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Jul 21, 2022 - 7:44:33 PM
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7319 posts since 2/14/2006

I like either old National thumbpicks or the clown barf colored brand


Edited by - wanttopick on 07/21/2022 19:51:54

Jul 21, 2022 - 7:58:48 PM
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1707 posts since 8/9/2019

Bluechip JD Crowe thumb pick gets my vote

Jul 21, 2022 - 8:04:37 PM
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12 posts since 2/20/2021

I like the Fred Kelly medium and Blue Chip JD

Jul 21, 2022 - 8:18:18 PM
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13596 posts since 6/2/2008

Current favorite is Blue Chip standard in medium. I bent the band to open up the fit. Medium is too tight, large is too loose.

But I still like Golden Gate and Dunlop ivoroid picks in large.  In the 70s through 90s, I used National mediums in white. But they no longer fit. Don't know if National changed its sizes or my thumb grew a lot.

Jul 21, 2022 - 8:49:07 PM
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23080 posts since 7/6/2005

The day I pay $40 for a thumbpick is the day they will lock me in a padded cell. The clown barf picks are cheap and sound good and if I lose or break it, so what?

Jul 21, 2022 - 9:20:44 PM

512 posts since 1/24/2004

The Dunlop Ivoroid thumb picks are inexpensive and last longer than other celluloid or plastic picks I've tried. The one I'm using now is three months old and is still in great shape. I found them to be more comfortable and stable than the Blue Chip picks.

Jul 21, 2022 - 9:45:18 PM
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TN Time


352 posts since 12/6/2021
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The Fred Kelly medium (orange) fits me better than any other pick I have tried and I have tried a lot of them. The point also does not stick out as far as other picks. Fred Kelly gets my vote hands down.

Jul 21, 2022 - 9:58:51 PM

4591 posts since 5/29/2011

I've been using one of these for a while. Before that, I used the same metal Dunlop for 40 years.


Edited by - Culloden on 07/21/2022 21:59:23

Jul 21, 2022 - 11:03:34 PM

2186 posts since 4/18/2006

Dunlop Ultex Large

Jul 21, 2022 - 11:57:18 PM



10429 posts since 7/1/2006

I tried a Blue Chip JD thumbpick and I really liked its sound, but if I sweated even the tiniest amount that pick would just start spinning around my thumb. Not a secure feeling for a banjo picker.

So I finally settled on the Golden Gate GP-8, the extra large version:

This is the most comfortable thumb pick I've ever used. It locks on and never, ever slips. I bought a box of a dozen several years ago and ever after giving several away I still have 1/2 dozen left. They're very comfortable and durable. I also think Earl Scruggs used this thumbpick.

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Jul 22, 2022 - 12:23:38 AM
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1183 posts since 9/14/2008

I've got thumb picks scattered all over hell's half acre. Dunlop, Pro-Pik, D'Addario, even some old Delrin. My go-to is the Dunlop. The only picks I own, that I avoid using, would be Herco. They just don't feel as good as the others.

Will never buy $40 thumb pick. That just seems silly. Don't have any "Clown Barf" picks, but with a name like that, I'm gonna pick some up.

Edited by - csrat on 07/22/2022 00:24:50

Jul 22, 2022 - 12:44:30 AM
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4384 posts since 5/29/2004

JD Blue chip, well worth the money in my opinion...

Jul 22, 2022 - 2:28:51 AM



3505 posts since 11/8/2010

Originally posted by banjoy

I tried a Blue Chip JD thumbpick and I really liked its sound, but if I sweated even the tiniest amount that pick would just start spinning around my thumb. Not a secure feeling for a banjo picker.

I also use the BlueChip JD Crowe (medium size) and put a heat shrink tube onto the metal loop. It makes the loop a little more narrow and the gum of the tube has a sticky surface. 

Edited by - phb on 07/22/2022 02:29:13

Jul 22, 2022 - 2:42:52 AM

4738 posts since 12/6/2009

I use plain ol’ plastic picks...not sure of brand but they come 3 or 4 in a bag for pocket change. Why? Because I like to sand them down to meet the sounds a thumb pick should be for me meaning the thumb when hitting a string should be the same texture as the picks so all fingers sound the same. IMO
Watching you tube a lot shows most of the old pros use plastic cheapy’s also.
I know Don Reno liked to sand his blades down also.

