Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

426
Banjo Lovers Online


Want to hide these Google ads? Join the Players Union!
Sep 27, 2020 - 7:30:27 AM
2176 posts since 2/7/2008

I've been working on my banjo setup to get a little more growl and volume from my 4th string. While testing after making adjustments, I accidentally discovered what a difference thumb picks make. In my eagerness to test after making my adjustments, I grabbed the pick that was closest, rather then my usual go-to thumb pick. My usual pick is a Blue Chip pick with a relatively long blade made of their special composite material. The other is a Pro-Pik with a pretty short, thin blade made of Delrin. The Pro-Pik makes a lot more volume than the Blue Chip pick. I like the fit and feel of the Blue Chip, so I'm considering shortening the blade, but I'm wondering, is it the length of the blade, or is it the material and thickness that's the biggest factor?

Sep 27, 2020 - 8:11:46 AM
like this

2249 posts since 5/2/2012

I can't speak to the Blue Chip, but I do use a Propik. If I want a lot of volume without any more effort I use a Kelley Speed Pick. It is made of delrin too, but the blade shape is long and narrow. I get so much volume with the speed pick that it is difficult to control at times.

Sep 27, 2020 - 9:16:38 AM

839 posts since 6/30/2020
Online Now

As a life long guitar player as well as a banjo enthusiast I have come to believe that a less flexible (Or more dense) and thicker pick material will produce more volume. I also know that the composition of the pick material is of utmost importance to the sound quality produced. As an example a dozen guitar picks of various materials, thickness, and density, and from a variety of manufactures, will all produce different results on the same instrument.
When it comes to thumb picks for guitar, resonator, or banjo there is a limited selection of pick materials but the options are growing.
String materials and gauges will also affect tone and volume so it pays to experiment.

Sep 27, 2020 - 9:25:25 AM

10866 posts since 2/12/2011

Easy to get used to the Blue Chip as is.

Sep 27, 2020 - 1:02:41 PM

216 posts since 4/17/2011

If you want a shorter Blue Chip, get the JD Crowe model: it's the same, but shorter. Personally, I wouldn't mess with the shape of that blade, I'd get a JD Crowe and keep the "normal" one as backup.

Sep 27, 2020 - 2:03:03 PM
like this

263 posts since 10/4/2018

My banjo growls loudest when you get too close while she's eating.

Sep 27, 2020 - 5:11:37 PM

21 posts since 11/8/2017

I guess, If I want a lot of volume without any more effort I use a Kelley Speed Pic

Oct 25, 2020 - 5:21:06 AM

839 posts since 6/30/2020
Online Now

A couple of weeks ago I sported the $40 for a Blue Chip thumb pick.
I prefer a short blade so I took Jon’s advice (posted above) and bought the JD Crowe version.
When I first slipped it on my thumb it felt like I had owned it for years. No pinching, tweaking, or drama, just flat out comfortable.
When playing, my immediate impression was that the wound D string was on par with the unwound strings in volume, tone quality, and crispness.
The sound of the Blue Chip is more in line with the sound of the metal finger picks, very even and not dull.
The $40 price tag might seem extreme but after a couple of weeks with the Blue Chip I can honestly say that for me its a worthwhile investment.
I wish I’d invested in the Blue Chip sooner.

P-A-L

Edited by - Pick-A-Lick on 10/25/2020 05:22:48

Oct 25, 2020 - 7:21:27 AM
likes this

2171 posts since 2/10/2013

When holding a flatpick and playing guitar, I do get a more distinct and a little louder sound when my thumb and index finger are closer to the end of the flatpick. Holding my wrist bent a little away from the instrument, and a little downward also improves volume. Something like JD Crowe does on banjo, but with less bend.

Someone asked JD Crowe about the way he holds his "picking" hand/wrist. He told that person that if he was starting over again, he is not sure he would use the same hand/wrist position.

Oct 26, 2020 - 5:55:24 PM

lanemb

USA

134 posts since 3/11/2018

Like a lot of people I have tried many different thumb picks. The one I like most is the geipel. See the link below. They are small, light and strong. You get an almost instant increase in speed and clarity. It is hard for me to go back to anything else after trying these. They aren’t expensive. I bought several just to make sure I don’t run out of them and find they are no longer available.

banjobridge.com/picks.htm

I have a friend who makes his own thumb pick by winding wire around his thumb and leaving only a short piece sticking out to strike the string. He is fast, clean and accurate. Next time I see him I’m going to take a picture of his pick.

Oct 27, 2020 - 12:26:32 PM
Players Union Member

rvrose

USA

742 posts since 6/29/2007

quote:
Originally posted by thisoldman

I can't speak to the Blue Chip, but I do use a Propik. If I want a lot of volume without any more effort I use a Kelley Speed Pick. It is made of delrin too, but the blade shape is long and narrow. I get so much volume with the speed pick that it is difficult to control at times.


Agree, all I use is the Fred Kelly speed pick and get plenty of volume. The other thing is, I  don't have much trouble unintentionally catching the thumb on other strings when playing fast.

 

Rick

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories

0.234375