Flat picks


On a lark I ordered Teddy’s Neo Tortoise picks by Snark. They were medium heavy and this year have become my favorite. I didn’t realize how much a pick can impact the sound quality. For me, perfect for guitar and mandolin. I also use vintage Fender picks, ivory and wood picks and, even, tourist picks (got 'em in Hawaii). As a reformed classically-trained guitarist/lutenist, picks were not my best friends. But now I wouldn’t go anywhere without my Snarks. :sunglasses:


I’ll have to check them out. My wife wanted to get me something I would use for my bday last year and sprung for a Blue Chip pick. I was amazed at the difference in tone and my picking speed with it. Still not 100% convinced it’s worth the $40, but I’m not sure I’d want to go back to anything else, so…


I’ve been using a Blue Chip on mandolin for about two years. Worth the $35? I apparently think so as I have three of them. I’ve got Wegans, a Dunlop Primetone or two, all of which are good picks. But the Blue Chip is a great pick. I can’t say with certainty that the tone is necessarily better than a Wegan, but I think I play better. I’m now even getting picky about my Blue Chips, as I’ve loved my CT55 in the past but now I’m starting to think the TAD60 is a better fit. Will it work for you? Eh, that’s the trick: do you take a chance with $35? Well, if you don’t get it engraved then Blue Chip will give you your money back if you don’t like it. No financial interest, just a satisfied customer.

That said, I don’t use Blue Chips on guitar. I still prefer the ol’ .73 Fenders with a turtle on it, a dozen for $5.


Hi, I’ve been using lighter picks so far (for example a 0.73 Dunlop on guitar and mando, a bigger Fender celluloid about 0,6mm); I recently bought a selection of heavier ones (like the same Fender in 1mm; and a Hense 1,4mm, made of “milkstone” with bevelled edges, said to come closest to the Bluechip, which, here in Europe is 48,- €, roughly 60 US-$ !), but I find it hard to play with them. What surprises me most is the fact that actually the tone I’m getting is not as good as with the thinner picks. At least that’s my impression. The pick kind of bounces off the strings more and doesn’t actually pluck them as strongly as the weaker picks. I had been toying with the idea of getting a Bluechip (maybe from Ben, even with shipping, customs, etc. it would be a better deal than buying it here!),but wanted to try stronger picks before in general, especially with respect to picking speed. Maybe my hand needs some time to develop more strength for the stronger picks and get used to them?


They do take a while to get used to! But there is no law that says you have to use them. I prefer a stiff and thinner pick. The trick is to have thinner material that isn’t too flexible.


Hi Hermann,
Interesting post! I started many years ago with Fender thin picks and liked those. Since joining Ben’s site a few years ago, I switched to Snark picks .94 mm (they say a .94 plays like an .88 — don’t know what that means) and really love them. This fall I bought a bluechip from Ben’s store and really like it for mandolin. Still unsure about the bluechip and guitar, though I definitely like the sound quality of the bluechip for both instruments. Recently I got some medium to thin picks at Martin’s factory store and really do not like the tone nor control I get with those. I also made some from antique recycled piano ivory…too hard, not a pleasing sound. BTW, for those reading this, buying from Ben’s store is a pleasure, his customer care is outstanding.


I think the more you use the heavier picks, you’ll find the exact opposite to be true. Give them a try at good length like every day for a week. Then go back to the thin picks, I bet you find the sound to be tinny and kinda chincy sounding… Unless you’re Steve Kaufman and play right in the middle of the soundhole which isn’t the norm. Where you strike the strings with the pick makes a huge difference. I’m assuming we’re talking about guitars here. Most bluegrass players pick toward the bottom edge of the soundhole or maybe just past the edge of the soundhole towards the bridge. If you pick your strings in this area, I would suggest anything between 1.14mm to 1.4mm or maybe even 1.5mm . Give them a fair chance.

I’ve never tried these. Ever since using Blue Chips, I don’t try different picks as much as I used to. (they kinda took the fun out of it). I honestly haven’t found anything better. The closest pick I’ve found is the Dunlop Primetones. I’ll have to try the Snarks. I sure like their tuners.


Hi everybody, thanks for your input! It probably takes some experimenting and time to find what works best for yourself. I’ve already gotten used to the bigger picks and think they suit me better on the mando than the smaller, regular size usually played on the guitar. The stiffer material certainly gives better control, but it’s harder to stay loose and reIaxed. So, I guess I’ll just grant myself some time, maybe try an intermediate gauge (like a Fender 0.8 mm) and probably, sooner or later, I will somehow end up testing the Bluechip :grinning: Have fun picking, everyone!