| Visit Our Catalog at SteelGuitarShopper.com |

Post new topic Thumbpicks: Hercos vs. National and other stiffer picks
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Thumbpicks: Hercos vs. National and other stiffer picks
John Brabant


From:
Calais, VT, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jul 2019 4:47 am    
Reply with quote

Chris Templeton asked me to post this...

Thumbpicks: Hercos vs. National and other stiffer picks.

I have been a Herco thumb pick user for many years for pedal steel. I remember when a dark blue Hercos were something to covet.
When playing a gig or a session, some extra Hercos are usually required because they get a little “floppy” when body temperature heats them up.
When I studied with Jerry Byrd, he used a heavy National thumb picks and sometimes used it for a back stroke, which is easier for me on either a lap steel or guitar because of the wider string spacing.
What I didn’t like about the Nationals is they can make your thumb numb. To remedy this, drop them in boiling water for a couple of minutes then put it on your thumb.
If you just used the thumb on a forward stroke, you are in great position to execute a back stroke.
_________________
John Brabant
1982 Emmons D-10 P-P
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post  Posted 8 Jul 2019 6:19 am    
Reply with quote

Yeah, I used to have one of the old dark blue Hercos. I nearly cried when the tang broke. Never been able to find anything else like it. Wish I would have bought a handful when they were available.

The current Herco seems to be the favorite of the majority of players, but I gave away and/or sold all of them I owned. They are just too loose for my liking and don't give me the snap I want due to the material.

I must be missing something because many of the professional players use them. I recall seeing some players keeping a couple extras on the guitar to swap out when they get floppy. That seems like a lot of trouble to me.

Anyway, the harder the better for me. I've used the poly Nationals and Dunlops for years and shape them as you said. For the last few years, it's been the Dunlop Ultex. I really like these, but you cannot shape them, at least not by the hot water method. I don't know how they form them at the factory, but they do not take well to re-forming.

One other comment about the Ultex, I'm a ring finger size 8 so smaller hands, and I use the large thumb pick, but it's really snug.
View user's profile Send private message
Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 8 Jul 2019 7:01 am    
Reply with quote

I always used a National until a grandson broke it.
Now I use a Golden Gate pick. A close 2nd to the National. Very Happy
Erv
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
K Maul


From:
Mechanicville NY/Hobe Sound FL
Post  Posted 8 Jul 2019 7:05 am    
Reply with quote

I like “COOL PICKS” Betacarbonate Mediums for pedal, lap steel and bottleneck guitar. Amber color, very stiff, they take a long time to wear down.

_________________
Kevin Maul: Asher, Beard, Clinesmith, Dobro, Evans, EXCEL, Fender, Fishman, Fluger, GFI, Gibson, Quilter, RAM, Redline, Rickenbacher, Sho~Bud, Supro, ZKing.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Gene Tani


From:
The Pacific NW,
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2019 6:09 am    
Reply with quote

I acquired a lot of picks when i started playing banjo (I previously used Kelly speedpicks on guitar). Here's my current altoids tin, including one homemade one (I was trying to make a more comfortable finger band):


[/img]
_________________
- Rukavina and Sonny Jenkins laps, stage 1
- The secret sauce: polyester adidas sweatpants to buff your picks, 5 compressor pedals, Diet Mountain Dew
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jack Hanson


From:
San Luis Valley, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2019 7:08 am    
Reply with quote

Never could get comfortable with those little blue Hercos. My favorite thumbpicks are the big old Gibsons that come to a point on the leading edge of the blade. I've seen 'em in black, white, and tortoise. Don't think they've been in production since sometime during the middle of the last century. I still have 2 or 3 well-worn black Gibson thumbpicks in circulation that I covet bigly.

I've found the Dunlop 9023R to be an acceptable substitute. I buy 'em by the dozen and sort through the bag. I usually find two or three that are good, two or three more that feel okay, and then give the rest to a neighbor lady for her cat to play with.

View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Richard Sinkler


From:
aka: Rusty Strings -- Missoula, Montana
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2019 8:59 am    
Reply with quote

I swap between a Golden Gate and a John Pearse. The Pearse isn't as stiff as the Golden Gate, more like the Herco.
_________________
CLICK HERE to visit my website with Mickey Adams videos.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Dean Smith


From:
DFW, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2019 1:31 pm     Thumb picks
Reply with quote

I am like Jack, with respect to the Dunlops...I took a hiatus from playing for several years. When I started back playing, I went back to this Dunlop which is probably 15 years old. I can't even shape it anymore and I have discovered they aren't available anymore. The only choice that seems close is a National which I shape a bit with sandpaper to get a string attack I can live with.

I also size it with boiling H2O.

