Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Blue-chip thumbpick

OK, so I got this pick in an auction in the UK. It was small size but it fits tight over my thumb. However it doesn’t feel quite right and lacks tone when I pick. I think the problem is the angle of the pick. Just wanted to check with you guys as this pick is second hand. Should it have an angle as much as this? See the difference between my Fred Kelly and the bluchip. It causes me to strike on the edge because of the angle.

Hi Jon

The angle looks the same as mine. I see that the metal has been filed down considerably and that may be the reason it doesn’t feel comfy.

I’m not sure that’s a proper fit. I’m 5’ 10” and 155 lbs. I don’t exactly have “fat fingers.” I use a large JD Crowe Bluechip. Here’s the fit of mine.

Nothings been filed down Archie. Its because its small and obviously the band is stretched up to go over my thumb. I think probably the size may be the problem. Maybe the small accentuates the angle of the pick at the bottom.

If there’s no chance of a refund or return, I’d get some pliers and try to twist the bottom part of the metal band to see if you can get the angle right. It’s not working for you now, so it’s either that, or try to resell it.

The small size is generally for petite ladies or kids. I don’t know how easy it would be to find a buyer.

Hi Jon, Mine looks like @Mark_Rocka 's see how the metal band almost touches the plastic blade which makes me think the metal on yours has be filed down. The angle of my blade which is also a large JD Crowe looks the same angle as your on and not as flat as Mark’s.

Mark offers some good advice and I have nothing to add to improve on what he said

The band did almost touch the blade Archie. I lifted it up more because it is the small size and didn’t fit my thumb before. :wink: I think it’s because its not the right fit that the angle is wrong.

I actually bought it included in an auction for the shelor picks. (2 sets of shelor with a blue chip thumb pick) I was after the shelors more than anything and thought well, the bluchip will be a bonus. I don’t think it would fit anyone else and being as its been stretched larger I will probably keep it and just see if I can adjust that angle. Just was interested to see what the medium and large look like angle wise and i can see that yours looks a better angle.

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Hey Jono,

I have pretty big thumbs and I have a large. It’s like wearing a thumb tourniquet! They definitely need to make an extra large! But despite the fact that my thumb turns blue after awhile, it’s actually very comfortable! But… I agree with you on the tone, it’s not there. Nor is the volume and it always sounds scratchy at nearly any angle. Sorry Ben, I still love you and Jake and Blue Chip. (I’ve even been to their home in Knoxville and had a flatpick made on the spot).

My wife got this for me for Christmas upon my request along with a pair of Bob Perry Power Finger Picks. Those I like! I really hate to say this, but my National sounds much better, but the BC is more comfortable. I would add that I play Dobro with mine (not sure if that matters). I’m not a banjo player.

Geeesh Mark, how do you even keep that on your thumb?

Again, sorry for the bad review. It does not affect how I feel towards Ben, Jake and Blue Chip… I think the world of them. These just aren’t for everybody. Guess that’s why the store carries such a versatile line of products. I would still definitely give the Blue Chips a try! They sell very easily on Mandolin Cafe… I mean within minutes sometimes, so if it doesn’t work, it’s not a big problem.

Believe it or not, it’s a very comfortable fit. Probably the most comfortable of any thinb pick I’ve ever owned.

I will admit that I, too, am not totally sold on BlueChip thumb picks. I have a flat pick that I love, but I alternate between my BC thumb pick and a couple of others depending on my mood.

Mine is too small really as I mentioned but for me it’s the angle. There seems to be more angle on the BC and that effects how I strike the string and also the tone.


I’ve been looking at the mediums but they all have this sharper angle. It is a very comfortable pick and I will experiment a bit more, possible changing my wrist angle, however at the moment I’m still finding my Fred Kelly speed pick working the best. I must point out that BC picks are worth their money and it just might be that it’s not suited to me.

Here is my large for reference:

Now that looks a better angle on the blade. Wonder if the medium is the same?? Yours looks different to jw11 above. His seems to have more angle on the blade than yours which is the problem with mine. Getting confusing. They should be consistent surely?

Just out of interest. Do you curl your thumb up slightly when you play @BanjoBen?

His pick is pulled much further back on his thumb which will change the angle. Yes, they should be consistent.

No, I don’t curl my thumb up. I think I lead with that front edge.

I have a large also…Love it!
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Maybe that’s the problem with me. I tend to automatically curl my thumb up when I play. I can only anchor my pinky and if I turn my hand clockwise slightly to try and align the blade I find my pinky touching the first string if that makes sense. Guess I will just have to stick with the Fred Kelly speed pick, as its the only one that seems to work for me.

Or, try a large BlueChip if you get a chance. We’re all built a bit different!

I think probably if I try one I will go for the medium. Large would be too big for my thumb. Just quite expensive to try out if it doesn’t suite. I’ll have a think about it. Thanks Ben. :+1: