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Lozz196

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So, I’ve found that I enjoy playing with a lighter (.73mm) pick more than the heavier ones that I used to use. But I prefer the sound with the heavier ones.

I’ve been trying to lighten my touch while playing, gone for lighter gauge strings and really enjoy those too.

My question to myself really is do I just bite the bullet and forget the heavier picks and enjoy actual playing more, at the expense of the sound that I prefer.

So has anyone else been through similar, and if so how did it work out for you?
 

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I generally play fingerstyle these days but also play pick, especially in rockier bands (eg cowpunk band) - and in those circumstances prefer a lighter gauge pick (I can play much faster due to less resistance). If its the bite and attack you prefer of the heavier gauge pick, maybe play around with your EQ and pedals? A tad more overdrive, use a compressor to alter the sound shape slightly, that sort of thing. Bet you can come close 

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Split the difference and experiment with a slightly heavier pick than .73 (which is pretty light)? I'm mainly a finger player, but use a pick sometimes. I also play mandolin and guitar and found it worth experimenting with pick weights. Maybe try something in the .85 - 1mm range? Should still have much of the flexibility you like but produce a bit more poke in the sound.

Another thought occurs. Pick material makes a difference. The difference between, say, a Dunlop Tortex and a nylon Herco is quite marked. The Tortex is harder and will be a bit stiffer for a given thickness.

Edited by Dan Dare
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Good points, I probably should have been clearer on the picks I use, all Dunlop Tortex Wedges, started off using 1mm, went down to .88m, but then tried the .73mm and found those are the ones I enjoy using the most, but annoyingly are the only ones that don’t give me the initial attack that I like. It’s strange that such a small difference in dimensions makes such a difference in both sound and enjoyment of playing.

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How about really choking the pick so there is very little on show limiting the flex but keeping the thin enjoyment?

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My favourite for bass is a no-name yellow pick that was included in the box of a cheap Joyo pedal I once bought online. Looks a bit like a .73 Tortex, but it's slightly shinier and harder, while still having *almost* as much flex. Has as much attack as my beloved (and heavily bevelled by usage) Tortex .88, but it's a tad brighter. 

I'm geeking out super heavily on picks when it comes to an acoustic guitar, and the difference is absolutely dramatic there. As in, "like several totally different guitars depending on the pick" dramatic. I tried a LOT, except for those crazy expensive like Blue Chip, and settled on a few favourites. Different shapes and thicknesses of Dunlop Ultex and Primetone do it for me on acoustic, one model sounded gross, scratchy and annoying when new, but super sweet and most detailed when the tip got polished. I tried those on bass as well, unfortunately they chipped and didn't really sound (too clicky) or play (too stiff) that good. 

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I normally use 2mm as I really love the precise attack, I read some interviews and most of the players I like use 1mm or thereabouts so I did a bit of experimenting and came to the conclusion it just wasn't the same. I didn't think I would notice the sound difference as much as I did

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I now have to use Jim Dunlop 38mm nylon picks because I have been suffering from arthritis in my hands for number of years which makes it difficult for me to hold the pick if there is too much resistance, ideally, I would love to use heavier picks because of the attack, but the pain is just too much for me.

I play mostly with my fingers anyway, but on the faster songs I need a pick.

As Clarky has said, a bit of fiddling around with the EQ and pedals can definitely help.

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I've basically settled on Dunlop Tortex 1.14's for the sound and the feel - a hangover from when I only used to play with a pick, and selected after trying a lot of different shaped and gauges when I was starting out

I did try some other shapes and sizes when I went back to picks (I don't use them a lot, but sometimes they are what the song demands) and again came back to the Standard Tortex 1.14s

Maybe it's worth trying a few different shapes to see if you can get the same attack at a thinner size - for instance maybe Tortex Sharps would do it?

