Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Pick (nerd) journeys

  1. #1

    Default Pick (nerd) journeys

    There's been endless threads about which pick we all are currently playing, or test-driving, but I thought it might be fun to hear some stories about all the picks we tried along the way. So here's mine.
    I started out playing acoustic and electric guitar at 13, and then picked up the mandolin in college. So when I started on the mandolin, I had already moved (on guitar) from a good ol' Fender medium to one of the grey Dunlop nylon picks, the heaviest grey one. I figured, if it works for Doc, maybe it'll work for me! It became clear that there were a few other things preventing me from sounding like Doc Watson, but there I was, taking up the mandolin with my .88 grey Dunlop. I liked the nubby texture, which helped me keep it in one place between my fingers, but thought maybe I'd should try something a little heavier. So over to the black nylon 1.0 I went. Man, I liked that!
    But then I found (or did I imagine it?) that sometimes when I was jamming outside on a hot summer day at a festival or a party, the pick seemed a little more mushy than it was normally. "That's because nylon conducts heat", someone with more experience with mandos, picks, hear conductivity, science, and so many other things told me. Is it true? I don't know any more about that now then I did then, but it was enough to send me to the pick bins at my local music store, where I found...Tortex!
    I knew tortoiseshell was supposed to be awesome, but also awesomely bad for tortoises. So, I figured, this Tortex has got to be the thing! Lots of cool colors, too. And it has that kind of matte finish to it when it's new, so it didn't feel as slippy as the ol' Fender medium. So, off I went with the Tortexes, happily going back and forth between the blue and the purple, with an occasional detour for the green for Celtic music.
    I rode the Tortex train happily for a good long while, and then one day, I was in the store (and when I say, "in the store", it's a euphemism for every fun, local music shop you like to go to and hang and check out gear, and shoot the bull and buy stuff, not necessarily the same store all the time), and right next to the Tortex picks, they had...Ultex.
    Whoa, what is this? Is it the ultimate tex? I had to try it. Got me a few of them between 1.0 and 1.5, and I was convinced. Tortex to the bottom of the pick pile, and off I went, me and Ultex, picking away.
    So, for all of these, I was still using the pointed corner of a standard pick shape. But I probably read an interview in Acoustic Guitar, or Frets, or somewhere, and read that some of the hipper cats were using the rounded corners of these picks. Can you even do that, I wondered? Turns out, the answer is yes! So I spun my pick, and while I was spinning my pick, I thought, what about those bigger picks that I see a lot of the hot bluegrass pickers using, with three equal/equalateral/equadistant corners? Maybe those would be cool, and I won't have this nagging feeling that I'm holding my pick upside down.
    So off to the pick bins again, to find...the Pro-plec! Big equal-sided triangle, maybe 1.4, nice rounded tone, again I was a happy camper. Between the slightly more rounded corners and the thicker picks, I was getting a nicer, warmer tone that I liked, too.
    But, then I got the chance to try a few of the actual tortoiseshell picks; one was a gift at a music party from a well-appointed host who had a bunch of 'em, and I thought, wow, this has the warmth, but also the brightness, hmm. Pick dissatisfaction reared its ugly head(stock) again.
    So I need to insert here, the answer to the obvious question, why not just get a few tortoiseshell picks, or a fancy booteeker like the ol' Blue Chip, and be done with all this pick-switching malarkey? Well, in addition to the aforementioned "not-so-awesome for the tortoises" of the tortoiseshell, I wanted the kind of pick that I could buy 10 of, keep a few in my pocket, leave them hanging around, not fret about losing 'em, give one to a friend or a students. So I still have a couple nice tortoiseshells, and a sweet BC CT55 that one of my students gave me with my name on it (thanks, John!). But I still wanted my basic go-to. Plus, I'm more of a basic, go-to kind of guy.
    At this point, I got a lovely A-5 from Girouard Mandolins, and Max gave me a bunch of their Girouard picks, which are Clayton acetyls, big equal triangle, somewhere in my sweet spot (1.2-1.4). Yesss! Plus, they don't have MY name on them, but the ones I get from Max have my mandolin's name on them, which is pretty cool, too. Problem solved.
    Then (of course), my good buddy and Grateful Dead acoustic cover duo buddy Steve Roy sez to me, have you checked out these Primetones? He slipped me one, and yet again, I was hooked. The smooth brown ones, 1.2-1.4, big triangle. Not as easy to find as the Claytons, but only slightly more expensive (expensive enough to try not to lose them, but not expensive enough to care if you do). I think they have a slightly darker tone than the white Claytons, which reminds me of a joke about brown cows and white cows which I won't go into here, but in any case, my pocket now is loaded with the Claytons and the Primetones. Slight edge to the Primetones.
    I left out a few things that I never really got into: Dawg picks, Wegens, Italian-style teardrops. I do like to pore through pick bins, especially the bins that have a bunch of leftover crap, in case you find something fun. I got a slightly larger Gibson black teardrop by doing that, which I do like a lot, but I'm not sure why.
    So that's my pick story. If you have read this far, maybe you'd be interested in sharing your own pick journey. Much cheaper than a mandolin journey!

