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Picks....Possibly a Different Perspective

ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
So a strange thing happened while trying to find what might be the best pick for me. I think most people try to find the pick they like best and stick with it till they tire of it and look for something else. I have come to the conclusion for myself that is a limiting approach. I find picks to be the fastest way to change the sound and playability of a guitar and some picks work better on some guitars than others. I like Gators, they have a nice warm tone, are inexpensive but I find my facility on them is not nearly as agile as say a Django Pick or a Vladmir. The latter 2 sound great and work well on my Hahl or Holo guitar but sound plasticky for lack of a better word on my Dupont. The Dupont sounds considerably better with the Gator though again the agility suffers a bit. Also how hard I dig into the strings has some influence on my perception. I guess the point being is getting acclimated to being able to change picks and be comfortable gives your guitar a much more greater option for tonal variations. Changing picks is not that drastic of thing once you get used to it. I find going from a Gypsy guitar to an electric or nylon stringed guitar takes more mind twisting than switching picks. Next time the guitar you once thought was great and now you are tired of gives you thought of selling it, try changing picks instead, you may find your answer there.

On a side note many of you know I sold my Holo except I didn't. I had it sold and shipped off. Before doing so I had Neil Andersson swap out the bridge at the request of the potential buyer (thanks Neil!). I got the guitar back, swapped picks and couldn't put it down...was totally bummed that i had to ship it off now that I liked it (I'm not the type to go back on my word). I gave the buyer 48 hrs to like it or leave it. He said the neck profile was a bit too thin for him. The guitar came back and i could not be happier. A couple of small tweaks, a new pick and the guitar is transformed. Lesson learned.
BucoJosechikyShemiBill Da Costa WilliamsCharles Meadows

Comments

  • Somebody is looking out for you Craig. Cool story.
    What do you think I've been doing to keep myself interested in my guitar? Switching picks, strings, bridges. I slid a shim of stainless steel to raise the zero fret. Everything works in small ways to change the sound and feel of it and keep things fresh.
    My latest idea is to make a soundport. But I'm a little reluctant because I can't easily back up on it once it's done. Unless I have a luthier make a sliding door so it can be opened and closed and in between. I've seen those done too.
    ScoredogJosechikyShemi
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Elí SaúlElí Saúl Toluca, Mexico.New Dell'Arte DG-H2
    That's an interesting story, to be honest my budget doesn't allow me to be thinking about serious upgrades to my guitar, but I'm always experimenting with the way I pick the strings, I have this Bone pick that I ended up giving it 4 different tips, which I intentionally use depending on where and with who I'm playing. It's always interesting to see how different sound you get by doing little things like changing your pick!
    ScoredogJosechikyBuco
  • ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Alves de Puga DR670; Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH600
    Tried lots; always end up back with Jokko's hand-made Manouche picks. Expensive, but worth it. The ultimate in flexibility is his Tresto pick (of which I own two in 2 and 2.5 mm). The Tresto is a mid size triangle with 3 speed-beveled edges from sharp to round. Can change on the fly as needed. They sound great on any guitar I've played and they are naturally tacky. Got them in loud colors cause I don't want to lose them. Just ordered one more Tresto in a new material from Jokko.
    Scoredog
  • ShemiShemi Cardiff✭✭✭
    I'm still trying to settle on my preference. I'm quite happy switching between picks so I find no problems going to something like a 5mm to get some volume if needed. However, at the moment I'm just using a 1.5mm gator using the point as standard. I like the attack for lead and I've persevered with it for rhythm also. I thought I'd try it after watching Bireli in the Jazz in Vienna concert. I'm probably wrong but I had the impression from his attack that it was more point than rounded edge. Plus I keep losing my Wegen and I can buy packs of 10 gators in town!lol

    I love how you can experiment with these little changes in the guitar, but I also make sure never to let them get in the way of the main focus of musicality and technique. I use to set up guitars in a shop and I lost count of the guys who use to come in and say about getting a bone nut fitted to improve tone and then watch them struggle to play a barre chord !
  • NylonDaveNylonDave ✭✭✭
    Possibly another perspective on picks.

    Lots of us learned alternate picking originally and since this can be done with any pick it can be hard to avoid in the heat of the moment because under pressure of time we tend to technically follow the path of least resistance.

    I like to play flamenco and never practice with a pick. But the use of the thumb in flamenco precludes crossing to a higher pitched string with an upstroke because of the curvature of the thumb nail. For melody playing with the thumb alone a rest stroke works very well.

    So I guess what I am suggesting is that playing rest strokes with the thumb nail might be a good way for anyone to get out of the habit of switching to alternate picking mid phrase because the path of least resistance will always be a repeated downstroke as it is physically impossible to ascend strings with upstrokes.

    It is fun, you can get lots of different sounds (flamenco players prefer a click which is produced by placing a lot of thumb flesh beween the side of the nail and the string and for classical players a real deep heavy reststroke on the tip of the nail which supresses harmonics and sounds super low) bust habits and also you might think of things to do with your fingers that would be awkward to imitate plectrum only, like a piano like soft attack all fingers at once. Hybrid hybrid picking if you like, gypsy plus hybrid.

    To my ears Django practiced like this working on some of his solo material.

    D.
    Shemi
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    edited August 20
    Scoredog. There are many great guitars being sidelined simply because there's maintenance needed and they don't sound good. Glad to hear your story about the Holo.
    I've been trading between buffalo horn and delrin picks for years. One is sticky (abrasive) against the string. The delrin is slick as snot. It's like having a different guitar when I switch. One bright and cranky and the other more dark and powerful. I've come to be able to anticipate the very different feel and compensate technique when I change picks, but it took a while.
    I'm very unfaithful to any guitar or pick, but still have a quite stable marriage somehow.
    Scoredog
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
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