_________________
Patrick "Dean" Smith
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Ollin Landers


From:
Chapel Hill, NC
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2019 6:24 pm    
Reply with quote

I used the Newman red picks in the beginning days of my playing. Then I graduated to the blue hercos. I rarely have an issue with them getting floppy unless its an overly warm venue or an outside summer gig. But I do keep a blue and a red one ready to go if I need to swap them out.

I use the Fred Kelly speed picks for playing tele and have on more than one occasion had to do a quick change back on steel and just left it on. It works but it's a little shorter than the hercos. THe speed picks are Delrin and can be shaped using hot water. Just remember to douse them with cold after shaping to set the shape or it will revert to it's original shape.
_________________
Zum SD-12 Uni x2 Carter S-12 Uni, Several B-Bender Tele's and a lot of other gear I can't play.

“I spent half my money on gambling, alcohol and wild women. The other half I wasted.”
― W.C. Fields
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Malcolm McMaster


From:
Beith Ayrshire Scotland
Post  Posted 10 Jul 2019 10:52 pm    
Reply with quote

I love Zookies, tried all three, 10, 20,30, but settled on the 20, the angled tip hits the strings a lot better, and the choice of size makes them real comfortable to wear..

_________________
MSA Millenium SD10, GK MB200, Sica 12inch speaker cab. Digitech RP150, Peterson Stroboflip tuner.Hilton volume pedal.Scott Dixon seat and guitar flight case.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jon Voth


From:
Virginia, USA
Post  Posted 11 Jul 2019 2:11 pm    
Reply with quote

I am stuck to National (the black ones) because they are sturdy and they seem shorter to me than some others.

I kinda play fingerstyle guitar (without the thumb pick) so a shorter pick seems less unnatural.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 11 Jul 2019 8:16 pm    
Reply with quote

I have been using Fred Kelly pics
https://fredkellypicks.com/product/delrin-regular/

They are delrin so they don't get loose when they get hot. Which is a big issue on those 3 hour country gigs in the Texas heat.
_________________
Bob
http://liminalsoundseries.com/
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Aaron Johnson


From:
Lemoore, CA
Post  Posted 15 Jul 2019 4:05 pm    
Reply with quote

These are my two current favorites. They are a little shorter than most, but feel great.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 15 Jul 2019 11:38 pm    
Reply with quote

I like the Golden Gate small thumb pick. It has a smaller blade that fits a little back toward the knuckle that I like. It has a little gap on the other side of the thumb, but that hasn't been a problem for me yet. Maybe I'll try boiling one and see what happens.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jacek Jakubek


From:
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Post  Posted 20 Aug 2019 6:31 pm    
Reply with quote

I find the stiffer the material, the better the tone and firmest the attack. The stiffest pick material is metal, so I use that. A bonus is that metal thumpicks last forever and barely wear out.
Since metal thumbpicks are not as flexible as plastic, the pick does not feel as tight and secure on the thumb as plastic. To remedy this, I use 1-inch 3M Micropore tape around the whole pick, leaving only the picking blade exposed (see picture below). You can use the tape around a plastic (or any kind) of pick; it will help with security and the pick won't feel "floppy" even after hours of serious picking.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Hook Moore


From:
South Charleston,West Virginia
Post  Posted 21 Aug 2019 4:16 am    
Reply with quote

I couldn’t keep the blue pick from moving around on my thumb. I found these inexpensive planet wave picks do me a great job.

_________________
http://twitter.com/hook_moore
www.facebook.com/hook.moore
Blaine Moore
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Matthew Walton


From:
Fort Worth, Texas
Post  Posted 21 Aug 2019 6:42 am    
Reply with quote

I've been unsatisfied with my thumbpicks lately. I use the John Pearse, but they open up too quickly. So far I think my ideal would be the shape of John Pearse, but the thickness and stiffness of the Golden Gate Ivroid.

I think my best bet is to grind the point of the Golden Gate Large Ivroid down to my preference, I just haven't had the time yet.
_________________
If something I wrote can be interpreted two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, I meant the other one.

1981 MSA “The Universal” 9/5 | 2009 MSA S-12 SuperSlide | 1978 MSA D-10 8/5 | Peavey Nashville 112 |Fender Twin Reverb Reissue | ZT Lunchbox
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 21 Aug 2019 8:39 am    
Reply with quote

I agree with the John Pearse choice, for the shape of the blade. It produced the best overall tone for my attack. But I could never keep the band that wraps around the thumb from getting caught on strings, whether playing guitar or steel. Now I switch off between Kelly delrin Speed and Slick picks. I like those big honkin Dunlops too, for when I want to do Pete Townsend windmills on the Strat.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  
Please review our Forum Rules and Policies
Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction, and steel guitar accessories
www.SteelGuitarShopper.com

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 S. Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Click Here to Send a Donation


BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron