PDA

View Full Version : Pick primer needed



whistleman123
03-28-2016, 02:54 AM
I've decided the style I prefer is using a pick, but cannot figure out which thickness to use.
So, why are there different thicknesses and which would be most appropriate for a soprano uke with wound low G. I'm playing mostly jazz & swing (at least trying to).

Snargle
03-28-2016, 03:14 AM
I don't play uke with a pick, but I did play guitar with one. I ended up with a whole box full of picks in various sizes, thicknesses, and materials. You just have to try a variety and see what works for you. Fortunately, they're cheap, so there's no great risk of picking the wrong pick. :rolleyes:

Soundbored
03-28-2016, 03:24 AM
I'm pretty sure that with nylon strings you're supposed to use felt or leather picks. I doubt that they come in many thicknesses.

I also play jazz on a soprano Low G uke, but I use fingers and thumb. To me, picks are for steel strings.

Booli
03-28-2016, 03:36 AM
I'm pretty sure that with nylon strings you're supposed to use felt or leather picks. I doubt that they come in many thicknesses.

I also play jazz on a soprano Low G uke, but I use fingers and thumb. To me, picks are for steel strings.

There are really no 'rules' for what picks to use. Rules about music are meant to be broken. :)

It takes some experimentation to find the right picks for oneself, just like everything else, to each his own.

FYI: Roderigo & Gabriela, world-renowned performers and Grammy-winning players BOTH use standard guitar picks on nylon-string flamenco-style guitars.

The use of felt picks are kind of an older style of thinking as far as I've seen in my nearly 3 yrs on this forum. YMMV.

Down Up Dick
03-28-2016, 03:54 AM
I use a Jim Dunlop .38 mm on my concert banjolele tuned Lo-C GDA. I like the feel of it in my fingers. I'm learning Irish Banjo Music with the banjolele. If I succeed, I'll get an Irish tenor banjo.

I have felt picks, but I don't like them and never use them. Happy picking! :old:

70sSanO
03-28-2016, 04:21 AM
I use a Jim Dunlop .38 mm on my concert banjolele tuned Lo-C GDA. I like the feel of it in my fingers. I'm learning Irish Banjo Music with the banjolele. If I succeed, I'll get an Irish tenor banjo.

I have felt picks, but I don't like them and never use them. Happy picking! :old:

I don't use a pick on a ukulele, but I second Dunlop nylon picks. They would be my suggestion as you can get them in thicknesses from .38mm to 1.0mm. Just go get a handful of different thicknesses and see which one works best. I would guess that for a nylon string ukulele .38, .46, or .60 might give you the right balance of pliability vs. attack.

John

UkerDanno
03-28-2016, 04:23 AM
I started out with something like this, then learned to strum with my finger.
http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Gate-FP-1-Ukulele-Picks/dp/B005A09I7Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459174618&sr=8-1&keywords=mahalo+felt+pick
For me, it was a good way to learn strumming patterns, then when I got the hang of it, I started strumming with my finger.

Soundbored
03-28-2016, 04:40 AM
There are really no 'rules' for what picks to use. Rules about music are meant to be broken.

I never said there were "rules" about it, which would be absurd. And were not talking about "music".

Down Up Dick
03-28-2016, 04:49 AM
What are we talking about then, Soundbored? I was certainly posting about picking tunes. :old:

Wicked
03-28-2016, 05:16 AM
If you are new to using a pick, you will probably want a more flexible one. Beginners tend to dig in too hard, so the flexible pick will compensate for that.

As you progress, you will definitely want to experiment with various sizes, shapes, thickness and materials. (I use a bone pick)

Also, you may want to use higher tension and/or stiffer strings. They will help you be more precise in your picking.

