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Help me pick a pick...


Mojorule

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So although I love my very old Gibson triangle pick, and love the sound I hear from my SJ when I use it, I've been a bit taken aback by some recordings done with it which made the mighty Woody sound a bit like a banjo. Time for a change of pick, methought. I've been enjoying the sheer clout of the wooden pick, and figured it might keep the old Gibson's stiffness while removing some of its brightness. Here, I reckon it loses too much brightness and cut.What do you reckon? And if none of the above, any recommendations that cost less than a red bear or blue chip? I like stiff picks - a tiny bit of flex will do, but not much. Needn't be ultra-thick, though. Anybody use buffalo horn?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfOvxeM69m0&feature=plcp

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I bought a Blue Chip, but always end up back with the Orange 60mm Tortex. The Blue Chip just doesn't sound as good.

 

And it feels weird......

 

The Blue Chip is tricky. It really enhances single note tone, but is clicky and clackity for strumming.

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Mojo, honestly, my recommndation would be to go to a lighter pick.

 

The first three picks didnt make the Woodie sound good, IMO the tone was way too bright, very little to no warmth. The last one sounded better, but seemed to be a bit thinner.

 

I have the 2nd and 3rd of those picks you tested alos, and they too make my AL SJ sound bright and brash and unappealing.

 

Hence I recommend Gibson Mediums. They are still quite rigid but with enough flex to offer warmth and complexity in the strumming tone. I have not come across a pick that delivers a better strumming tone that this pick, and Ive tried dozens.

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Personal 0.02 herewith...

 

Gibson large triangular heavy for me can handle most stuff

 

Technique is an over-riding factor... :blink:

 

V

 

:-({|=

 

See, I dont agree here. Every flatpicker who uses a heavy pick gives me this argument, its all about the tecnhnique and if you make some adjustments you can a great tone with a thick pick.

 

I personally think thats generally bollocks as Ive gone through this process and adjusted my technique, but for me bottom line is that if you have a pick that doesnt flex it will always have that harsher strumming tone as physics simply wont allow you to get those tonal properties of a lighter pick that can flex and deliver the related tonal output characteristic of such a pick.

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See, I dont agree here. Every flatpicker who uses a heavy pick gives me this argument, its all about the tecnhnique and if you make some adjustments you can a great tone with a thick pick.

 

I personally think thats generally bollocks as Ive gone through this process and adjusted my technique, but for me bottom line is that if you have a pick that doesnt flex it will always have that harsher strumming tone as physics simply wont allow you to get those tonal properties of a lighter pick that can flex and deliver the related tonal output characteristic of such a pick.

 

yeah , a heavy pick gives the sound of a heavy pick , theres a little you can do with technique , but a heavy pick just isnt gonna sound like a thin pick no matter what .

 

give ritchie havens one of those big blue chip things and he aint gonna sound the same.

 

heavy picks are good for certain types of music and light ones are better suited for others . simple as that :D

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As some of the guys have said I would try I lighter pick (Gibson mediums aint half bad).

 

My thickest 2 picks are a blue jim dunlop 1.0m and a pick jim dunlop nylon 0.96? Both tortex both seem to be made out of different materials, the pink i presume is nylon?

 

The pink and blue sound ok picking, but strumming the pink is miles ahead of the blue.

 

The blue one just sounds dead on my guitars?

 

I still prefer my ultra thin pick, followed by the Gibson medium.

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Thanks for the responses chaps. I know there's been a lot of generic discussion about best picks, but I really wanted to set this one in a concrete setting - what sounds best with my guitar.

 

All of the replies so far are very useful.

 

Firstly PM brings great wisdom to his post, as he knows very well that I'm a lazy/tight sod when it comes to changing strings. They are the original set and are close to 18 months old. The high e is newer though, which might explain some of the added treble cut that some of you are hearing. I've really always just kept strings on till they break or fray to uselessness. This tactic has worked for nigh on 30 years of playing, but for most of those years I was playing cheap guitars where having new strings just brought brightness and not necessarily enhanced tone or even much greater volume. And on my electrics the strings tended to break often enough for them not to get dreadfully worn, and any that don't break still tend to sound OK when amped. This even holds true since I've had a Gibson electric - some of the strings are oldish, but they don't sound dull through an amp and I've got through enough strings through breakage to keep things lively. In any case, I've been focusing on the acoustic for the past year anyway, so even older strings on the electric are not that worn. Clearly now I have a nice Gibson acoustic, I need to change my string-changing strategy, but beyond the laziness (the tightness is affected really), I am wary of the bright edge that new strings bring - one of the reasons that I held off from buying a good acoustic for so long was that until I encountered Gibson slopes properly, most of them sounded like rosewood Martins to me - which to my ears are glossy and sheeny rather than full of the overtones that others hear. I always fear that new strings will take me in that direction, rather than maintaining the earthy, woody roar that the SJ definitely has to my ears. So strings definitely in line for changing, though here the guitar sounds less banjo-like to me than on other recordings.

