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Jan 21, 2023 - 10:59:30 AM
223 posts since 7/24/2021
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Has anyone ever worn a hole through the blade of their finger picks? How long did it take ? What brand of pick ? Gauge ? Is it possible? Anything is possible. I’m curious. Thanks. And keep putting the 3 to the 5 !

Jan 21, 2023 - 11:33:04 AM


New Zealand

11716 posts since 6/29/2003

Are you talking metal or plastic? I seriously doubt that metal would wear to that extent. In all the years of playing I have never worn a plastic thumb pick out. I have lost them or they have broken but never worn.

Jan 21, 2023 - 12:22:10 PM

223 posts since 7/24/2021
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Yes, metal finger picks! I know it sounds silly. I’m interested if anyone has ever had a set of metal finger picks that they have had maybe a long time ? Or just picked a lot ? A favorite set they have used so long/ much they wore a hole through the blade? I’m guessing no . It would take a lot of wear to put a hole in a pick, but you don’t know until the question is asked. Thanks again

Jan 21, 2023 - 12:54:47 PM
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12672 posts since 6/5/2011

If a pick survived all other ignominious end-of-life scenarios*, wouldn't the wear caused by typical (?) picking make it wear shorter rather than a hole in the blade?

* = Fwiw, I [accidentally] dropped a stainless steel SaddleBrand one in a campfire. Found it after a minute or two; polished the grunge when I got home, and can't tell the difference from the others.  

Jan 21, 2023 - 1:01:08 PM

15185 posts since 10/30/2008

In my earlier years when it was difficult to get picks, I used some Nationals long enough to wear a SLIGHT bevel in fingertip end of a couple picks.

I have indeed worn out big plastic thumbpicks like the Golden Gate clown barf picks by using them to play bluegrass guitar rhythm (I use a thumbpick for that, most of the time). The wound strings wear out the plastic quickly, leaving a notch or groove in the middle of the leading edge. Makes 'em pretty poor for picking the banjo. Now I try to keep guitar picks separate from banjo picks, even if they're the same make and model.

Jan 21, 2023 - 1:06:54 PM



1661 posts since 4/12/2004

If you're interested in pick wear, I think you would have been interested to have seen a display at Banjothon last week.

On display was a set of cam tuners that were once used by J.D. Crowe. Along with it were an old pair of J.D.'s National finger picks.

Because of the way those finger picks were manufactured, the middle surfaces of the blades were slightly concave. J.D., of course, cocked his hand at the wrist in order to make the surface of the blades of his picks normal to the strings when he picked. Because of that concavity, the wear on the blades was concentrated near the edges of the blades. The wear was about 1/8" on each side, and there was perfect symmetry to wear. The tips of the blades were flat from extensive wear, and the flats were perfectly perpendicular to the longitudinal axes of the blades. The flats looked to be about 1/4" wide.

If you want to understand how J.D. got such great tone out of his banjo, the wear on his picks provides a clue. That, and the banjos he played.

Edited by - RB3 on 01/21/2023 13:21:23

Jan 21, 2023 - 1:26:23 PM

5124 posts since 11/20/2004

I have replaced two or three (can't recall for sure) sets of National fingerpicks in my 40 years of playing. As said above, the ends wear away and become short before any holes wear through. I have a Bluechip thumbpick that I am trying, but was getting about a year out of plastic thumbpicks before they were too short.

Jan 21, 2023 - 1:32:08 PM



10960 posts since 7/1/2006

I've been picking since 1977, not regularly for sure and not to the density a pro would play. In all this time, I think I'm on my 3rd set of picks. Not because of wear, but because I'd change brands. Currently I use ProPik-2- ... I think I've been using this set for at least 10-12 years, maybe longer. They are beginning to show signs of mild wear as I'm looking at them.

I've been thinking those Landis picks might be nice. I can't remember what they cost but if I try 'em and like 'em that'd be the set for the rest of my life. I remember they are a little pricey for me but they are on my radar.

