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Thread: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

  1. #1
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I just got an email from Nik at Apollo Picks that he has been working with Mike Marshall on a signature pick......

    https://www.facebook.com/Apollo-Picks-112508200614841

    NFI
    Charley

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I bought one. Can’t wait to try it out. I have two of Nik’s picks, and the Peek one is out of this world. NFI as well

  3. #3
    working musician Jim Bevan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I have a Mike Marshall Signature Series 5-string electric – I definitely have to get one (or two or...) of these picks to go with it.

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  4. #4
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I ordered two on the assumption that I will love it lol.
    I have two Apollo casein picks that I really like, both with very different tone so it will be interesting to see how these compare.

    If you order any Apollo picks, be sure to throw in a couple of Apollo Jr picks which his young son makes and gets the money from. Really neat!
    Drew
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    If I remember correctly, Mike had been using ProPlec picks for quite a while. I wonder how these will be different, aside from the price.

    Also, does anyone know whether Mike uses the same type of pick for mandolin and mandocello? I’ve been using the regular ProPlec 1.5 for mandolin and the larger one for mandocello. I have trouble using each size on the other instrument, but I like the same thickness for both.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    It looks like they only come in 1.5mm.....thick even for me. What is the material Casein or PEEK or other? I still have a bunch of the old clear Ultra Plecs that I still favor....after the sharp end gets worn. Takes forever. And some old Papa's casein that are pretty good. 35 a pop for a pick is a bit much for me to try to make up for in lieu of talent.
    Last edited by ajh; Sep-19-2021 at 3:51pm.

  7. #7
    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    The material is glass filled PEI.......

    https://www.apollopicks.com/faqs
    Charley

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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles E. View Post
    The material is glass filled PEI.......

    https://www.apollopicks.com/faqs
    Still doesn't say what it is definitively (just because it is black). So it is not Casein...or PEEK. It may be some grade of PEI. Not that I really care that much.......but I'd like to have some idea of what I would be getting into other than a MM monogram. Sorry if I am getting a bit bucky.

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    Registered User John Hill's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus CA View Post
    If I remember correctly, Mike had been using ProPlec picks for quite a while. I wonder how these will be different, aside from the price.

    Also, does anyone know whether Mike uses the same type of pick for mandolin and mandocello? I’ve been using the regular ProPlec 1.5 for mandolin and the larger one for mandocello. I have trouble using each size on the other instrument, but I like the same thickness for both.
    Yes. Mike has been using ProPlecs with all of his instruments…at least on all of his Artistworks classes.
    There are three kinds of people: those of us that are good at math and those that are not.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus CA View Post
    If I remember correctly, Mike had been using ProPlec picks for quite a while. I wonder how these will be different….
    I have a ProPlec that I use and ordered one of these. I’ll be able to give my own [limited] opinion in a few weeks.

  11. #11
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I'm curious about the material... I hope to order one using the same material in a 1.4 thickness with a plain, rounded bevel and no MM engraving. I bought one of the Adam Schertler picks and it is the best casein pick I've ever found. A superb product.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I love the bass and overall tone of the pro-plec but I always lost treble cut which led to me overplaying to get more volume in group situations.

    Wegen and Clownbarf have a lot more high end but can sound a little brash. I've settled on the CT-55 as a nice middle ground. If these picks can get the rich sound of Pro-Plec with a little more treble projection I would be very interested.
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  14. #13

    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    From Nik's post regarding the "black material" used for the MM pick on the Apollo Picks Facebook page Sept 7th:

    Q: … so what is this black material that you are using?

    A: …down the rabbit hole we go! During a 5-month period, none other than Wyatt Rice and (little ole me) began testing a variety of plastics, with the primary goal of finding something that could replace his shell picks… and, in a nutshell, we both agree that we’ve found it!

    This material is called polyetherimide, or PEI for short. It is originally sold in “pellet” form, then melted into sheets or rods, for a variety of applications, by a handful of manufacturers…. As a side note, the pellets are made in Saudi Arabia. The company who manufactures the pellets is called SABIC (Saudi Basic Industries Corperation).

