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Wood Picks.....

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by ZenG, Apr 27, 2015.

  1. I use fingers and I also use picks.

    Lately I've been gravitating towards trying wood picks with the intent of making my own. I have equipment for cutting,shaping etc. etc .etc......so that's no problem.

    Yesterday I made a pick out of Western Red Cedar just for a tryout. This is a really soft wood and it took me about 5 minutes to make one. I was impressed with the mellow tone it produced.

    But this wood probably won't stand up for a great amount of time.

    I looked at the Janka wood hardness guide.......there are some really hard woods listed on there.....

    Noticed Rosewood was harder than Maple......was thinking of trying a Rosewood pick.

    Then I thought that a couple of types of Ironwood (really hard) might be the ticket....if it's a workable wood.

    They list Red Oak as "middle of the pack" hardness-wise.....but to me Oak is pretty damn hard.....much harder than Cedar.

    Making my own would be way less expensive than buying them off the net. Wood picks seem to be ridiculously expensive individually.

    But I'm wondering what specie would be satisfactory and not overkill in terms of hardness rating.

    Obviously it's going to affect tone a bit as well....
    JollySpudd likes this.
  2. All kinds of plastic junk laying around the house. See if the bottom of a milk jug would be of any use. I'd look at plastic. Or just go with what ever wood you have. The oak in a wooden pallet is about as hard as anything I've tried to use - and they are free at most places.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If you've got the skills and equipment to make them yourself, make a bunch out of everything you can get your hands on and see which you like best.
    You could experiment with thickness as well.

    Nothing will be overkill in terms of hardness. They're all going to be softer than the bone, shell and stone picks that are out there.

    Consider that regular picks probably contain less than $0.01 of materials and involve seconds of labor each to produce. They make them in batches by the hundreds.
    5 minutes of skilled labor to make one out of wood is, relatively speaking, a lot of time and effort.
  4. FloridaTim


    May 29, 2013
    Kissimmee, FL
    I make my own leather picks and I just had to experiment with thickness and hardness till I got a good feel for picking out the leather.
  5. I have numerous plastic picks........but the wood one I made had a much more muted sound to it...

    I don't mind making them.....I have the time......
  6. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    How thick was it? The difference in sound could be as much due to that as anything else.
  7. Friend makes wooden ball point pens, spends hours on one using all kinds of imported woods. A Bic costs pennies at WalMart. If you enjoy making wooden picks have fun.
  8. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    If you really want to get fancy you could glue up a laminated blank and carve out some rounded triangles with a different type of wood at each corner. Then you could see if the different woods make a difference.

    Or you could just use whichever ones look cool and prove to be durable.
  9. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
  10. Thuddy Waters

    Thuddy Waters

    Mar 20, 2015
    Phoenix, AZ
  11. Dash Lashes

    Dash Lashes Banned

    Feb 20, 2015
  12. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    i'd like you to try mesquite. want me to send you some?
  13. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    Agate is STONE.
    Silica,to be exact.Not glass!
    If they broke that easily they wouldn't have even made it to the selling phase.
    Plus I would not recommend buying them in bulk because of the price.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2015
  14. jazzboy


    Feb 13, 2017
    My friend from work made me this one from the knot of a piece of aromatic cedar.....amazing!!!!!! 20170327_150231.
    lostreality likes this.

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