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Thread: Picks....a different angle.

  1. #1
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    Default Picks....a different angle.

    Some (convoluted) background. I got away from playing guitar when I started up with mandolin about 15-20 years ago. I do not play bluegrass but do enjoy some fiddle tunes.
    The music tastes are all over the place. Very, very little tremolo.

    A couple years ago I decided to try tenor guitar and mandola and went that way (snip the high e's and add low c). But then found I liked finger picking more than plectrum (covid isolation kind of pushed that). I had a four string 16" mandola built for me.... then went with converting my Rossow mandolin over to 4 strings in CGDA. All is good there.

    But last weekend I went up and visited an old friend I used to play with a lot. Finger picking doesn't cut it so am now going back to picks. Guitar players play with much thinner picks than mando players and I am wondering about what anybody else has compromised on that plays four string acoustic mando (let alone the other stuff).

    Weird angles I know....but am casting about.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    I play both guitar and now a beginner mandolin picker. Not a finger-style guitarist at all, and have used heavy picks for a long time. (Medium on electric when I had ears left.)

    I basically use the same thickness pick, 1.5mm, on both right now, though, on the mando, I'm still making the rounds on shape and material a bit. The main determinant seems to be the distance between strings vs. courses, and trying to play cleanly, while still being able use tremolo smoothly. (I don't think you'll see someone doing tremolo on a 12-string guitar with their fingers.) Of course, actually being able to *do* either of things still eludes me, and I suspect it's not entirely the pick that's the problem , but it does seem to be part of the equation.
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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Some guitar players use thinner picks. I played guitar prior to mandolin. One result of playing mandolin was I got better on guitar as well.

    I like thicker picks now on mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and guitar. For years the Wegen 2.0 mm rounded triangle (M200) was the best for everything. In the last year or so I discovered Gravity Gold picks. They're made of PEEK, a thermoplastic similar to vespel (bluechip) but with a brighter and less muted tone.

    I use the 1.5 mm teardrop for guitar and the 1.5 mm rounded triangle for all mando family instruments. And of course fingertips as well on the guitar, 10 string mandola and 10 string mandocello, mostly for Hawaiian slack key.

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    Kelley Mandolins Skip Kelley's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Use whatever picks suit you to have a good time playing the mandolin.

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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Kelley View Post
    Use whatever picks suit you to have a good time playing the mandolin.
    That is the problem....I used to use the old Crystal UltraPlecs in the 351 shape in 1.5mm (still have a bunch of them). Then went to the Papas 1.3mm. They both worked fantastic with eight strings. But now with four strings they still sound good on single string playing but tend to "hang up" on the strings when I brush or chop through the strings. Is likely operator error but am having the dickens of a time getting a decent sounding stroke. Was wondering if pick thickness, etc makes that big of a difference in four strings vs eight.....

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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    Some guitar players use thinner picks. I played guitar prior to mandolin. One result of playing mandolin was I got better on guitar as well.

    I like thicker picks now on mandolin, mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and guitar. For years the Wegen 2.0 mm rounded triangle (M200) was the best for everything. In the last year or so I discovered Gravity Gold picks. They're made of PEEK, a thermoplastic similar to vespel (bluechip) but with a brighter and less muted tone.

    I use the 1.5 mm teardrop for guitar and the 1.5 mm rounded triangle for all mando family instruments. And of course fingertips as well on the guitar, 10 string mandola and 10 string mandocello, mostly for Hawaiian slack key.
    How are your Jessens holding up for you? I had TJ make that four string dola that I mentioned custom for me. Deep body, violin overlay top and back.

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  11. #7

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Try a lighter gauge? You're hitting less mass, unless you've gone pretty heavy on the strings.
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  13. #8

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Guitar players play with much thinner picks than mando players and I am wondering about what anybody else has compromised on that plays four string acoustic mando (let alone the other stuff).
    Serious guitar flatpickers do not use much, if any thinner picks than mandolin players. Gypsy jazz players, in fact, use MUCH heavier picks than mandolin players, often 3.5 to 4 mm. The only serious flatpicker that I am aware of using a somewhat lighter pick is Steve Kaufmann. Wegen bluegrass guitar picks are 1.4 mm. Most Dunlop guitar picks run between 1.14 and 2.0 mm. Most of the guitarists using lighter picks(under 1 mm) are casual strummers who do not have good control of their right hand. Kaufmann is an exception to that.

