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Posted by Banjov1 on Monday, May 25, 2009

I think I may have found my "keeper" thumb pick.

The Bluechip thumb pick threads have really gotten me hyped up about trying different thumb picks. I started out with Nationals and was always fairly happy with them until I started reading about how amazing the blue chip picks were. Then I noticed that I could usually "scratch off" the blade of a new National thumb pick with some serious picking in the course of one weekend. I asked a couple of my mentors about their thoughts on the Bluechip. Both of them indicated that the original pick was too thin. I had also heard an interesting sound byte posted by jbalch comparing the Bluechip to an AMB pick

I really thought the AMB pick sounded better than the Bluechip. So even though I was really intrigued and would like to try the Bluechip out, and I realize that I can return it if I don't like it, there are too many issues with it for me to spend the 40 plus bucks to try it out. Another fact is simply that I'm sure I'll lose a thumb pick here and there and you just can't afford to lose a $40 thumb pick.

So I started trying others. I tried the Golden Gates, some Dunlops and I really liked the AMB cryogenic Kel Kroydens... great pop. But even though I liked the sound of some of the picks a little better than what I had been playing, they still got scratchy edges that were annoying to deal with. You hear a lot on these threads about just using some "nose grease", taking your finger and wiping the outside of your nose and then wiping that on the thumbpick to sort of alleviate the scratchy sound the pick makes. It works a little bit for me, but it's a real nuisance to be doing this between songs all the time at a jam or a gig.

Finally I took heed to beegee's advice about the Dunlop Zookies (he's a big fan and has posted a couple times on the Bluechip threads about just using Zookies). The blades can come with different angles to sort of offset the natural picking angle of your thumb. I tried the 10 degree and 20 degree angled picks and liked the 10 degree the best. When I first tried the Zookies, I was still enamored with the AMB cryogenic sound and continued to play those. But after a while I started getting annoyed with the normal wear on the AMB's producing the dreaded scratch. So I decided to play the Zookies for an extended period and noticed that these picks don't wear. I played the Zookie hard for a weekend once and I was thinking... Hey, I haven't had to "nose grease" this thing for the past couple days. I continued playing it and realized the Zookies really don't wear on the blade at all!! Simple angled design... no scratchy wear... Genius!!

Best part about the Zookies... I can buy 4 of them for 5 bucks. 4 Zookies will last me a long time. I think I'm finished experimenting with thumb picks for a while.

4 comments on “Zookies”

JohnB. Says:
Monday, May 25, 2009 @9:10:56 AM

Tony where did you get the Zookies at?


banjotef Says:
Monday, May 25, 2009 @10:18:37 AM

I sanded the end of the Zookie to a point, and it really increased brightness and clarity.

Banjov1 Says:
Monday, May 25, 2009 @5:39:52 PM

JohnB - you can get them at any of the large online music stores. I got my first set from Janet Davis ( and then bought 4 more from First Quality ( The other big store I like to use is Elderly (

Banjotef - I'm pretty happy so far with the sound I'm getting from the Zookies, but I'm willing to experiment. Do you have any closeup photos of what you did to your Zookie? I'm not sure I understand what you mean by sanding the  end to a point.

Gareth Banjoland Says:
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 @6:25:51 AM

I use them as well, they are tops.

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