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Guitar Pick Dilemma

09 Jul 03 - 02:55 PM (#980029)
Subject: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Dharmabum

I've been expiermenting with this one for awhile & so far have met with only unsatisfactory results.Perhaps there's someone here with an idea I haven't tried yet.

Because of M.S. I have diminished feeling/sensation in my hands,which makes holding a pick rather difficult at times.
I either drop it completely or it slips out of position & I find myself strumming with the side of the pick.

The obvious solution I thought would be to very simply take a plastic thumbpick,cut off the striking portion,& super/crazy glue a flat pick onto it.
Simple enough.......or so you'd think.

It seems I've discovered the only materials on earth that cyanoacrylate (CrazyGlue),epoxy & P.V.C. cement will not bond!
(Yes,I realize that's an exageration ,but I'm at the end of my rope on this one)

I'm trying to utilize a National brand plastic thumbpick & various brands of thin flatpicks,which I believe are made of nylon.

I've also tried double sided tape with even less satisfactory results.

I'm open for suggestions.

Thanks DB.

09 Jul 03 - 03:05 PM (#980040)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Midchuck

Herco does make a thing like a thumbpick with an oversized pick part, or a platpick with an attachment to go around your thumb - you decide what to call it. They come in both heavy and light guage. I think bigchuck has 'em at his store. Let me know if you want me to check.


09 Jul 03 - 03:11 PM (#980045)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Jeri

Herco picks? (They're pretty wimpy though.)
Rivets (you'd probably have to drill holes so you don't split the plastic) AND glue?
Will they melt/weld to one another?
Does roughing up the surfaces you're glueing help?

09 Jul 03 - 03:35 PM (#980058)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Dharmabum

Thanks Peter,I'll check out the Herco. Maybe it's something I can work with.

Thanks Jeri,I've tried all of that. I thought the PVC cement with the cleaner/solvent would do the trick. All I got was high on the fumes.


09 Jul 03 - 03:42 PM (#980060)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: John MacKenzie

If you drill 2 small holes in the pick, in the oppropriate position, just big enough to enable you to insert some braided elastic through, and then tie a knot on the other side to stop it going back. It's hard to explain, I've got some picks I bought in Portugal which slip under your existing nail, and form an extension of it. They work on this principle, and the hole is of such size as to be able to put them on your finger and pull them as tight as is comfortable.

09 Jul 03 - 04:03 PM (#980081)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Amos

I'd try hot glue and tight clamping overnight -- score both surfaces first.


09 Jul 03 - 04:17 PM (#980091)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: JohnInKansas

Cyanoacrylate is a rather strange beast. It gets used for a lot of things where it's not really the best stuff - and often works well enough. There are quite a few "plastics," though, where it just doesn't do a very good job.

It is kept liquid by oxygen from the air, and as long as it's exposed to air, it won't set. The theory is that when you clamp it between two surfaces, so that air can't continue to get to it, it will harden; but in order for it to set up, something has to absorb the oxygen that's already dissolved in the glue. Most metal surfaces will absorb (or adsorb) enough to set it up. A few (cadmium - as in the plating on lots of parts) won't. Most plastics won't do a very good job.

If your crazy glue sets up at all when you use it on many plastics, it's only because the surface wasn't clean - and the crud sucked up the oxygen. Unfortunately, then you've got glue stuck to crud - but the joint strength depends on how well the crud sticks to the parts, which is not usually very reliable.

If you clean the joint well enough for the glue to actually "attach" to the surface of the parts, the surface of most plastic is insufficiently active to fully polymerize the glue - so it "stiffens," but doesn't really get hard. And that doesn't work very well...

The "crazy glue" grades of cyanoacrylate don't ofen come with it, but if you switch to the "Loctite" kind, you can get a primer intended to solve the problem. The primer is intended to get all the crud off, and in addition leaves a trace coating of colloidal metal, usually silver, to act as a curing agent for the "glue" by absorbing enough oxygen to set it up. You never wipe the primer off. You let it drip off, and then evaporate to leave the active material in place before you apply the glue.

In principal, an epoxy should bond to most plastics, but it's very difficult to get many plastics clean enough. The same crud that allows the cyanoacrylate to bond prevents the epoxy from "getting a grip" on the surface. And although you can smear it around by sanding first, you can't really get it off reliably. Additionally, you're trying to glue two "flexible" materials with a "rigid" adhesive, with most commonly available epoxies.

