For the last several years, I have done most of my picking with my thumb. I would like to play more with a pick, but I am having trouble finding one that I like. I have a bunch of the standard size 0.6mm Dunlop tortex picks around. In general, they seem big in my hand, and too thin and flimsy. I have a couple of Jazz III picks around too. I like the size and thickness of those, but I do not like the sharp tip. Any suggestions?
Used to play Wegen Gipsy Picks (2mm), but recently rediscovered the Dunlop Jazz III (small, black and pointy).
I’ve tried a few, not a lot but most of the usual suspects. I always end up back with Clayton 1.52 acetal. Which I was hipped on to by tommy.
I used jazz 3s for a long time the Jazz ii is rounded and jazz i more rounded again but stores only ever seem to have iii here in Aus anyway. For the last 6 months or so I use a Dunlop tortex pick like a normal tortex but it’s the same thickness and size as the jazz series and has a round tip and love those. Sometimes I go back to jazz 3 whatever I pick up usually I’m not to fussy. One thing I can’t do is use a normal size pick anymore feels like I’m holding a dinner plate!
I’ve come to see pics almost like tone controls. Tommy helped me fully appreciate this. Thicker = darker and smoother. Thinner = brighter with more edge to the note attack. Certainly there is the feel side of things with different thicknesses and you mentioned not liking the point on some, although we mostly use the pointy end of the pick on the strings, there’s nothing wrong with using any corner of the pick you like on the strings. I’ve met a few guys now that although they prefer thicker picks, actually keep an assortment with them and select the right pick based on the material they have been asked to pay, think session guys that need to reproduce lots of different styles. The right pick helps.
The never ending search for picks. I am like you and primarily play with my fingers. Hey it works for Rick Holmstrom, Derek Trucks, Albert Collins, and the countless other blues pioneers. For me I personally like thick picks, 1.2mm and bigger, but really like the 1.5 to 2.0mm and a slightly rounded tip. This is because of the control of dynamics I can get like when I play with my fingers, and the thicker pick, and little more rounded tip, fattens the tone like when you play with your fingers. Thick picks cut out the higher frequencies, as does the more rounded the tip gets. The Jazz III and the Jazztone (which can be found with more rounded tips) picks by Dunlop have a good tone and play well. For me though they are just too small because I am always switching from the pick being in my hands and then tucked away for finger style. So I tended to drop them a lot, and a pick that small and dark is a bitch to find on a stage. Good alternatives that I have been happy with to get that sound in little bigger size is the Dunlop Ultex picks. They come in a couple of shapes and the standard ones go up to 1.14mm in thickness. These have a very good tone, grip well to your hand, and really last. Dunlop now makes a line they call Primetone that are made from this Ultex material and go up to 1.5mm in thickness and can be found in any Dunlop pick design. I have liked these, but they are pricey. A 6 pack will run you $10-$12, but they last as close as you can get to forever, so unless you loose them you will never buy new picks. Plus to me they really give you the same tone and grippyness as the famed V-Picks, but you get 3 for the price of 1 V-pick. Dunlops’ Gator Grips and Dunlop 500 picks have a nice feel and tone also, slightly smaller than a standard pick, and go up to 2.0mm in size. These are also cheap like standard picks. Around $5 for a dozen. I just do not like their material as much as the Ultex. The Clayton Acetal picks Craner mentioned, by way of Tommy, are very nice sounding. I love the tone, and they last. Cheap also. For you though they will probably be too big because they are slightly larger(in shape) than the Dunlop Tortex you mentioned. A little more pointed at the tip as well. The other thing that I do is take a thumbpick and file it down so the tip is the same size as what was sticking out when I held a regular pick. I like this when I know I am not going to take the pick off (so I do not use it at blues gigs). When I was talking to Paul Pigat at Tommy’s clinic, he said he did this same thing with his thumbpicks. So his word is a little more reputable than mine. LOL. Thumpicks, like the really tiny Jazz picks take a little getting used to. Being accustomed to playing fingerstyle you will adapt to the thumbpick fast once you find the tip size you like.
Some thumpick makers that offer various size and tips, are National and Fred Kelly. Dunlop, Ernie Ball, and D’Andrea offer just one style in their line. One thing different on these picks is the size does not refer to pick thickness, but to the opening for the thumb. Example, if a thumbpick says medium that means it is for medium sized thumbs, and not a medium gauge pick like a Fender Medium celluloid pick. Fred Kelly offers a lot of styles and tips, some being just a regular pick on a strap. National offer really just the one style but different tip sizes, some almost no existent.
Thanks for the input everybody. I like the looks of the Dunlop Jazztone and Jazz I picks. Have not been able to find any locally, so I guess I will pony up a couple of bucks and order them from Amazon.
