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Feb 6, 2021 - 10:50:57 PM
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2916 posts since 2/19/2008

I lucked out earlier this week and picked up a beautiful 83 Gold Star (GF-100HF) at an estate auction near me. The banjo was practically in mint shape and looked like it hadn't been played since the day it was purchased. The case was in really good shape and I found a bunch of old Keyser and National fingerpicks in the utility pocket. The Nationals all look very similar to one in the attached pic.

I'd like to learn a little more about these old National picks. Can anyone point me to a good overview or history of vintage National fingerpicks?


 

Edited by - Banjov1 on 02/06/2021 22:56:43

Feb 7, 2021 - 3:46:56 AM

2049 posts since 2/12/2009

Using the search function to the left here I found dozens of discussions on this topic, take a look, more info than you could ever need.

Feb 7, 2021 - 5:06:17 AM
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1098 posts since 7/25/2006

You have the last of usa picks. None stamped u s a are older picks.

Feb 7, 2021 - 7:45:07 AM
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2097 posts since 4/18/2006

Even though it’s not a pre-USA national, these USA Nationals can be really nice picks. I find them to be more on the darker side tonally a little harder feel wise. For history and overview Dean Hoffmeyer’s site was the go to place but I can’t seem to find it anymore.  Basically, the types began with the pat. Pend. Nationals, which were thick with spooned blades, then came the first type of oval 8, which was the same as the pat pend picks.  Then a second version of the oval 8’s, which are a little softer and very slightly flatter.  After that came the circle 8 picks which were similar to the oval 8’s but with a flat blade (all of these named refer to the shape used to make the number 8 in the pat number.). After that came four or so types of USA stamped picks.   Most of them are great picks!

Those old Kyser picks (if they’re the kind that came before they added that “grip grid” inside the bands) can be really really nice picks. I used a set of those for a year. Very bright and responsive.

also, not to shamelessly self promote, but I use all four types of old National in this video if you were wondering what the subtle sound differences between varients might be.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rypdCmG1gL8

Edited by - banjo1930 on 02/07/2021 07:54:41

Feb 7, 2021 - 9:15:55 AM
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11646 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by banjo1930

...For history and overview Dean Hoffmeyer’s site was the go to place but I can’t seem to find it anymore.  Basically, the types began with the pat. Pend. Nationals, which were thick with spooned blades, then came the first type of oval 8, which was the same as the pat pend picks.  Then a second version of the oval 8’s, which are a little softer and very slightly flatter.  After that came the circle 8 picks which were similar to the oval 8’s but with a flat blade (all of these named refer to the shape used to make the number 8 in the pat number.). After that came four or so types of USA stamped picks.


Yes. That site seems to be gone.  I was trying to find it, too.

In addition to the 8s, I recall Dean's site showing differences over time in the 7s (straight or curved leg) and 3s (straight or rounded top). I have no recollection which 7s and 3s are associated with which 8s. And I could never remember the defining number styles of the more and less desirable picks. Always counted on the Hoffmeyer site to be there as a reminder.

Feb 7, 2021 - 9:21:16 AM
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gtani7

USA

982 posts since 3/22/2017

web.archive.org/web/20180325093811/nationalfingerpicks.com/

Dean Hoffmeyer doesn't have this up anymore unfortunately not worth the time/cost of maintaining servers etc.

Feb 7, 2021 - 9:24:10 AM
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Banjov1

USA

2916 posts since 2/19/2008

quote:
Originally posted by banjo1930

Even though it’s not a pre-USA national, these USA Nationals can be really nice picks. I find them to be more on the darker side tonally a little harder feel wise. For history and overview Dean Hoffmeyer’s site was the go to place but I can’t seem to find it anymore.  Basically, the types began with the pat. Pend. Nationals, which were thick with spooned blades, then came the first type of oval 8, which was the same as the pat pend picks.  Then a second version of the oval 8’s, which are a little softer and very slightly flatter.  After that came the circle 8 picks which were similar to the oval 8’s but with a flat blade (all of these named refer to the shape used to make the number 8 in the pat number.). After that came four or so types of USA stamped picks.   Most of them are great picks!

Those old Kyser picks (if they’re the kind that came before they added that “grip grid” inside the bands) can be really really nice picks. I used a set of those for a year. Very bright and responsive.

also, not to shamelessly self promote, but I use all four types of old National in this video if you were wondering what the subtle sound differences between varients might be.  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rypdCmG1gL8


Thanks so much Gabe!  Before you had even posted that here I watched your video twice. (Even ordered some Yates oval 8s). I think I remember Dean Hoffmeyer's site too and was trying to find those pages out in the ethernet somewhere but couldn't locate it.

Feb 7, 2021 - 9:25 AM
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Banjov1

USA

2916 posts since 2/19/2008

quote:
Originally posted by gtani7

web.archive.org/web/20180325093811/nationalfingerpicks.com/

Dean Hoffmeyer doesn't have this up anymore unfortunately not worth the time/cost of maintaining servers etc.


shucks... I think this is what I was looking for

Feb 7, 2021 - 9:33:43 AM
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gtani7

USA

982 posts since 3/22/2017

You have to copy /paste the whole URL into the top browser box, otherwise it gets broken up..

Gabe H: great vid, when i play pedal steel with different picks the differences are more pronounced.  But everytime i switch finger or thumb picks it takes me 5 minutes of wiggling and bending them before i can play.

Edited by - gtani7 on 02/07/2021 09:48:07

Feb 7, 2021 - 10:09:58 AM
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Banjov1

USA

2916 posts since 2/19/2008

quote:
Originally posted by gtani7

You have to copy /paste the whole URL into the top browser box, otherwise it gets broken up..

Gabe H: great vid, when i play pedal steel with different picks the differences are more pronounced.  But everytime i switch finger or thumb picks it takes me 5 minutes of wiggling and bending them before i can play.


Thanks I was able to view this.  Even though it's a little awkward navigating around, this is what I was looking for

Feb 7, 2021 - 12:51:35 PM
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gtani7

USA

982 posts since 3/22/2017

Forgot to say: Congrats on the vintage Gold star they're really special (Mine's a 79 archtop that needs some work but I love it).

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