How Big of a Sound Difference Can a Pick Make

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Cysquatch, Feb 9, 2020.

  1. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I definitely have opinions on material, size and thickness.
    I look for picks that “do it all”.
    I have used celluloid, nylon, Ultex, real tortoise shell, wood, bone, and fleetingly, metal.
    I have grown to prefer Ultex, with nylon as a first runner up.
    They sound, and feel perfect for me.
    I play more rhythm than most of my peers.
    I need a lightweight, fairly thick, and non-slippery surface.
    The Dunlop Ultex Jazz III (large) is my new go to.
    I used Dunlop EJs for years, but I started dropping them.
    Dern arthritis in my right thumb.
    I dislike celluloid (“click-ey”& bright), metal (chirps), wood (dull), bone (feels weird), and stone (chirps, and chips).
     
  2. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    Pick chirp drives me nuts with Blue Chips too.. it drives me the most nuts with strumming. I do love Blue Chips for some reasons.. they stay put better than anything else in my particular fingers. But the chirpy brightness they seem to add (for me) does drive me nuts.

    I think picks are hugely important but we're all different, and your particular fingers seem to make it different.

    I like the sound of Tortex & Ultex but they just absolutely will not stay put in my fingers. If you're talking cheap Celluloid does stay put in my fingers.

    My favorite thing is the Taylor "Thermex Ultra" picks. I have seen various conspiracies on the web as to who is making the Taylor picks. But they are $2 each instead of $25-30+ like a Blue Chip. They stay put in my fingers 95% as well as a Blue chip. And they don't have the pick chirp that a BC has. They just sound great.. just the right amount of bright vs not-too-bright for me. Not as good as a Blue Chip for fast lead playing, but not far behind, and easy to adjust to. But better for strumming. And more "pop" cause they have a little more flex.

    For me 1-1.25mm is the thickest I can go. I just hate the super thick ones for anything but lead lines.
     
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  3. ShortintheSleeve

    ShortintheSleeve TDPRI Member

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    I play almost exclusively rhythm. I prefer 1.0mm Tortex when playing my Tele (strings are 9's) and .73 Tortex on my acoustic (strings are mediums).
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  4. Telecaster88

    Telecaster88 Tele-Meister

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    I have my favorites -- Clayton Triangles, Tortex Red and Orange, Dunlop Flows, Fender Medium Celluloids -- but I'm one of those guys who has like a bazillion picks lying around, and am always buying packs of new ones to try out. If something is sounding off, I'll definitely reach for a different pick. I've gotten pretty good at intuitively diagnosing some weird sound and addressing it by changing picks as much as twiddling knobs.
     
  5. cyclopean

    cyclopean Friend of Leo's

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    i like wegen bluegrass picks. they have all the snap and high end of fender heavies, but don't give you that "i've been punching a wall" feeling in your hand.

    i play fairly hard, and i like stiffer picks and thicker strings because i get more control out of them.
     
  6. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Holic

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    jim-dunlop-431-triangle-tortex-114mm-purple-bass-pick.jpg a lot that's why i like a bass pick
     
  7. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Meister

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    I found a pick I really liked, lost it, and can't find another. It's almost round -- all shoulders and no pointy end - and slightly bent, so your fingers & thumb fit nicely into the curve. I almost always play with the shoulder end of the pick anyway, so this one was perfect.

    Anybody know what this unicorn pick could be?
     
  8. Steerforth

    Steerforth Tele-Afflicted

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    I just noticed that yesterday when I posted, as I was nodding, semi-catatonic in my recliner, I mentioned that I had spent a long time trying every pick that I could find and settled on one as my exclusive preference.

    But I neglected to say what the winning pick was.

    I use Dunlop Ultex picks, 1.14mm, the ones with the Rhino on them that are some sort of hepatic enzyme color, after trying an enormous number of picks of all shapes, sizes, and materials.

    On the rare occasions that I play rhythm, I keep some 0.73mm versions on hand. But the Ultex 1.14mm are standard. They sound best to my ears, and I see that I’m not alone.

    I’ll also use Dunlop Tortex if Ultex is not available. And I don’t mind equivalent Claytons in a pinch, or the tortoise Fender Heavy, but I default to the Ultex as first choice.

