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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Polishing the thumb pick


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/390995

steve davis - Posted - 06/12/2023:  14:26:44


The quality of the note depends on the smoothness of the picks.Finger picks stropped on leather puts a nice finish on their surfaces.

The thumb pick is more vulnerable to being less than its smoothest which shows in the quality of the thumb picked notes.

I polish my thumb pick surfaces by pushing the flat of the blade down fairly forcefully onto a piece of printer paper.



I do this circular polishing with the pick removed from my thumb and pressed down on its flat face and then curling the edge on the paper.Three of these at the ready in the j hooks.



A carefully smoothed thumb pick produces a very rich note in tone and delivery.


Edited by - steve davis on 06/12/2023 14:29:18

leehar - Posted - 06/12/2023:  15:54:36


I have a smooth piece of black granite 1” x 3” x 5/16” which is intended for taking nicks off of gage blocks (old QC guy here!) I keep it handy when my thumb pick starts to get a scratchy sound. Don’t even have to take the pick off. Just run it back and forth a few times. Works great.

Will Frady - Posted - 06/12/2023:  16:12:32


Good ole gauge blocks! I was a machinist . Are you gentlemen talking about plastic thumb picks ? I feel kinda of silly for asking . That May be my whole problem!

chuckv97 - Posted - 06/12/2023:  16:22:11


I like’em a bit rougher,, too smooth and I don’t get a bite on the string



(& to quote Tom E , " I ask no one to agree")


Edited by - chuckv97 on 06/12/2023 16:23:02

leehar - Posted - 06/12/2023:  16:47:29


Yes Will, I’m referring to plastic (celluloid?) thumb picks. I’ve never actually tried a metal one but I guess they can get little nicks and scratches on them as well.

Culloden - Posted - 06/12/2023:  18:11:16


A metal thumb pick can be polished on a piece of leather just like a finger pick. I use a razor strap for that purpose but the side of a boot works well, too.

Laurence Diehl - Posted - 06/12/2023:  21:17:34


I use a Blue Chip thumb pick which shows no sign of wear after ten years, so they are maintenance free. Granted, not everyone can afford them (or even like them). I never thought about polishing my fingerpicks but maybe I should.

heavythumb - Posted - 06/13/2023:  03:46:35


I've used Dunlop metal thumbpicks since I started pickin' in the 1960s.  I never had to polish the edge, but the points have worn down about a sixteenth of an inch.



 



Oh, I have four main banjos I rotate with two sets of picks in each case.  All are worn.



Heavythumb

Owen - Posted - 06/13/2023:  06:09:06


I gather the polishing ^^ is part of periodic maintenance.  If the picking motion is more-or-less perpendicular to the stings what is it about the friction (?) of pick on strings that causes them to become rough?



The top coating on my banjo heads seems to polish a bit off the end if/when I'm not careful about wrist arch.

monstertone - Posted - 06/13/2023:  08:10:07


quote:

Originally posted by steve davis

The quality of the note depends on the smoothness of the picks.Finger picks stropped on leather puts a nice finish on their surfaces.

The thumb pick is more vulnerable to being less than its smoothest which shows in the quality of the thumb picked notes.

I polish my thumb pick surfaces by pushing the flat of the blade down fairly forcefully onto a piece of printer paper.



I do this circular polishing with the pick removed from my thumb and pressed down on its flat face and then curling the edge on the paper.Three of these at the ready in the j hooks.



A carefully smoothed thumb pick produces a very rich note in tone and delivery.






 And all this time we've been told such tone required a pre-war Granada. surprise Or, at least, a $40.00 thumb pick. crying Thanks, Steve.



Razor strops are kinda hard to come by these days, but leather boots, or belts, no problem.



Granite flat stones & Jo-blocks are even more difficult to procure, not to mention expensive. Granite counter tops, not so much. I think I have a hard Arkansas stone among my tools.



All said & done, though, I just pick. smiley But thanks for the tips, guys.


Edited by - monstertone on 06/13/2023 08:12:15

steve davis - Posted - 06/13/2023:  13:41:19


Paper is everywhere and polishes plastic to a fine degree.
Without polishing periodically the pick surface is only as smooth as the string which includes the wound 4th.
I keep 3 at the ready because that slight raspy sound can happen in an instant.

Eastbanjo - Posted - 06/14/2023:  20:04:16




check this video out.



youtu.be/7p7rMj0djdY


Edited by - Eastbanjo on 06/14/2023 20:04:53

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