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Thread: Take Your Pick

  1. #1
    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Take Your Pick


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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    These videos are astounding. I am so grateful. I wonder does anyone know what specific Dunlop pick he was demonstrating? Thank you.
    Last edited by Tim Logan; Jun-16-2020 at 3:34pm.

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    It is so interesting to hear the extreme differences between Ralf's pick preference compared to Caterina Lichtenberg's.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Logan View Post
    It is so interesting to hear the extreme differences between Ralf's pick preference compared to Caterina Lichtenberg's.
    Very different senses of aesthetic. Flat-wound strings, hard-rubber plectra, warmer timbres, and an aversion to extremely bright timbres and extraneous noise are some features of the German mandolin camp. Italianate approaches seem to delight in deliberately bright tone. Etc. (Some argue that there is no specifically German mandolin camp, that it's all universal and classical, but the approaches of de Grebber, Orlandi, and Lichtenberg are all detectably different and manifest as detectably different tonal qualities.)

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Thank you Eugene. It would be interesting to know how the divergence between these different schools of thought came about. What, for instance, marked the emergence of the German school? When did "Wolle like" picks and flat wounds start showing up?

    For my own likes I have tried to acquire mandolins that give me access to those varied tonal qualities. The difference between playing each of my four instruments is most enjoyable.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623
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    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    I have no knowledge, but I imagine the thick rubber pick developed after the Seifert-style instruments appeared on the scene, but when was that? Wider fingerboards, deeper bowl backs and larger bodies, which has led some to say they suit classical-guitar players looking for a mandolin to play.

    At first I liked the "new German" sound, but I'm drifting towards Ralf's sound. Some great playing on this video, even when he's just running scales and arpeggios. The clarity is everything, and the Wolle plectrum just kills it (in the old-fashioned sense of the word kill!).

    I've been trying various plectra these last three weeks, and the Galli and Dunlop Ultex are current favs.

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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Hello,

    In fact the strings and plectrum developed first before the instrument changed.

    After the First World War there was a desire to create a more German sound different from the brighter Italian sound. The main person to favour this was Konrad Wolki (umlaut over the o but I don't know how to do this here). The instruments were still Italian in style but with flatwound strings and less use of the tremolo, I did see one of his mandolins but as it was in a glass case I was not able to handle it, but the main person to make the real change to the instrument was his student Marga Wilden-Husgen (umlaut over the u).

    in 1974 she started to use a "Roland-Plektrum" which was a black rubber plectrum with a single hole in the grip section but this was soon overtaken with the "Wolle-Plektren" which is still being used.

    in 1978 she had the desire to have modern Barockmandoline and so she asked Reinhold Seiffert to develop this new German mandolin and so along with the flatwound strings and Wolle plectrum we have the new german sound.

    She became the first Professor of mandolin in 1992 at the Hochschule fur Musik in Wuppertal and you know some of her students; Caterina Lichtenberg and Gertrud Weyhofen.

    I did speak to Marga about all of this at an event in Germany a few year ago this but the conversation was in german and I only have limited german and so I was not able to have as full a conversation as I would have liked.

    As it happens my own interest lies more towards the Italian style of playing but I think the development of the German style is an interesting development.
    Regards,
    Henry

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Henry -
    Thank you so much - most interesting!!

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623
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    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Ditto. Many thanks, Henry. Very interesting.

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Fabulous video, interesting discussion.

    It doesn't look as though the Galli pick is available in the US?

  16. #11

    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    It doesn't look as though the Galli pick is available in the US?
    I ordered directly from Galli. It took only two days for them to arrive in Ohio from Italy.

  17. #12

    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Girvan View Post
    The instruments were still Italian in style but with flatwound strings and less use of the tremolo, but the main person to make the real change to the instrument was [Wölki's] student Marga Wilden-Husgen (umlaut over the u).

    As it happens my own interest lies more towards the Italian style of playing but I think the development of the German style is an interesting development.
    Aye. Some of Marga's efforts to codify the style:

    Wilden-Hüsgen, Marga. 1985. Technische Studien für Mandoline. Vogt & Fritz Musikverlag, Schweinfurt.

    Wilden-Hüsgen, Marga. 1986. Mandolinen-Schule. Schott, Mainz.


    I find the modern German style most unusual in orchestral settings where tremolo is sometimes (not always) entirely eschewed (a context where I think tremolo would actually be most useful in emulating a bow-like "wall of sound" effect and in masking the rather abruptly stuttering nature of a number of plucked strings trying to attack in unison): e.g.,

    A quick listen to the recordings of Lichtenberg, Weyhofen, Ahlert, etc. demonstrate that this aversion does not necessarily carry into solo or chamber performances.

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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    I ordered directly from Galli. It took only two days for them to arrive in Ohio from Italy.
    That's amazing. I haven't gotten much of anything from inside the States in two days! The shipping wasn't exorbitant?

  20. #14
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Louise, I ordered some Gali's and the shipping was exorbitant (about 15 euros). They have not arrived yet. I decided it was worth it to experience a pick that Ralf considered excellent. To me it is very educational. I can now compare a Wolle pick to a Gali - that will be a very informative treat.

    Eugene, thank you for the video. It certainly is "different"!

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
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    Registered User Rob MacKillop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Well, there's a huge difference between a Wolle and a Galli. There, you could have sent me the $15, and saved yourself money by not buying them.

