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Pick Replacement, Brand, Type

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Finn McCool 02 Feb 02 - 11:00 AM
Jon Freeman 02 Feb 02 - 11:18 AM
53 02 Feb 02 - 12:20 PM
RichM 02 Feb 02 - 12:24 PM
Midchuck 02 Feb 02 - 12:31 PM
Clinton Hammond 02 Feb 02 - 12:33 PM
Big Mick 02 Feb 02 - 12:42 PM
Steve in Idaho 02 Feb 02 - 12:44 PM
Steve in Idaho 02 Feb 02 - 12:46 PM
Midchuck 02 Feb 02 - 12:47 PM
Clinton Hammond 02 Feb 02 - 01:11 PM
John Hardly 02 Feb 02 - 01:21 PM
Big Mick 02 Feb 02 - 01:33 PM
Anahootz 02 Feb 02 - 01:55 PM
Ned Ludd 02 Feb 02 - 06:02 PM
Steve in Idaho 02 Feb 02 - 08:29 PM
Mooh 03 Feb 02 - 07:56 AM
Dave T 03 Feb 02 - 09:19 AM
Finn McCool 03 Feb 02 - 09:36 AM
Dave T 03 Feb 02 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,jbrooks@ffres.com 23 Jun 04 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 23 Jun 04 - 11:05 PM
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Subject: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Finn McCool
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 11:00 AM

Hi, Catters!

The other day I was practicing some fairly intricate flatpicking and I was having a very rough time, missing just about everything I tried, pick felt glued to the strings and would not move the way I wanted it to. It turns out that the pick I grabbed out of the guitar case was slightly, not very, but slightly worn. Tried the same runs with a newer flatpick and I was back in business.

How long do you all keep using a flatpick before tossing it? Does anyone insist on playing only with a brand new pick every time? Also, what brands of picks do you use? Is there anyone who does *not* use Tortex picks? Favorite pick shapes? Other flatpick wisdom?

--Finn


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 11:18 AM

Well I don't do anything intricate but I prefer picks that have worn a little to brand new ones and tend to keep them for months. My own preference is a Gibson heavy black triange or similar.

The heaviest user of flat picks I knew was a bass player (and a very good one). He would sometimes join in with some of us in a sort of pub bash/session with an accoustic bass guitar. I've known him wear out say about 1/3 of the material on 3 or more of the same Gibson pick I use during the course of an evening in his efforts to get as much volume as he could out of the instrument.

Jon


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: 53
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:20 PM

Jim Dunlop 1.0 mm nylon.


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: RichM
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:24 PM

Dunlop '500' picks. Smoothest of all.


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:31 PM

Fender California Clear mediums for prettiest sound.

Clayton "Gold" .80s when I need to make a lot of noise.

The Fenders break on an average of one per gig, but they're cheap. The Claytons last almost forever, but they're the exact color of most floors or of the ground, so you tend to lose them a lot.

Peter.


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Subject: Picks
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:33 PM

I also use Dunlop, but mine are the grey nylon, .73mm ones... I used to use Tortex (Those are the ones with the damn turtle logo in black on them that rubs off all over yer fingers right???) but I kept breaking strings because the pick was to light, and to compensate, I'd hit harder... made the change to a slightly firmer pick and play softer and hardly ever break strings...

How long do I keep em? Until the point is worn to a 'round'...

On Wed Jan 23rd, I bought half a gross of them from Elderly... gonna be curious to see how long they last...

Something else I've noticed that I do... I can't use just one pick at a show... I have one of those funky pick holder things that fits over the top boom of the mic stand, and I usually have 4 flatpicks and a couple of thumbpicks staged there... after 3 maybe 4 songs, I find that the pick has warmed up and gone 'soft' in my hand (Ya gotta hate THAT eh!?) so it goes back into the rotation, and a fresh one comes out to play...

It might be all in my head, but it seems to feel better....

.-)


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Big Mick
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:42 PM

I use several types depending on the instrument and style I am attempting. When I am playing a song with combo fingerstyle/strumming I usually use the Herco mediums that I have modified by gluing the little sandpaper inserts into. I also use the DAVA control picks quite a lot, as I can vary the response by moving my finger position.

