Please Don't Pick on Me. *tee hee!*

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
5 years ago
440 posts

Sheryl, I do have picks that I put my name on--they cost several dollars, so losing one of those is a bigger deal.  I've gotten at least 3 returned to me because of that, so it does pay, if you can figure out a way to do it.  Those picks have foam on the part you grip with your thumb and finger(s)...they're called "Grippy Picks", or something like that.  Mike Clemmer sells them (as do others) in a variety of thicknesses.




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Jan, Thanks for the pick tip. I “acquired” a twenty dollar bill one time… I think will buy one of those picks. It’s unlikely I will be as fortunate as you were in finding yours.  sun

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
1,739 posts

I love a felt pick for certain quiet ballads, but not much else.  Different materials, as well as different thicknesses give you different sounds.  I have a pick made of "vegetable ivory" from the Ivory Nut Palm from Micronesia, a felt pick or two, maple and bamboo 'strummer' type plectra about 4" long, turkey quill picks, zip-tie picks, and a bunch more.  For general strumming I prefer a pretty thick pick .7mm or so, which I angle back and forth to prevent pick clatter.

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
5 years ago
440 posts

d-chitwood, I have one of those thick felt picks, too.  Haven't found anything I like using it on, though.  Now, if you want to practice without fear of waking those who are sleeping/studying, etc, then try using a pack of paper "post-it" flags--if you can find some.  The ones I use are about the size of address labels and they are gummed into a "pack" at one end.  When you use this as a "pick", you can strum those strings with all the vigor you want--and at performance tempo--and only YOU will hear what you are playing.  I refer to these as "silent picks"  because they're almost silent. 

Sheryl--to test the flexibility of a pick to use for fast strumming, I make a fist with my left hand and strum the pick across the fingers on that closed hand.  There's a certain "feel" I'm going for--I don't want any "drag".   You have to balance that, of course, against the percussive "flapping" noise the pick might make.  I couldn't do a fast strum until I tried that super-thin .38 Dunlop!  (My first one was "acquired" at a workshop I went to...it was on the floor and none of the people there claimed it as theirs.)




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

I have a few felt picks I occasionally use on my Uke. The Uke has nylon strings, like a classical guitar. If you want to use felt picks on your steel and metal wound dulcimer strings, be prepared to buy more felt picks. They will wear out quickly. But hey, what's the cost of a few picks if they don't disturb our hubby's sleep? In other words, whatever works. thumbsup

D. chitwood
D. chitwood
@d-chitwood
5 years ago
148 posts

So here's a weird thing... I was with some folks who play guitar and one guy had set down a really odd pick. I picked it up and noticed it was thick, only slightly bendy...and....it was made out of felt. It was a full 1/4 inch thick. The guy told me it was used for classical guitar? Anyway, I tried it on my McSpadden, which is only slightly bright and whoa...the sound completely changed! It became slightly muffled and quiet and almost baritone sounding. Really, really cool and different! I guess it could be useful if one was practicing while one's spouse was trying to sleep. :) 

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Jan, I love that they sell them by the dozen, because they are like Pokemon cards, trade them with friends! I got my Wegen in a trade. (it's so thick that I haven't grown into it yet) Good tip on your choice of pick for fast strumming. I'm a beginner, but it seems like nobody touts the thin picks, for use on the dulcimer. And hmm, I have a few spiral notebooks around somewhere. 

Jan Potts
Jan Potts
@jan-potts
5 years ago
440 posts

I have dozens and dozens of picks of all shapes, sizes, styles, materials, thicknesses, and colors.  Some were purchased by the dozen, some I've acquired in trades with other players, some I've made from various materials.   I like very thin flexible picks for fast strumming (paper-thin Dunlop .38).  One of my favorites was cut out of the cover of a spiral notebook!  It's good for about 90% of the playing I do--but I often can't find it!  So even when I have favorite picks, I find I have to "make do" with whatever is handy!




--
Jan Potts, Lexington, KY
Site Moderator

"Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Henry Van Dyke
Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Ken, I ordered a Herdim 'happy pack' this week when I was ordering some new strings. And then I bought a 12 pack of Dunlop .73 mm guitar picks while I was in my local music supply store, and they are now my current favorite picks. When I get the Herdim pack, it will be interesting to see if I have a new favorite. The only Herdim I have used so far, is the yellow one. It's too soft for me. I wonder how many picks the average dulcimer player owns…

William Mann
William Mann
@william-mann
5 years ago
22 posts

I have tried a bunch of stuff, from typical teardrops and rounded triangles brought over from my guitar, elongated teardrops from my mandolin, thumbpicks from my banjo, V-picks, and I still have an original first-generation tri-gauge Herdim (when they were white).  I've even cut them from credit cards.  Ultimately I came back to the classic 355-style (large triangle) celluloid picks from Fender and D'Andrea that almost every dulcimer maker at one time threw in with instrument purchases. 