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  23. #16

    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Louise NM View Post
    That's amazing. I haven't gotten much of anything from inside the States in two days! The shipping wasn't exorbitant?
    As Tim mentions, the shipping was indeed exorbitant: much, much more expensive than the packages of plectra themselves. I ordered one package each of medium (0.7 mm) and heavy (1.0 mm) gauges. I wanted to try both, but the heavies are the ones to suit me and my mandolins excellently. If I place another order (and I'm likely to do so), I'll likely order several heavy-gauge packages to improve my plectrum:shipping expense ratio. . . . Or I might try to press stringsbymail.com to distribute them within the states. Stringsbymail already carries Galli's classical guitar strings and Dogal's mandolin plectra; it shouldn't be too great a stretch to add Galli plectra, eh?

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    That's exactly what I was looking at doing—trying a package of both the medium and heavy. €15 is ridiculous for shipping €7 of product, but the exchange rate is better right now than I have ever seen. Looks like the total would be +/- $25. Better just to buy some from Strings By Mail, absolutely!

    The Gallis are quite a bit bigger than the Dogals, yes? I found them to be too small and floppy. I recently bought some Pickboys. They are getting there, but I would like to try something still larger, and maybe stiffer. Judging from the video, the Gallis look like just the ticket.

  25. #18

    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Yes. Which Dogal gauge did you try? If anything, I find their 3 to be very similar to (perhaps just a little stiffer than) the Pickboy. Left to right, an antique bit of sea turtle, Galli in celluloid, Red Bear Neapolitan type in Tortis (great material, but too pointy as is in so stiff a material), Dogal in transparent mystery plastic, Pickboy/Osiamo in celluloid.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Registered User Louise NM's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Thanks for the photo! Great way to compare.

    My Dogals are 3s. They say they are .78mm, but they feel so much more flexible than the .73mm Ultex with the rhino. Different material, different shape, it all affects it. The Gallis look like they are considerably larger than the Dogals, though, and somewhat bigger than the Pickboys. Even with the shipping it's still a dozen picks for quite a bit less than one Blue Chip.

    Strings By Mail has a great selection of picks, but only the Dogals in this shape.

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    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Just to throw something perhaps of interest into the mix: I am in touch with Eric of EML picks. These days I never seem to want to use any pick other than my casein Classic Pointed 1.5mm EML pick with a rounded edge. I do however very much like the shape of the Wolle picks. Eric is making some test picks for me in the Wolle shape but otherwise similar to my Classic Pointed. I have asked him to make in more than one thickness. I have added a picture of my current Classic next to a Wolle. I am looking forward to this new pick which combines some favorite attributes into one pick. Eric is very patient and nice to work with. I very much enjoy experimenting with picks. (Oh, FWIW, I don't really play anything other than classical pieces).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia
    2020 Burgin Shanghai Octave Mandolin - in progress!

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  30. #21

    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    I've never used casein (maybe?). I'm curious about how the material compares to turtle shell, Tortis (but I wonder if that's just a patented brand name for the same material), and celluloid. Do you know if Eric at EML can produce casein plectra at a little less than 1.0 mm thick?

    I know Tortis/Tor-tis is a plastic derived from milk proteins, but it was described as new when it hit the market. EML describes casein as "a very early form of plastic . . . [f]ormed by treating the ubiquitous milk protein casein with specific hardening agents." I thus wonder if Tortis is just a patented/trademarked branding of essentially the very same material.

  31. #22
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    "Do you know if Eric at EML can produce casein plectra at a little less than 1.0 mm thick?" That is a good question. I don't normally like picks less than 1.5mm, so I have never asked. I'll ask him in my next email. The Gali picks I ordered are 1.0mm and I am curious about how this thickness will feel in this shape, material, and edge.

    I don't know but your speculation on Tortex sounds very plausible. For me the feel of Eric's picks is perfect.

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia
    2020 Burgin Shanghai Octave Mandolin - in progress!

  32. #23

    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    FYI, Tortis and Tortex are different things. As far as I know, Tortex is essentially this stuff processed to be more "grippy": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyoxymethylene. Tortis is an organic plastic made by processing milk proteins.

    I tend to like most plastics a bit thicker because they tend to be pretty flexible. Tortis and tortoise, however, are much more rigid.

  33. #24
    Timothy Tim Logan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Oh, thank you! I would never have realized there were two different materials!

    “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” ― Albert Schweitzer

    1925 Lyon & Healy Model A, #1674
    2015 Phoenix Neoclassical Europa III #623
    2018 Carlo Mazzaccara Lucia
    2020 Burgin Shanghai Octave Mandolin - in progress!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Take Your Pick

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought Red Bear uses some formula of casein. Tortis is also similar but these days is mostly used for imitation TS pickguard materials on guitars and other flattop fretted instruments. I had an old guitar restored a few years ago and bought a sheet of it from Luthier’s Mercantile. I don’t think they have it in thicknesses good for plectra.

    I never liked casein for tone. To me the best plastic is Ultem. You can tell a lot by dropping it on a hard surface. You can hear the ring. Tells you something. I made my Roman style from specs Ralf gave me but it was hard to get the bevel right on the thicker material.

    This is fun stuff to discuss and is certainly harmless. I have been through lots of different pick styles. I probably have a few Wolle picks around somewhere but they really don’t do it for me. For years I used John Pearse heavy jazz picks or small pointy Gibson picks which I still like. Just bear in mind that there is no one classical mandolin not is there one classical pick. Fun to experiment though.
    Jim

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