    You might know this material as “ultem.” However, it would be misleading to leave it there. Ultem is a “family” of PEI, and there are many grades of Ultem. The differences between the grades have to do with the percentage to which the material has been “glass filled.” That is a plastics industry term that just means it was mixed with glass fibers, probably when it was pretty dang hot, so it is a mix of both glass and pure PEI. Kind of like mixing straw with mud.

    Some grades of PEI have no glass… that is called “unfilled.” Then, some have 10 percent glass, some 20 percent, and some 30 percent. As you might guess, the higher the grade, the stiffer the material is, and the higher the price!

    So, back to the “family” of PEI concept… I kind of think about it in terms of this analogy

    Wood > Spruce > Engelman Spruce

    Plastic > Ultem > Grade of Ultem

    Interestingly, each grade has a different tonality, when made into a pick. Kind of like how each species of spruce might have a different sound. I’ve zeroed in on two grades of this material, from a specific manufacturer, that I like in particular… Both grades have tortoise-like attributes, but one is just a bit “darker” than the other. If you do the “drop test” onto the counter, I think you will see what I mean. Both have that high-pitched “ping”, that is characteristic to shell, one sounding ever so slightly “darker.”

    If you don’t mind, I’ll keep it to myself as to which grades I’m using. It took a ton of work, a lot of dead ends, and quite a few expenses to zero in on these. On top of all of that, even if I told you, different plastics distributors often have different qualities of this material (even when comparing the same “grade”.) So, you can get one grade of this material from two different places, and it will sound really different.

    It should hopefully be apparent by now that although they share the same name, these are not the same Ultem picks you will find at your local music store. Most “Ultem” picks are just the lowest and least expensive grade. This particular material that I’m using gets pretty expensive pretty quickly. A small sheet costs thousands of dollars… No kidding! This plastic was certainly never made with guitar picks in mind. Case in point, one of my sources for this material is the president of an aerospace company who uses this material to make “angle of attack indicators” for “F/A-18 Hornets.” I can see where a 60-million-dollar jet better have good parts!

    So, long story short, if you have been feeling guilty about using tortoiseshell, then here is a guilt-free alternative.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  16. #14

    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Mine came in yesterday.

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  18. #15
    Registered User Glassweb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Well... what do you think thus far?

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  20. #16

    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Glassweb View Post
    Well... what do you think thus far?
    Well, I have to caveat my response with the disclaimer that I don't have a mandolin to test it on at the moment*, so I've only tried it out on guitar. I've been using an Apollo Adam Schlenker pick in dark tortoise casein for flatpicking lately, so that is my point of comparison at the moment. They are the same size and shape (large triangle), both have rounded tips (not beveled), the Schlenker is 1.4mm vs the MM 1.5mm. Given the close similarities, any tonal difference is primarily from the materials, casein vs PEI. The PEI is brighter than the casein. I like the feel of it on the strings, not too much friction or click. It's definitely closer to the Vespel/Blue Chip thermoplastic feel and sound, but not quite that bright. I've used Blue Chips since 2008 and have several sizes and shapes, but over time I've begun to find their tone a bit too clicky. So, if this pick is close to their performance but shaves off a little of that click, it might end up being a real goldilocks pick for me. I've also been gravitating towards rounded tips (unbeveled) recently. I like the way they interact with guitar strings, but I'll be able to get more familiar with these picks on mandolin in a couple months.

    *For anyone wondering what I'm doing here without a mandolin, I sold my only mandolin to fund the build/purchase of my next one. I have been enamored with Apitius mandolins for a few years now, and I finally got on Oliver's waitlist last year. I was going to have him build me an A model as that was already a stretch for me price-wise, but when it came time for him to start the build, I decided that if I'm going to have a custom mandolin built to be my lifetime instrument might as well go all the way and get the F. His F is about 3k more than his A though, hence I had to sell my other instrument to make that upgrade. So, I'll be without a mandolin for 6 months this year, but it will all be worth it when I get my Christmas present to myself of an Apitius Rosine Loar Spec.

