Let’s Talk About Pick (plectrum) Material

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by LGOberean, May 9, 2019.

  1. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

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    The thing is, material aside, anyone who hasn’t tried a beveled pick of at least the size of the v pick snake (4.1 mm) has no point of reference to compare their thinner picks (even their 2.0 mm stubbies or fatties or whatever) to. None. It is dramatic, the difference size makes. The even-thicker ones really accentuate the difference. It may not be for everybody, but until you hear the vast difference in depth of tone you’ll never know. If the chirp bothers you, get the unbuffed version.
     
  2. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    As I've said, I've used and liked Dunlops. And I like a nylon 1mm. A couple of years ago, I bought a sampler pack of strings and picks that came in a tin.
    [​IMG]

    I bought it mainly for the tin, but of course the strings and picks were put to good use. And one of the sample picks was D'Addario/Planet Waves' Nyflex 1mm. I really like that one, I still keep in my "pick pocket."


    The Thalia rosewoods are what started this in the first place. An ad popped up on my Facebook news feed, now here we are, 60 posts later.


    Glad you divulged your secrets, mate. Especially that bit about the nail varnish. I'm going to experiment with that one. And I won't even have to brave a chemist's disapproving looks, I'll just swipe my wife's stuff! :twisted:
     
  3. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've been using Fender mediums since 1966. They just feel right, and everything else I try doesn't.
     
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  4. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    WOW! :eek: A 53 year old habit! Should we stage an intervention? :twisted:
     
  5. fidopunk

    fidopunk Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Clayton Ultem picks. I like them quite a lot. Very bright and not overly stiff or floppy. I assume they’re similar to Ultex and NuTone. I know the NuTones are made from animal proteins and are supposedly close to tortoise.

    I know turtles and tortoises are different animals. My neighborhood is lousy with turtles— at least half a dozen a summer meet their demise on my street. Would making a pick out if their shell be legal/ethical? Would it sound like tortoise? How come no one has done this?
     
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  6. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    $.05 each or six for $.25. Easy to buy and felt right. That was it for me. Shape and stiffness right, I'm good to go. I never saw an expensive pick as something that would make my playing sound better. May be I just missed the boat, but I'll never pay a lot for a pick.

    I guess people do, but it's not for me.
     
  7. CCK1

    CCK1 TDPRI Member

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    Mike Stone at Stoneworkspicks.com makes some very nice ones. My lovely wife is wearing one of his turquoise picks as a necklace right now.
     
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  8. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    My previous quip was...just that, a small attempt at humor. (Evidently, a very small attempt. :oops:) I wasn't trying to suggest that you "missed the boat" by sticking with one thing all those years. And FWIW, I'm not generally inclined to pay a lot for picks, either. To me, an expensive pick is in the $4-$5 range. A $20-$35 price range blows my mind, and unless I become convinced that it will last until Jesus comes and make me sound heavenly while using it, I probably won't pull the trigger on one.


    What I'm using now, BTW, are mostly homemade picks. I haven't mentioned that before in this thread, but there it is. Several years ago, my wife put a "pick punch" in my Christmas stocking. She thought it would be a gag gift, something I'd be tickled by in the moment, then soon forget about it. She was wrong. In the past few years, I have personally punched a passel of plectrums for preferred applications. (Please pardon the preposterous preponderance of the letter "p." :rolleyes:)

    I have used all sorts of materials for picks. I started with the plastic sheets that came with the punch, but after that, I didn't order more plastic from that company. Instead, I used expired credit/debit cards, even expired driver's licenses (this has allowed me to actually "punch out my wife's face" without the need for someone to call in the authorities). The "gauge" of plastic varies a bit, as does the quality. I like a medium-heavy gauge (around 1mm) to heavy (1.2-1.4mm) on both my electrics and acoustics, but I have a Nashville-tuned guitar, which has such light gauge strings I prefer something flimsier (around .73 mm). So I use the flimsier personally punched picks for that application.

    Here are some pics of my personally punched picks, the first one showing the pick punch device...
    Picks personally punched - 3.jpg Picks personally punched - 1.jpg Pizza picks personally punched.jpg

    Each pick that is thicker/not flimsy lasts about a month, give or take, but I've punched so many picks, I've got about a 10 year supply in stock. I've filled one "pick tin" (a re-purposed 9 oz. bean dip tin) and started to fill up a second...
    Pick tins.jpg

    The most unusual material I've used is from laminate counter top material. For a recent remodel project, my wife brought home a couple of sample sheets of laminate to determine the look/color scheme she wanted. I got a hold of those sample sheets and experimented with punching picks from that stuff. It is a really durable, stiff material, but the pick punch was up to the challenge. I've found I like the stiffness. But I also like a grip on the top end of the pick, so I'm going to have to work on drilling holes in this stiff material and/or using that nail polish idea that Dobronaut mentioned.
    Picks personally punched from laminate.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
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  9. OlRedNeckHippy

    OlRedNeckHippy Friend of Leo's

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    Last week, I stopped and picked up 2 packs of picks (Dunlap .73) on my way somewhere. I dumped them into the little pick dish on the PA stack.

