The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32858   Message #435557
07-Apr-01 - 10:55 PM
Thread Name: Thumbpicks, Inventions, Plastic. Helllp!
Subject: RE: Thumbpicks, Inventions, Plastic. Helllp!
I invented (?) a combination flatpic- thumb pick combination that is easy to put togther. It is put together from a Dunlop metal thumbpick and whatever guage nylon flatpick you want. my nylon flatpick part is the next thicker size than the one I flatpick with. because the two slots, where they are joined together, take a very little bit of "snap" out of the flatpick. I'll try to describe how I put them together.

It would be a whole lot easier IF SOMEONE WOULD E.MAIL ME INSTRUCTIONS FOR E.MAILING SCANNED IMAGES. I could then send photographs ( I have a great wide angle lense) and a drawing. But here goes the description:

First, anneal the metal. This is very important, COPPER-ALLOYS ARE ANNEALED IN EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE WAY THAT IRON ALLOYS ARE. The metal pick is bronze, copper and tin. Or at least it acts like bronze. hold the "thumb end" tip with a pair of plyers, needle nosed is best, heat it bright red-hot (any hotter and it melts) IMMEDIATELY QUENCH IT IN ICE WATER. Use the kitchen stove, propane torch, etc I must stress, don't let it cool slowly, unlike steel, this will harden it. Oppen it wide enough to allow a hammer to flatten the picking end. Actually, flatten it any way you can.
Imagine it standing on it's point with the flat surface facing you. There are four holes in it, in a diamond-shaped pattern. two are close together and parallel to the table it's resting on. Actually, it's similar in shape to the constellation "Orion" with the ends of the 'BELT' being as bright as the head and foot. O.K.? Now, with a pair of tin snips or diagonal cutters or a really big health pair of scissors, make two parallel cuts that are perpendicular to the surface you are imagining it to rest on, about 1/8" wide, thereby eliminating the "foot Hole". now, draw a cross on the nylon flatpick with the parallel part 3/8 of an inch from the curved top. Heat the thumbpick just enough to melt it's way through the nylon AND NO HOTTER. Heat it a little bit at a time until you can push it through the cross line. quench immediately. bend the two "teeth"backwards and flattened so that your thumb will rest on the teeth and flatpick. Bend the whole thing into whatever finished shape fits your thumb best. Believe me , the flatpick stays put and you can either finger pick or flatpick with the end product.

If this can be classified as my invention, I hereby give permission to enyone who wants to make them. If you make any money, give ten percent to the Salvation Army.

I use this for both guitar and banjo. When my fingernails are long enough to pick with, I only use the thumb-finger pick for three finger banjo picking (bluegrass style) But as I do a lot of sailing and rigging, they seldom are. When my thumbnail does that annoying thing where the fifth string catches under my thumbnail, I also use it for clawhammer, but you have to be carefull and not strike too hard or the 5th string will overpower the rest.

Good Luck, Jody Gibson, Newport Rhode Island