"Picking" a pick

prsrocker1988

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A small yet often overlooked part of a sound/tone and style.

I've been on the quest for the perfect pick for me since I started. I've used everything popular - Tortex, Jazz III's of many times, Fender 351s, Dava's, Ernie Ball, D'Addario, V Picks, you name it.... Gels, Delrins, Gator Grips, Shark Fins, Teardrop, Thumbpick, whatever. I am a flatpick guy. Not a hybrid picker or a thumbpicker or a fingerpicker. I make my flatpicking sound plenty country and twangy just by using a compressor pedal heavier than a hybrid or fingerpicker would.

Someone gave me a Herco Flex 75 and a Herco Flex 50 and told me to try them - he swears by them. I had never tried them. I was sold on a Red Jazz III XL and very much enjoyed it.

I got home and tried the 75 first. Wow!! What a great pick. Fit perfectly, great tip, great grip, everything. Everything I had been looking for....Except I'd been missing the thinness and bounce of some of the picks I had used years ago like the Tortex.

So I tried the 50.... Needless to say it has changed my playing and sound for the better! OMG. Hard enough for single note runs, soft enough to get funky with rhythm and still can chug out power and barre chords! \m/ I'm a rhythm player at heart so I had missed the extra bounce to the thinner picks. I loved the precision that that JIII offered for leads but it was too stiff for me.

I then learn a lot of my favorite players use(d) Herco picks. Jimmy Page, Joe Walsh, Don Felder, Keith Urban, Billy Duffy, on and on. I wonder why I hadn't heard of them sooner.

I have 2 bags of a dozen each of the 50s and two 75 picks in case I ever want something heavier with the same grip and tone.

Anyone had a similar experience with finding the perfect pick?
 

CoreyT

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I have tried many picks over the years including Herco, Fender mediums, the green 88 mm Dunlop Tortex, then someone posted here awhile back the Davas.
This has become my favorite pick, prior to that was the Tortex mentioned above.
Dava 1303 Delrin Grip Tips Guitar Pick (6-Pack)

At present I have no Herco picks in my inventory, I may have to swing by the music store and try some.
But for right now the Dava above is my favorite.
 

LSchefman

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I stumbled onto Blue Chip picks a few months back, and they're wonderful. I'll still use the Ultex, and even celluloid picks to create a few sounds, but for the most part these are the ones I constantly use. I have them in Jazz III and a slightly larger version with the Jazz tip.

It's hard to describe the sound, I've played tortoise picks before they became illegal, but without a back to back comparison I can't really say they sound exactly like tortoise. However that doesn't matter, the tone quality is incredible (clear and crisp high end, but full low mids and midrange, too), they don't slip out of your fingers, and they wear like iron. After 4-5 months of constant use I'm not seeing any wear.

For some reason the material is not slippery in your fingers, but it glides through the strings faster than other picks, and did I mention how nice they sound?

Yes, they're expensive. Yes, worth it (unless you lose picks, in which case, you'll burn through a lot of dough!). Monogrammed, natch. The material they're made from is some kind of unobtanium product I think, and it only comes in brown.

In fact, don't even try one, because you'll be hooked permanently. Pretend you didn't see this post. ;) Pic:

 
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kingsleyd

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^^^ what Les said. I use the Jazz III shape Blue Chips too. Although my main pick is still a Brazilian agate Jazz III shape pick from Picks-n-Stones. The BCs have more of a traditional sound that reminds me of tortoise shell (I have a couple of those but they're in kinda odd shapes so I don't use them much) whereas the agate ones have a sound all their own, a little bit like the V-picks but (to my ears) a little warmer and, weirdly, more like the sound of my fingers. Since I hybrid-pick pretty much all the time that ends up being a big deal.

Oh, I should mention that I also sometimes use a traditional Fender-shape celluloid pick from Pick Boy. The 1.00 version. That's one "normal" pick that feels and sounds good to me.
 
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swede71

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I have used Dunlop jazz IIIs and grey nylons for years now.Did try alot of different picks in my 20s and liked these 2 kinds the best and decided to stick with them.
 

jfb

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Red Bear
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XH

Like a number of the mentions here these too are pricey. The difference for me was immediately felt and heard. I can't fathom using anything else I've ever tried over these. I should note I haven't tried Blue Chip was received a few mentions here. If I was searching again that's what I would try first having used a number of Red Bear picks.
 

mezzio

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I guess I never really thought about squeezing more tone out of picks. I've tried a few different types, but always find myself going back to medium or heavy celluloid picks. I have tried a couple others like nylon and tortex, but thought they were just too loud for me. I have been thinking about trying stone though.
 

carlinchi

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Davas are great picks, but I go back and forth between Davas and the Eric Johnson Jazz picks. I wanted to try the Petruccis and the Hammetts but for that I'll have to order online. Oh well.
 

andy474x

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I've not tried a lot of picks... I never liked nylon, and tortex feel too chalky to me, and have a raspy grating sound on strings to my ear. I'm stuck on heavy gauge Fender celluloids. I know, boring. Unfortunately I have other guitar issues to work on first, like actually practicing more!
 

LSchefman

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I have other guitar issues to work on first, like actually practicing more!

Whoa, whoa, whoa...let's not get carried away here!

A guy starts practicing, next thing you know he's playing a lot more, joins a band, and then, boom! He becomes a rock star. He gives up his day job and wears fringed jackets, and hangs out with women who are just a little bit too fast.

He doesn't have time to talk TONE on the internet any more, in fact, he has to talk TONE to Guitar Player in some dumb interview instead. And then what happens?