I did find an old Dunlop standard size pick in the bottom of my sock drawer. I like the thickness of it, and have gotten used to the larger size. Unfortunately it is freaking Carolina blue so its gotta go as soon as I can get something else in (nobody but Bryan will probably get that).
Yeah I get it! LOL. So who is your allegiance too? Duke or the Pack? I am going to say Duke because people tend to be more anti-Carolina if they are a Duke fan. That is where the bigger Rivalry is now. My family is pretty big, and it was always split pretty much down the middle Duke or Carolina. Whenever they played in basketball on TV we all went to my Great Grandparents house to watch the game. She lived on a farm so she had the room for (No Lie) 30 cars that would line up at the house, between all of the aunts, uncles and cousins that would show up. I am surprised they never lost a TV because it would get crazy up in that place when there were close games. You would have a questionable call, something like charging, and whatever team it went against would just go crazy. Then they would get arguing with each other because the Carolina side would say “man that was charging”, and the Duke side would say “are you crazy that is a BS call.” It was great. LOL.
I am one of the freaking insane NCSU Wolfpack fans. Believe me, the official rivalry may be UNC-Duke for ESPN purposes, but I can attest than the Pack despises UNC at jihad levels that I think the average Duke fan is too sissified to comprehend, especially with the whole cheating scandal going on.
I am actually in California right now for a biopharm development conference. I hung out with Tommy and Nico Duportal for a few hours last night and had a complete ball. I am hoping to get out to see them play on Thursday night.
We had a saying as kids being Carolina Fans. You’ve probably heard it. Duke is Puke, Wake is a Fake, but the team we really hate is NC State. Our family though, State just kind of rode in the middle. We really never cared if State did well or not, but we always pulled against Duke. Maybe it was because State was never good enough to worry about. LOL 🙂 Duke has it on all of us right now though because they were the only ACC team to make the Final 4.
Here is a humorous story for you to illustrate how deep that rivalry was in our family between Carolina and Duke fans. In the back of my Great Grandparents farm were some woods that had a big ravine. It was probably pushing about ten feet deep at the deepest part. From all of the years of the leaves shedding, it didn’t look very deep and was hard to gauge where it actually started to descend. One day we were all at the house for the game and the grown ups were going crazy in the house. All of us younger cousins all went into the woods to play. We started throwing each other into the leaves wrestling and horse playing. Myself and another cousin grabbed the youngest cousin, one by the hands, and the other by the feet. We picked him up and slung him into the leaves, and he just disappeared. Up until that point when people fell into them you could still tell where they were, but he vanished. We waited for a minute thinking he is just messing with us, but he never came back out. Then it dawned on us that we near the ravine and probably threw him in it. In a young kid panic, and fearing severe punishment, we ran back to the house. We just sat back down and started watching the game. After about 10 minutes the cousin we all threw in the leaves comes in the door, and ended up having a broken arm. When asked what happened he said that all of us threw him into the ravine. They looked at us sitting beside the couch, and we just said we have been in here watching the game. No one even knew we had left. They never noticed us being gone for half the game. So they blamed him for trying to get his cousins in trouble. Eventually one ratted us out later on though. That is how intense, and focused they were on the game.
Jason, Tommy told me you were heading out that way and he was hoping you would be able to drop by. It is fun out there. It does make me appreciate the life we have out here though. So laid back and calm compared to that. I have been out a few times to play and hang out. I just missed Nico the last time I was there. He went back a day or two before I got there. It was alright because Paul Pigat was there, and I got to see him play with Tommy and Kid Ramos. Nico is a good player. You should enjoy the Beach Fire.
I am finally getting the jazzy/rockabilly sound I want out of my Tele guitar using a combination of flat wounds and the V-pick Euro. According to the V-pick site, they are a “good replacement for the Jazz III.” I’ve never played a Jazz III, so I don’t know. The Euro is thicker than most picks and has holes drilled in for a better grip.
They cost $4 bucks each. I like ’em so much that when one of them broke, I actually spent the time to super glue it back together. (BTW – it only broke because I tried to use it as a flat-head screwdriver.)
I was never excited about picks until I found this particular V-pick. I have yet to try any of the high-end $30 Red Bear picks and the like.
As I mentioned earlier, for the most part I use clayton 1.52 acetel. When I play my archtops I like to use the d’andrea spectra 2mm picks. Unfortunately they don’t make them anymore. The presence and percussive sound is killer. When I did my clinic with jonathan Stout he used blue chip picks. Funny enough they didn’t look special at all. I mistakenly pocketed his pick after we were swapping guitars. The next day he asked me if anyone had taken his pick. I told him and sent it back. I originally thought what’s the big deal until I looked up the price online. 50.00!!!!!!!!! I will admit it did sound good.
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