PVC cement isn't really a "cement." It's intended to dissolve the surfaces of the plastic so that when the solvent evaporates they're cast into a single piece. Unfortunately, that solvent doesn't significantly dissolve, or even soften, most plastics other than the PVC for which it's intended.

If want to extend your efforts to "glue" picks together, a silicone or "mastic" type adhesive is much more likely to succeed with the materials involved. These are usually "gap-filling" adhesives, and the main difficulty is likely to be with getting a thin enough "glue line." A thin glue layer, uniform and continuous, is much stronger than a thick one, so you need to clamp things tightly together about twice as long as you think it will take for them to "dry," before you try to "wiggle" them to see if they're done setting up.

Almost any decent "silicone glue" may work, if you can get a clean, well fitted joint. Not a particular recommendation, but "EC6000" is a "brand name" general purpose semi-flixible adhesive of a type that might give you a better joint, and is commonly available in craft shops. If you're closer to an auto parts or boat outlet, there are a couple of "body putty" and/or gasket materials - mostly intended for filling dings in auto bodies and/or fiberglass hulls that can sometimes be used as a "glue" for your kind of parts, although they tend to be rather rigid when they've cured.

Making good adhesive joints is as much "black art" as science, although the newer materials are a little more forgiving than the chicken blood that still holds a few wood parts together on early 40s era airplanes.


09 Jul 03 - 04:18 PM (#980092)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Mark Clark

DB, We've talked in other threads about the Fred Kelly BumbleBee picks. These are basically a flatpick attached to a thumbpick base. They are available in different weights so you may find one you like. I think Rick Fielding said he's used these. You might PM him and ask what he thinks.

You also might PM Art Thieme just to see how he handled the problem during the early stages of MS.

Best of luck,

      - Mark

09 Jul 03 - 04:22 PM (#980095)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Jeri

Hey Dharmabum - go up to the top and click on "Thanks Mudcatters! Now, about thumbpicks." I guess the rivet idea wasn't an original thought.

09 Jul 03 - 04:49 PM (#980106)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Dharmabum

Thank you all for the info.
The "Locktite" brand sounds like it may be worth a try.Thanks John.

Amos;Tried the hot glue,scuffed both pieces,clamped,didn't hold.Thanks anyway.

Mark;I'll check with Rick & Art,thanks.

The Herco pick looks pretty close to what I've been trying to accomplish.
Most sources I've found so far want to sell me 2 dozen for 35 bucks.
A little steep for something I'm not sure will work out for me.

If anyone knows of a source where I could purchase ,say, one of each guage;light;med;heavy,to give them a try let me know.

Thanks all for the help.

09 Jul 03 - 08:28 PM (#980221)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: GUEST,Kentucky Pat

The HERCO FLAT/THUMB PICKS are hard to find here in Lexington, Kentucky. To order them direct from the manufacturer, try this web address: I love 'em. Most of mine are three years old and going strong (except for the many picks I've left in rehersal rooms over the years).

09 Jul 03 - 09:35 PM (#980238)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: Bee-dubya-ell

I remember autoharpist Marty Shuman using a leather harness-like apparatus into which a standard flat-pick was inserted. When one pick wore out, he just slipped another one in. I don't know who made it and Marty's sadly no longer around to ask. It would probably be a simple job for any competent leatherworker to come up with something similar.


09 Jul 03 - 11:16 PM (#980278)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: DonMeixner


Go to a Marina or Marine supply and ask for PL 5200 marine sealer. I don't know if this will work for your application but 5200 stuck to everything I ever put it on. Even things I did accidentally.

Good luck Bub


01 Nov 04 - 10:26 PM (#1313776)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: GUEST,Jenny

Can someone please help me? I need to what kind of pick has a star like shap in the center and is really thin? I need to buy this pick for a friend but, can't ask him cause it's a gift.
If anyone could help me I would appreciated it. Thanks,Jenny

02 Nov 04 - 12:24 AM (#1313857)
Subject: RE: Guitar Pick Dilemma
From: DonMeixner


Call up Elderly Instruments in East Lansing. They have the largest selection of picks I have ever seen. If they can't supply it they may know who can.