Like Clinton, I use the same gizzie on my Mic boom and I keep it loaded for quick changes if I lose a pick or it starts to go wumpus on me.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:44 PM

My favorite pick is a Dunlop .88 that I've dipped the top half in PlastiDip. I use them till I lose them. Can't say as I've worn one out - broke a few - but haven't worn one out -

That's my story and I'm sticking to it *G*

Steve


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:46 PM

Now that I used my glasses - it is a 1 mm - my apologies -

Steve


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Midchuck
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 12:47 PM

Clinton: I find that the pick has warmed up and gone 'soft' in my hand (Ya gotta hate THAT eh!?)

I never have had that problem with a pick

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 01:11 PM

Then yer not doing it right, Pete! LOL!!!!!

and thanks Big Mick... wumpus... that's the exact word I was looking for!!

.-)


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: John Hardly
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 01:21 PM

elementary pickology --for those held back by not knowing the huge range of "right" ways of doing things, and how they outweigh the "wrong" ways. …not meant to be exhaustive, just some elementary pick tips.

The soundof a pick can be determined by;
1. The pick material—bone, horn, shell, and varying compositions, density and thickness of plastics. You'll find different makers use different kinds (hardnesses, densities) of plastics.

2. Pick dressing—if you doctor your own picks with emery board, sandpaper, scissors or clippers, you'll notice you can alter the tone with a fresh cut or sanding, just as a pick sounds different with age wearing its edge smooth.

3. The shape of a pick—from round like a Golden Gate, to the point end of a fender style

4. There is no law that says you can't use the rounded "point" of a tear-drop (Fender style) pick. In fact, you may find advantages other than tone differences by experimenting with either of the rounded points. for instance, with the point as a "tail" resting against your middle finger, you may find you have more control, and the round point's decreased resistance might increase your picking speed.

5. Where and how you hold the pick. Obviously there is a relationship between how close to the tip you hold the pick. The closer to the point, the more rigid the pick will act. The further from the point, the more the pick will be capable of its flexion.

6. The angle of attack on the string. The more parallel to the string the more the string will be articulated, the greater the angle the more round the pick will respond (and the more likely to make noise on the string windings).

Anchors Aweigh
The reasons for anchoring is to give a reference point on the guitar surface for the sake of more easily navigating the strings (how's that for keeping the metaphors naval?). It's easier to quickly find individual strings more accurately if at least some part of your right hand is in contact with the guitar top. The most basic moorings with their elementary plusses and minuses are;

1. Bridge anchoring. This is where you position the heel of your hand against (behind) the bridge. On the plus side this offers an exceptional reference point to enhance your accuracy. It also allows for a great deal of power in your strokes. On the negative side, it really limits the range of motion across the strings to the flexibility of your wrist. It also limits the tonal changes you can coax from your guitar by playing it at different points from neck to bridge. Even with very large hands it is doubtful that you could get the nice round tones on the neck side of the sound hole. You also leave a very heavy part of your hand on the soundboard, thereby limiting its ability to vibrate—you're not maximizing the sound of which your guitar is capable.

2. Pinky anchoring. With your pinky (some use their ring finger) on the pick guard you have a good reference point, you increase your range of motion—both across the strings and from fretboard to bridge, thereby maximizing the tone you can coax out of the guitar. Your pinky need not be pressed to the guitar's top, therefore the top will vibrate much more than with the bridge anchoring. On the negative side, you will probably sacrifice power to anchor this way, and you may have more trouble with the bass strings, especially on the upstrokes, and especially if your hands are small or inflexible.

3. You can, of course, learn to play without anchoring. A curious irony in this regard is that, though you would assume that a blind player would most benefit from the reference point an anchor gives, Doc Watson plays "floating" over the strings. I know you pick experts. "Floating" refers to playing fretted and adjacent open strings in succession. I just wanted to keep the nautical theme going one more time I would assume that if you can learn to float, all the negatives of anchoring would be negated but that's a very big "if".

4. A small but meaningful point....you will probably progress faster if you find a logical way to work a pick you like and stick with it. The reason for this is that half the struggle is learning something meaningful to do with your LEFT hand, and then coordinating it with your right hand. Once you have a vocabulary between left and right hand you can more easily switch to another way to hold your pick or find a different pick to hold.

$.02 no change.


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Big Mick
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 01:33 PM

Wonderful post, John. I learned from it.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Anahootz
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 01:55 PM

I use Tortoiseshell, .94mm and .93 mm. When I don't have TS, I use Antler and Horn picks that I make, between 1.6mm and .8mm.My preference is a 351 shape, but I have been toying around with the "golden gate" fat triangles lately, with suprising results.

