What Pick Should I Use

Discussion in 'Accessories [BG]' started by J-Mags, Aug 29, 2018.

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  1. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    I've played guitar for 35 years, so I'm used to using picks, but the picks I've used on guitar don't work as well with bass. For guitar, I use thick Dunlop Nylon or Tortex picks, because I want explosive dynamics for palm muting while playing rock and punk.

    On bass, playing with a pick is much more taxing because you need to play more consistently. I also think that it sounds a lot smoother when I play with a thinner pick.. But I notice that when I play with a thin pick (around 75mm; 60mm sounds best, but it's out of the question), the pick flexes in my picking hand and I get cramps. Generic celluloid or polycarbonate picks work tolerably well but I'd love to play with something that doesn't get slippery or wear out over the course of a rehearsal or gig. Does anyone make a pick that's thinner at the picking end than the handle side? I play punk rock on flats, BTW.
     
  2. Kriegs

    Kriegs

    Feb 14, 2018
    This is my main pick for both guitar and bass :thumbsup: I've been playing guitar for 35 years too! I've also been playing bass for the last 10 years.
    upload_2018-8-29_15-47-32.png

    The only time I change from that one is when I'm going for a gentler attack or emulating finger picking. Then I'll switch to felt or stone plectrums.
     
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  3. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    That one sounds good, but feels uncomfortable, because it seems like it's collapsing in my hand. The yellow ones are tolerable, but still not right. The green and purple are way too hard.
     
  4. Right now, I'm really liking Morgan Picks from Denmark. I was using V-Picks and Gravity Picks for a few years
     
  5. When I need to use a pick I play Fender 351 medium celluloid picks. I use one of the two blunt ends on top of the pick, which gives me greater control and unlike the sharp end doesn't dig into the string. It also gives me a better, more secure grip.

    Fender 351 medium celluloid pick.jpg
     
  6. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    This is the exact reason I use nothing lighter than a Fender heavy, and I prefer even heavier. My picks since a few years ago are all 1.5 mm, which isn't the thickest but they aren't thin. You make the pick do the work of striking the string when you use heavies, not your hand, and thinner picks make your hand do most of the work and it causes pain. Our strings are a lot heavier than guitar strings, so guitarists get away with a lot more than we can.

    Carol Kaye has a whole lot of info about safe pick usage and discusses pick stiffness at length on her website, and I'm living proof it works. Before age 40, I could go all night with a pick, never had a problem no matter how bad my technique got trying to look cool. After I hit 40, I thought I was going to have to quit using a pick because of the pain, but I found her info and really learned her method, and I did everything she said to do by the letter and still do, although thanks to using lighter gauge strings with low tension, I don't have to pick as close to the neck as she recommends. And I'm still using a pick with no pain at age 57, and any time I deviate from it, the pain starts up within seconds.

    So I highly recommend learning her method if you want to avoid pain. There's info about it on here you can find with a search, plus you can go to carolkaye.com and her Facebook page and get more info. You're a prime candidate for the very things she talks about happening to bass players who use a pick with unsafe technique.
     
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  7. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    I'll check that out! It's astonishing how much more demanding bass is on your right hand. My musical life over the last 10 years has been a tale of increasing lowness - coming off a lifetime of astringent Telecaster rock tones to baritone guitar and now bass. Each time, I've had to totally reconfigure my picking hand. I think generic Fender heavies or Dunlop gels is gonna be the way to go. I'm playing light gauge Dunlop flats on a Mustang, so string tension shouldn't be an issue, to say the least.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
    JimmyM likes this.
  8. Scoops

    Scoops Why do we use base 10 when we only have 8 fingers Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Sugar Creek, Wisc
  9. HD007

    HD007

    Jul 12, 2018
    671FB96D-912D-4697-AA5B-FB1C026A0695.jpeg
    Carol Kaye also has her own picks. I really like them- they don’t slip (for me) and I like the shape, weight etc. Of course she uses only flatwounds. Roundwounds chew up her picks more quickly and there is more string noise.

    I agree with above that working on picking technique (especially as distinct from guitar) is a good idea. Good luck!
     
    JimmyM likes this.
  10. biguglyman

    biguglyman

    Jul 27, 2017
    Pownal, ME
    JaamE and J-Mags like this.
  11. dvs20

    dvs20

    Mar 11, 2007
    mantua, OH
    upload_2018-9-7_9-26-0.jpeg
     
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  12. Lefty McGee

    Lefty McGee

    Jun 7, 2018
    I use V-Picks Tradition Lite 1.5mm, haven't dropped a pick since I started using them!
    20180510_BFG V-Pick.jpg
     
  13. J-Mags

    J-Mags Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2018
    Durham NC
    Ooooh I hate those Clayton picks! They seem so slippery and brittle.

    I'm getting used to relaxing my hand more. Although Carol Kaye style isn't gonna work for me, doing it part of the time is helping me with hand position all the time. If I avoid the harder plastics like Clayton or Tortex, most medium-heavy picks are comfortable and don't hit the strings too hard. Even the ones the give you for free at Guitar Center are now reasonably comfortable. I have had to go from grippy nylon to smooth plastic to get the feel I want.
     
  14. Karlson541

    Karlson541 Inactive

    Jun 9, 2018
    75mm or even 60mm picks shouldn't flex (though I do wonder how you are able to play with such thick picks), not even a 0.75mm should flex that much really, you are probably holding it between your fingers too far from the tip of it, which will make you have less control over your picking no matter what thickness you use.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
  15. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Very well, thanks :D
     
  16. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I like Fender Clears - 351 shape
    Always used Fender celuloid picks
    The clears (used to be called California) aren't to bright and closer to a finger sound without massive EQ changes
    Who knew the pick material would make such a huge difference; I was using heavies but just tried a medium; jury is still out
     
  17. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    Yep, makes a difference. Try a metal pick vs a felt pick :D
     
  18. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    I have tried felt but the thing was so clumsy and thick; I tried a quarter once ad didn't like the sound.
    I was just suprised between the differences of plastic.
    Delrin, celluloid, I'm guessing the clears are acrylic or polycarbonate, Tortex, etc. all pretty different.

    Hey Jimmy, was the Carol Kaye info on the net or in a book?
     
  19. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    When I found it, it was scattered around on her "Tips" page on carolkaye.com . I did my best to organize it for here but I missed a few things and wasn't able to edit my original post, and I don't care enough to do it again :D
     
  20. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Do you think your original post is still on this board?