How Big of a Sound Difference Can a Pick Make

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

  1. wooster234

    wooster234 NEW MEMBER!

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    I've always liked really rigid picks, and gitapik is right: the "lite" from V-Pick has virtually no flex, so it's perfect for me. I usually use the Emerald Small Point Lite, because I like smaller picks with three points. Colors don't matter to me, but the clear ones are easier to lose on the floor so I bought several emerald colored ones when they were on sale. They wear almost negligibly, though I don't thrash hard very much.

    I was near Knoxville last year so I dropped by Blue Chip and bought the smallest triangular pick they had at the time (they had a small discount for local purchasers in-shop). I rarely use it. Not sure why, but it doesn't give me the same accuracy as the V-Pick Small Lite which is pointier.

    At least on electric (Tele and L6-S) that's true. When I'm playing my Martin acoustic I will sometimes use a thicker V-Pick. It just seems to have more mass to drive the strings, though that's probably all just in my head.

    Another pick I used to use exclusively (so much so that I have several bags around) and which is worth mentioning because it's not in the "wow that's a forkin' lot for a pick!" price category is the Pos-A-Grip from Pickboy. Very rigid, too, with holes to keep in hand, and a nice low-friction playing surface (at least in the Ultrem and polycarbonate versions). I still use them occasionally although they're more the teardrop shape than the triangular I like now, but the picking end is pretty pointy. They kind of disappeared for a while but you can still find them and many other cool Pickboy picks (including exotic things like ceramic, horn, etc.) at osiamo.com.

    I don't like the celluloid or metacarbonate Pos-A-Grips, but really loved the ridigity of the 1mm polycarbonate and Ultrem picks here:http://www.osiamo.com/osiamohome/posagrip

    Sorry that ended up sounding like an advertisement for a pick I don't use much anymore, but they are reasonably priced (under a US dollar a pick) and I remember when I didn't want to spend outrageous money for a pick, so I figure someone else may be interested.
     
  2. graybeard65

    graybeard65 Tele-Meister

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    7EBD9B01-F75D-4467-BC52-7F6360C256A9.jpeg My favorite for a very long time is a Red Bear that’s both a size and a thickness that work exceptionally well for me...

    until I got a pick for christmas this year that’s made from an old (1908) coin - that was a game changer for me...and I bought a couple more, and then had three custom made - I will always have a metal pick handy now. I really like them!
     
  3. Fishin Musician

    Fishin Musician TDPRI Member

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    If zinc is softer than your strings, shouldn't the nickel wear down, not the string?
     
  4. Fishin Musician

    Fishin Musician TDPRI Member

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    I have dry hands (especially during Canadian winters) & have to use Cat's Tongue Brain Picks or I start every song with a pick & finish it finger picking!!
     
  5. jasyr

    jasyr TDPRI Member

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    okay I've been drinking, i will share my secret. Dunlop middle stiffness grey rubber pick with my acoustic 12-string allows me a gnarly attack with no artifacts. It's like spring loading...LOVE IT

    Also 1980s Gibson Heavy triangle for all electric, wish someone made them because I'm almost out.

    Davo are also used a lot. As are the Stubby, also for ac 12-string & bouzouki.

    Gator grip purple for neutral-ish 6-string acousic. Miss my mid-2000s green Japanese Ibanez flat beveled stash. They were similar to the Gilbert sig. ones but not as pointy & slightly more teardrop. Those were my go-to 12-string picks.

    Pyramid picks are great and shreaded regularly here
     
  6. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    To my ears...


    The orange Fred Kelly thumb picks
    sound about the best of what I've tried in a lot of thumbsticks.


    .
     
  7. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    When it comes to picks, like the song says, I been everywhere.

    Picks definitely change the sound and feel of any guitar. (That chirp thing some have mentioned can often be mitigated by changing the attack angle.)

    I've bought a LOT of "boutique" picks, and almost every one has something that appeals to me. But I have lately only added Red Bears to my ridiculously large collection. I have three reasons for landing on that brand:

    1) the material they make their picks from is the nearest substitute I've found for real tortoise, which I won't use for ethical reasons, but which are the "gold standard" for sound and feel; 2) they offer a great range of shapes, thicknesses, and colors, though you might have to wait for your preference to come around, since they produce picks in small batches in order to keep up with demand; and 3) it's a true mom and pop operation, and I am happy to support that. Nice people.
     
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  8. Dirty Dave

    Dirty Dave NEW MEMBER!

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    I think it also depends on what you’re playing.
    I used to play metal metal metal, and used Tortex sharps, but filed them with a more aggressive angle of attack & focus.
    These days, I’ve totally changed my rig & guitars.
    Sold all the outbound & high gain stuff. Bought a Tele & lots of tasty clean pedals, & use Fender nylons to give me a more nuanced, defined note.
     
    El Tele Lobo likes this.
  9. Irondog

    Irondog TDPRI Member

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    Thicker picks injure my wrist

    I've been using 0 .90mm ultex sharps for a while, but I also have 0.73 mm which I like, but I decided to try some tortex in the mixture,
    I bought some 1.0 mm and some 1.14 mm tortex.

    The 1.14 are definitely very stiff, and within an hour of playing I actually injured my thumb joint right at the wrist.
    So I just blamed it on playing too hard.
    Definitely switched back to my 1.0 Ultex for a week or 2, my hand got better.
    So I picked up the 1.14 mm a week later and promptly within 30 minutes reinjured my wrist and thumb joint.
    Rapidly came to the conclusion that I like the pick attack. but I definitely change my grip and hold the pick very hard in my hand,
    and injure classic repetitive stress injury probably. So I went ahead and bought some 1.14 mm Ultex. And they do the same thing injured my hand 3 times in one month. So I guess I'm not cut out for 1.14 mm.

    So I went back and bought a whole set of .73 mm 0.84 mm and 0.90 mm ultex. and I have not injured myself.
    It's just surprising to me the very stiff picks change your style a fair amount.
    But I really do like the 0.90 mm Ultex sharps very nice attack nice playability.
     
  10. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Holic

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    i could only get them in the bass shop in tin pan alley so i assumed it was, but yeah they last ages!
     
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  11. strat54

    strat54 Tele-Meister

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    I am finding out that picks make a big difference for me, especially when playing for extended sessions. I carved this copperhead pick out of very dense wood. You can really tell the difference it makes when playing an acoustic but it also softens up an electric somewhat. The added feature of the scales on the snake head allow for some experimental tone variations since it creates a rasping sound. I now 3D print this same copperhead pick in different thicknesses so I have unlimited control for making my own picks whether thicker and more rigid or thin and flexible. copperhead PICK.jpg
     
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  12. Ronzo

    Ronzo TDPRI Member

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    Late 60s-early 70s, I used black Mosrite picks. Very thin. Loved those things. When Mosrite went under, I had to change to Fender celluloid thins, standard shape, preferably in tort. I don’t care for heavy, thick picks. JMO, YMMV.
     
  13. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Holic

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    that's the pic of destiny isn't it?
     
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  14. 2 Headed Goat

    2 Headed Goat Friend of Leo's

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    I never use heavy picks on any guitar weighing less than 8lbs...
     
  15. strat54

    strat54 Tele-Meister

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    No, I bet Jack Black has the original:)
     
    ben smith likes this.
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