  2. #2
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,616

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Ok, I'll play. When I began my mandolin journey the only stringed instrument I played was the mountain dulcimer. Picks for a dulcimer are too thin for mandolin so I went to Fender medium small teardrop picks. I then moved up to Fender heavy small teardrop picks and convinced I had found THE ONE, I orderd a gross of them. Thats right, 144 picks. It got to the point if I ever dropped one I would not even stoop over to pick it up, I would just pull another out of my pocket. It took me a number of years till I lost them all.
    Most of my playing for most of my life was on teens Gibson A models and an F-2. Fender heavy picks did just fine. As I got older my left hand could no longer tolerate the baseball bat size necks of the Gibsons. It was not untill 2014 that I purchased Girouard F-5 #83. That is when my pick quest really took hold. The Girouard really responds differently to a variety of picks. I tried Golden Gate "Dawg" picks, Pro Plecs, wegens, Blue Chip(a band mate bought one for me at IBMA one year) and casine (JohnPearse) but I settled on Prime Tone 1.3 small triangle picks, the smooth brown ones. I drill a circle of small holes in the center to increase grip. This is the pick that #83 likes the most.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    3,844

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    I'll bite:

    Started with Tortex 0.73 (yellows) based on recommendations on Folk of the Wood before I found the Café. Eventually switched to using the rounded end on those as well. Tried a few others along the way, but nothing that supplanted to Tortex. Then, I picked up a Fender Heavy large triangle for some flat picking guitar (about the time I discovered the Café and advice for heavier picks for BG) and thought, "Hmmm...wonder how that'd sound on mando?" I played those almost exclusively until I bought a Fender 62SE blueburst mandolin from Ted Eschliman (Jazzmando), who included one of his Jazzmando Pro-Plecs at 1.5mm. It didn't immediately supplant the Fender Heavies, but opened my mind to new possibilities, and I used it a lot on Mando and also on one particularly D-28 copy I had that it really worked with. Later that year for Christmas (or maybe the year later?) my wife got me some Wegen TF 140s, and that ended my pick adventure until BC came out. I used 140s on mando and 120s on guitar/OM to the literal exclusion of all others unless I was in a high risk situation (lake doc, outside/night time jam), during which I'd use Fender Heavies, Gators, or Ultex (the latter two of which I tried but never really bonded with).

    I eventually got a CT-55 and a TAD-40. I now use the CT-55 or Wegen TF 140 on mando (depending on my mood), TAD 50 on OM, and TAD 40 on guitar. My "lake dock" picks are now the Wegens or the 1.4 mm smooth Prime Tones, which I also think are good picks, but they wear faster than BC and aren't quick as quick off the strings for me.