I buy 355s in medium and heavy gauges, usually in bulk.  Some of these I cut in half to produce elongated picks that are great for flatpicking, as well as brushing strum styles (a little reminiscent of the sound of quill plectrums); the uncut full picks produce volume.  I have recently begun gluing grip tape (usually used for tennis and raquetball raquet handles) to contact points on both sides.  With that, I can keep control of the picks with a fairly relaxed grip.  I've tried matte delrin picks and nylon picks with molded texturing, but the grip tape works better with less effort on my part.

Steven Berger
Steven Berger
@steven-berger
5 years ago
137 posts

I use the Herco Flex 75 picks. They're fairly stiff, but with some flex, they have "grips" on both sides so they don't slip, they're made out of nylon and don't seem to wearout, and I don't get anything like the pick noise I get from other picks I've used (including one I made from an old credit card).

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Robert, good idea. 

robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
5 years ago
251 posts

I make my own. Don't cost a penny. Robert...

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Ken, I'm going to follow you,get get the details. Thanks!

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 years ago
659 posts

Sheryl, if you need a red herdim, let me know. I've been selling out my inventory and I think I still have some red ones left. They are a dollar each.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Charles, I got my Bing picks yesterday. So far, I like the Ultra Lite best. Hoping to pick up a red Herdim at a workshop I'm attending at the end of August.

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Charles, looks like you know your picks. Here's the description for the rest of you FOTMD who may be interested, and don't already know:

WEGEN BG100 PICKBLUEGRASS, WHITE, 1.00mm - Set of four. A standard shaped flatpick with dual beveled-edge tip for right handed players. Has 9 holes in a diamond pattern for grip. Bluegrass players (and anyone else who craves a thick plectrum) - this pick is a must have! The ultimate in control! 

Charles Thomas
Charles Thomas
@charles-thomas
5 years ago
77 posts

It looks like a Wegen BG100 or 120


updated by @charles-thomas: 08/06/15 05:53:56PM
Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

My friend gave me this pick awhile back. I really hated it, it’s thick, and doesn’t bend at all. Now that I’ve been practicing new techniques I’ve learned from this forum, I’m really starting to like it. Does it look familiar to anyone? It’s equally as thick as a quarter.

Charles Thomas
Charles Thomas
@charles-thomas
5 years ago
77 posts

Looking at Elderly Instuments site , it says they are all nylon so I guessing they are the same hardness.

Charles Thomas
Charles Thomas
@charles-thomas
5 years ago
77 posts

Yellow is light, red is medium, and blue is heavy in terms of thickness.

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Charles, I just ordered some V picks, Bing Ultra, Bing Lite, and Tremolo Round. I've been using a yellow Herdim, but it's too soft for me. Which is harder, the red or blue Herim, do you know?

Charles Thomas
Charles Thomas
@charles-thomas
5 years ago
77 posts

I use a V pick Bing Ultra Lite or a red Herdim with my index and middle fingers on one side and my thumb on the other with very little of the pick showing(1/4 inch of so). I've also used thicker picks (2.75 mm), felt picks, leather picks, Metal finger picks , plus any number of guitar picks . It's fun to experiment with creating new sounds! I agree with Ken Hulme, don't use a "death grip" hold it lightly so it sort of floats in your fingers. The V pick is naturaly sticky and Herdims have some texture so they don't slip.


updated by @charles-thomas: 08/04/15 09:49:48PM
Kristi Keller
Kristi Keller
@kristi-keller
5 years ago
86 posts

So nice that Bob reminded us that Gorila Snot serves a different function than Brill Cream    lol

Bob Reinsel
Bob Reinsel
@bob-reinsel
5 years ago
75 posts

Strumelia, I think you're right about smaller/heavier picks making less noise, or at least less obvious noise.  I think thinner picks have a brighter slap sound where thicker ones tend to have more of a thunk to them.  How's that for qualitative analysis?  thumbsup

By the way, for those who are intereted in Gorilla Snot, you want the drumtisck/pick gripper stuff, not the hair gel. :-)




--
Bob
Site Moderator

The greatest music is made for love, not for money -- Greg Lake
Kristi Keller
Kristi Keller
@kristi-keller
5 years ago
86 posts

Thanks for posting the video! It will be interesting to try the thumb middle finger grip.