One idea that may or may not work, is that I use Tortex Sharkfins (again 1.14s) when playing the guitar, and in an old band the bass player used to use my old picks - I threw them away when the knobbly side was a bit worn down, but he liked then at that stage because it added some attack to his sound

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I change around so often my playing style and dynamic, I just go through phases of liking different things. Have had a Fender. 73mm pick out today as it happens! Why not just change around for how you feel at the time and don't worry about it? Try different things, see where you end up settling, or where it takes you next. I don't think I can ever be a "pick player" but I like to noodle about using one and bring it on for some songs every now and then. 

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2 hours ago, Monkey Steve said:

bass player used to use my old picks - I threw them away when the knobbly side was a bit worn down, but he liked then at that stage because it added some attack to his sound

And they were free:D!

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On 16/09/2020 at 10:01, thebrig said:

I now have to use Jim Dunlop 38mm nylon picks because I have been suffering from arthritis in my hands for number of years which makes it difficult for me to hold the pick if there is too much resistance, ideally, I would love to use heavier picks because of the attack, but the pain is just too much for me.

I play mostly with my fingers anyway, but on the faster songs I need a pick.

As Clarky has said, a bit of fiddling around with the EQ and pedals can definitely help.

I am mainly an acoustic guitarist, but I am now playing bass in a band of Oldies and am loving it! 

Excuse what is probably a heresy, but I stick a dollop of blue tack on my plectrum and "glue" it to my thumb. It stays put well but doesn't interfere with the feel of holding the pick. Try it! 

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Well last night I used both the .73s and the .88s at rehearsal and in the mix not much difference, but the .73s were just much more enjoyable and easy to use so sticking with them.

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5 hours ago, Paul the Learner said:

I am mainly an acoustic guitarist, but I am now playing bass in a band of Oldies and am loving it! 

Excuse what is probably a heresy, but I stick a dollop of blue tack on my plectrum and "glue" it to my thumb. It stays put well but doesn't interfere with the feel of holding the pick. Try it! 

I'll give it a go 😉

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I play bluegrass mandolin and like a reasonably heavy pick - a Tortex in around 1.5 thickness. You need something rigid for playing at speed - the pick must push the string out of the way, rather than the other way around. When the fingers get a bit sweaty, it can be difficult to keep a grip on the pick, especially as Tortex is a hard and smooth material. I've found that drilling a hole in the centre of the pick so you have skin to skin contact through it helps a lot. 

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1 hour ago, Thunderbird said:

I stick skateboard grip tape on my picks and never have them slip or slide about and don't need to grip them mega tight 

Great idea, I've just ordered some 😉

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25 minutes ago, thebrig said:

Great idea, I've just ordered some 😉

Glad it has helped I put a little on each side of the pick and the jobs a goodun :)

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Try TUSQ 0.88s or 1.00mm. I use the 1mm 'warm' / yellow ones after switching from Tort 0.88s. Much prefer my tone now.

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Another idea - assuming you hold the pick in the ‘normal’ way of pointy bit towards the string. Keep with the lighter pick but rotate it around so the rounded edge is striking the string. I used to use he big triangular Dunlop picks before using regular ones. The thinner pick felt  and sounded weird to me. Playing with the stubby end gives me a more solid sound than the pointed edge.

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I can't get on with finger picks at all but on acoustic and electric guitars I used a thumb pick and my fingers.  I've tried using  thumb pick on bass  but the heavier strings have more resistance and it doesn't work that well. Instead I've copped Bernard Edwards' chucking technique.

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On 15/09/2020 at 19:43, Lozz196 said:

So, I’ve found that I enjoy playing with a lighter (.73mm) pick more than the heavier ones that I used to use. But I prefer the sound with the heavier ones.

I’ve been trying to lighten my touch while playing, gone for lighter gauge strings and really enjoy those too.

My question to myself really is do I just bite the bullet and forget the heavier picks and enjoy actual playing more, at the expense of the sound that I prefer.

So has anyone else been through similar, and if so how did it work out for you?
 

Not really on topic but can I draw your attention to my favourite picks! George Dennis - great for bass I find, .73 or .88 (more weights available) in different tip shapes, nylon, with grip. I love them! 
 

I like .88 on bass personally

https://www.muziker.co.uk/george-dennis-medium-picks

In answer to your question I think playing enjoyment is king at our age :)

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