    I tried a Golden Gate Dawg shaped pick and the similar (though smaller) 1.3 mm Prime Tone, which intrigued me since I remember liking using the rounded end of those Tortex picks, but I struggle to get volume with them. I've tried who knows how many others I saw in local stores just to try (Big Stubby and Clayton come to mind) that never really did it for me, though I'll agree those Claytons are good picks. I think they'd have been a nice step between the Fender Heavies and Wegen for me, I just didn't try them until after I had the Wegens.

    If I could only pick one brand to use forever, I'd go with Bluechip, though the Wegens are a very close second. That said, if those never existed, I'd have been content with Fender, Clayton, or Ultex picks...
    Chuck

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Some lengthy replies that I will get to in due time. For now I will add that in addition to wooden picks (spoiler alert, they are terrible on mandolin), I am the proud owner of a genuine dinosaur bone fossil pick. Actually, two dinosaur bone picks, as I dropped the Blue Chip box that contained the pick and it snapped in half. No great loss, as it was even worse than the wooden picks.

  5. #5
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine Beach FL
    Posts
    4,616

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Ha, another pick that I forgot about was one I made from an Ivory (as bad as the other unobtainium) piano key. Totally sucked.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  6. #6
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    Ha, another pick that I forgot about was one I made from an Ivory (as bad as the other unobtainium) piano key. Totally sucked.
    Ha! I've got a stone pick someplace. It's the worst thing I've tried. Even polished it sounds scratchy. Guess it was designed for electric guitar. But I've never been able to get it to work on anything.

    Will have more to say on my own journey later.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 2018 Eastman MDO-305
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  7. #7
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Okay my turn. About 25 years ago as a guitar player went from celluloid heavy to Clayton white 1.0. From there went to Clayton gold (better sound, but I would wear through one in a loud old-time jam driving the guitar to hold fiddlers and banjo players in time.) Then came Wegen. Back in the old days of Flatpick-L Michael Wegen came up with what became the bluegrass pick. A number of us were very early adopters. First ones came without holes. After some trial and error, some of us drilled the pick out in the current pattern. Liked the sound, but always had a hard time getting a good grip. After that, went back to Clayton, white or gold depending on mood. Then came Red Bear. Found a new favorite. Although getting them started getting tough. After that was satisfied for a while. Then another guitarist and good friend showed me a brand new Blue Chip Oh my, that was it. Went with that for the rest of my serious guitar playing time. Until a friend in Denmark sent me one of his custom Manouche picks.

    Then along comes the mandolin 3 years ago. Had tried it a few years earlier, but it didn't stick. And gave away my mando specific picks. One friend still uses the Wegen mandolin picks I gave him back then and he still hasn't done serious wear to them. Tried the Manouche and ended up switching between that and the Blue Chip TD-1R 40. But still I experiment. Often nowadays a Blue Chip TP 35 is my preference. At least in performance. Helps my mandolins cut through in my bands and with the music I play.

    Then the Flatiron showed up. And guess what? The Wegen BG100 or even a celluloid pick seems to work fine on it. So will be experimenting with this one for a while. Might as well, got the time before I get together with folks to play again.

    And this doesn't include the dish with enough picks start another sampler if I wanted. All the big names, Big Stubby, Dunlop jazz, V picks, tortex, Dunlop nylon.

    So yeah, it's been a journey. And even though I have some favorites, don't necessarily think the search is done.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 2018 Eastman MDO-305
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  8. #8
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    San Francisco, CA now, Co. Mayo later....
    Posts
    2,947

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    1) I started out using the shoulder end of those hot pink Dunlop Delrin picks with the tortoise on them, .96mm - really liked them actually and still keep one in me pocket in the event I'm in a music shop that has a mandolin in it.

    2) Then I tried a V-Pick for awhile - 1.0mm I think, I found them a little noisy for my liking

    3) Got a 1.0mm Wegen, not my cuppa tea at all, kinda felt like it grabbed the strings when I played.

    4) Got a Bluechip TD35, used the shoulder end of it - immediately loved it!