Mivo
03-28-2016, 06:00 AM
I tried picks for about ten minutes, which was long enough for me to know that I prefer my fingers. In those ten minutes I also learned that felt picks shed worse than a cat with radioactive poisoning, so I would recommend to start with a leather one.

whistleman123
03-28-2016, 06:22 AM
Thanks for all the advice. I guess like a lot of things ukulele it comes down to personal preference. I'll do some experimenting and find out what suits my ear the best.

pointpergame
03-28-2016, 06:27 AM
A thought to start with ( I think that's the OP is asking for ):

Mandolin players often use use picks ranging from 1.2 to 2.0 mm. If I remember correctly, both Blue Chip and Wegen picks start around 1.2 mm. I have found for low tension-ish, nylon-ish strings compared to, say, mandolin, I have wanted much thinner picks. With the thicker picks, string travel is just too great before it escapes the pick. And there's a bit too much potential energy stored in the string. This takes away the low side of the dynamic range and distorts the high end. All this extra energy storage and release slows things down and requires a a lot of hand movement. This is in comparison to steel-stringed instruments, so perhaps if one started out picking on a ukulele it wouldn't be a problem ( except for losing the lower dynamics ).

70sSanO
03-28-2016, 06:52 AM
...felt picks shed worse than a cat with radioactive poisoning...

It is nice to see a scientific benchmark for assessing both the pick and the cat...lol!

John

Booli
03-28-2016, 07:40 AM
After reading many replies after my previous one on this thread, I would recommend to get the standard Fender brand picks, in light/thin, medium, and heavy specifications and try them out. Local shops near me sell these for 10 cents each, and can be had cheaper in bulk from a plethora of online shops. Fender and Dunlop picks seem to be available EVERYWHERE.

Methinks the Heavy will be too stiff, and you'll end up switching back and forth between the light and medium picks...

I used to use the Fender medium picks and Dunlop tortex picks (dont recall the thickness) on electric and acoustic guitar back in the day. Use to buy them by the handful since they were always getting lost and I'd stuff a bunch of them in Altoid boxes that I'd then keep in each guitar case...

With ukulele, I never use a pick and instead use my fingernails both for strumming as well as finger-picking...again...YMMV and there is no WRONG way unless you end up with deep gouges in the top of your uke or somehow manage to pop strings from picking too hard (it's not like the string on a longbow that needs to be pulled far away from the wood of the instrument-- yes I've seen this done by newbies who have not yet developed a feel for how to play yet) and what this means that is all comes down to proper technique, which is wholly subjective and achieving this quickly depends upon how closely one pays attention to their playing and the mechanics of what is going on...

but the main thing is to enjoy yourself and have fun and not approach it like solving a calculus problem LOL.

Yes, I mean ME, since I tend to overthink things sometimes...and have seen it happen on occasion here on UU as well....

Steedy
03-28-2016, 08:02 AM
Two words: Wedgie rubber picks! (okay, three words) :)

Wedgie picks at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Wedgie-WRPR31S-Rubber-Refill-Pieces/dp/B001KZH72S/ref=sr_1_7?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1459188261&sr=1-7&keywords=wedgie+rubber+picks)

70sSanO
03-28-2016, 09:29 AM
Two words: Wedgie rubber picks! (okay, three words) :)

Wedgie picks at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Wedgie-WRPR31S-Rubber-Refill-Pieces/dp/B001KZH72S/ref=sr_1_7?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1459188261&sr=1-7&keywords=wedgie+rubber+picks)

Those are pretty cool and they have them in soft or medium and in 3 packs. That may be the winner here.

John

PhilUSAFRet
03-28-2016, 09:48 AM
Depends on playing style. For strumming, I prefer a leather pick, but rarely use one. I make my own from some leather drink coasters I got at a job related fair once.

ukulelekarcsi
03-28-2016, 09:30 PM
I'm proud to say I have a book on picks, so I can talk materials and shapes and thicknesses and history and instruments. Oud players use long flexible strips of plastic, folk guitarists the thin nylon ones, ragtime players use fingerpicks (usually in a combination), mandolin players prefer shorter but thicker ones, and gypsy jazz players seem to prefer the heaviest ones.

But in the end it boils down to taste: how fast, loud and controlled can you produce sound? On the ukulele I've never bothered using a pick after trying it a few times, because a lot of the charm is in the independence of the finger movement. But then again, Lyle Ritz used a felt pick to great effect on his 1958-1959 jazz ukulele records. You can hear the difference, and it's certainly not worse.

