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Thread: Ukulele Picks

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Ukulele Picks

    Iím off to Berkeley this Saturday to attend Peter Luongoís Seminar.
    He always has a segment or song that utilizes a pick. I prefer using my fingers and their tips or the back of my inter/nail. Unfortunately, I just canít keep my nails strong enough to grow them out.

    Using a pick always feels like painting and holding the brush at the very tippy tip of the handle. Awkward for me. But Iím practicing.

    Anyway...

    Iíve read about ĎAlaskaí picks, which go over the finger and UNDER the nail, making using a pick a more natural extension.

    Anyone used them? Have any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Default

    I can relate to your dilemma! Sometimes in winter, I'll develop those little splits on the sides of my fingernails, and they can make it painful to play with my fingertips, so I go in search of a pick that feels right. Ultimately, I have settled on the standard "teardrop-shaped" pick, and tried my best to make myself get comfortable with it. It helps to use it exclusively for a few days straight, so that it starts to feel "routine". In the process, I try to be mindful of maintaining a gentle touch, and just let the pick do the work. I haven't tried the Alaska picks, so I can't offer any comment on them. In any event, have a great time at the seminar!

  3. #3
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    Aaron Keim has a good tutorial on using Alaska picks and other kinds of picks with the ukulele.

  4. #4
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    I am one of those apostates who usually uses a pick with my ukes, as I actually find it sort of painful to strum with my index finger. For anyone who might like to use a pick, but finds it difficult to hold onto, there are a couple of great designs that make it a lot easier.

    For a leather pick, the Lohanu has a large hole in the middle, and produces a very nice mellow tone.

    https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Picks...3749521&sr=8-1

    For felt, D'Addario makes a similar shape, giving a brighter (and loud!) tone with its stiff material.

    https://www.amazon.com/DAddario-Acce...749613&sr=8-77

    And from the guitar world, the easiest to hold I have found is the GuitarMoose with its sticky silicone like covering on the top half of the pick so it holds like glue. One criticism of guitar picks with ukes is that it often gives a clicky sound, but if you use the lighter models (such as the 0.5 mm light gauge) the sound is quite nice, and you can't hear the pick at all, just the uke.



    https://guitarmoose.com/shop?olsPage...r-pick-classic
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  5. #5
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    Thanks, Besley! All worth looking into!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by besley View Post

    For a leather pick, the Lohanu has a large hole in the middle, and produces a very nice mellow tone.

    https://www.amazon.com/Leather-Picks...3749521&sr=8-1
    I recently tried one of these and it works pretty well and seems better than other options I have tried. Plastic seems too hard, felt too soft and leather may be just right. It offers a little different tone color or attack than using the fingers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDW View Post
    I recently tried one of these and it works pretty well and seems better than other options I have tried. Plastic seems too hard, felt too soft and leather may be just right. It offers a little different tone color or attack than using the fingers.
    This raises the great point that picks are unfortunately very much like strings, in that no one pick is right for all ukes. I have found that I use different picks for different ukes, so you do have to explore a bit. A plastic pick on a resonator is a bit much, so there I use leather. But my HPL Bonanza is too mellow with leather, so there I use plastic.
    Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor
    Beltona Songster Resonator Tenor
    Klos Carbon Fiber Tenor
    Magic Fluke Tenor Firefly Banjolele

  8. #8
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    Apr 2018
    Location
    Redmond, WA
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    Default

    I'm jealous! Peter's workshops are fantastic.

    I keep my nails too short to use Alaskas, but I've used other similarish plastic finger picks. I don't know that they'd help a lot for Peter's class. In the classes I've had with him he used the pick primarily for picking fast melodies and tremolo, which would be much more difficult pure finger-style than with the pick (and I assume that if you knew how you wouldn't be asking )

    If your pick feels awkward and floppy then you may be holding it wrong. It shouldn't be held at the tip of the fingers. It should be between the side of the thumb and the index finger in a closed (but not tight) fist, and you should be choked up enough that just the tip is out.


    The herco thumb-picks that Adam demonstrates at 3:10 look like they more or less enforce that position and might be an interesting one to try.
    http://<span style="font-family: Ver...4?t=189</span>

    For the type of picking that Peter teaches I prefer a medium-heavy pick to a lighter one. The leather and light guage picks that besley linked are probably a lot better at strumming than tremolo. I think the pick Peter handed out was a 1mm guitar pick (that may have been random). I moved up to a triangular Dunlop 1.5 prime tone (my normal mandolin pick) or a Dava guitar pick ('cause I usually have one in my pocket). A loonie was a bit too heavy for me. I'm no May or Gibbons

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Location
    Kekaha, Kauai
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill1 View Post
    I have a little box of picks. Every time I visit a physical music shop I buy picks.

    Ukulele tops are around 3mm thick. They are very easy to damage if you do not control a hard pick.

    Thumb picks come with a long extension so you can file it to the size that you like

    You do not have to use a pick or your fingers for an entire 3 hour session. You are allowed to fingerpick one or two tunes and use the pick to strum other tunes. So you do not have to give up either.

    You can save a lot of time changing strings and money paying for strings if you realise that often a 50c pick made out of the right material is going to get the sound you want. If you keep a box of them, you can easily change your sound any time you choose.

    If you have sore finger nails, you do not need to use your finger nails, you can pluck the strings with fingertips and leave your nails alone.

    A small correction, most ukulele tops are only 1.6 to 1.8 mm thick.
    Brad
    Bradford Donaldson
    Kekaha, HI and Cannon Beach OR
    bradfordj48@outlook.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    I gave up using picks years ago as a guitar player, when I realized that I couldn't hold onto one. Never liked the feel of finger picks, although a thumb pick was the only way I didn't drop my pick.

    Led Kaapana uses picks on his Moore Bettah - see this thread.

    I joke that I sound just like Led... when I push the play button on the CD player.
    Banjo Ukes: Southern Cross, Firefly, Stella
    Sopranos: Donaldson, Timms, Moku, Waterman, Bugsgear, Outdoor, Waverly Street, Harmony
    Concerts:Cocobolo #412, Ohana CK450QEL, CK-65D, Rosewood Vita, Mahogany Vita,
    Donaldson Custom, Epi Les Paul, National Triolian Reso, Republic
    Tenors: Kala KA-KTG-CY, KoAloha Sceptre, Fluke, Cordoba 20TM
    Bass: Fluke Timber

    Am I done?

    ...Maybe?...

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