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Thread: Thumb Plectrum Recommendations?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Flint, Michigan USA
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    180

    Default Thumb Plectrum Recommendations?

    Hello and thanks in advance for any insights you all can give.

    I have soft nails and can't grow them out on my strumming hand. Even on my thumb. My fingerstyle picking isn't with the PIMA fingers but just with my thumb. I have been doing it this way for about 3 years now and don't want to change. I tried to learn PIMA style arpeggios multiple times but I still failed. That is why I am looking at getting a good thumb plectrum. I only play in my music studio so I am not worried about losing it so I was thinking of getting a premium one. I am also hoping for a more consistent higher volume when plucking in a way that would work for me.

    This is the one I am thinking of after a couple days of looking around:
    http://shop.bluechippick.net/bct-jdl/
    I am thinking this might be the one for me as the pick length is short. I hypothesize that a shorter pick would be easier to transition to than a long one.

    Anyone try this one out or have a different one to recommend?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
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    6,307

    Default

    I'm mainly a thumb picker, I tried quite a few thumb picks, but could never get one to shape up right, I need it at the top left edge of my thumb nail, & none of them covered that area, even tried reshaping the angles of them, with no joy.

    So what I learned to do was to semi lift the string as I puck it, by putting my thumb slightly under the string. I also use this method when I arpeggiate chords with my finger tips.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
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    Default

    The leader of our jam modifies a thumb pick by cutting down the point and filling in with paper and duct tape. He gets the flexibility of felt in a pick that’ll stay in place. It’s weird, but it works for him.
    SOPRANOS: • 1920s Gibson UKE-1 • 1930s Martin 2M • Ohana SK-28 ‘Nunes’ • Flea koa • Ohana SK-35G solid mahogany • Famous FS-1
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    OBJETS D'ART: • Vintage 'Mauna Loa' c. 1925 soprano • Kahuna "Felix the Cat" soprano • Woodrow "Steelers" soprano

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    Western North Carolina
    Posts
    26

    Default

    BlueChip picks and thumb picks are very nice. I have used them for years with guitar and none of them show any signs of wear. The metal part of the thumb pick can be bent a bit larger or smaller to create a perfect fit. The inside of the pick is textured slightly to enable it to really grip your thumb. The pick material is great for guitar playing because it cuts down on string noise - although that will not be an issue on a uke. Best of luck in your search.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    on a sunny FL beach
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    1,401

    Default

    I mostly flat pick on all my instruments but have started to experiment with a thumbpick and am learning to get used to it. I use a large triangle bluechip for mandolin and really like it but feel that it's probably an unnecessarily expensive thumbpick for nylon strings. I have been using a golden gate thumbpick and its quite comfortable and I'm satisfied with the tone and have adjusted the shape to my liking. Tommy Emmanuel uses a Dunlop.
    When I first started with it, I liked it sanded fairly short for better control. Now I'm leaning toward a little longer, giving me a little more room to support the underside of the pick with my index finger if I want to strum a bit (especially on the upstrum, to prevent movement). I'd get a few different ones and see what you like as far as length and shape before you spring for a bc (if you decide to try them). You want them pretty snug and I like them to come just past the cuticle.
    I originally had my nail lengthened with gel but I like the angle of attack much better with a thumbpick than a long thumbnail. It's more perpendicular and better for me ergonomically.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Near Lake Okeechobee, Florida
    Posts
    453

    Default

    3 lesser-known recommendations from me:
    Sharktooth & Kodiak Crossover Picks - most comfortable thumb picks I've yet used (the pick is held in place by a soft strap)
    Cool Beta Carb Thumb Pick - love the tone on these
    Butterfly Finger Picks thumb pick - a small loop of wire that hooks around the thumb. very similar to playing fingerstyle
    "Who hears music, feels his solitude Peopled at once -- for how count heart-beats plain / Unless a company, with hearts which beat, / Come close to the musician, seen or no?" - Robert Browning, "Balaustion's Adventure"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    656

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    A thumb pick might indeed be a good alternative when with weak nails like mine and wanting a somewhat stronger sound than just with the flesh. I myself strum mostly with index or sometimes all 4, trying to keep nails on these fingers, except thumb. It is only the bother to develop a style needing that pick and then be in need of it all the time.

    Myself I have a black nylon Dunlop thumb pick and it works really fine strumming down or playing melodies, all down picked. I have no idea if it is possible get this one anymore as it is decades old. It does not have any normal plectrum shape, so it certainly will not work for upstrums. I might look if these style of thumb picks are still available and then make the change to my playing style.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
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    856

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    I really like Herco Flex 52 blue thumb picks. They are a couple of bucks at the most and are very flexible and comfortable.
    s-l640.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Flint, Michigan USA
    Posts
    180

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    just found this one that doesn't have fitting issues due to it having a spring to make it hold firmly. much cheaper as well. 21 bucks for three of them. https://blackmountainpicks.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Canada Prairies, brrr ....
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    810

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    I just saw a video with Doyle Dykes where he strongly endorsed Fred Kelly speed pick. I pick with the flesh of my thumb as I haven't found a pick I like but am tempted to get the variety pack.

    https://fredkellypicks.com/

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