 

Secondly, EA and BBG evidently have a point, though Versatile also has one too. Both relate to adapting technique. I've had a pick for about 25 years and with the exception of my first Ernie Ball (no idea what gauge it was), I've always used a heavy pick, and for the most part a thinnish, heavy 346 rounded triangle. Before that Gibson I had an almost identical Peavey which wore out to a circle. That style of pick gives me more control and I can play pretty fast with one: makes Misirlou a doddle, whereas a thinner pick would catch on the strings. So when BBG says I need something thinner than the wood pick for my technique, he's right. After the initial front-of-camera fluff, I reckon my playing here was better with the old Gibson pick and with the Stubby which has a similar stiffness-to-gauge ratio. The delrin job is one of the picks I used to use when I played in a trad jazz band long ago. As I was only ever playing rhythm I didn't need speed control, and its extra thickness added serious volume to my old beater acoustic when competing with much louder instruments. I hate the way it feels though - too thick and that weird rubbery feel. The thickness and feel impact on my playing - fine for big chords and maybe boom-chikka bass-chord playing, but not for picking out different strings among the chords. The wood pick feels better, but still feels a bit thick and hard to control. So clearly even after years of practice, there is still a lot to learn on the technique front. I take Versatile's point here, but I can control the Gibby pick pretty well and get nuance from it. Evidently my real weakness is that I like to hit the strings really hard! Still BBG and EA seem to be right about the fact that such picks will click - at least when I do play hard. I'll give a medium pick a go, and see if I can adapt, but I have a feeling that it will work better for straight chord playing and not really let me pick out lead so clearly. Even if I adapt technique to such a pick it won't really let me hit the single notes hard, will it?

 

I feel like I'm searching for something of the shape and thickness of the Gibson pick, but in a material which doesn't click, but slides off the strings just a tad more. Does such a thing exist - Jed's recommendation of ultex perhaps? I think I want to try cheaper options before going red bear or blue chip. (That tightness again...)

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Different strokes for different folks. Y'all know where I stand on this one.

 

Yes and your blue chip sounds great and far from clicky, despite being heavy. But how heavy is it, and is it as thin as you were used to before (thinking back to earlier posts where you also were in favour of thin, but stiff picks)? How much adjustment in picking technique did it need? My problem with blue chip is the sheer cost, especially when they are only available on a no returns basis. Without trying before buying, it's hard to know which gauge to buy. There are so many other picks in materials now claiming to be the nearest thing to tortoise shell - ultex/ultem, buffalo horn, amber - for me it's definitely worth trying something cheaper first.

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Yes and your blue chip sounds great and far from clicky, despite being heavy. But how heavy is it......

 

The Blue Chip I use is 0.050", very thin as picks go, but it is totally inflexible due to the material it's made of. A Red Bear is much thicker, of a different material and still inflexible. And it is indeed all about technique. As you noted, the Blue Chip I use in no way sounds clicky-clackety, rather it is full bodied and powerful. It's all in the grip of the pick and the angles of attack. Varying one or both of these parameters drastically alters the tone produced.

 

Playing guitar is like handwriting: everybody can write the same words but they look different on the paper. Everyone can play the same song but they sound different due to the uniqueness of style of play. There is no right or wrong here.

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The Blue Chip I use is 0.050", very thin as picks go, but it is totally inflexible due to the material it's made of. A Red Bear is much thicker, of a different material and still inflexible. And it is indeed all about technique. As you noted, the Blue Chip I use in no way sounds clicky-clackety, rather it is full bodied and powerful. It's all in the grip of the pick and the angles of attack. Varying one or both of these parameters drastically alters the tone produced.

 

Playing guitar is like handwriting: everybody can write the same words but they look different on the paper. Everyone can play the same song but they sound different due to the uniqueness of style of play. There is no right or wrong here.

 

But I think its also important to take into consideration the type of music one plays. When I listen to your songs Buc (and like em' very much) you tend to focus mainly on the chikka boom 8th note alternative bass note strumming. Which I agree with you, a thicker pick where you dont have to play through the chord can be more suitable.

 

But I dont see much full 16th note type strums in your playing, and to me, that is where a lighter pick really shines, while a thicker picks makes the tone quite brash and bright as when Mojo demonstrated on his Woodie.

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