    As a result of my inquiry, I now have a huge collection of picks of all shapes, sizes, and materials, many of them quite unusual. But the Ultex, 1.14mm, standard shape rules, in my opinion.

    As for characteristics of others, the descriptions that Cysquatch gave in the original post seemed pretty accurate to me.
     
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  9. GLee94

    GLee94 TDPRI Member

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    Love the flow shape by dunlop. I was a Jazz III guy for a long time (especially like the black JP j3s with the gloss tips). I just found that the tortex material gives me all the nostalgia + the flow shape literally makes me a better player in my mind. I feel like I can hit notes cleaner, faster and w/ more precision. My index finger also doesn't get as beat up as when I play with Jazz IIIs:) 1.14 Tortex Flow picks from now on!
     
  10. Rufustelestrats

    Rufustelestrats Tele-Holic

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    I have yet to find the one pick, but dabble in many. I find the Fender medium gives you three different options, the point the round end or the side.
    Have a pick. It is a roll of the dice: 20200210_093932 (2).jpg
     
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  11. Steerforth

    Steerforth Tele-Afflicted

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    I know what you mean. I have or had some of those. But we just basically rebuilt/remodeled everything in my vicinity over what seemed like forever. Things are finally settling down, so I’ll see if I can find them and figure out what they are. If I do I’ll let you know.

    But chaos reigns at present. I may or may not find my various possessions again. I can only hope.
     
  12. gwjensen

    gwjensen Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I have practically every pick Dunlop offers, but I always go back to Ultex in its various thicknesses and shapes, depending on my mood...
     
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  13. tvas22

    tvas22 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I keep a few to hand and swap them if I need to. I like ultex jazz picks mainly, as I like some of those highs rolled off.

    The little nylon max grips are my go to for bright but thin, whereas the petrucci iiis give me bright, aggressive attack but are a little fatter.
     
  14. Ian T

    Ian T Tele-Holic

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    Thin is great for strumming; the give allows me to dig in a bit more and play with abandon, and I enjoy the percussive "thwack" sounds. Also, this is best for twang, picking just in front of the saddles. If need be, I can also minimize the "thwack" sound and emulate the sound of a heavier pick by angling the pick more, though not nearly as easy to play this way.

    Heavy is great for single note precision. Warm single note sounds without the "thwack". I can also pull a richer, bolder tone from the string with a heavy pick, similar to using my thumb. I also break more strings.

    Gotta compromise at some point.

    These days, I find more variety of sound is available with a thin pick. I miss the brightness for some things, when using a heavy. That said, playing faster single note lines is more challenging due to the pick flex making the release point delayed which needs to be compensated for.
     
  15. jman72

    jman72 Tele-Afflicted

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    I find the red Jazz III's are more mellow than the black ones. I played around with them a couple of years ago, and with my eyes closed and randomly selected, I could tell a difference. The black ones were a bit stiffer (which translated to a more aggressive tone).

    I've played the red Jazz III's exclusively for nearly 30 years and couldn't imagine playing with anything else.
     
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  16. admiralbob77

    admiralbob77 Tele-Meister

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    As a fingerstyle player there's so big a difference between my normal sound and my sound with a pick that it sounds like a different guitar.
    So I'd have to imagine it makes a pretty big difference.
     
  17. gitapik

    gitapik Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    The sharkfins are the best electric guitar funk rhythm picks I’ve ever used.
     
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  18. ambodian

    ambodian NEW MEMBER!

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    Back in the mid 70's someone was making what was described as a stone pick out of some kind of cheap gemstone/mineral, very thick and close to the jazz iii's. It became something of a cult favorite due to Pat Martino using one, if I remember correctly.
     
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  19. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    ultex, but if no ultex, tortex

    primetone 3mm for gypsy jazz

    any thin floppy nylon for strumming behind a singer

    oh, and a quarter for ZZ Top
     
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  20. dvto2

    dvto2 TDPRI Member

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    Picks have a huge impact on tone. For a big, heavy, fat blues tone, I use Wegen 3.5 mil gypsy jazz picks. For hybrid travis picking i need a much thinner pick, probably 1 mill. For boogie I like a 1 mil rosewood pick from Thalia, which gives a nice percussive, trebly snap to the bass notes. I found some 2 mil wood picks on ebay that can kind compromise between tone and ease of use for hybrid picking. The guy offers 50 species which have different textures and hardnesses.
     

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