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Thread: tone and picks vs strings

  1. #1
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default tone and picks vs strings

    So, I love BC Chips. I have several in the pic you can see the ones I use. Why three because each imparted a different tone and or attack. Since changing to the TI stark strings. I do not hear the tonal difference I heard with DAs. I still hear a change in the attack based on tip shape but the tone remains constant with all these picks now. Have any of you noticed anything similar where one type or series of strings reacts more widely to different picks then another may? I can literally now use any of these picks and just rotate it to a different tip or edge and get the tones I want rather than switching to a different pick. Maybe it was always like this and I just didn't try the other edges as I have recently. I played in front of my wife tonight but she heard no difference either but then again I am not sure she would have anyway. She really doesn't get why I have multiple amps and a range of speakers and cabs. For her, it's just, turn it up. She's an '80s hair rock band nut. That's a different topic entirely.

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    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Bertotti View Post
    So, I love BC Chips.
    I might as well be the first one to point it out.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    John -
    I think this is a very interesting question and particularly because you mentioned Thomastik Stark strings which I suspect are not the most prevalent string out there (I use TI mittels myself and love them). I can share that, with my mittels, for myself, I do hear distinct tone differences between my Wegen (round or beveled), Blue Chip (round or beveled), and other picks. I go back and forth as to which pick sound and attack feel I prefer.
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    Yea true but that isn’t the point. I had two style and three picks of varying sizes, each had a unique tone that I no longer hear and the only change was the strings. The tp thin one was a bit thinner sounding to me but the attack was the same as the thicker tp and the Jazz pick has the sharpest attack and to me brought more tone out of my strings and was a bit brighter in tone but now the tonal differences are so slight most of the time I don’t notice it. So I am curious if this has happens to anyone else. I will now decide which instrument to put a pick with because I don’t need all three with this Mandolin anymore. Another question I have is perhaps it is not the strings, maybe my hands have just learned to pull the tone I want out of the instrument irregardless of which pick I use. How would I test that theory? Is that even possible?
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    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Logan View Post
    John -
    I think this is a very interesting question and particularly because you mentioned Thomastik Stark strings which I suspect are not the most prevalent string out there (I use TI mittels myself and love them). I can share that, with my mittels, for myself, I do hear distinct tone differences between my Wegen (round or beveled), Blue Chip (round or beveled), and other picks. I go back and forth as to which pick sound and attack feel I prefer.

    Oh goodness, I haven’t even tried other picks yet, like all of you I have a box full of them. Hmm-maybe I should try. I picked stark because the total tension seems closest to the DAs that were on it but still a bit lower.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

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  7. #6

    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    When you get to differences between picks and strings, you are well down the list of tonal differences. The style of instrument and the materials, along with the ideas of the maker are the big difference makers. The next tier in importance is strings,IMHO, then picks. They can make a difference to the player, but I've never thought the average listener could tell the difference. I like BC picks and Wegens, but my A 1 seems to like Primetones. But that could be different tomorrow.
    Oh, let's put playing ability top of the list. A good player can pull more tone from a KM 150 using Fender medium picks than I can with a Collings and a Blue Chip.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    This article is of value as regards picks

    http://jazzmando.com/tips/archives/000718.shtml
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    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    Everything makes a difference to a greater or lesser degree. Strings , picks, technique, room, setup, taste, physical limitations … when you add them all together it is a significant statement. When you finally "settle" … well that's you..... R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  11. #9
    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: tone and picks vs strings

    I have been searching tone vs. attack on my Gretsch 6120 and after putting a set of Thomastik Blues sliders and have the same type of result. I'm a BC guy too but it was really bright on the 6120 with nickel strings. So I went to the new Taylor thermex pro 1.5 and that was great on regular nickel strings taking out the sharpness. Now with these sliders I'm right where I was lookin' to get. No matter what pick I use I get reliable mellow tone. On the mando however I don't want to lose a drop of attack and the ability to change tone and use a TPR 45 mainly, but have tried that taylor and got nice results when chopping or playing rhythm.

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