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Thread: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

  1. #1
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    My wife recently got a Blue Chip CT55 for her guitar playing. She really likes it and it makes her guitar playing much more clear and full. I tried it for my mandolin playing though, and really didn't like the surface texture and the effect of the right-hand bevel that she ordered with hers...

    So, just for kicks, I picked up a 72-pack of Fender 346 Extra Heavy Classic Celluloid (emulated) Tortoise Shell picks for around $24US. Extra Heavy 346 picks don't seem to be available in Fender's Classic Celluloid (emulated) Tortoise Shell -- my personal texture preference -- in any smaller package. So yes, these come out to about 34¢US per pick. Anyway, I got these picks in Extra Heavy because this particular pick is pretty close to exactly the same shape, size, thickness and stiffness as my wife's CT55, only without any bevel.

    As it turns out, I really like, and actually prefer, the 346 Extra Heavy as my full-time mandolin pick now; it's easier for me to hold on to and it produces really good volume and tone with my playing. And surprise, when my wife tested it, playing her guitar with it, she found she prefers it too, and it actually seems to sound better for her with her guitar -- better highs and lows. So, the 346 Extra Heavy is the pick we both use all the time now.

    As a result of this experience I was just wondering if anyone else here in the Cafe' has tried and compared the Blue Chip CT55 pick with the Fender 346 Extra Heavy Classic Celluloid (emulated) Tortoise Shell pick???

    If so, I'd be interested in your thoughts. Thanks in advance.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


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  2. #2

    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55 pi

    I recently bought a pack of Fender 346 extra heavy picks and was amazed how good these picks are. I get a warm and rich sound with nice articulation when playing with these picks. I am not a fan of BC picks or of speed beveled picks in general, so I do prefer the Fenders to the CT55.

    After trying many picks with bevels, I found that I prefer to play with non-beveled or round beveled picks rather that speed beveled picks. The speed bevel pick forces me to adjust my pick angle to match the bevel on the pick (otherwise my tone is horrible), whereas the round bevel or standard bevel allow me to pick at the angle that feels most natural thereby enabling me to get a better tone. If a bevel is needed, than I can add my own bevel at an angle that suits me rather than have to adapt to the bevel the pick manufacturer adds to the pick. I added a minimal bevel to a proplec pick (emphasis on minimal) and love the sound and feel I get.

    Happy pickin'

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55 pi

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this... I'm glad to see someone else has had similar experiences with these two picks!
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Are the Extra Heavy significantly different from the Heavy?

    I ask because the Heavy don't work for me.

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    Registered User mandolinstew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Just ordered Fender 346 Toruga Ultem extra heavy six pack for$6.99 at Muscians Friend.

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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxCarJoe View Post
    Are the Extra Heavy significantly different from the Heavy?

    I ask because the Heavy don't work for me.
    In my experience the Fender "Extra Heavy" 346 picks are flat-out hard to bend. To me they are as stiff as a Blue Chip CT55; I can bend most Fender Heavy models, and it's particularly noticeable with a larger pick shape like the Fender 346 "Heavy" models.

    Now, regarding how long they will wear; I don't have that experience yet. It wouldn't surprise me if Blue Chip picks wear longer, although they do also wear eventually (as is illustrated in this recent Cafe' thread).

    Interestingly, I haven't been able to find any actual "Extra Heavy" picks discussed on Fender's pick website anywhere. There's a link for "Extra Heavy", but it only brings up the rest of the pick catalog. Since these Fender 346 Extra Heavy Classic Celluloid (emulated) Tortoise Shell picks that we are discussing seem to be only available in half-gross packages, I wonder if these are either special orders, or if they are no longer available??? It appears in their website that a person can only order them in "Heavy".

    FWIW, the package lists these picks as part number "1980346600 TORTOISE SHELL" with a UPC of 717669494742 and they appear to have a 2018 trademark date.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    Registered User BoxCarJoe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Thanks
    Worth a try I think.

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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    I've been using the Fender extra heavy tortoise celluloid for a couple of decades.
    My local store, who is a Fender dealer, sells them in smaller packs and individually. Check Elderly also.

    I also use Dunlop 1.14 Delrin when I want a brighter sound. I will occassionally also use the 0.96 Delrin.

    I suppose Blue Chip can be great for those who don't lose picks. I do, so I stick to the Fenders and Dunlops.

