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Thread: Picks

  1. #1

    Question Picks

    Okay, I know I've only just started playing but I already prefer picks with a little pointy edge rather than the rounded ones. I am right?

  2. #2
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    Whatever works for you is right. I alternated between rounded and a little more pointy.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Picks

    If you want to experiment, there are two pick samplers travelling around the country (you can sign up in this part of the Forum) and you can experiment to find out what kind of pick you prefer. You try the picks, then send them onto the next person.

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    Default Re: Picks

    There is no right or wrong in this area, just personal preference. And tastes change. I started out using the pointy end of a medium guitar pick. Then I went to the rounded shoulder. Then a heavy triangle pick with rounded edges. These days I use a 1.5mm large triangle that is pointy-ish. And it's fun to have different ones to mess around with. $5 at the music store buys a ton of picks.
    Mitch Russell

  5. #5
    Unfamous String Buster Beanzy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    I've graduated from the large triangle to ridiculously pointy over the years.
    I shape my own as there's nothing out there in the shape I like, but I keep a load of more standard ones in my cases so I can keep checking if my tastes have changed. They're also handy if anyone wants to borrow a plectrum.
    Eoin



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  6. #6
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    If you want to use a coin or a button, a la Brian May or django, go for it. Whatever is right for you is right for you.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    What kind of music are you pursuing?
    Indulge responsibly!

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  9. #8
    fretboard roamer Paul Merlo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    +1 for trying the pick samplers. You never know what you're going to like until you try them all
    (spoiler: it probably won't be the $40 Blue Chip)
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  10. #9
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    I only use very pointed picks!



    for some classical



    for all other mandolin and guitar playing other than Gypsy jazz



    for Gypsy jazz

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  12. #10
    Mandolin user MontanaMatt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    I only use very pointed picks!



    for some classical



    for all other mandolin and guitar playing other than Gypsy jazz



    for Gypsy jazz
    David, is it me or is your massive picture size a bit passive aggressive?
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  14. #11

    Default Re: Picks

    Once you arrive at a ballpark preference, basic size and shape, just go buy a Blue Chip and save yourself the wondering. You may like it or you may not. If you do it will save you from buying endless amounts of picks, if you don’t, you can easily sell it. Other worthy picks to try are the Dunlop Primetone, and Wegens. Both are in the five to ten dollar range, though you have to buy two.

    But get a general idea of size and shape first. You can get a Blue Chip with one rounded corner. I have a TAD 1R 60 I like a lot.
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  15. #12

    Default Re: Picks

    I've tried a lot of mando picks: big, small, fat, thin, triangle, teardrop.

    What I like using best: one Dunlop medium plastic thumb pick and two Dunlap .15 mm nickel finger picks. Faster tremolo, more control, and no figuring out what to do with the fingers I'm not using.

  16. #13
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    Quote Originally Posted by MontanaMatt View Post
    David, is it me or is your massive picture size a bit passive aggressive?
    Sorry - they were the easiest pictures to find online.

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  18. #14
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    Default Re: Picks

    Of course there’s right and wrong. What works for you is right, what doesn’t is wrong. No comment on other folks choices.
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  19. #15

    Default Re: Picks

    I am starting off with Celtic music.Its my favorite and I think it's a good bridge between classical and bluegrass. I'm following Mando Mike on YouTube.

  20. #16

    Default Re: Picks

    I like the look of that heart shaped pick at the top of the page.

  21. #17
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    It's likely that as you progress with your playing your pick preferences might alter - when I started out I was using the pointy end of a fairly light pick (.72mm) for the first couple of months, but then progressed to picks in the .89mm range (a Blue Chip TPR35), with rounded tips. I play Irish trad music exclusively and found the rounded edge facilitated ease of playing triplets for me. I've experimented with moving up to a 1.0mm pick but always drop back down to the .89mm ones which seem to be the sweet spot for me.
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  22. #18

    Default Re: Picks

    The pick journey is personal, cheaper picks you can buy your own, I did, still have the complete collection. Once in a while I revisit it and find that my preferences have not changed after my playing developed far enough.

    Primetones are where I ended up (ultex before that, Dunlop before that), bought some BC's to match the pick shapes I liked in a PT, was fun, on acoustic I use BC's now.

    For 4-string electrics I like the brighter sound of the PTs.

