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Post new topic What brand of finger picks do you use?
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Author Topic:  What brand of finger picks do you use?
David Doggett


From:
Bawl'mer, MD (formerly of MS, Nawluns, Gnashville, Knocksville, Lost Angels, Bahsten. and Philly)
Post Posted 15 Jul 2009 10:20 am     Reply with quote

I use three Dunlop finger picks and a Dunlop metal thumb pick.

Regarding how much to bend the finger picks, there are two extreme schools of thought, and everything in between.

Some people bend the tip of the pick all the way around the fingertip, so the tip of the pick is almost touching the tip of the fingernails. These people seem to palm block a lot, and flatten their hand by keeping the first knuckle straight, and severely bending the middle and outer joints, so the nail section of the fingers is completely turned under. They often curl under the 4th and 5th fingers in the same way, and use them for blocking. The hand is held flat and parallel with the plane of the strings. Some very top players use this position, and play way better than me. However, I find that position cramps my right hand, and the backs of the picks snag if you try to back stroke any strings for strumming (not used much with 10-string E9, but used on C6, Extended E9, Uni, and Sacred Steel). Also, in this position, I can see how the backs of the picks would potentially hit the next higher string, the problem you describe.

Other players leave the picks unbent, or curve them only slightly. All the knuckles and joints are bent slightly, so the hand and fingers form a semi-circular curve, like they are holding a tennis ball. The hand is angled about 45 degrees with the plane of the strings. The edge of the palm and extended little finger are used for palm blocking. These players seem to finger block a lot. Lots of very top players use this position (and they can also play way better than me). This is a much more natural and relaxed position for me. It is similar to the position piano players use. My old piano teacher use to ball up a piece of paper and have me hold it to demonstrate the proper arch. You can strum strings with a backstroke, and the back of the pick is nowhere near the strings.

You will see many very good players that are somewhere between these two extremes. So this is obviously a matter of personal preference that you will have to experiment with and work out for yourself.
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Last edited by David Doggett on 15 Jul 2009 4:01 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Terry Sneed


From:
Arkansas,
Post Posted 15 Jul 2009 2:36 pm     fingerpicks Reply with quote

I use the doubble band Pro-piks. I tried the single band but couldn't keep them on my fingers. I used Nationals before the pro piks, never cared for the dunlops. They just don't feel as good on my fingers.
Blue herco for thumb pick.

Terry
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"May God Bless America Again"
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Calvin Walley


From:
colorado city colorado, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2009 6:16 pm     Reply with quote

Showcase 1941s work for me for the thumb i use Zookies 10 L
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Mullen SD-10 /nashville 400
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Walter Bowden


From:
Wilmington, North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 15 Jul 2009 6:32 pm     Reply with quote

I've been trying some "Roy's Own" finger picks I got from Janet Davis Music recently. They are very similar to older Nationals but mine needed some fine sanding to smooth out some rough spots. I'd still like to find one more old National to go with my last one of those.
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Ronnie Boettcher


From:
Brunswick Ohio, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2009 9:35 pm     Reply with quote

Walter, did you get my private message? If not get back with me. Ronnie
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Matt Wilson


From:
Columbus, Ohio
Post Posted 17 Jul 2009 6:10 pm     Reply with quote

this video and the part 2 of this video are pretty informative about finger picks. its for banjo but a lot of it will work for steel too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QW43FN8goEc
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DALE WHITENER


From:
TRINITY,NC USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2009 5:40 am     Reply with quote

I use Jeffs JF finger picks and Dunlop thumb picks.
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Jim Sliff


From:
Hermosa Beach California, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2009 11:08 am     Reply with quote

I have used Dunlops .015's for 25 years. Oddly, I'll use 1/16" plexiglass as a 6-string pick but find the light-gage fingerpicks give me far better touch and control on Dobro and lapsteel....that's where I started...and it carries over perfectly to pedal steel. With heavier fingerpicks I just don't have the "touch".

FWIW I also completely flatten out the "comfort curve" (boy, was that mis-named!) and the tips have a very slight curve - my fingertips point almost straight down at the guitar, and so do my picks.
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Tiny Olson


From:
Tribes Hill, NY, USA along the Erie Canal in the beautiful Mohawk River Valley
Post Posted 18 Jul 2009 8:24 pm     Reply with quote

Blue, Herco thumb-pick and "Showcase '41" finger-picks are what I've been using for the past eight years. For my taste the "Showcase '41s" have all the right features; tone, comfort, attack and feel. I like them very much and get them from Herby Wallace.