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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Quote Originally Posted by rcc56 View Post
    I've been using the Fender extra heavy tortoise celluloid for a couple of decades.
    My local store, who is a Fender dealer, sells them in smaller packs and individually. Check Elderly also.
    ...
    Thank you, this is good news for my wife and I since we really like them... I was also wondering how long these Fender 346 Extra Heavy Classic Celluloid (emulated) Tortoise Shell picks had been out on the market, so thank you for also providing an answer to that question.

    In searching the web, it seems like there are a lot of these picks in the retail channel, mostly in packages of 72... So even if Fender isn't making them anymore they're still available to order and probably will be for some time.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Fender has been selling tortoise celluloid picks as far back as I can remember.

    If you can't find them anywhere else, call Mountain Music in Chattanooga TN: 423-875-5250. Ask for Darren and he'll take care of it.
    If you get two or three dozen, you should have enough for the duration even if they stop making them.

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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    I don’t even see them listed on the Fender website.
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill McCall View Post
    I don’t even see them listed on the Fender website.
    Yup, as mentioned above, online customers can't order anything in Extra Heavy directly from Fender. It is possible that retailers might have a way to do so.

    Sweetwater sells the 72 pack and describes them as 1.5mm thick. I haven't measured that, but eyeballing them they appear to be, and feel like, the same thickness as the Blue Chip CT55.

    Amazon, Wallmart and a rather large number of other online sites appear to have the 72 packs in stock.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    I Believe the plastic Fender uses is different from the plastic Blue Chip uses..



    there is a straight sided fender triangle pick too if the pointed sound is your preference.
    a half gross count offers material to experiment with..
    Last edited by mandroid; Jul-17-2022 at 3:56pm.
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    Fingertips of leather Bill McCall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Well, I have recently shopped the Fender site looking for heavy picks and ended up with a 346 in the Fender F series, which is 1.5mm. Its fine, feels a little softer than a Blue Chip (CT55, TAD 40 or 60) in the hand. I also got a couple of smaller picks, 351 and 551 (if I remember correctly) in the same thickness. They're both nice, but I prefer the d346 shape typically.

    That quest was driven by playing a Carlo Aonzo Galli pick, which I like for the pointed tip, but you can't buy those picks in the USA as far as I can tell.
    Not all the clams are at the beach

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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    ...
    a half gross count offers material to experiment with..
    Yup... Or give away. My gift pouch is already pretty full of these -- I've got a number of jamming friends that I'll gift these to as soon as I see them in person.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    I switched to the Fender 346 Heavy about 4 years ago, then to the Extra Heavy about 6 months later. That's all I use now. I prefer the feel and sound to the plastics in any of the other picks. I had to buy a 72 pack of both. The Heavy doesn't have as full a sound, but they are good for developing the feel of a heavier pick. For the mandolin, I grind off the point to the shape of a Dunlop Primetone 1.3, then bevel the 2 top corners and play it there. I play an hour or more almost every day, bluegrass, and the one pick I've used for 2 years has very slight wear - not enough to replace it. I lost the previous one.
    Tom

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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    They used to make the Fender 346 extra heavy in a white plastic that was even better than the tortoise colored picks. I wonder if anyone could analyze it to figure out what it is. I've had some Fender 346 XHeavy in tortoise here for a while and always go back to my BC CT55, but I'm never happy with what BC picks do to the tone of the E strings. I also enjoy the original Dunlop Ultex 1.14 large triangle picks--a bit brighter than the Fenders to my ear. I prefer the tone of the others but nothing goes through the strings for me like a BC.
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    So, 3 weeks in with the Fender 346 Extra Heavy Classic Celluloid (emulated) Tortoise Shell picks, my wife is still going back and forth between the Fender 346 and the Blue Chip CT55. They are that close in her point of view... I hear a little more tonal "color" in her playing when she uses the Fender 346 and maybe a little more tonal "clarity" when she plays the BC CT55. But the differences are really subtle and I have to hear samples of her playing within about 30 seconds of each other in order to recognize the difference.

    For me, the Fender 346 Extra Heavy Classic Celluloid (emulated) Tortoise Shell pick is my go-to mandolin pick now. I've never been a fan of the BC surface so that hasn't been a question for me; in contrast I really like the smooth surface of the Fender celluloid picks for getting a secure grip. But more, I love the power, clarity of tone and extra landscape for holding the Fender 346 pick -- not that I've mastered it yet, I'm still discovering pick angles and postures that do different things. It's a keeper for me though.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    [About how I tune my mandolins]
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    Registered User nordian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Bought a six pack of these. Really liked the way they felt in the hand and on the strings. Took a brand new one to a jam and after about an hour of alot of chop chord rhythm, noticed alot of scratching coming from strings. Examined the pick and I had already worn a rough bevel into the pick. I can smooth it back out, but I believe it will just come right back. Really wanted this pick to work out because I do like the way it feels. Oh well, back to my CT 55.

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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Quote Originally Posted by nordian View Post
    Bought a six pack of these. Really liked the way they felt in the hand and on the strings. Took a brand new one to a jam and after about an hour of alot of chop chord rhythm, noticed alot of scratching coming from strings. Examined the pick and I had already worn a rough bevel into the pick. I can smooth it back out, but I believe it will just come right back. Really wanted this pick to work out because I do like the way it feels. Oh well, back to my CT 55.
    Yep, Fender wears fast. Dunlop Ultex 1.0 mm will not wear out nearly as fast, likely will last a few sessions. Very tough material, at about the price as Fender. Clear, strong tone.
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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    I played a gig this weekend and somehow managed to lose the pick. It is very unusual for me to lose picks, but at approximately 35¢ each the loss of 2 in four years isn't bad. It took about 5 minutes to shape a new one. I put an initial bevel on the rounded corners which helps with speed, but I like the fact that these picks self-bevel to some extent as I play. That effect is quicker and more dramatic on the guitar, so I have a pick for guitar practice that I use for months and a pick for guitar gigs that lasts through six or eight events. I learned this approach from a music store owner who is an exceptional bluegrass guitar flat picker. He had every pick available to try, so I did while working for him. He preferred the Fender heavy clown barf. I can't find them in extra heavy. He said that in college he used the heavy until the point wore down, then he gave it to his room mate who used the rounded corners for the mandolin. So, in a pinch one pick can handle both instruments for me. Oddly, once the pointed end of the pick is rounded off to shape for the mandolin, playing with that part of the pick doesn't sound good at all.

    Obviously, picks are a completely personal preference thing.
    Tom

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    I have a CT55 & I have some 346 heavy I have a couple different mandolins too,, the CT found its way to the Mix a5
    it has 11~40 strings, I use the thinner 346 H on my 10~36 strung Hodson Djangolin. &/Or the 11~40 strung 1922 A4..
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    Rolling into about a month and a half now, my wife tends to use the CT55 more on guitar, but she's keeping the Fender 346-CCTSXH (my abbreviation) picks as backups, and for occasional swaps in, and also for other than her main-playing guitar... The CT55 sounds excellent, but I still hear richer tone with the Fender; my perception is that the Fender 346-CCTSXH material adheres to each of the strings longer during pick strokes and creates more resonant tone with all the strings. But as mentioned before a number of times, the difference is extremely subtle and I can only hear the difference when I hear my wife go from one pick to the other within a very short period of time.

    For me, the Fender 346-CCTSXH is my go-to mandolin pick now and I expect I'll be using it going forward through the years. I like the power and tone it produces, and I like the clarity of tone -- less pick noise -- that I get from it compared to any other pick I've tried. And being almost exactly the same measurements as the CT55, I really like the extra landscape available for holding the pick. Happily, I've got a bunch of them so I can keep them in the mandolin food chain as long as I want to, plus I can give them out pretty freely to friends who want to try them.

    Regarding wear with my mandolin playing, the Fender 346-CCTSXH has slightly auto-beveled in the areas which I play with the most, but that seems to be the extent of wear so far, and I've been playing a lot daily, plus for hours at a time at festivals and other events over the past few weeks..
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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    1975 Suzuki taterbug (plus many other noisemakers)
    [About how I tune my mandolins]
    [Our recent arrival]

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    Registered User Tom Haywood's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone compared Fender 346 EXTRA HEAVY with Blue Chip CT55

    I have to confess to writing out of confused memory. Everything I said above relates to the Fender 351 picks. I am embarrassed. But, I think everything I said relates directly to the 346 shape as well. I discovered the error today when searching Fender picks online to see about availability. There seems to be plenty available. Things change. I was having problems with a guitar being too loud in a bluegrass band setting. Imagine that! Part of the solution is to use a Fender Heavy pick rather than an Extra Heavy, so I was restocking spare picks today. I do have a 346 Fender pick that is very special to me. It was a gift from a friend when I needed to borrow a pick one night. He was well known around here for his country music playing. He said he had carried that pick in his pocket for about 30 years and wanted me to have it. It has a little wear, but he played with a very light touch. He's gone now, so it reminds me of the kind person that he was.
    Tom

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