Where did my brightness go? A brief tale of two picks

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by dswo, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    Last night I was playing my Telecaster and couldn't help feeling that some brightness was missing. I have my bridge pickup set low enough that it's not "ice-picky," but it IS a Telecaster; and last night I just couldn't hear it.

    This morning I woke up early and wondered what fresh ears might hear. The problem, it turned out, wasn't my ears. It was my pick.

    This year I've been working on learning the various pieces of "Stairway to Heaven." I can now play almost everything in the solo at 75% speed. A few weeks ago I was trying to bump that up to 90%, and thought a stiffer pick might help. I have some of the Herco picks that Jimmy Page himself uses, and they have helped with speed:

    [​IMG]
    I don't think I noticed the change in tone, because the "Stairway" solo has a fair amount of distortion. The change showed up when I played clean, as I did last night, only I didn't associate it with the pick. But this morning I tried one of my old picks and there it was: the brightness I was used to.

    I like experimenting with different picks, but somehow I always drift back to the ones I started using in high school, 35 years ago:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Ebidis

    Ebidis Tele-Afflicted

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    Picks actually make a pretty significant difference in the sound. Especially the attack of the note. Different materials, and stiffness will not only affect the sound, but have a very different feel as well.

    I have tried just about every pick there is, but I always return to my old tried and true favorites.

    iu.jpeg
     
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  3. RYAN1987M

    RYAN1987M Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Wild, isn't it?!

    Great post and a great reminder! It always amazes me how much variances in picks can affect your tone/sound.

    It's sometimes comical (and I'm very guilty of this myself) how we, as guitarists, will hone in so much on our pickups, our effect chain, etc...but we can instead get a pretty big change for less than a couple bucks by simply trying a variety of different types of picks.
     
  4. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Thin pick gives a thinner tone IME. Normally I'd attempt to pontificate about the physics behind this but I'm not sure TBH. I am also quite used to Fender medium/Tortex yellow and similar. I have a few heavier ones. I used to play bass with a pick but rarely do that any more.
     
  5. Squier by Squier

    Squier by Squier Tele-Meister

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    I couldn't believe it first, especially with clean settings. Just the same, what happened since yesterday, two hours ago.. ten minutes? Gear, cables, settings?

    No..

    Left: bright and snappy attack
    Right: mellow and smooth

    20201005_181031.jpg
     
  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yup, my first pick, in 1965, was a Fender Medium.
     
  7. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    I play mostly fingerstyle, but when I need a pick I need the right one. I like D'Addario Cortex 1.00mm for electric. The attack is not quite as soft as Tortex. It's exactly right for single coil pickups. I use Dunlop Prime Tone .88 for acoustic. I want a somewhat sharper attack there. I'm old. I'm set in my ways. These are exactly right for me. There are other picks in my dish and cases that all represent bad choices from the past. I'd get rid of them but Goodwill doesn't want them either.
     
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  8. MAXXFIELD

    MAXXFIELD Tele-Meister

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    I'm a Jazz 3 guy/hybrid picker. I find the Tele exposes way more noticeable differences for 'pick vs finger' than most other guitars. The "snap/twang" I crave most is almost exclusively available with the fingers NOT pick. If I could go back in time I'd probably try and spend the 28 years of guitar playing fingerstyle only. But that never lined up with my early metal shredding years.
     
  9. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    It’s so much fun to experiment with picks and the deep tonal variations they offer, that I really cannot manage to choose one favorite. Luckily I’m not really picky about picks, and can switch from different shapes / thickness / material easily.
     
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  10. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Yeah, I agree with the consensus of opinions expressed here: picks make a difference.

    Over the decades, I've tried a bunch of different brands of picks, in different gauges and of different materials. What I determined from that is I like a heavier/stiffer pick. Medium just doesn't do it for me. Well, I tend to use a lighter gauge pick, like a Jim Dunlop Nylon .73mm, on my Nashville-tuned parlor, because the strings are so light. But for my other acoustics strung with 12s and my teles strung with 10s, I use a stiff pick, at least 1.00mm gauge.

    For years now I have made my own picks, and the material of choice is high pressure laminate material used for countertops. You can get those 3.5" x 5" sample cards from Home Depot for 25 cents, and each card yields a dozen picks. The material is just a frog's hair shy of 1.00mm, but it's the stiffest material for picks I've used. It's almost all I use now.

    Potential picks, laminate samplers -2.jpg Picks personally punched from laminate.jpg
     
  11. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I have a Tommy Emmanuel pick I got at one of his concerts. Every since I got the pick, I can play just like a guy who went to one of Tommy's concerts and bought a pick.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
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  12. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    Much of the music I (try to) play calls for a clear attack on the low strings and plenty of chime on the top strings. I settled on nylon picks years ago, just thick enough for some control on arpeggios -- Jim Dunlop 0.60mm or 0.73mm. If I try the Delrin 2.0mm or Tortex 1.14mm pick in my grab-bag and don't adjust my amp, it sounds like I'm picking with a pencil eraser!
     
  13. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Holic

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    I stick with 1.5 mm vpick and a fender heavy is old but good and gets overshadowed by the boutiquer’s
     
  14. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Amazing how much difference the pick makes.
    I keep coming back to a thin hard pick
     
  15. Festofish

    Festofish Tele-Holic

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  16. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I play with the pick tilted in my hand in such a way that the strings make contact with the edge of the pick.
    As I am holding the pick the edge furthest away from my wrist gets worn on the underside of the pick whereas the edge closest to my wrist gets worn on the top edge.

    I can’t use the fender picks like the OP shows. They get dents and tears and cracks pretty quick.

    I love Herco flex 50’s. They seem thicker than other “50’s”.
    I use Brain .73 or any nylon.73ish.
     
  17. DeepDangler

    DeepDangler TDPRI Member

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  18. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Whenever I use anything but a celluloid pick I miss the twang.
     
  19. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Fender Heavys for me - or any celluloid that is heavy in the standard shape. Yep they have a kind of snap or attack that I lose with nylon picks.
     
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  20. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Holic

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    I am really loving the Gravity picks "Thin pick" model. I like both the .90, and the 1.0 with acoustic and electric guitars. I don't drop as much as other picks. Also like the primetone .88..
     
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