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Thread: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

  1. #1
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    I got to thinking about this and wonder what the difference could be. Both would seem to allow a give from the pick side of the "pick-string" interaction. I much prefer the sound of a thicker pick but got to thinking about the physics of the thing and have maybe just confused myself. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Registered User Gunnar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    I'd say definitely thick pick lose grip. A thin pick takes too long to return to shape after picking the string, and also has a really sloppy feel that makes it hard to pick the right strings at the right time. Ymmv
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Evan Marshall uses as floppy a pick as I've ever seen. He seems to have no trouble picking the right strings at the right time. Here's that floppy pick on the last movement of the William Tell overture.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCIJPCbAO1U
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    my little though is to try different pick sizes/thickness because what I like or dislike has nothing to do with your likes or dislikes...you'll know when you find something that suits You to a P, I mean T...personally I don't like nothing about thin picks but then "that's me" not you

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    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post
    I'd say definitely thick pick lose grip. A thin pick takes too long to return to shape after picking the string, and also has a really sloppy feel that makes it hard to pick the right strings at the right time. Ymmv
    It's not always about the thickness alone - the stiffness of the material matters too.

    A .72mm Ultex/Ultem pick is quite stiff.

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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    I used to prefer thicker picks for flat picking and thinner picks if I was strumming backup, especially on guitar, but Iím pretty much all 1.4 mm now. Iíll still use a Wegen TF 120 or BC TAD 40 on guitar, but on everything shorter scale Iím 1.4 mm. And, a couple of my guitars have 1.4 mm Wegens in the strings at the moment as well.

    That said, if I thought I had any prayer of playing like Evan Marshall, Iíd go thin pick in a heartbeat! That dudeís phenomenal!! And, while I play some classical, Iím not doing it on bowl backs with ultra light strings...
    Chuck

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    Registered User sblock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    "lose" grip means that you have not managed to maintain the grip.
    "loose" grip is when you don't hold it tightly.

    Sometimes, the spelling does matter! Anyway, too loose a grip will lose grip.

    Most mandolin experts in folks, jazz, gypsy, choro, and bluegrass will advise you to use a thicker (stiff) pick with a loose grip. Some classical mandolin players prefer a somewhat thinner pick (medium stiffness), but also advise against gripping it too tightly.

    Gunnar has it right: Picks bend slightly while striking a string. If your pick is still recovering from its initial flexion by the time you're using it to hit a string the next time, then the pick is too soft. This matters a lot when playing fast, or when playing tremolo. Also, as DavidKOS pointed out, its not so much the thickness of the pick that matters, but its rigidity. And that will depend on the type of material used (the Young's modulus), the shape (esp. the point), and the thickness.

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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    How tight or loose a grip you keep on a pick is also inherent to the amount of grip strength and tension you tend to hold. Try keeping your right hand loose, but firm, and only using tension in the fingers to adjust the grip. It's a lot like a fiddle bow. Too much tension takes away the "give" you need to bring to the instrument. After that, pick thickness is a little less relavent. If that makes any sense.

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    MandolaViola bratsche's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    It's not always about the thickness alone - the stiffness of the material matters too.
    And the angle at which you strike the strings with it matters a lot as well.

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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    What kind of music do you play?
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Travelling samplers, try out lots: https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...erested/page35
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  18. #12

    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Aside from thick or thin which does make a difference in feel and attack, etc. I've always been amazed at just how much difference in tone is achieved from different picks. Even picks of the same thickness and shape will have very obvious different tonal qualities, based on the material used. In general terms, I think the thiner the pick, the brighter and sharper the sound, the thicker and rounder picks are more subdued and softer in tone. So, it's also a function of what type of music you play and the overall tone you are trying to achieve. I'lll bet a lot of players use a couple different picks for that reason. And, each instrument is going to be different as well. Just get a few different ones until you find your own sweet spot.

  19. #13
    Registered User J.C. Bryant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Thank you all so much for your thoughts and input. I am now using a BC TAD 80 and love the sound it produces. I, probably, will never be very fast because I just don't have the "fast twitch" muscles (I guess) but the sound from this pick is just the sound I want, it is loud but not "twingy-twangy", it has a sharper point so the sound is not too muffled and just works well. Also, I will need to work on not letting it go too deep on the strings in order to effect any sort of tremolo. Anyway, learning and doing are very satisfying to me. Thanks again for you thoughts and input.

  20. #14
    Registered User Kalasinar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    I've gone from using 1.5mm Gold series gravity picks to Fender Thins (somewhere around 0.5mm?). I prefer the brightness from the thinner pick, though I am playing mostly folk/Irish trad.
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    I have 40 ,50, and 60 Blue Chip picks, and other brands
    From thin o 2.5 and 3 mm. In the end I prefer thicker but I found that is determined by rigidity. I prefer a stiff pick and vary how tight and what angle I use it. Tip shape is generally pointy like the Jazz BC pointy one. But sometimes I use the opposite end or a rounder one all depends on my mood that day.
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  22. #16
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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Hmmm …. What music you are playing makes a difference on your choice of plectrum. What ever you choose to use and play a loose wrist and loose grip on the pick are necessary. If you don't drop the pick occasionally you are gripping it to tightly. A tight grip leads to stiffness in the wrist and fingers...… loosen up. Picks are very much a personal choice so try out a bunch of different shapes, thicknesses and materials. Enjoy the process. R/
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  23. #17

    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Thin picks don't [ imho ] put enough energy into the strings to produce a full sound.

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    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    Shape of the pick matters too -blunt or sharp.

    FWIW I think thick picks sound dull, but I'm not into a bluegrass chop.
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  25. #19

    Default Re: Lose grip on a thick pick or use a thin pick?

    My current top pick would be the chicken picks “shredder”. It’s a bit extreme though. How I grip it depends on what I’m playing. Sometimes I switch to their “badazz III”. The thicker and harder the better IMO as a general rule. The material difference is high though. Stone picks give too many overtones.

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