    5) Ordered a Bluechip TPR35 and that became my main pick for many years

    6) Saw someone selling a wee Kenny Smith 35 in the classifieds here a couple of years ago - bought it and despite it's small size it's my go to pick now. It almost feels like I'm not holding a pick at all when I use it, effortless to play with it!
    2018 Girouard Concert oval A
    2015 Ome Juniper 19 fret open back tenor banjo
    2015 JP "Whitechapel" tenor banjo
    1969 Martin 00-18




    my Youtube channel
    Blog: rural.trad.punk

  9. The following members say thank you to Jill McAuley for this post:


  10. #9

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    I've accumulated a collection of picks over the years and have tried to see which I liked best for playing the mandolin. I even fashioned one out of an old piece of piano ivory, but the sound was too dull. I'm not 100% satisfied with the picks I have and I've been thinking about springing for one the the expensive Blue Chips; but worried that I would just be buying something expensive to lose. Recently, I ordered some sets of ebony and bone guitar pins from china. With my pin order they sent some free, bright orange, cheap-looking, plastic picks. I was really surprised to find that they have a nice sound when applied to my mandolins. The picks come in packs of 100 for $10, so I ordered a set. I'll soon have plenty to spread around the house, lose, and give away; however, I'm still thinking about getting a Blue Chip.

  11. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Invergordon,Scotland
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    " It became clear that there were a few other things preventing me from sounding like Doc Watson, but there I was, taking up the mandolin with my .88 grey Dunlop. I liked the nubby texture, which helped me keep it in one place between my fingers, but thought maybe I'd should try something a little heavier. So over to the black nylon 1.0 I went. Man, I liked that!"

    (From David Surette's original post - hi David!).

    The more I read all these posts on picks, the more I realise that I must be approaching all this completely differently from everyone else.
    I couldn't help but laugh when I saw David started mandolin on a .88 grey Dunlop, as that is what I use these days. I have never been able to get anything heavier to suit my style. In fact a .88 is quite a heavy gauge for me. It took me quite a while to move up to that.
    For many years I used a white Sharkfin from Sweden on all of my instruments. I now use a .88 on mandolin and tenor banjo, and Sharkfin on octave mandolin and guitar.

    Essentially I think I like a bit of 'bendyness' (sp?) in my pick. I want to be able to glide through the strings easily, often using chordal additions to the melody.
    David A. Gordon

  12. The following members say thank you to Dagger Gordon for this post:


  13. #11

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Hi Dagger!
    Well, you are in good company in nylon-land. I have done a few gigs lately with Seamus Egan, and he really likes those triple-sided nylon Herdrim picks, which are pointy and not too thick. Vive la difference!

  14. The following members say thank you to David Surette for this post:


  15. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Invergordon,Scotland
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Quote Originally Posted by David Surette View Post
    Hi Dagger!
    Well, you are in good company in nylon-land. I have done a few gigs lately with Seamus Egan, and he really likes those triple-sided nylon Herdrim picks, which are pointy and not too thick. Vive la difference!
    And very good it sounds too!

    David A. Gordon

  16. #13
    Chu Dat Frawg Eric C.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    595

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Started with a Fender Heavy. A week later bought a Bluechip and that ended my journey.
    Kentucky KM950 and loving it.

  17. The following members say thank you to Eric C. for this post:


  18. #14
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Westchester, NY
    Posts
    27,035

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    I think it might be helpful to let people know in this confessional pick thread what genre(s) of music you play and what mandolin(s) you play that music on. Just a suggestion since I often play different styles of music with different picks.

    I will return to this thread when I have a a little more time to recall and relate my pick history.
    Jim

    My Stream on Soundcloud
    Facebook
    19th Century Tunes
    Playing lately:
    2018 Campanella A-5 -- 2007 Brentrup A4C -- 1915 Frank Merwin Ashley violin -- Huss & Dalton DS -- 1923 Gibson A2 black snakehead -- '83 Flatiron A5-2 -- 1939 Gibson L-00 -- 1936 Epiphone Deluxe -- 1928 Gibson L-5 -- ca. 1890s Fairbanks Senator Banjo -- ca. 1923 Vega Style M tenor banjo -- ca. 1920 Weymann Style 25 Mandolin-Banjo -- National RM-1

