he will email you a copy of his ebook for free (free to all mandolincafe members).

    My website and blog: honketyhank.com

  7. #5
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    There exists for every mandolin a pick that works best in combination with a given player.

    On slow rainy afternoons, there's great entertainment to be had, sitting down with a group of mandolins and a bag-o-picks, in an attempt to find the ideal, The One.

    I have a 1915 H4 mandola that has a strong preference for old Kay nylon picks. I only had one, and lived in terror that I'd lose it. Finally found a stash of them on ebay, to my great relief.

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  9. #6
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    There is no such thing as a mandolin pick. There are picks thatbsuit YOU better for mandolin. I use very different picks for guitar than mandolin--- that's what suits me. Someone else can use the same pick---that's what suits them. I have, over the years, tried many different picks, and still occasionally try something different but the Fender xtr heavy teardrop shaped is my go to pick. YMMV, use what give you the best tone and seems the easiest to you.

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  11. #7
    Dan Brooks lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    I really like my Blue Chip CT55 for practicing... however, the Dunlop Primetone triangle 1.4 is very close in proximity at 3/$5.00. Lately I have been enjoying the Primetone ("traditional") guitar-shaped .88 -- also very affordable and works well with mandolin and acoustic guitar. I agree with Mandoplum that pick choice is all about the player's needs, and I believe that Bill Monroe would have said the same.
    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...Monroe%20pick*

  12. #8

    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    There is no such thing as a mandolin pick.
    Daryl Zanuck once threatened to have a director’s movie, “melted down and made into mandolin picks.” Apropos of not much.

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  14. #9
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    Am more and more realizing that some mandolins like a certain style of pick, others don't care. My own playing seems to be best with a .88 to 1.0 pick. Combination of tone and volume that satisfies my ears. Some days it's celluloid, others tortex, others Primetone or even BC or cotton/fibre.

    My mentor uses Dunlop nylon picks and gets a great sound out of his 1909 Gibson A. When trying the same picks, I get nothing close to his sound.
    2018 Collings MT, 1910 Gibson A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1941 Strad-O-Lin, 2018 Eastman MDO-305, 1950's Californian, 2015 Ashbury Style E OM
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  16. #10
    Registered User Miltown's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandoplumb View Post
    There is no such thing as a mandolin pick. .
    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #11
    I really look like that soliver's Avatar
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    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    I highly recommend the Pick sampler... it seriously opened my eyes to the possibilities. ... Particularly to the BC side of the spectrum.

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...t=Pick+sampler
    aka: Spencer
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  20. #12

    Default Re: PSA: you should try an actual mandolin pick!

    I use sharp-tipped Dunlop Jazz III XLs exclusively on electric, as well as steel and nylon string acoustic guitars for many years. I want my pick tip sharp and the pick very stiff... for precision. I don't like pick lag when playing fast lead work.

    But when it comes to mandolin, mandola and 12-string guitars (anything with double courses of strings) I need a more rounded tip. And I've found that I prefer a thinner, more bendy pick. It makes the sound brighter. I found this after struggling with my Jazz IIIs on mando and finally I happened to pick up a more regular pick and the difference in tone and playability for me were huge.

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