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  22. #17
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I’ve been playing the heck out of mine since it came last week. I think it brings out a woody, percussive bottom end to my Northfield F5 that I am really enjoying - maybe darker, more soulful type tone compared to my CT55 and Apollo Peek

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  24. #18
    Oval holes are cool David Lewis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I'll be brutally honest - they'll be about 42.00 AUD, with shipping which will push them over the 50.00 mark. Which puts them out of the market for me, alas. I'd love to have a go - maybe when I return to the US I might get one at a better rate. I'm very much enjoying reading about your initial response though. Thanks for sharing.
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  25. #19
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I received mine yesterday and so far I am really loving it. To me it has all the things I like about the casein picks plus some of the characteristics of a Blue Chip thrown in. Great feel on the fingers, speed across the strings, very little click noise. I feel like it brings out more lows and highs from my mandolin with great volume and cut.
    No complaints at all!
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I wonder how will they wear. The glass filled plastics tend to wear into somewhat grainy surface and will be hard to polish back to smooth without some special abrasives because of the glass fibers.
    The marketing salespitch calling the material "higher grade" because of the filler is quite weird. That only applies if price of the glass aditive is higher than price of the plastic alone otherwise the glass filled grades will be actually cheaper than pure unfilled plastic. PEI is the same material as Primetone picks and in natural state is light brown. These picks are black so they must contain some amount pigment or other stuff which also changes physical properties. Filled plastics are pretty common thing, the IKEA kitchenware I have at hand is made of black plastic which is marked PA+GF20, meaning polyamide plus 20 percent of glass fiber. The glass fiber makes it stiffer especially at higher temperatures, otherwise it would bend or deform in very hot food.
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Can anyone tell us if the signature and logo are textured?

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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    I’ve ordered mine, but suspect it’ll be another week or 2 before they arrive. I’m a Bluechip guy, but I like changing things up from time to time, and have discovered a couple of cheaper alternatives that are good jam or lake doc pics (where there’s a higher risk of loss, lol) in the process. These would not be one of those, that’ll get the BC treatment, lol.

    I couldn’t care less about the MM endorsement, as I will NEVER sound/play like him (same goes for CT and my BC 55s), but I’m intrigued…
    Last edited by CES; Sep-29-2021 at 10:27am.

  31. #23

    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryl Watson View Post
    Can anyone tell us if the signature and logo are textured?
    The [MM] monogram and Apollo [lyre] logo are both lightly etched into the pick. Definitely tactile, but the overall pick is polished, though not slippery in my fingers, at least.

    My very short-time (< 1 hr) experiment is intriguing. I've been using and liking the Pro Plec triangle, and the shape is essentially identical to my eye. I also have 1.5mm Primetone picks in every triangle configuration (grip, smooth, large, small, rounded). It's generally warmer/darker than any of the Primetone samples, except the rounded one, which is pretty uniformly dark.

    The thing that surprised me is that as I worked through the Primetone picks to remind me of their sound, just playing some scales, when I picked up the Apollo and first hit the G string, it had a bit brighter tone (than the Pro Plec), definitely a clearer sound than the Pro Plec's, and I thought "uh oh" because I really prefer the darker tone, especially on the top strings. BUT, instead of getting increasingly brighter when switching from the wound to unwound courses, the MM pick almost seemed to become a different pick, and produce the warmth I liked in the Pro Plec, but still kept a clarity that's hard for me to describe - something like more fundamental, where the Pro Plec tends toward a tube distortion fuzziness, for lack of anything else to compare to.

    A little bit of playing chords ("chop" is a work in progress for me), and it seems to turn the dial in a way that gives those bottom strings a little more weight, so I don't have to spend so much time trying to do that with my attack and left hand/fingers on the strings. But, admittedly, a part of my "skills" (cough) I'm far from satisfied with. Still, it was another plus, if tentative.

    So, for me, it's a very easy pick to like, given that I'm quite used to the shape, and it seems to give up nothing in warmth, while bringing out just a bit more of the mandolin's sound.
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  33. #24
    Registered User Cheryl Watson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Thanks, Keith, for your answer and also your very helpful review.

  34. #25
    Registered User Drew Egerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Apollo Mike Marshall picks

    Agree with all that Keith had to say about it, nicely put.
    The feel on the thumb is very similar to a Blue Chip to me in that it is very smooth but almost sticks to the skin. I imagine it will get slippery if I forget to wash my hands after a few potato chips.
    Drew
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