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Making my own picks (Blue Chip/Gravity inspired)

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by bancika, Jun 24, 2015.

  1. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    I wanted to try Blue Chip picks that everyone raves about but didn't want to invest 50 bucks for a pick, so I decided to make my own. Investigation lead me to material they are made of and it's pretty expensive, but I was able to buy some scraps from ebay for much less. It was enough for about 8 picks. As far as pick shape is concerned, we went with my favorite - Gravity Sunrise. I don't have photos of the process, but it's all manual and described on my blog. No fancy tools are used, but requires certain level of craftsmanship.

    For more info see http://diy-fever.com/misc/diy-vespel-picks/

    Here's the end result

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    I bought some of that stuff--it's a dupont thing, I forget the name at the moment. Expensive! I still have a one inch by one inch rod

    Vespel--that's it.

    It's interesting stuff
     
  3. orangeblossom

    orangeblossom Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Love my blue chip on acoustic and mandolin. Great sound. Those are nice picks you made.
     
  4. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    Yes. Vespel. Scraps I got are from rods 1 to 1.5" dia but pretty short. One was 10mm and two are about 7mm. Effectively a bit more material than 1x1" rod, but cost much less. The hardest part is sawing the discs out of tbe rod without too much loss. Saw we had makes 1mm thick cut plus a bit more for sanding and leveling. So it's about 50% loss if you're making 1-1.5mm picks. Sheets would be easier to cut with much less loss but they are harder to find.
     
  5. wyndham

    wyndham Former Member

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    Polyimide.

    I also like the Sunrise shape and have a TD-60 Blue Chip pick, but I don't have enough nerve to convert it. Somewhere on another forum a BC was called an EQ pedal in pick form. That is so true because it rolls off a lot of high end. It's understandable why these picks are so popular with Mandolin players, those things are painfully bright to my old ears. I like it sometimes, but mostly I find it takes away too much treble for my taste. But I like the Sunrise idea!
     
  6. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    Yes, pointed tip of the Sunrise brings some of the high end back. Compared to the acrylic Sunrise, it's still warmer, but not dull. 1.1mm one we did works beautifully on acoustic.
     
  7. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It's such a thing in the mando world but it seems most guitarists are clueless about how much it affects tone.

    I've tried the Jim Dunlop expensive ones and they're ok but I also like Golden Gates or Dawgs to tame a bright axe.


    I take big Tortex's of all thicknesses and round off two corners so they look like just like big Fender/teardrop picks.

    Different thickness for different guitars.

    And bare fingers on all the rest !
     
  8. colinsthename

    colinsthename Tele-Meister

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    Awesome! I bought (and proceeded to lose) 2 Blue Chip TD50s, loved them though. I have to order another soon.

    For anyone out there trying to do the same thing, make sure you get Vespel SP1 (or the comparable grade of Meldin) - the good brown resin stuff. I got my hands on a bunch of SP21 or SP22 (dark gray/black in color), and the graphite content totally changes the sound and wear resistance. Really muddy, dark sounding, and it wore down extremely quickly. Still expensive stuff, but it was basically garbage for my use at that point.
     
  9. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Cool picks, pics. I have quite a few "boutique" picks, and Blue Chips are at the top of my favorites. Yours are respectable-looking knockoffs.

    I have (if I remember them all) a TP1R60, a TD80, a TD60, a TD40, and a TD35. As others have mentioned, different picks have different sound characteristics. I hadn't really thought about it, but the Blue Chips might take a little off the high end; going with the thinner ones seems to help with this if it's a problem.

    What I like about Blue Chip is its very smooth string-strike and -release, its "ring" when I give it the "tabletop test", and its stiffness, which is key to good tone in my opinion. Also, Blue Chips are less prone to "chirp" than any other pick I've come across--though my Wegen and Hell picks come close in that category--and they appear likely to last forever.
     
  10. Jeff_K

    Jeff_K Friend of Leo's

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    Coo! Another Dream Theater fan.

    I've been looking at pickpunch.com with some interest lately and they have some reasonably priced materials.
     
  11. idjster

    idjster VERY grateful member Silver Supporter

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    Very nice picks!

    I was once of the belief that 'a pick was a pick' but on a whim I bought some picks made of natural materials - horn, bone, ebony - and tried them. It was then that I really understood that picks can really make a difference!

    Now I use Dunlop 1.0mm Tortex or 1.0 Ultex. But really, they do make a difference.

    Your picks - very nice picks!
     
  12. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    I use tortoiseshell. It saves all the drama.
     
  13. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Tortoiseshell is the gold standard of picks, and of drama.
     
  14. colinsthename

    colinsthename Tele-Meister

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    Maybe you throw a couple of those my way, keep a couple, we're all friends here.
     
  15. Red Square

    Red Square Friend of Leo's

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    I'm more of a graphite guy. I've been using the same pick for over a year now and see no signs of wear. They afford the perfect amount of brightness too.
     

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  16. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    I had not heard of this product before. I'm looking online. Is this right? $35.00US for one pick. $35. For. One. Pick. Ok. Must be some kind of special.

    Collins! You lost two of these things? wth, dude - just start mailing us all some money, ok?

    I've been using 1mm nylon for years&years&years, but maybe it's time to try something new. Just can't quite get to that amount for one pick. Yeah, I get the Ricky Skaggs/Chris Thile deal, and the lightning mando pickers, and I see Zac Brown as an endorsement.

    maybe I can ease into it with the graphite ones that seem to run about $3-4 a pop.

    y'all are a bunch of high rollers! what's next? $200 strings?
     
  17. J-man

    J-man Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Those look cool! I'm in no way convinced I want to spend more than about £1 for a plectrum though. :)
     
  18. J-man

    J-man Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    There's also a company selling a ~$700 capo. :eek:
     
  19. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    If you want to try something new, gravity picks are amazing and cost about 5 bucks a piece. They don't last nearly as long as blue chip, wegen or gravity gold (20$ a pop), but they are great.
     
  20. Hellmark

    Hellmark Tele-Holic

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    I've never really had a problem losing picks. I still have the first pick I got when I started playing like 16 years ago, although it is wore down to the point I can't tell which end is actually the point.

    That said, making picks can be fun for a little diversion. I've tried with different materials before. I'd like to get my hands on a trashed cymbal to make some picks out of.
     
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