Jul 22, 2022 - 5:24:06 AM
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171 posts since 7/26/2020

Another vote for Blue Chip JD.

Jul 22, 2022 - 6:18:27 AM
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375 posts since 4/26/2007

Clown barf is my fave, but I'm actually partial to the Key Kroydon version made by American Banjo Company. Golden Gate clown barfs are still great though.

I do have a few of the older Japan-stamped white Nationals and the vintage clown barf that I'll use from time to time when the strings are moving into "dull" territory as those picks brighten the fourth string a tad.

I do, however, use the hot water & bend technique on all of my thumbpicks. Even customized a fork to use as a bending tool for more precision!

Jul 22, 2022 - 6:26:20 AM
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11557 posts since 6/5/2011
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I  like my ACRI ..... the one with the brass band more than the stainless band.  Having said that, there's still room for improvement ..... a replaceable blade in particular.   Coming from the factory (?) with a bit of taper would have required less "surgery"* (?), but players with cylindrical thumbs probably see it differently.

* = mind you, I'm not complaining, as puttering is one of my strengths.

Jul 22, 2022 - 7:02:15 AM

146 posts since 10/5/2019
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My favorite is the Landis Accu-Pick Classic Scroll

Jul 22, 2022 - 7:15:06 AM
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7630 posts since 11/4/2005

Originally posted by csrat

...The only picks I own, that I avoid using, would be Herco. They just don't feel as good as the others...

Well, Craig, there is always somebody on the Hangout who will argue with you.  I've been using the Herco Blue Flex thumbpick for at least 20 years, after trying all the Dunlops, Nationals, including the metal one, etc.  To me, it provides a much clearer tone than all the others.  Our old pal Jim Reed favored them, too.  Now, I admit I haven't tried any of the super fancy ones that have come out in recent years; I just refuse to spend fifty bucks or whatever on a thumbpick, something I'm guaranteed to lose in not time.

Jul 22, 2022 - 7:37:03 AM

14913 posts since 10/30/2008
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Back in the 80s and 90s I was with the blue Herco crowd. A side-fact, I was told ALL the good steel players in Nashville used them. They do feel good, and they have a slippery surface even as they wear.

Then I discovered the early LARGE stout STIFF picks that evolved into clown barf from Golden Gate and AMB. And others who make something similar. However, I have found they vary a LOT in the material of construction. It's hard to find ones that don't have any grain or grit to them, in other words that stay slippery as they wear. It's quite unpredictable to know how they're going to feel/sound after you put a little string wear onto the surface. I wish someone could tell me how to discern this property!!

Jul 22, 2022 - 10:51:24 AM



139 posts since 2/18/2018

I really like the heavy Fred Kelly Delrin but sometimes they hook onto the fifth string. Tried to steam them and bend them but that stuff resists reshaping. I have a medium JD Blue Chip which is okay. Still like the Golden Gate ivoroid also.

Jul 22, 2022 - 11:20:44 AM

4400 posts since 6/15/2005

Kel Kroydon mock tortoise by AMB. However, I just checked their website and thumb picks are no longer listed. AMB used to offer tortoise, clown barf and black thumb picks. Black was discontinued some time ago, and now it seems that the other two have been discontinued as well. I bought a large supply seven or eight years ago and now I'm glad I did.

Dick, have you tried stropping the picks? I have a neat leather pick strop that I bought at the Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro in 1996, on my first trip to IBMA, but I have not come across another one since. It can also be used to buff nickel-silver finger picks. A high quality smooth leather instrument strap also works.

Jul 22, 2022 - 1:53:19 PM

101 posts since 2/25/2020

Love my blue chip JD medium.

Jul 22, 2022 - 2:01:43 PM
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1965 posts since 1/28/2013

Jim Dunlop all metal.

Jul 22, 2022 - 2:20:11 PM

76657 posts since 5/9/2007

My new favorite is the Dunlop xl tortoise.I finally have a pick I don't have to enlarge with hot water.

I polish mine on printer paper.

Edited by - steve davis on 07/22/2022 14:24:04

Jul 22, 2022 - 3:04:24 PM
Players Union Member



889 posts since 6/29/2007

I used Fred Kelly speed picks for years. This year I decided to try a talon shaped BlueChip. They are expensive but it doesn't slip or slide and works great.


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