tone, pick thickness, and pick noise



  • StevearenoSteveareno ✭✭✭
    Posts: 349
    Remember talking to a blues harp player (when I was into that stuff) about how he got such a great big, fat tone out of a small cheap cassette mic and a little vintage Harmony tube amp (Little Walter move over). He said it was about finding a mic that worked "in concert" with the amp. His tone was better and more feedback resistant than my Astatic mic and Fender Bassman 59 Reissue. Found the same thing with GJ guitars: Some picks are really gonna make the guitar come alive, others not so much. After trying Red Bear, Wegen, V Picks, Dunlop GJ picks and others, I've settled (for now) on Grisman Dawg Picks (made by D'Andrea). They're made of some compound which I think is mainly celluloid (their answer in the 50s to Tortoise Shell when it was banned, or got too expensive. The same stuff they made archtop pickguards and sometimes binding out of. I think it's organic.. Soft, warm, mellow tone, good grip and slides off the strings smoothly. No raspy, ciinky plinky, hard tone (some do prefer this...not me). Great on all my acoustic guitars. Cheap too..only about $1.20. YMMV. Mi dos centavos.
    Swang on,
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Rocky has it right. There is no one pick. I have a fair selection of vintage gypsy guitars, plus the occasional modern one, and I find that each guitar wants a certain string/pick combination to sound best. On steel strings, I use Wegen 3.5, Wegen 5.0, Moustache 4.0, Dugain 4.0, and a handful of seemingly homemade picks of unknown origin (Elliot, I still have that great coconut pick you sent me, and it's still great!). For nylon strings gypsy guitars, I use Clayton 1.5s and 1.9s cut and beveled to a Wegen profile (cause I lost my beloved Bob Holo pick of the same specs), or sometimes a Dunlop 2.0. I even have a pick Alfonso Ponticelli gave me that I use just for Boleros. Add a mic/amp combo, and the pick may change. Also, I doubt if my choices would work for the next guy, because his picking attack is different. I'm mostly just a Rhythm Bitch these days, but I change picks sometimes song to song. I even vary whether I use the point or a rounded side. They are your tone knob, so changing picks means changing tone, and that can be a good thing. Heck, sometimes I just want to hear a different sound that day and try a different one to see what happens.

    I remember reading an interview with, I think, Charlie Byrd in a guitar magazine. The interviewer asked him which strings he used. His reply: whichever one the guitar I'm playing wants. I think the same rule applies to picks.

    There's one pick, perhaps, if you own one guitar, and don't mind if you sound the same on every tune. But if your lucky enough to own several, and really get to know them well, I think you'll find that there is no One, but a whole world of tones out there that you can have at your command.

    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • If you know your guitar and your pick and how to use em, one can get lots of different sounds, at least on acoustic.

    I haven't enough experience on electrics to comment.

    I can change the sound my pick creates by my attack, how I hold it, the angle I hold it, where I pick on the strings.

    The fact that is quiet and slick are just side benefits. To me a pick is like a sax mouthpiece which takes months of playing lots on to get to know many of the nuances and years to know well. i have been playing blue chip for two years and am still discovering things that I can do with it.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Doubled
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • B25GibB25Gib Bremerton WA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 164
    Hi Jazzaferi -
    I met you in the courtyard of the Cliff House Restaurant & Bar in 2010 @ DFNW when you sat with Alphonso Ponticelli and I introduced myself, talked with you, then with Alphonso and asked to play his newer Neuvo model HOLO guitar to compare it to mine., which we both later shared and were able to compare.
    Anyway, I recognize the subtle nuances capable with a reed instrument as you are a sax player - great instrument! So much of tone is generated by the mouth/tongue grip!
    However; since you are such an enthusiatic believer in a Blue Chip Pick for your guitars, how about providing some video or audio mp3 files so we can hear all these beautiful subtle differences that you have discovered over the last two years using this incredible Blue Chip Pick?
    Step up Man

    Jam On!
  • Hi Rocky

    As I stated earlier as soon as I get my studio back (reno's) which will be about 2 weeks I will set p and do some recordings between the various picks and since you ask will demo the different pick positions. I originally intended to record in the nearfield and the midfield as I wonder if what I hear as a difference is detectable by someone at 5 feet or more.

    I dont claim the blue chip is better than anything else for anyone else other than me. I can only report my experience, and people should make their own assesments. Like a sax mouthpiece everyones fingers, style, etc etc is personal and what works for one is no guarantee that it will work for all.

    I do beleive that whatever pick one uses it takes a fair bit of use to learn all its nuances. Once one does, if one only produces one type of sound that only is a comment on the player's sound ideal and certainly not a criticism.

    But I do think that for someone to say that one pick makes only one sound is incorrect on acoustic guitar.

    Yes I recall meeting you, that was a good
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • B25GibB25Gib Bremerton WA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 164
    Hi Jazz -
    I think your earlier post of pick attributes is a very good guideline!
    Agree with you that pick angle, grip strength, distance from bridge, etc. is a significant contribution to tonal quality and musical feel!
    Anyway, technology is advancing quickly so I'm sure many of us are looking forward to new pick material configurations in the future as well as hearing your Blue Chip recordings!
    ps: Please forget my SUM last comment previously.
    Jam On,
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,330
    You realize you guys are killing this guy who tends to periodic GAS attacks, right? :D

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • When I first got a blue chip and was worried about wear, matthew told me to put the pick up against a grinder for a few seconds and so I tried that. Was amazed to say the least.

    I look forward to the advances in pick technology.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Michael.ArmitageMichael.Armitage Melbourne, Australia✭✭ 2012 Alain Mazaud Vieux Paris
    Posts: 8
    After my previous posts about the importance of right hand technique, I gave in to temptation and ordered a Blue Chip TD 100. It is a 2.5 mm standard tear drop shaped pick with very similar bevelling to the Wegen and cost $75 US. This is the heaviest gauge they make. It's a crazy price for a pick but I had to try it just to end this whole 'search for the perfect pick' thing.

    I found the pointy end to produce a very, very thin & bright tone that in my opinion is not suited to GJ. It would probably suit flatpickers / bluegrass players much better. I thought this might be the case when I ordered it but took the risk anyway. The rounded corner was better and I actually began to enjoy it but I would need to practice for a long while to achieve the control I've developed with a Wegen. There are other styles to choose from but only one other model goes up to 2.5mm

    There has obviously been a lot of attention to detail in the production of these picks. It was indeed extremely easy to pick fast and precisely with the Blue Chip, especially for tremolo and alternate picking which I find can be tough with a 3.5mm Wegen, however the bright tone just didn't do it for me. I tend to like worn in picks..... if the Blue Chip doesn't wear down then I'm worried it may always sound too bright for my liking.

    Going back to my worn out white Wegen........ it sounded so much mellower and I had to dig in more to get the same volume but I prefer the tone hands down. It also is way better for me for rhythm playing. I also compared both with some 2.5 mm Dunlop Gators, JD Jazz Tone 208s, 2.5 Wegen Twins. While the release off the strings wasn't as smooth and the attack noise more noticeable than the Blue Chip, I preferred them all for GJ in terms of tone.

    If Blue Chip made a 3.5 mm pick with a less acute point and softer bevel (ie more like the Wegen), it may well be a great pick for GJ but would probably cost $100. That's just insane. Blue Chip do offer to replace your pick with another type if you're not happy. Rather than send mine pick back, I'm going to attempt file and polish it it to achieve a bevel and point more similar a slightly worn Wegen and see how it goes.

    Lesson learned....... search for picks over for now.

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