    At practice yesterday, I announced to the band, "I have new picks!"
    Bass player, "So?, What's your point?"
    I replied, "It's like having new socks, or underwear! It feels good."
     
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  10. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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  11. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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    V-Picks, 5.85 mm ,Big Fattie (just like me - the fattie part not the 5.85mm part). Love'em. Easy to hold. Tone is outstanding and yes they are pricey, $15 for one. Worth every penny in my book. No more hand cramping issues in my picking hand.
     
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  12. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

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    The material that V-Picks are made out of is much more substantial. Some picks sound like a tiddly wink when tossed on a desk - not V-Picks.

    If one is considering a thicker pick, I recommend to gradually move up in thickness and give each thickness plenty of trial time, not just one song, to get adjusted to it. Then when you are comfortable with one thickness consider trying the next thicker. I made about 3 steps in thickness before I got to the one I am using now.

    When I got my Big Fattie, I didn't think I would like it, but after using it for a while, I don't like to use anything else. If one has some hand issues, the thicker pick is so much easier to hold and the material V-Picks are made from help a lot in keeping a hold of them. I use very light pressure on the pick when playing. I'm sold on V-Picks.

    It seems a bit strange to spend many hundreds or maybe thousands on a guitar and only consider picks that are cheap or free. It makes sense to consider other accessories or equipment that may improve our playing. The pick should be no different. It is an extremely important part of the music equation and should be given serious consideration.
     
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  13. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    Delrin Delrin 2mm purple.jpg since 1987
     
  14. alnico357

    alnico357 Tele-Holic

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    I have a supply of Fender medium celluloid picks I purchased in 1969. If a 1969 Telecaster is worth bucks, surely these picks are! I will entertain offers.
     
  15. Bluego1

    Bluego1 Tele-Holic

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    I don’t have any hand issues, but I still love the thick picks. For some reason they make my right hand almost automatic. Love the Big Fattie but use the Psycho more at that thickness. I think my favorite is the Snake. I have all four versions.
     
  16. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Meister

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    For the past 5 years +/- I've been using Lollar picks. They are made of the same material as pickup bobbins. I like that they don't give at all. I like the pick to force total movement of the string rather than have it push back against, and bend the pick. I feel like it gives me more control over my dynamics, and I like the texture more than most other picks I've tried. No slipping.
     
  17. DekeDog

    DekeDog Tele-Meister

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    The V-pick Lite Small is the one I use most often. I think the Jazz Tone pick line (far right) has been discontinued. Luckily, I have about a dozen.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I wasn't aware that Lollar made guitar picks. I just checked the website for the page on picks, and it said "Page not found." :(

    In post #68 above, I mentioned that I have made guitar picks with my pick punch out of laminate countertop samplers my wife brought home for a project, and I also said that I like the stiffness. They are also proving to be quite durable. In researching this material online, I've found that the thickness of the laminate material is .039", which translates into 0.9906 mm, just a hair thinner than a 1 mm pick.

    I gigged with one of them today. Pros: the pick itself feels good; the tone is bright, but not metallic. I think I agree with paulblackford about a pick's stiffness and control over dynamics. More time will tell.

    Cons: I'm still dealing with how slick the pick is. Of course, some of those laminate materials are textured, so I'm going to look into that. As I mentioned before, I'm going to try drilling holes in it. I may also try roughing it up a bit with a file.
     
  19. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    I used to use real tortoise shell picks back in the day. I lost most of them in a move (I guess) and the few that I had left, stored in a drawer, got eaten by insects. I guess that they provided good protein for the ravenous little buggers. I've since used Fender medium picks, which are celluloid, for the last thirty years or so. Call me crazy, but different colors sound slightly different. Of the MOTO ones, which come in several colors, some are consistently brighter or darker than others, depending on the color. But, my favorite ones are the confetti colored ones, which have the best sound and feel to me.
    Feel free to make fun of me now, but the other guys that worked with me in the guitar shop where I worked, all heard the same differences that I did.
    Fender also now has picks that they call Tortuga, which is their version of Tortex, but they sound darker to me than the Dunlop Tortex ones. 110556000002163-00-500x500.jpg 098-0351-850__35144-1100x550.jpg 356794_1.png
     
  20. DonM

    DonM Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    That would be rather messy. The harder stuff used in tennis rackets.
     
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