Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Discuss the Guitar lesson: Plectrology– The Study of Flatpicks!

This lesson is free if you create a free Silver Pick membership! One thing about Jake…when he does something, he does it thoroughly! Let’s learn all about plectrums, from the materials, thicknesses, shapes, tones, and more!


Good stuff!

Makes me want to get the picks out that I don’t like and see if I can make them sound better.


I never thought that much about picks and always used thin pointy picks ( free /cheap picks) thinking they would bend and move on to the next string with minimum restriction. Played mostly on electric guitars initially. Now with my new mandolin I got a Wegen pick and am having to get used to a different feel! Very interesting lesson. Thanks Jake.


I never seem to find perfect satisfaction with any pick. The closest I’ve come to that is my Blue Chip (STP-50 no speed bevel… I hate speed bevels). I think it’s a mood thing. One pick sounds great but doesn’t feel right, the next feels fine but sounds lousy, another one sounds terrible AND feels uncomfortable. Then, a week later, that same lousy pick will sound and feel great. Yep, I think it’s a mood thing! I guess that’s why I keep several different picks around as I’m sure many of you all do!

I suppose if I did ever find the perfect pick, all the fun would be gone. Cuz half the fun is trying different gear! After all, It’s okay for picky people to be picky about their picks!


Well done intro showing some of what is available on the current market. I’ve fingerpicked most my life and just in the past couple of years learning to flatpick. Many years ago, a guy at a jam had a larger size tortoise pick and let me use it for a good while. Man! So that’s how it is DONE! Offered him half a week’s wages; no go. Worked an antique store a few years and in the {locked file} drawers of buttons, I found a small round tortoise example with the two holes; a polished side and a rough side. {When I find it on my brown carpet, I’m going to put a small piece of pink duct tape on it to find it next time!} As Jake said, when playing in the shed or couple of folks, the sound is unmistakable. A search of local antique stores [suggest in person} may have antique buttons of tortoise and all kinds of materials like vegetable ivory or fossilized bone etc. Before I go too crazy, I’m ordering some of the Dunlop picks that sounded great and not too much grief if misplaced, dissolved etc…


Great videos!

Jake already said I am blowing smoke, but I’ll still say it. BC just don’t seem to wear. Is it wearing? I guess so, but I have yet to have to reshape one and I am probably around 10 years of use. That said, I have a few of them that stay with particular instruments, so the use is divided. Anyway, my point is… a BC is a significant investment, but it is a lifetime investment. Tortoise wears pretty quick. The primetones wear quite well, but not as good as BC. Wegen do wear about “normal” (quicker than ultex). I have some Wegens that have been reshaped so much they are tiny.

One tip… when someone hands you their tortoise shell pick to try, don’t flex it to see how it feels. They can break surprisingly easy.

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Sooooo… How much ya want for the turtle shell pick?

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If someone wants a fine antique tortoise shell pick fashioned for them (completely legally and ethically), reach out to Jonah Horton. I just messaged him to find the best contact info for him and will post again soon.

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If you want a custom made turtle shell pick by one of the best (in my opinion), contact Jonah Horton at

You can tell him a certain pick and he’ll replicate it with tortoise. For instance, I love the BlueChip TP40-1R and he made me the exact same pick out of tortoise. It’s all legal and ethical as it’s made from antique reclaimed tortoise.