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

I see some serious experimentation in my near future. You guys have all provided such helpful information on this topic; that's what I love about FOTMD. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
5 years ago
1,769 posts

Personally, I find I have more 'pick noise' (I see it as 'pick percussion') when my pick is longer and/or more flexible/thin.
I myself have found that a short stiff thicker rounded-cornered guitar pick tends to gives the least pick noise.  But that also happens to be the hardest to hold onto if you are doing vigorous strumming and strong flatpicking.  In those cases, try a dab of GorillaSnot product on your fingertips-  it lasts through a jam but rubs off easily when you're done.  Just like violin rosin, it's made from tree rosin but in a paste-like medium, in a little jar.  Smells like xmas trees. 




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 years ago
659 posts

Randy, thanks for the Robert Force video. Cornwall is a nice piece.

Ken

"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Great advice, Ken! Yes, I've been applying the death grip, and I didn't even know it. 

Randy, Thanks for the Rober Force vid. It always helps to have a visual. Very interesting style. 

I can't wait to try it.

Randy Adams
Randy Adams
@randy-adams
5 years ago
95 posts

Ken Hulme
Ken Hulme
@ken-hulme
5 years ago
1,739 posts

Personally, I strum in the manner Randy doesn't like.  But that's OK.  It's the way I was taught by Robert Force, areguably one of the best  dulcimer players of all time, and the technique sure works for me.  IMHO one of the 'secrets' to less pick noise is to loosen up that 'death grip' and relax.  WHo cares if your pick goes flying acrss the room  You do have more than one, right?

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Bob, thanks for your input. I'll "borrow" a few of my sons guitar picks and play around with this angle method, and see what works for me.

Also, what you wrote about pick noise being louder for me because of being so close to the instrument makes me realize I need to back up my little recorder that I use to record myself, so that I can see where my issues are when I am learning a song. Maybe my recording quality will improve too.

Bob Reinsel
Bob Reinsel
@bob-reinsel
5 years ago
75 posts

Sheryl, I have to answer your question in two parts. 

1. The video is actually by randy adams: @randy-adams happys

2. I  strum in a similar way to what Randy shows.  The return stroke is just the reverse of the out stroke.  Nothing fancy.  I hold the pick a little more loosely or tightly depending on the effect I want.  

For general use, I prefer a thinner (softer) pick, but I also switch to different weights for different purposes.  I even use a pick cut from a plastic butter tub lid when I want something really soft.  Pick choice for me also varies from isntrument to instrument.

Probably 90% of the time I use these picks, at least right now I do:  http://www.amazon.com/Tortex-Guitar-Pick-Pack-418P-50/dp/B0002D0CEO .  I also like the old standby fender thin plastic tortoise shell type.  I got used to them playing guitar.

This is such a personal choice I suggest trying different things until you find something you are comfortable with.  Also, remember that when you play, you are sitting pretty much on top of your instrument, so you hear things (like pick slap) that other people don't.  Even those just a few feet away.




--
Bob
Site Moderator

The greatest music is made for love, not for money -- Greg Lake

updated by @bob-reinsel: 08/03/15 03:31:12PM
Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Oh, oops, I see Randy Adams made the video. Thanks for correcting me Ken. blush

Ken Longfield
Ken Longfield
@ken-longfield
5 years ago
659 posts

Bob, thanks for sharing Randy's video. It addresses this question well.

Ken
"The dulcimer sings a sweet song."

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
5 years ago
270 posts

Bob, This is a timely video for me. I’ve been pretty unhappy with my pick noise. Glad you decided to address this for us. Quick question, you mentioned in your video to angle 20-25 degrees on the out strum, what is happening on your in strum? And do you prefer a softer or harder pick for reducing pick noise? Thanks for the video. 

D, I'm glad you asked this question!  

Bob Reinsel
Bob Reinsel
@bob-reinsel
5 years ago
75 posts

Here is one way described by fellow FOTMD member Randy Adams:




--
Bob
Site Moderator

The greatest music is made for love, not for money -- Greg Lake

updated by @bob-reinsel: 08/03/15 01:47:59PM
D. chitwood
D. chitwood
@d-chitwood
5 years ago
148 posts

I just read Dusty Turtle's posting on this exact topic on that 'other' ducimer site and it's some good advice. I'm still curious how yall hold your pick. flower

D. chitwood
D. chitwood
@d-chitwood
5 years ago
148 posts

...if I hold my pick different than you...LOL! Actually...I want to know what is the most preferred way to hold a pick to lessen pick noise. I've been holding mine, that the best way I can describe would be....my right pointing finger and my thumb are both leaving partial fingerprints on the pick.

So how do YOU hold your pick and which style is mostly seen as best? I want to practice various holding methods today. Thank you!


updated by @d-chitwood: 03/02/19 02:53:26AM