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BlueChip picks Revolutionary material or Emperor’s new clothes?

#1 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 30 June 2015 - 10:10 AM

BlueChip picks.
Revolutionary material or Emperor’s new clothes?

These have gained attention due to their high price, but users are very complimentary about them. I was curious enough to buy one and find out what all the fuss was about.

BlueChip TAD 40: I choose this one because it most closely resembles my usual pick (Gibson Triangular).
The tip radius of the TAD 40 is 3.75mm/.147” (measured with a rad gauge). The thickness is indicated by the number 40, so this is .040” thick. This is heavier than I would normally use.

Gibson Triangles: I’ve been using the Gibsons for about 30 years. They are slightly larger than most picks and the radius on the tip is about 2.5mm/.098” (measured using a rad gauge)
The mediums are what I normally use. These are .68mm/.027” thick but vary quite bit.

Another BlueChip review stated that the sheets the picks are made from costs $1000. Since I have no idea of the sheet size or how many picks it makes, this is useless data. I did try to weigh my pick but it was too light to register on my digital scales. I would hazard a punt that it is as costly as a precious metal or stone by weight though.

BlueChip Claims: They are supposed to be hard wearing, self lubricating and tacky to the touch.

Hard Wearing: Too early to tell. But these can be fettled using files and sandpaper, so presumably they will wear the same way other plastics do.

Self Lubricating: Tusq nuts are also supposed to be self lubricating. I can only suppose this occurs at the point of wear? Or does it ooze snake oil? Who knows? ;)

Tacky: Finally something I can test. I challenge this. I don’t find it tacky and am just a likely to drop it as any other pick.

Speed bevel: (Caution! this feature uses a shredder ‘trigger’ word). What is it? Look at an old well worn pick at the edges. You should see angular wear at the point of contact (or attack).
This is what they mean by a ‘speed bevel’. This does make a difference, and explains why worn picks seem to play better than brand new ones. BlueChip also make another speed bevel for left handed players, and a non bevelled version too.


Comparison test: This sort of test is the only meaningful one I can do. Since the BlueChip is .040” thick I decided to use it first on my Hofner HCT J-17 archtop.
I use heavier gauge strings on this guitar & also use a heavier pick; specifically the .034” Gibson Heavy. These strings are .011”-.050” gauge flatwound.

I tried a few melodic phrases beginning with the familiar Gibson pick. I then used the BluChip for comparison. Surprisingly, they played exactly the same. I could not distinguish between them at all. I felt a very small amount of give in the BlueChip. This isn’t surprising because the J-17 string tension is high, not permitting any string bends or vibrato. The Gibson also has a similar amount of flex in use.


I use .010”-.046” strings on my other electric guitars, & for these I use Gibson Medium picks (.027” thick).

I choose the PRS Custom 24 to try next.

The pick thickness difference here was noticeable. Though not as great a difference as I expected.
I did find the BlueChip pick better. There is a little more control with the BlueChip when alternate picking at speed. Most of my picking comprises of alternating up & down strokes. At speed I found slightly more definition and ease of movement on and between the B and top E strings.

There is a trade-off though. The BlueChip doesn’t allow me the finer control of volume I get from the Gibson Medium (by virtue of the slight ‘give’ or deflection when in contact with the wound strings).

I should stress though that these differences are slight. On the remaining strings (E,A,D,G), there is only a difference in feel, but no improvement in control or definition.

Conclusion. There is no difference in sound. There is a minor improvement in control on the two upper strings (.010” and .013”) on a 10-46 set.
On a set of 011.”-.050” flatwounds however, I find no advantage over a Gibson Heavy pick at all.
The question arises: Am I using too light a pick (Gibson Medium) on the 10-46 strung guitars? Maybe. That could be easily corrected by using the cheaper Gibson heavy pick. I am reviewing this now.

Is it worth the money? No. Not to me anyway. It has made me curious about what other picks might have to offer though. I have now bought some other picks to try out.
I would rate the BlueChip TAD 40 as follows:

8.5/10 - good for purpose
and
1/10 - value for money

Price: $35 (£22.25) each. Available to order at BlueChip's website.
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#2 User is offline   FZ Fan 

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 05:31 AM

$35 US for on guitar pick. I thought my V-picks were pricey at $5. Some of the picks were $75. How sh-itty of a felling would you have if you lost a $75 pick.

Why do I want my picks to be self lubricated. I have never needed lubrication with any pick I have ever used.
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#3 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 03 July 2015 - 07:04 AM

View PostFZ Fan, on 03 July 2015 - 05:31 AM, said:

$35 US for on guitar pick. I thought my V-picks were pricey at $5. Some of the picks were $75. How sh-itty of a felling would you have if you lost a $75 pick.

Why do I want my picks to be self lubricated. I have never needed lubrication with any pick I have ever used.


Well I'd feel better about it if it was a great pick that I'd had SOME use from. But the BlueChip is no big deal really.

I have been trying out other picks too. I have one V-pick which is the thinnest I could find. It has proved the best of the bunch so far, which surprised me. pointy picks dont usually work for me.
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#4 User is offline   merciful-evans 

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Posted 04 December 2015 - 05:02 PM

Another thing to bear in mind is that the customer reviews are vetted by BlueChip and anything not praising the product unreservedly is NOT POSTED.

How do I know. I wrote a review. I said the pick was good, but honest about how it compares to other picks. It was not used.

This pretty much makes the reviews posted worthless. For all we know, there are more poor or lukewarm reviews than fawning ones.
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