Tootler
03-28-2016, 11:43 PM
Until now, I have exclusively used my fingers for both strumming and fingerpicking chords. I've recently started trying melody playing in campanella style and have found a pick to be useful to get more of a ring out of the strings. I tried some home made plastic ones cut out of old credit cards, felt and leather and found I liked leather picks the best so I am going with those.

Piecomics
03-29-2016, 01:21 AM
Stay away from felt, the sound is muted and they don't last long. Somewhere in the bowels of YouTube Aaron keim has a video where he plays a variety of picks on a uke so you can hear them. Worth checking out.

Croaky Keith
03-29-2016, 01:25 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AL5uUUhtdp4

anthonyg
03-29-2016, 02:06 AM
Different picks, different sounds. I'm a finger picker these days but years ago I used picks when playing guitars. To start off with the thinner more flexible picks will be easier to control and importantly, hang on to. As you become more experienced you may want to move to stiffer picks for control and a rounder sound. As others have said the Jim Dunlop Nylon picks are good picks to start with. Easier to control than most with a good sound.

Yes, do be careful with your top. I've seen a guy wear a hole completely through his ukulele top from using a pick.

Anthony

dickadcock
03-29-2016, 03:35 AM
Two words: Wedgie rubber picks! (okay, three words) :)

Wedgie picks at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Wedgie-WRPR31S-Rubber-Refill-Pieces/dp/B001KZH72S/ref=sr_1_7?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1459188261&sr=1-7&keywords=wedgie+rubber+picks)

Yup.
A couple of years ago I got a 3-pack at a local store (the only one that had them -- one store was out, the other two I checked had never heard of them) and I still have 2, having given away 1. I carry one in my pocket. The medium 3.1 seems to be good for picking, w/o a lot of string noise. I would like to try the soft Wedgie for strumming. (I was given a handful of plastic picks to try as well when I got the Rubbers)

I have found felt to be adequate to keep from wearing yourself out when you need to get a loud strum. ( I used felt first, about 1962, when I was the only accompaniment (Harmony soprano) to high school kids singing on school trips in the bus. Volume was the most important thing. When the pick caught on a string and went flying and couldn't be found, folded paper substituted - something like a slightly lighter tabletop football triangle)

I have tried a few different thicknesses of leather, too, with pretty satisfying sounds, and folded stiff craft felt as well. (works OK)

For me, the main thing is to have the pick available, in case max volume is needed --

Even for picking tabs, I prefer to use my finger pads (and multi-finger) most of the time, though, because I find the potentially soft sound of the uke very appealing.

I had experience with picks on guitar and banjo, so I am mostly thinking of the tone and volume when I recommend Wedgies, as they are not cheap. I know fingernails are good, but I refuse to endure the inconvenience of growing them long enough.

In a decent music store, there is no reason you can't try many types of picks, probably enough to rule them out outright, or get some.

~ Dick

Rbh32
03-29-2016, 10:35 AM
I'm using Clayton Ultem triangles right now (slightly under .50) and they are the bet I've found so far. I really wish Dunlop would make Ultex in .50 bc Claytons all come warped for some reason. Dunlops are not warped out of the package

Wicked
03-29-2016, 02:56 PM
I get my picks from this guy:

http://brossardpicks.com

whistleman123
04-09-2016, 07:08 AM
Two words: Wedgie rubber picks! (okay, three words) :)

Wedgie picks at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Wedgie-WRPR31S-Rubber-Refill-Pieces/dp/B001KZH72S/ref=sr_1_7?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1459188261&sr=1-7&keywords=wedgie+rubber+picks)


I finally got some Wedgie's. Medium and hard thins. They are much easier for my arthritic thumb to hang on to. That's a big plus. Right now I've got South Coast warm low G on my uke and the hard picks sound good to me. But I think when I put Reds back on I might have to switch to the mediums. I like that I don't hear the plastic "click" that I was getting with the medium plastic picks I was using. Not sure if I'll stick with these. First impression is good. Time will tell.