Jan 21, 2023 - 2:06:07 PM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)


28540 posts since 8/3/2003

I've had the same fingerpicks since the mid '70s and have gone to a lot of festivals, played with my band at a bunch of them, jammed at every festival I've been to (and done it from morning until the wee hours of the night sometimes) and have never worn a hole in a fingerpick. I've broken a couple of plastic thumb picks and wore them down a little. I don't pick as hard as some, so that may be part of the reason mine have never worn out or worn thin.

Jan 21, 2023 - 4:27:28 PM

223 posts since 7/24/2021
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The reason I ask the original question was ,because the last couple of years I’ve tried about every pick they make. I settled on Dunlop picky picks. , I’ve worn the ends down on a couple of sets to a really sharp point. So, that got me thinking? Thanks for your reply’s.

Jan 21, 2023 - 9:22:10 PM

727 posts since 1/28/2011

What are Dunlop picky pics ? I am not familiar with them.

Jan 21, 2023 - 9:35:39 PM

Alex Z


5181 posts since 12/7/2006

"I’ve worn the ends down on a couple of sets to a really sharp point"

That's where the wear is going to be, because the end is where every string has to pass, and the most pressure between pick and string is right at the end point.

I can't see a hole in the middle wearing out while the area of the pick around the hole has less wear.

But who knows, maybe there is something out there?  smiley

Jan 21, 2023 - 9:38:34 PM
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2678 posts since 11/17/2018

Originally posted by latigo1

What are Dunlop picky pics ? I am not familiar with them.

The OP may have meant Ernie Ball Picky Picks.

Over the years, I've used both Nationals and Dunlops, and have never "worn out" a finger pick.

Edited by - OldNavyGuy on 01/21/2023 21:40:50

Jan 22, 2023 - 12:13:19 AM

223 posts since 7/24/2021
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Yes Earnie ball picky picks . They already come with a type of point, not rounded on the ends like, typical Dunlop, National. So it doesn’t take much to file them down to a very sharp point. I seem to get too much pick noise with any other picks.

Jan 23, 2023 - 6:20:41 AM
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2140 posts since 8/30/2012

A bit of unsolicited questioning/advice:

If you're wearing them down to a point, would that mean you're wearing the edges rather than the tips? If so, that means you're scraping the edges along the string, rather than hitting the strings with the tip of the pick. In that case, it means you're approach angle isn't perpendicular to the strings. Excessive pick noise while using standard-style picks is also an indication that your angle of attack needs to be adjusted.

If you adjust your hand/arm positioning and neck angle, so that your angle of attack is perpendicular to the strings, your edge wear issues will go away and you'll be able to use normal picks.

Jan 23, 2023 - 10:57:43 AM

165 posts since 1/17/2019

So whilst on the picky subject, I have regular metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick. But I see brass and plastic finger picks for sale too.

What might be the difference between for this intermediate player?

Jan 23, 2023 - 11:16:20 AM

165 posts since 1/17/2019

Revised previous last line of post:

What might be the difference between metal, plastic and brass finger picks to this intermediate player?

Jan 23, 2023 - 12:21:11 PM

2678 posts since 11/17/2018

I've used all three, and the main difference is tone.

Metal is my personal choice.

Jan 27, 2023 - 12:52:51 PM

77451 posts since 5/9/2007

I wear the tips down to more of a square and throw them out after that happens.I like a bit of length there because of the length of my fingers.

To adjust for the pick to strike along its full face color the pick surface with a marker and then play for a couple of minutes.When the marker is worn away in the center of the blade leaving the edges colored the pick will have the best full tone and will wear down evenly.

Edited by - steve davis on 01/27/2023 13:00:53

Jan 27, 2023 - 12:55:11 PM

77451 posts since 5/9/2007

I don't like solid brass because they can loosen if I dig in too hard.Nickel plating offers a bit of spring-back to the wraps.

Jan 29, 2023 - 8:46:41 AM

3074 posts since 4/5/2006
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Fer cry out loud, it ain't rocket science. If your picks aint workin right, you ain't pickin right! That being said, you can always twist, & tweak your picks to accommodate your picking hand.

Feb 2, 2023 - 8:19:28 PM

7364 posts since 2/14/2006

Why I guess you're right! Both my fingerpicks have a hole worn in them, approximately in the same spot, too! I didn't realize this was happening!

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