  19. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Jim Garber For This Useful Post:


  20. #15

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    If you want to check out a really great track featuring Seamus on mandolin, this is from his new album Early Bright: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QayA...4RaJbo&index=6

  21. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Invergordon,Scotland
    Posts
    2,358

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Quote Originally Posted by David Surette View Post
    If you want to check out a really great track featuring Seamus on mandolin, this is from his new album Early Bright: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QayA...4RaJbo&index=6
    Yes, fantastic. I've heard this track actually, although I was unaware that you had any involvement in this CD. Now that, to my mind is very good tone on the mandolin, so the pick is certainly part of that.

    I used to really love Sunny Showers And Scattered Showers by Solas and we played it a lot, but I'm afraid over time I rather lost interest in Solas. I think someone on MC flagged up this album a month or two back, and I listened to some on Spotify
    David A. Gordon

  22. #17
    MerryBlacksmith Bernd Bannach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Germany, in the North
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Thought I am the only one with Herdrim picks. Very pointy, each side a different gauge and cheap.

  23. #18
    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    St. Paul, MN
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I think it might be helpful to let people know in this confessional pick thread what genre(s) of music you play and what mandolin(s) you play that music on. Just a suggestion since I often play different styles of music with different picks.

    I will return to this thread when I have a a little more time to recall and relate my pick history.
    Good point.
    Mandolins - 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 2018 Collings MT, 1935 Gibson A-50 (there are others, but those are the main three)
    Music played - Nordic folk focusing on Finnish, but also Swedish, Danish and some Norwegian. Also French Canadian fiddle tunes, American old time, and am just starting to dabble in Irish.
    1935 Gibson A50, 2018 Collings MT, 1989 Flatiron Performer A, 1929 Gibson A Jr., 1935 Kalamazoo KM-21, 2018 Eastman MDO-305
    http://ericplatt.weebly.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/LauluAika/
    https://www.lauluaika.com/
    https://www.facebook.com/Longtine-Pl...4404553312723/

  24. #19
    Registered User Buck's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    KY
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    I started playing guitar (electric) in college (1986) and used whatever pick was around, mostly thin because that's what everyone else used. I was playing mostly acoustic and then mandolin by 1990 or so and started to move toward heavier picks, mostly for mandolin, but also used them on guitar.

    By the mid 90's was hitting more festivals and guitar shops that catered to acoustic players. I often, but not exclusively used Dawg picks and similar thickness in other varieties. I also used some TS picks as well in the 90's, but they weren't consistent in quality. It wasn't until the early 2000's that Jeff Rose (Detour) turned me onto the Dunlop 207. That's the pick that changed everything. I studied the thickness, material, shape, edges, everything I could. That one informed most every pick choice afterward. Other than good TS picks, the 207 became my pick of choice. In fact, I never found a modern pick that I liked better, include Red Bear, Wegen, etc. That is until Blue Chip.

    Blue Chip picks changed everything, including the price players were willing to pay for new "high tech" picks. They have become my pick of choice among all factory-made picks. I have several, some custom, and all between the 60 and 80 thicknesses. They just work better than most anything else for me. My second choice is the Dunlop 207. I carry a $50 pick and $0.50 pick, and I'm nearly as happy with either one. As I said above, I've tried just about every pick in between and they just don't work for me as well as Blue Chip, or the old standby Dunlop.
    Todd Yates

  25. #20

    Default Re: Pick (nerd) journeys

    +1 on the BC KS pick (I use a 50).

    I also use a Gravity Gold Axis Mini 1.5, which is dimensionally nearly identical to the BC KS, though the difference in pick material is pretty evident in the way that the BC pick comes off the strings. Still haven't found anything that comes off the strings like the BC.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jill McAuley View Post

    6) Saw someone selling a wee Kenny Smith 35 in the classifieds here a couple of years ago - bought it and despite it's small size it's my go to pick now. It almost feels like I'm not holding a pick at all when I use it, effortless to play with it!

  26. The following members say thank you to wsugai for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •