Once again, Celtic Week gave me a chance to play a variety of picks too.
Now I own, a number of V-picks, that I really dig. I have 4 Redbear trading picks, 3 of which I don’t use because I think they are too brittle and warp from my sweaty fingers. I have one Wegen left, which I don’t play. I gave my other one away. My go-to picks, when I don’t want to worry about losing a $4-$20 pick are ProPlecs, hands down. And this past week I got a chance to play two Blue Chip picks, that I really enjoyed.
Here are my thoughts overall about these pick brands.
Blue Chip Picks – nice feel. Too expensive. Would play one, if I had it, probably more for flat picking on my guitar. Overall I’d rate these picks at an A grade. Unless they are made with some really rare mineral, I’d say, they are way overpriced though.
Wegen – I didn’t like these from the beginning. They didn’t feel right. The Blue Chips had some weight to them, and felt solid in my hand. The Wegens just felt like rough plastic. I’d rate them at C+.
V-Picks – Still my favorite. The fat stubby ones smooth out and really warm up the tone, on the mando. On my Octave Mandolin, the triangular 2.75mm reds, really drive the strings, although they do seem to wear off the tip quickly. The Medium Lites 1.5mm are excellent for flatpicking. They put a lot of energy in each string with less effort. The 1.0 tremelo works really for quick rhythmic strumming for reels and jigs. Although one of my students has broken a number of the tremolos, and that seems like $10 might be a bit much for something that breaks so easy. I give these an A+ rating anyway.
Red Bear Trading Picks – These were my favorite for the last 6 years, until I found the V Picks. They have great tone, but not quite as great as the V-picks. They feel good, and their Tri-tips are excellent. Also, they don’t wear out. I have an extra heavy hot pink one I played consistently for 5 years, and its still got its bevel. Why don’t I like them that much anymore? I don’t like worrying about getting them wet (sweaty fingers, condensation from the glass of a cold drink). I don’t like having to worry what’s in my pockets. They scratch easy and can snap easy too. These get a B+ grade.
ProPlec Picks – at 75 cents a piece, they have a great solid feel in your hand. You can lose them, and its no big deal. Their tone is pretty good, nice and rich. They don’t break. I give these a B+. If they had the tone of the V-pick or even the RedBear, because of the price they would get an A++, but its hard to get price, tone, feel, and durability all equal.
Everyone has a different ear, feel, and budget, and in my mind a stellar musician can make a nylon dunlop sound fantastic, and a poor player can make a V-pick sound like crap. But hopefully, these little reflections will help you wade through the raging pick debate.