I'll tell you what happens: Endorsement deals pour in, and because he's not talking TONE on the internet any more, he forgets all about his PRS roots and signs with Fender 'cause they offer him the most coin. And then it's over.

With too much money, and too much fame, soon he's on drugs, and falling off stages, and suddenly the band replaces him with Some Other Rock Star or the guy from Nickelback. And then we find him a few months later, in the gutter, drinking Woolite. Finally he gets arrested and his mug shot is on TV and in the tabloids. In ten years, he makes Keef look like he's aging well.

No, sir, do not start "practicing."

Now let's get serious and talk about PICKS. It's so much safer. And it doesn't involve any actual WORK.
 
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andy474x

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Whoa, whoa, whoa...let's not get carried away here!

A guy starts practicing, next thing you know he's playing a lot more, joins a band, and then, boom! He becomes a rock star. He gives up his day job and wears fringed jackets, and hangs out with women who are just a little bit too fast.

He doesn't have time to talk TONE on the internet any more, in fact, he has to talk TONE to Guitar Player in some dumb interview instead. And then what happens?

I'll tell you what happens: Endorsement deals pour in, and because he's not talking TONE on the internet any more, he forgets all about his PRS roots and signs with Fender 'cause they offer him the most coin. And then it's over.

With too much money, and too much fame, soon he's on drugs, and falling off stages, and suddenly the band replaces him with Some Other Rock Star or the guy from Nickelback. And then we find him a few months later, in the gutter, drinking Woolite. Finally he gets arrested and his mug shot is on TV and in the tabloids. In ten years, he makes Keef look like he's aging well.

No, sir, do not start "practicing."

Now let's get serious and talk about PICKS. It's so much safer. And it doesn't involve any actual WORK.

Forgive me wise sage Schefman, I see the danger in my ways!

Gonna try me some Herco's and jazz picks. For hours.
 

prsrocker1988

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Great replies everyone.

LS - I will have to try a Blue Chip! I've tried some other similar picks but not that one.

I love the jazz tip and size for lead playing, but I miss the bounce and flexibility for rhythm work, which is my knack anyway. It has to be funky and also be good for chugging out power chords or the occasional "Keef" parts.

If I wasn't using Herco's I'd probably be using Fender Mediums. I really like the Herco's though.
 

LSchefman

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Very affordable too.

Bob, we have to have a little Sidebar for a minute. See, you're killin' the deal right there with this "affordable" business re: the Brainpicks!

Obviously anything called a Brainpick was designed by Albert Einstein. Now Albert may have been a frugal man, which is why Princeton University gave him his own place to hang out and dream up things just so he could be associated with their school, things like the Brainpick, but the Brainpick is hardly cheap since it was obviously funded by private donations, Princeton being a private Ivy League school, right?

Of course!

Now that will interest people. The Albert Einstein Pick!

Although one wonders what Albert Einstein was doing in New Jersey, if he was so smart. I suppose that it was better than Berlin at the time...

Oh back to the pick: Each one comes with the Theory of Relativity engraved by nanorobot lasers onto its surface in teeny tiny little letters and equations. You can't even see the letters and equations, that's how incredibly small they are, like about the size of a quark or other subatomic particle. You just have to take Einstein's word for it.

Now you're talkin'!

Privately funded picks designed by Albert Einstein that don't cost a lot, not because they're not worthy, but because they were funded by a special Princeton grant and engraved by nanorobots with lasers which is why they sound so darn good! Yessir! Now THAT is a pick!

Even guys who buy picks from aliens who beam Unobtainium down to Earth, or from Indiana Jones guys who smuggle endangered species rocks out of Brazil, have to respect Albert Einstein's picks! And Al played the VIOLIN and knew his music! :top:
 
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Toledo Bob

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Bob, we have to have a little Sidebar for a minute. See, you're killin' the deal right there with this "affordable" business re: the Brainpicks!

Obviously anything called a Brainpick was designed by Albert Einstein. Now Albert may have been a frugal man, which is why Princeton University gave him his own place to hang out and dream up things just so he could be associated with their school, things like the Brainpick, but the Brainpick is hardly cheap since it was obviously funded by private donations, Princeton being a private Ivy League school, right?

Of course!

Now that will interest people. The Albert Einstein Pick!

Although one wonders what Albert Einstein was doing in New Jersey, if he was so smart. I suppose that it was better than Berlin at the time...

Oh back to the pick: Each one comes with the Theory of Relativity engraved by nanorobot lasers onto its surface in teeny tiny little letters and equations. You can't even see the letters and equations, that's how incredibly small they are, like about the size of a quark or other subatomic particle. You just have to take Einstein's word for it.

Now you're talkin'!

Privately funded picks designed by Albert Einstein that don't cost a lot, not because they're not worthy, but because they were funded by a special Princeton grant and engraved by nanorobots with lasers which is why they sound so darn good! Yessir! Now THAT is a pick!

Even guys who buy picks from aliens who beam Unobtainium down to Earth, or from Indiana Jones guys who smuggle endangered species rocks out of Brazil, have to respect Albert Einstein's picks! And Al played the VIOLIN and knew his music! :top:

Wow! I never knew all that. I truly appreciate your erudite elucidations. No wonder my Blues sound so ethereal. Don't like Princeton though being a University of Texas kind of guy. Learned a lot back in the day cruising 6th Street in Austin. Most of which has dropped off my permanent record now. LOL!
 

LSchefman

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Wow! I never knew all that. I truly appreciate your erudite elucidations. No wonder my Blues sound so ethereal. Don't like Princeton though being a University of Texas kind of guy. Learned a lot back in the day cruising 6th Street in Austin. Most of which has dropped off my permanent record now. LOL!

I love Austin!
 

RedGuitars

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