    I also prefer pointier picks, and developed a love of triangles. :-)
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  23. #19
    Registered User Randi Gormley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    my preference is for tiny pointy picks, but that's my preference. A lot of people love the bigger, heavier rounded ones. I play ITM and classical (and a bit of choro and klezmer) and I like the point for melody. I don't play chords. BUT -- as everybody has said -- what pick you like is the pick you like. Absolutely experiment with the pick samplers -- and you'll find the mandolin itself may like one pick over another. My snake loves my tiny John Pearse picks and just doesn't care for anything else. My Eastman, which I use when I'm miked up, likes a blue chip (I have a jazz BC, which is tiny and pointy). Finding a pick that you like and your mandolin likes is one of life's little pleasures.
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  25. #20

    Default Re: Picks

    Quote Originally Posted by randi gormley View Post
    . . . I don't play chords. . . .
    =o•
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; Jan-12-2020 at 8:35am.

  26. #21

    Default Re: Picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Minstrelle View Post
    I am starting off with Celtic music.Its my favorite and I think it's a good bridge between classical and bluegrass. I'm following Mando Mike on YouTube.
    I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, but with mandolin much more than guitar, different picks have different sounds. Thick, heavy picks are warm and mellow, thin, light picks are bright and snappy. I don't think it's uncommon for players to use different picks for different songs or situations.

    (Again, I like finger picks. That's not a recommendation. I use them mainly because after years playing guitar (with bare fingers, finger picks, and flat picks), I find it impossible to get comfortable with the flat-pick monkey-clutch mando players use. After about five years trying to flat pick mando-style, I've pretty much thrown in the towel and usually just put on some finger picks so I don't have to think about my right hand. It's wrong, but it sounds better.)

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  28. #22
    Registered User Brian560's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

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    These have been the picks I have used most often. The shape of the middle pick was ideal, I switched to the blue tortex because they are readily available. The primetone gives the warmest sound and the tortex is the brightest. I do have to use a little pick honey to keep that blue pick from rotating while I play. I play melody and am particularly concerned with tremolo. Dunlop does make that blue teardrop pick in a larger size, but they don't have a photograph of both picks side to side for comparison. On their site you have to order either 36 or 72 picks of the same type so I think I will stick with the small teardrop.
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  30. #23

    Default Re: Picks

    This seems like as good a place to ask this as any - guys that prefer the larger triangular style picks, can you elaborate on why? I've always associated those picks with mandolin. I haven't gotten to try one out on a mandolin, but whenever I've played guitar with one I've had mixed results. They feel comfortable and I like the solid grip/connection I get with the pick, but they start to feel clumsy when I need to pick fast.

    I grew up playing Fender medium and comparable Dunlop Tortex picks (for a mixture of electric and acoustic guitar playing). As I got older and became more of a dedicated acoustic player I slowly gravitated towards heavier picks. My "backups" now are the purple Tortex, but my go-to is a BlueChip TD50. I've got a TD45 I like for really light strings and a TD60 I like for my 12-string. I'm still very new to mandolin but so far I'm loving the TD50 for it, enough so that I haven't even dug the 60 out of the 12-string case to try it.

    When I was taste-testing a bunch of BlueChips a while back I almost kept a TP48 around. I thought it was a good compromise between the teardrop shape that seems to be seared into my muscle memory and the larger triangular picks. But I ultimately kept reaching for the TD50, and sent the TP48 back rather than let it sit around and collect dust. Now I wish I had it for the mandolin....

  31. #24
    The Amateur Mandolinist Mark Gunter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Gibcaster000 View Post
    This seems like as good a place to ask this as any - guys that prefer the larger triangular style picks, can you elaborate on why?
    I prefer them. Switched a few years ago, and it was clumsy at first, but I'm glad I did. It's a pretty strong preference now. I suppose you'll get different 'whys' from different folk.

    One why, for me, is that I changed my grip. All my life I'd used teardrop style picks on guitar, and I used a sort of three digit grip (Thumb, index & middle) kind of like a pencil grip. I changed to the more common thumb & index loose clamp style of grip, and the large triangles feel better to me now.
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  33. #25
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    I don't think anyone has mentioned this yet, but with mandolin much more than guitar, different picks have different sounds. I don't think it's uncommon for players to use different picks for different songs or situations.
    That is what I do. The great responsiveness of the mandolin to the type of pick, and the great many types of picks, gives us mandolinners lots of options. It would be a shame to miss out by settling on one pick.

    I got to thinking the other day and I wonder if this "one pick" thing comes from guitar culture, where because the type of pick seems to make less difference, one chooses the personal favorite based on comfort and personal play-ability, and sticks with it to the point of putting that chosen type pick in the wallet. A mandolinner would have to ask, which of these do i chose to put in my wallet, what am I likely to need?

    Many many mandolinners came from guitar culture and many have a foot in each culture.

    I may be entirely wrong however. I am sometimes.
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