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Aug 3, 2020 - 3:46:52 PM
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2074 posts since 4/18/2006

Hey all of you banjo people! I just made a terrifying video comparing thirteen different sets of finger picks. Enjoy!

Edited by - banjo1930 on 08/19/2020 12:41:07

Aug 3, 2020 - 4:36:44 PM

1062 posts since 5/19/2018

That was actually very interesting. With some of those picks the sound difference was actually quite pronounced.

I’m one of those three people out there that collects fingerpicks. For some dumb reason I have always been interested in them. Always got a kick when I found a set in some old instruments case.

Problem is now My ears are so stage shot I can’t tell the difference anymore from behind the banjo.

BTW - nice playing!

Aug 3, 2020 - 6:17:42 PM

1022 posts since 2/6/2006

Thanks Gabe...always informative & equally entertaining!

Aug 3, 2020 - 6:22:30 PM

13255 posts since 10/30/2008

Thanks Gabe. Right now my particular interest is fighting "pick squeak" on the index finger/first string. I rub the pick on my nose to make it a bit slippier. Dunlop unplated brass 0.0225" which I use because they are comfortable. Also because I can't get Nationals any more in a music store (where I buy/try all my picks).

Any advice on pick squeak? I notice your picks are curved MUCH more than mine. Have you fought pick squeak and found any solutions?

It's probably just "me", but I thought I'd at least ask your advice.

BTW, on my computer speakers I didn't hear a lot of variety in your demo; although one set in the middle (I forget which ones) might have been making a tiny bit of squeak. But none of the others did.

Aug 3, 2020 - 6:48:52 PM

2074 posts since 4/18/2006

Pick squeak (my computer autocorrected that as I typed it the first time to "pick steak." we can only dream) was something that haunted me for many years. One of my banjos seems to amplify pick squeak quite a bit so I tried a bunch of things to try to get less of it.

I found that, in general, I got less squeak from the softer picks as opposed to the harder ones. Another factor was definitely the amount of "spoon" in the blade. I found that I got much more pick noise with rounder picks than the flatter blades. One of the reasons I settled on old nationals is because the blades are flatter (not totally flat, but flatter than Dunlops.) I have a way easier time getting rid of the squeak with pre-usa nationals or close replicas like the Yate's 8 picks or the Showcase 41's.

as for curving the picks up, that definitely helped me too, but that's probably more from the fact that the shape of my hand just naturally sits in a way that feels comfortable like that. When people ask about that I like to suggest they get a few sets of picks and try bending them a bunch of different ways to see what the effects can be.

Nose grease also goes a real long way. ESPECIALLY when the thumb pick gets scratchy. I played a gig once and a guy came up to me afterwards and said, "You rubbed your thumb pick against your nose a few times. That's disgusting!" Good times!

Aug 4, 2020 - 4:40:16 AM

2687 posts since 12/4/2009

Hello Gabe,

Thank you for the demonstrations. We see a wide variety of makers these days. I used to only get Dunlops. This was before the internet.

I received an odd set of Nationals from the 70’s from a deceased friend. I also liked 0.225 Dunlops. But, slipping while playing is not enjoyable. I tried Hoffmyers first and quit using Dunlops. Finger fatigue caused me to try the Odd set of Nationals. I have never stopped using them on my Banjo.

I used the Hoffmyers on my Dobro. They work great on the heavier gage strings. The set that works are the ones with the smaller holes.

Aug 4, 2020 - 7:20:30 AM

13255 posts since 10/30/2008

Thanks Gabe!

Aug 4, 2020 - 1:48:18 PM

10861 posts since 2/12/2011

Shelor stainless are hard to beat - And Blue Chip for the thumb.

Sep 1, 2020 - 11:14:22 AM

29 posts since 10/13/2010

I really like my Hoffmeyers with a clown barf thumb pick best. After watching Gabe's video, I picked up a set of Yates 8s to try them out, and while I thought they were really nice, I noticed more pick noise on them than the Hoffmeyers. I though the Yates offered a sharper, brighter attack, while the Hoffmeyers produced a fuller, more bell-like, vintage tone (which I prefer more).

I'll keep playing with both to see if I change my mind over time.

Edited by - rwsansom on 09/01/2020 11:16:30

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