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Apr 16, 2021 - 7:54:05 AM
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7 posts since 4/3/2020

I just got a pair of Hoffmeyer and J.D. Bluechips. I usually use Nationals (brass) and clown puke Golden Gates.

Just curious what everyone prefers. Thanks!

Apr 16, 2021 - 8:10:46 AM

ekvin

USA

85 posts since 3/22/2017

When I break a nail and can't play clawhammer, I reach for either my Kyser finger pick or my Hooks Banjo Thimble.

banjothimble.com/shop/thimbles.html

Apr 16, 2021 - 8:15:27 AM
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18 posts since 1/13/2005

JD Blue Chip for thumb...Sammy Shelor stainless for finger picks

Apr 16, 2021 - 8:19:43 AM
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13896 posts since 10/30/2008

I use Golden Gate large size clown barf thumb picks and the occasionally white ivoroid by the same maker.

I find Dunlop 0.0225" finger picks are the most COMFORTABLE, but since folks seem to insist old Nationals sound better, I've dug out some old Nationals and I'm tryinig hard to get used to that "feel" again (they are not as conformable to my finger shape). I find very little difference in sound, to my year.

Apr 16, 2021 - 8:35:23 AM

1181 posts since 4/19/2003

I use Dunlop thumb and finger picks .020 great picks.

Apr 16, 2021 - 8:43:40 AM

87 posts since 7/26/2020

I second the JD’s and the Shelor picks.

Apr 16, 2021 - 9:17:02 AM
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43 posts since 10/5/2019
Online Now

Russ Carson blue chip, and Shelor finger pics

Apr 16, 2021 - 10:08:23 AM
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NWBanjo

USA

620 posts since 1/19/2006

Clown barf thumb pick and Yates finger picks

Apr 16, 2021 - 10:16:27 AM
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Players Union Member

Emiel

Austria

9868 posts since 1/22/2003

I always use modern National NP2 finger picks and a white plastic Dunlop "L" thumb pick.

Apr 16, 2021 - 10:35:45 AM
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rbfour5

USA

1096 posts since 11/9/2010

Old white National thumb picks; just started using Dean Hoffmeyer “Osborne Chief” finger picks.

Apr 16, 2021 - 10:38:55 AM
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80 posts since 2/7/2020

Dunlop calico thumb pick and Dunlop .025 finger picks.

Apr 16, 2021 - 10:46:15 AM
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415 posts since 6/28/2006

Sammy Shelor stainless steel fingerpicks.

Apr 16, 2021 - 5:30:39 PM
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85 posts since 3/2/2013

Stainless Ol' 97 (killer tone! My old Dunlops?...meh.) JD bluechip for Thumby

Apr 16, 2021 - 9:27:52 PM
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3715 posts since 5/29/2011

Dunlop .018 finger picks and Dr. Sherpa metal thumb pick. I have been using them for several years. Before that I used a metal Dunlop thumb pick and .025 finger picks. I used the same set for nearly forty years. Show me a plastic thumb pick that will last that long.

Apr 17, 2021 - 6:49:45 AM
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4278 posts since 6/15/2005

AMB clown barf or tortoise thumbpick, Roy's Own fingerpicks.

Apr 17, 2021 - 8:08:55 AM
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2099 posts since 4/18/2006

I'm a die hard fan of the Dunlop Ultex Large thumbpick. They're a little tight, but super responsive, don't get scratchy, and last me a while per pick. Love em! As for fingerpicks, I use old Nationals but will occasionally use Shelor picks when playing gigs with difficult sound situations because they're super loud and clear sounding.

Apr 17, 2021 - 8:29:19 AM
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11684 posts since 6/2/2008

Recently changed, after decades!

My favorite fingerpicks for decades have been a well-worn pair of Nationals I've been using since the 1980s. I have maybe two other much less used pairs from the same period, so I thought I was set for life (seeing as I just turned 70).

But not many weeks ago, my fingers were hurting from playing so I tried a pair of .020 Dunlops I had in my stash and found them to be more comfortable on my fingers and better sounding than I remembered. My neighborhood music shop is open again, so I'm going to get a few more pairs to be sure I have some in each banjo case.

As to thumb picks, my favorite for most of this century has been the Golden Gate ivoroid, with Dunlop in ivoroid or white right up there. In large.  I tried a Blue Chip pick at their booth At Grey Fox festival in 2015, and while I liked it couldn't bring myself to pay the $35 festival price. Fast forward to a few weeks ago. My wife tells me the kids want to know what I might want for my big birthday. So I mentioned a few banjo things, including a Blue Chip which I've been reluctant to buy for myself. Remembering that a medium was tight but a large felt too loose, I suggested medium.

