Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Banjo lesson: All About Fingerpicks

https://banjobenclark.com/lessons/all-about-fingerpicks-banjo-beginner

The Gadget Guru, Adam Ash, walks us through fingerpick variations, why they matter, and how they sound!

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It was very nice to be able to hear the sifferent sounds the various materials and thicknesses make.
How tight do you wear your picks?

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Have to be honest, maybe my ears need cleaning out, but I couldn’t hear in my headphones any noticeable difference between SS, NS, and brass picks on the Gold Tone Banjo. Though I can notice the difference on my own banjo. So maybe down to picking attack etc, as mentioned in the video.

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Definitely worthwhile subject matter, needs more detail though. This is not a light subject. For example, the shelor’s are dramatically different from any others I’ve ever used. You should show a photo of the shelors looking down from blade end. They’re molded and shipped with the “proper” amount of twist for the index and middle finger. Have no idea how they reliably reproduce this twist in the manufacturing process, but somehow they manage to do it. Not everybody agrees that the twist is right for them though. The picks aren’t identical so you can put the same pick on the same finger every single time (that is a big deal). Shelor also arranges the band way up your finger, which makes them very secure (but could be uncomfortable depending on the shape of your fingers). The Shelors have a very straight blade (frankly nothing like the blade used by Ben which curves around the end of his fingers). Not everyone agrees that the straighter blade is the way to go. Some manufacturers put the band so close to the end of your finger it’s scary (meaning in the middle of a jam the pick flys off your finger during foggy mountain top at 140!). This isn’t an endorsement of Shelor, but I’m using this pick as an example because I’ve never seen another manufacturer put this level of detail into the design and construction of a pick. Lastly, with other picks, when I get them, I have to take a pair of needle nose pliers to fashion/hack them into what I want (not a very reliable process). I’ve had no success doing this with the Shelors. What you see is what you get. I believe that Russ Carson is playing with the Shelors (or did for awhile). Jury’s out on whether I can play Shelors kickoff to “Sittin on top of the world”, better, with his picks, but…I think so!

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I agree. The Shelors were a real game changer for me. Everything about them just seems right to me.

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When you say “twist”, is the pick angled to the string better so to prevent having to put them on sideways like @BanjoBen recommends? Or can you explain if different?
Thanks

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Hi @Peg_E some folks twist or angle the blade or rotate their picks on their fingers to obtain better (attack) contact with the strings. I use ProPik Angled Stainless Steel picks. I found that when I used regular picks I would strike the string with the edge of the blade. I saw Alan Munde twisted his blades so I switched to angle blades and never looked back.

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Thanks! I wear mine fairly tight…about as tight as I can without being uncomfortable much.

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I honestly can’t tell much difference, myself, between nickel silver, stainless steel, or cobalt in the NP2s and Bob Perry picks when I play, but maybe a bit with the brass. That is the reason I tried to phrase many things in the video as “some people may find…” Each person is different, and some people may get some sounds out of certain materials that I might not with a different attack, as you mentioned. I prefer stainless steel because it seems to sound at least as good as the others for my playing, but lasts longer.

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Yes the twist is built into the pick, and if you loose a “pick-or-two”, the new picks will be exactly the same.

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I am a stickler for quality tool’s of the trade in anything I do so when I decided to Put a little bit more ca$h down and try the SS Shelor s I was very impressed all around. I am a newbie to the world of Banjo and I can say that they make a very noticeable difference in many way’s. I would say to those trying to find what works for them is to give them a shot they are very nice and indeed more comfortable by far.:slight_smile:

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@AdamAsh, thanks for the picks lesson. I learned a lot from the earlier pick lesson by @BanjoBen, and it was a game changer for me in regards to twisting the finger picks slightly. In this one, I was glad to learn more about the materials and thickness info, and why the holes in the bands are (or aren’t!) there in some cases. Most of the finger picks are not that expensive, so I’ve experimented with several different brands…it’s cheap thrills for me! You’ve given me more to think about and pay attention to when making comparisons.

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Thanks!! I’m glad it was helpful!

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