The only synthetic picks that I will use are Clayton Ultem #346 in .94mm.

As you might see by my materials and thickness choices, I am a believer in the minimum-flex school. The stiffer a pick is, the more control you gain, but the less forgiving the pick actually is.


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Ned Ludd
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 06:02 PM

Scottys medium nylon. I use em till I lose em, which isn't often cos they're bright orange! I bought a big bag of em years ago,don't know what will happen when I finish it.(Guess I'm not too subtle)


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 02 Feb 02 - 08:29 PM

I've seen Doc play and have a couple of pictures of him playing. His pinky is often anchored to the pick guard. Not always - but often. I've found that I tend to do the same thing on certain passages. Weird or what? *G*

Steve


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Mooh
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 07:56 AM

Most of the time I use .71mm Dunlop Gator-grips (I think that's what they're called) on all guitars. Once in a while I'll use a heavier or lighter one, but only for unusual circumstances. For my pick attack and style the Gators sound good. I have flirted with the Dunlop Nylons with a similar feel to the Gators because they're so easy to hold, but the attack sounds a little more plastic to my ears. I'm more likely to use the nylons on electric guitar.

On mandolin I use one of the two blunt corners of the .96mm Gator.

For fingerstyle I use a Fred Kelly thumbpick and nails.

For special effect I will use a Dunlop Strumrose, or picks made from aluminum, coins, wood or bone. Being basically lazy however, I don't often stray from the .71s or .96s.

Many of my guitar students like picks with weird designs on them, unfortunately learning that these cheaper ones don't last too long but they feel cool in the meantime.

Like others, I will reshape a pick or restore the edge/point with fine abrasives, but before they wear too much I let students take them.

Peace, Mooh.


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Dave T
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 09:19 AM

It depends on which guitar I'm playing. I used but Tortex 0.88mm for years but have recently switched.
For my main guitar (Graf: Spruce & ziricote), I now use Clayton Gold 0.8 mm. I like the attack & volume and that guitar can handle it.
For my old Martin 000-18, tuned in open-D, I still use the Tortex (just seems to have better tone).
I also use them 'til I lose them.
As far as hand position (good post John) it depends on style; I flatpick, but also fingerpick while holding the flatpick:
- Flatpicking: bridge anchor (but VERY light)
- Fingerpicking: pinky anchor (again Very light)
I try to keep the anchor as light as possible. That still provides a reference but doesn't screw up the tone as much or cause your hand to tense up.
- Dave T


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Finn McCool
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 09:36 AM

Great posts, all. Man, am I learning new stuff here!

Just one thing, I originally asked about "pickology" from the perspective of controlling the pick. A couple of the posts mention better *tone* in connection with certain brands of pick. How does this work? I thought tone was exclusively a function of guitar materials and design, string materials, how freely the guitar can vibrate (i.e., whether you clamp down on the bridge or pick guard with the picking hand or just touch it lightly, or whether you hold the instrument right up against your body while playing), and how you attack the notes. Are you saying that pick composition and pick shape directly affect *tone*?

--Finn


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: Dave T
Date: 03 Feb 02 - 10:11 AM

Finn...Yes and no. The pick material, stiffness, shape, the way you hold it, etc., all affect the attack and the amount the pick displaces the string (i.e. volume). These in turn affect the tone, as does where you play: near the bridge (bright, crisp), near the sound hole (full, rich) or near the fingerboard (softer, mellow, smooth).

- Dave T


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: GUEST,jbrooks@ffres.com
Date: 23 Jun 04 - 02:31 PM

I am loooking for a very thin pick with Bakersfield on it. They use to have MIA on the flip side but I have newer ones with only raised lines. I need to find the manufacturer if anyone knows. Thanks
Jack


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Subject: RE: Pick Replacement, Brand, Type
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 23 Jun 04 - 11:05 PM

In our "poorer days" (can't say I've ever known anyone destitute in U.S.A)....we made good use of the white-plastic-clorox-bleach-bottles....flexible, cheap, and easily shaped to your needs...with ridge at the top....then places like McCabe's and the Guitar Institute began having large fish-bowls where you could grab a handful, or a need full....but they were stiff awkward mechanical things lacking the upward-flex-control given to the clorox-bottle which could be stiffend and soften at will by the flex of a fore-finger....time is too valuable now....audience's don't know the diff....a clorox-riff...is only identifiable amongst old friends who know and appreciate....so pay 2.50 and pretend it has a bend.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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