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    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    How are your Jessens holding up for you? I had TJ make that four string dola that I mentioned custom for me. Deep body, violin overlay top and back.
    I'd love to see pics! My TJ Cricket fiddle instruments are still great! The 10 string 'dola is my all around favorite due to its tone, range and size. It's the one I take camping or when jamming with a guitar player.

    I've got an F5 mandolin he made, the 'dola, an F4 octave mandolin, the custom 10 string F4 mandocello and the custom 10 string Hardanger viola. I'm a huge fan of his!

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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    I can't tell if the Traveling pick sampler is currently circulating but here's an inventory of it, I recommend Wegens, Gravity gold and 3 Dunlops: Jazztone, Primetone, Ultex

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...=1#post1716891
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  18. #11

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    I like the Wegan 1.4 a lot but oftentimes will use the old "heavy" guitar pick (1.0) turned on its side. In spite of what some say here occasionally, heavier isn't always 'better" for everyone.

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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    I'd love to see pics! My TJ Cricket fiddle instruments are still great! The 10 string 'dola is my all around favorite due to its tone, range and size. It's the one I take camping or when jamming with a guitar player.

    I've got an F5 mandolin he made, the 'dola, an F4 octave mandolin, the custom 10 string F4 mandocello and the custom 10 string Hardanger viola. I'm a huge fan of his!
    Will PM you later today with pics.

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  22. #13
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by gtani7 View Post
    I can't tell if the Traveling pick sampler is currently circulating but here's an inventory of it, I recommend Wegens, Gravity gold and 3 Dunlops: Jazztone, Primetone, Ultex

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...=1#post1716891
    Seems that the pick sampler has fallen down a rabbit hole.....and there were a bunch of folks ahead of me if I wanted to wait. Anybody know the status?

  23. #14
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    I hate thin picks on guitars. I use the same blue chips I use on the mandolin. Well almost I have a variety of shapes and thicknesses from the small jazz100 to e nice round I think 45. I found it is the stiffness I chase and not so much the thickness and I prefer a stiffer pick than a floppy limp one.
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Thanks for all the replies folks. I'll continue working on the existing thickness picks and just assume it is going to take a bit more practice.

    I appreciate the input.

  26. #16
    Registered User John Bertotti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    It's all in the pick grip. I can't believe how long it took me to get comfortable holding a pick properly then learning to, manipulate it as needed. Sadly I still need to work on it!
    My avatar is of my OldWave Oval A

    Creativity is just doing something wierd and finding out others like it.

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  28. #17

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    I don't like flatpicks and don't use them. On guitar I play either bare-fingered or with finger picks. On mando, I always use finger picks.

    I use medium Dunlop plastic picks on my thumb for both guitar and mando. On guitar, I use Dunlop .88 mm metal picks. On mando, I use those Dunlop .88s when I want a bright attack. For warm sounds, I have a pair of very heavy brass finger picks, can't remember the brand name.

    Noq you know.

  29. #18

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by ajh View Post
    Thanks for all the replies folks. I'll continue working on the existing thickness picks and just assume it is going to take a bit more practice.

    I appreciate the input.
    One problem I ran into was that I couldn't unlearn holding a flat pick guitar-style. The monkey-clutch that mando players like just proved impossible to get the hang of.

    After a few years trying, I gave up on flatpicking the mando. Since I don't try to reenact anyone else's style, it doesn't really matter, anyway.

  30. #19
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    OK .... Flatpicks are a personal choice .... I use a BC CT-55 playing mandolin ... a fairly thick pick. I have found that some mass and less flex ability is needed to drive the double course shorter strings. Finger picking a mandolin is fine if you are playing with a pickup through an amp or in certain very special conditions with a mic through a PA. I never have gotten used to fingerpicks on anything. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  31. #20

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlM View Post
    Serious guitar flatpickers do not use much, if any thinner picks than mandolin players. . . .
    =O.

    I haven't noticed that.

  32. #21

    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    =O.

    I haven't noticed that.
    I have.

  33. #22
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    Default Re: Picks....a different angle.

    re: travling Sampler, Chris Daniels is still active on the forum, you can ask him directly.

    re: thinner/thicker or just right: I've seen Gypsy/manouche jazz players use 3.5 mm or more https://www.djangobooks.com/Item/wegen_1
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