Chris "Tiny" O.
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Dave Magram


From:
San Jose, California, USA
Post Posted 19 Jul 2009 1:02 am     National fingepick website Reply with quote

Charlie,
There is an amazing amount of information about fingerpicks at http://www.deanhoffmeyer.com/nationalpicks/frameset.htm
The website is mostly about Nationals, but also mentions several other brands that attempted to replicate the old Nationals:Kysers,Showcase 1941's,and Roy's Own.

I have tried new Nationals, Kysers and the Showcase 1941's, but the Roy's Own picks seemed to have significantly better tonal quality. I spoke with their maker Doug Hutchens several years ago. Doug explained that there are seven different "German silver" alloys available for fingerpicks. He chose the softest because he was told that is what was used in the old Nationals. The Roy's Own picks sure sound like it--the softer alloy gives the pick more "grab"! The price is low, around $9 a pair from Janet Davis music, and they sound great. For more background info: http://www.deanhoffmeyer.com/nationalpicks/hutchens.html

In terms of shaping the picks, as David D. mentions there is no one way to do it--it depends on the shape and size of your hand and how you are going to block. What works for one person may not work for another. I'd suggest you try different amounts of curvature, until the pick is hitting the string properly. And don't forget to adjust the bands of the picks to rotate the pick around your finger so that the pick tip hits the strings squarely.

You can often see how different leading players curve their picks in photos, instructional material, and Youtube videos. For example, I began curving my picks more after taking up pick-blocking and studying the close-ups of Joe Wright's picks in his instructional video on pick-blocking.

If you're not sure about how to adjust the picks, try searching for "shaping fingerpicks" in Google.

- Dave
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Billy Murdoch


From:
Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.
Post Posted 19 Jul 2009 3:39 am     Reply with quote

I have been using Perfect touch finger picks for a couple of years now.They are the most comforable picks I have come across.I could not,however get used to their thumb pick.I use a Kelly speed pick for thumb.
I can understand how picks of differing thickness and material can alter Your tone but I fail to see how steel picks made from differing compositions of "steel"can change Your tone.Steel striking steel sounds like steel striking steel.
Best regards
Billy
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Dave Magram


From:
San Jose, California, USA
Post Posted 19 Jul 2009 9:03 am     Reply with quote

Hi Billy,

Quote:
I can understand how picks of differing thickness and material can alter Your tone but I fail to see how steel picks made from differing compositions of "steel"can change Your tone.Steel striking steel sounds like steel striking steel.
-Billy Murdoch


That is what I used to believe, so I switched from Nationals to Dunlops many years ago because they were more comfortable. However, when I tried out a pair of Roy's Own on my banjo, everyone in the band asked if I was using a different banjo, because the Roy's Own picks were so much louder! (Sorry, b0b, I hope this anecdote doesn't give you nightmares!) I actually had to play much, much lighter in rehearsals, because the Roy's Own picks were so much louder than the Dunlops!

I called Doug Hutchens, the maker of the Roy's Own picks, and he explained that the softer alloy gave the pick more "grab"--just like the old Nationals that everyone prized. So I tried them on my steel and to my ears, the Roy's Own picks brought out a fuller tone (volume is obviously not an issue on an amplified instrument).

Of course, everyone has their own preference about tone and comfort--this incident seemed to be the closest to an A-B comparison in this thread so far.

One downside--just like the old Nationals, Roy's Own picks need to be shaped for comfort with a needle-nose pliers.

Anyhow, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Smile

-Dave
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Jerry Eilander


From:
Hadspen, Tasmania, Australia
Post Posted 19 Jul 2009 7:49 pm     Reply with quote

this is what I use
cheers
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Charlie Silliman


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 20 Jul 2009 6:13 am     Reply with quote

Wow. What a great variety of picks to choose from. Regarding Jerry's post, are these "open" finger picks helpful for finger blocking? It would seem that one could silence the string without the noise of the metal pick-on-string sound, then pick again with the end ot the pick. If this was such a revolutionary design concept, then why wouldn't everybody be using them? Please advise and thanks.
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Jerry Eilander


From:
Hadspen, Tasmania, Australia
Post Posted 20 Jul 2009 10:02 pm     Reply with quote

That's exacly why I'm using them.
I allways had that clicking sound ,of pics landing on my strings, when I started playing steel 6 years ago.
Think if I had normal pics now, it wouldn't be a problem anymore,but got so used to them ,so I'm sticking with them, try your self ,a few bucks of e-bay, Oh Well ,
cheers from "Down under"
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Ben Turner


From:
Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
Post Posted 20 Jul 2009 10:22 pm     Reply with quote

I use the Jeff Newman "JF" finger picks and golden gate thumb picks. Very Happy
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