Well, that's what my son and daughter-in-law got me. I bent the band on the medium and it feels great. I figured loosening a medium is easier than tightening a large.  And it does sound great. 

So as of this week, my new favorite picks are Blue Chip standard/original medium thumb pick and Dunlop .020 finger picks. I think I have a pair of .0225 to compare.

Note: My daughter and son-in-law bought me two online lessons with Pat Cloud! I just need to email him to set up dates and times.

Apr 17, 2021 - 10:26:18 AM
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4278 posts since 6/15/2005

Happy birthday, Ken, and welcome to the eighth decade club!smiley

Apr 17, 2021 - 7:07:35 PM
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473 posts since 1/24/2004
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I second what Gabe Hirshfeld said about Dunlop Ultex thumbpicks. I put them in boiling water for a minute while stretched open over the sides of a wooden clothespin and that opens them up enough to where they are more comfortable.

Also, I had used the old Dunlop .025 finger picks with no holes in the part that goes over your cuticles for many years but just tried the Hoffmeyer customs and found them to be very comfortable, don't want to slip off and have a sound I like. I ordered a second set!

Apr 17, 2021 - 8:53:27 PM
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1161 posts since 12/27/2005

quote:
Originally posted by davedude

I just got a pair of Hoffmeyer and J.D. Bluechips. I usually use Nationals (brass) and clown puke Golden Gates.

Just curious what everyone prefers. Thanks!


Exactly what I like. yes

Apr 17, 2021 - 9:15:13 PM
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11684 posts since 6/2/2008

To fill out my pick history -- because I know you're dying to know!

From the time I started playing banjo in 1972, I used National plastic thumbpicks. Usually white medium. Sometimes black. I tried a few others but never for long.

I played in an active band in the 80s, so between practice and gigs I wore the tips off of a lot of picks. After the band broke up, I didn't need to buy any more picks throughout the 90s. In early 2000s, I went to buy some thumbpicks and the National mediums didn't fit. Either their picks got smaller or my thumb got bigger! That's what got me to searching for a new pick. National large were too large. I found D'Andrea picks in white large at a shop in my son's college town. Used those for a while, but they would get loose after playing a while. Bought some Zookies of various angles, but didn't love them. They also tended not to stay snug. Finally tried and settled on Dunlop whites. Then later Golden Gate ivoroid, which I think I've been using since 2010. Until I got a Blue Chip earlier this week.

Apr 18, 2021 - 4:43:25 AM
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4617 posts since 11/20/2004

Same as you. Hoffmeyers and Bluechip.

Apr 18, 2021 - 12:17:28 PM
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85 posts since 3/2/2013

BTW this may help those pickers that live in drier climates or just naturally dry hands that cause the dunlops or national finger pick style to be uncomfortable. I work alot with my hands so cuticles are always tender especially in dry weather. I'm sure there are other brands the same but those in the style of the Ol' 97's and little Maggies are designed to place the band behind the cuticle instead of right on it. As added benefit it gives the pick a more secure purchase. I'f you play driving bluegrass you have probably blown a pick or will eventually and watch it clatter away. Have'nt even been nervous i will blow one now but was forever pushing my dunlops and nationals back on tighter. More clarity was definately a welcome surprise with stainless too.

Apr 18, 2021 - 2:52:10 PM
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61 posts since 12/3/2017

My favorites are JD blue chip for thumb & Dunlop .020 finger picks

Apr 19, 2021 - 4:24:20 AM
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299 posts since 4/26/2007

Golden Gate clown barf thumbpicks (I buy them in sets of 12 and boil/shape them in batches) and old Nationals for the fingerpicks.

Apr 19, 2021 - 4:47:52 AM
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45 posts since 10/15/2007

quote:
Originally posted by brententz

BTW this may help those pickers that live in drier climates or just naturally dry hands that cause the dunlops or national finger pick style to be uncomfortable. I work alot with my hands so cuticles are always tender especially in dry weather. I'm sure there are other brands the same but those in the style of the Ol' 97's and little Maggies are designed to place the band behind the cuticle instead of right on it. As added benefit it gives the pick a more secure purchase. I'f you play driving bluegrass you have probably blown a pick or will eventually and watch it clatter away. Have'nt even been nervous i will blow one now but was forever pushing my dunlops and nationals back on tighter. More clarity was definitely a welcome surprise with stainless too.


I make my own picks, for the very reasons you mention. They're designed to pinch from top-to-bottom instead of side-to-side. They dodge my hangnails, and only come off when I pull them off. Not a tough job, if you've got a small bandsaw, a set of small pliers and needle files. Usually use .025 brass. I've made them with german silver, which is more fun to work with but considerably more expensive. Can't detect any difference of tone or speed.

Edited by - tubotonia on 04/19/2021 04:56:03

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