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Aug 12, 2017 - 6:09:24 PM
249 posts
Joined Sep 20, 2007

ive been trying out different thumb pick lately and am coming to the realization that they have a major effect on tone.  I've tried Blue chip - feels a bit too stiff, National white - too long and can get caught on the strings when playing hard, Dunlap Uttex - best fit but very bright and brittle sounding, Clown barf - a little muted, but still my favorite for Scruggs style. Anyone have recomendations of others to try?

Aug 12, 2017 - 6:14:36 PM
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827 posts
Joined Apr 13, 2009
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Golden Gate ivoroid, @ First quality, Elderly, Amazon, Reverb, etc.

Aug 12, 2017 - 6:21:15 PM

324 posts
Joined Feb 14, 2009

I like this pick pretty well​  I can't make it an active link but it's the Geipel thumb pick at Elderly Instruments

Edited by - Anthony_N_Ky on 08/12/2017 18:25:06

Aug 12, 2017 - 9:10 PM

rbfour5 Players Union Member


657 posts
Joined Nov 9, 2010

You can trim, bend, shape any of the plastic thumb picks. I still use the old white Nationals that I had back in the 80's and 90's. The blades are different than the new Nationals. Experiment with reshaping a new National until you get it the way you like it. I like the tinkering side of banjos as much as playing and listening. And I would not feel too bad about ruining a $1.00 thumb pick (or maybe a dozen of until I found a way to get them the way I would want them to be. Give it whirl; never know until you try. Have fun!

Aug 12, 2017 - 9:30:30 PM
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3589 posts
Joined Sep 21, 2009

The Geipel picks are very comfortable, but the tone it produces is too thin for my liking. I've pretty much settled on the metal Dunlop. It's not quite as comfortable as the Geipel pick, but the tone it produces is probably the best of any pick I've tried. It does require a bit of breaking in though, or you can sand it with fine sandpaper and get right to business.

Aug 13, 2017 - 5:57:15 AM

gtani7 Players Union Member


194 posts
Joined Mar 22, 2017

You have a lot of choices, but important thing is fit and they sound similar and work ergonomicall with your fingerpicks.

old threads:


clown barfs:

blue chip:

Most plastic picks can be dipped in hot water and bent/reshaped with needle nose pliers.  The ones you can't are delrin e.g. Kelly's and polycarbonate (I think dunlop ultex is that).  Also there's talk in some threads that if you cut or file deeply into some the plastic blades, they're hollow inside or can't be sanded/reshaped.

Aug 13, 2017 - 7:10:10 AM
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35670 posts
Joined Jul 28, 2005

I'm with Carl! I spent a whopping 75 cents at a festival, for a Dunlop metal thumb pick, in 2005. It was very harsh at first, but I noticed there was a lip on edge of the tip, from the manufacturing of it. I used some fine sand paper and sanded that lip off, and it became music to my ears. It's the only pick I've used since, 12 years and thousands of hours of playing. 

Aug 13, 2017 - 10:20:32 AM

109 posts
Joined Jun 19, 2011

I've tried several finger picks, and like the Propik finger picks. Thought I would try the Propik thumb pick and liked it also. Thats was I'm using now.

Aug 13, 2017 - 11:04:52 AM



77 posts
Joined May 31, 2016

Start spending some $$$$ and learn fer yerself!

I spent over $60USD on picks, then decided on clawhammer (duh).  I was gonna write a big long diatribe on picks in an attempt to become "sticky", but it boils down to using what you like, nothing more. 

I prefer the ProPik std "metal-/plsstic" thumb picks.  I also tried the ProPik "quick-pik", but it moves the "pick-point" (jes made that phrase up) too far back on my thumb, so went with the standard "ProPik metal-plastic" thumb pick, which puts the "pick-point" a bit further toward the tip of my thumb.  You should also try Herco thumbpicks.  ProPik even makes a metal/plastic version of the Herco pick (which I've never tried).  I like the metal/plasic versions over all-plastic (like Golden Gate and National ) picks cuz the mtl/plstic picks let yer thumb breath.  If you already have a Blue Chip, you know what I mean.   

You can easily spend a couple hundred dollars finding jes the right picks, but the bottom line is shipping costs:

Elderly shipping is really cheap.  They've charged me as little as $2.95USD fer half doz finger picks (I prefer 1941's).

Sam Ash ships fer free, any order over $10USD. 

If you have Amazon Prime, use it!! 

Also, do not be afraid to spend the $$$$.  I settled on Showcase 1941's for my finger picks.  They're worth the higher cost.  I'd even like to try Hoffmeyer picks.  OTOH, if you can afford Bue Chip thumbpicks, you can probably afford anything.  ;)

Aug 13, 2017 - 4:33:45 PM

2038 posts
Joined May 29, 2011

I used the Dunlop metal thumb pick for years and still have some that are over 35 years old. In recent years I have been using Dr. Sherpa metal thumb picks which are a little lighter in gauge and I like the sound of them really well.

Aug 14, 2017 - 2:08:55 PM



679 posts
Joined Jun 30, 2017

dunlop mediums..the white ones or the tortoise shell..i am notorious for losing picks so i get used to using a pick..this goes for finger picks too...that i can replace from almost any music store

Aug 15, 2017 - 8:18 AM

358 posts
Joined Jun 5, 2006

I use the Golden Gate Large extra thick pearloid thumb picks. They are pretty soft so they don't last very long but are very comfortable on my thumb. I wish they made an ivoroid version with the same shape. Just like most people I just tried everything out there until I found something I like.

Aug 24, 2017 - 12:55:06 PM



249 posts
Joined Sep 20, 2007

Ok, I've given his picks a good trial run. I think they should a little bright. The blade seems a bit too wide for my taste and they seem light weight compared to others. I keep going back to Yates as my favorite, followed by Showcase, then I'd put these picks followed by Dean's.

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