Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

Pickin' a Pick: Bluechip Thumbpick

If a black Friday deal presents itself, I am considering investment in a Bluechip thumbpick. Before I do, a couple questions:

  1. Preferences are admittedly all subjective, but is there a general preference between the original BCT-1, the JD Crowe, and the Russ Carson? I’m leaning towards the JD based on the shape. For reference, the pick I have been using is the Dunlop on the left in the photo below.
  2. Of the two Dunlops on the left, I typically use the medium. Any idea what size of JD would be comparable? Is the metal thumb loop of the Bluechip fairly malleable and thus adjustable? Speaking of size…
  3. This is a general thumbpick sizing question. I have the four picks in the photo. In each pair there is a M and a L. In the picks on the left, the diameter of the thumb loop seems to be the same and the difference in size appears to be with the size of the pick blade. In the picks on the right, the blade size again varies, but there is also a very obvious difference in the diameter of the thumb loop. Does sizing in thumb picks typically refer to the size of the thumb it fits around, the size of the blade, or both? Maybe the diameter of the M on the left only appears the same as the large because it has been stretched out from wear.
  4. Any other thoughts on the Bluechip thumbpicks? Was the day you received your Bluechip the day you started living?

Thanks for any insights you might have. You can also try to sell me on some Sammy Shelor fingerpicks over the National NPs I have been using if you feel passionate and motivated.

P.S. After writing this, but before posting, I watched Jake’s video on the Bluechip sales page. I probably should have done that first. Anyway, it was really helpful. But, I would still like to hear what you have to say. The sizing question still has me spun around,

*Site maintenance note for @BanjoBen… There is a typo on the sales page for the BCT-1 (lenght).


I have a JD medium. It fit pretty close to perfect from day one. I’ve never tried to shape the band. I like it just the way it is.


JD Large here. I’ve never had to adjust it. I wouldn’t say it was life changing. Maybe slightly brighter tone over what I was playing. It’ll definitely give you better tone than those Dunlops.


Thanks for the note about the typo! I just got that changed.

  1. We definitely sell more of the JD Crowes than any of the others. That’s what I use primarily (in fact, I have used the same exact thumbpick as my primary one for about the last 7-8 years). However, the BCT-1 is possibly a little bit closer to the blade length and shape that you are used to with the Dunlops that you have. The JD Crowe is a bit shorter and stubbier.

  2. If both of the large Dunlops are definitely too big, then I’d say you’d want to go with the medium. I would recommend going more off of the Ivoroid thumbpicks that you have on the right. The Ultex thumbpicks on the left don’t seem to have as much difference in fit, to me. The Ivoroid should be (usually) pretty close to the way that the BlueChips fit. The band can be pretty easily bent a bit to fit. You’d just want to make sure that it is the particular pick you want to keep before you start bending it since you might not be able to return it if it got a kink or something that could not be easily smoothed out.

  3. Generally, the size reference is talking about the size of the pick as it relates to the finger fit. However, most thumbpicks are fairly proportional. So, as the size of the loop around the thumb goes down, so does the blade length, etc.

  4. I really like my BlueChip thumbpick. Although I’ve tried other picks and even bought another JD Crowe BlueChip that I have used some (in case something happens to the one I had), I keep coming back to the same one that I have used as my primary thumbpick for the last 7-8 years. So, they last well! Also, they don’t get scratchy-sounding like a lot of other thumbpicks seem to.


Hey Woodshed,

I use a National (Tortoise) in Large and I bought a J.D. Crowe Blue Chip from Ben and Jake and it’s honestly smaller than my National. I’m not sure about the ones you’re using, but the large B.C. is definitely smaller than a National so I’d be careful about buying a medium.

If you want, I’d be glad to send you mine to try out. I also bought two Bob Perry signature finger picks along with my B.C. You’re welcome to those as well.

The boys at the store are going to hate me for this, but I really don’t care for these picks, especially the BlueChip. So you’re more than welcome to try them out and if you like them, I’ll make you a resonable deal. I have all the packaging for them as well and they have very low miles! If not, send them back and at least you’ll have an idea of what you would like to purchase from the store.

Let me know and PM me for your address if you want to try them out.



I should add that I love the Goins family (Blue Chip) and my favorite flatpick is an STP50 (non beveled). I’ve had a few B.C. flatpicks and there’s nothing better… not even real turtle. I just don’t like my thumbpick.

Didn’t want anyone to think I had something against Blue Chip or The General Store!


I tried Mark’s Large BC and it was too big, I normally use a national medium that fits well.
Since you asked, I also got a pair of SS fingerpicks, and they’re the best. The wide band is so comfortable and keeps the picks on perfectly, and they’re super slick off the strings. I don’t use any other fingerpicks anymore


Well that’s nice to know. :slight_smile:


I use a JD medium because of the shape of the pick and it fits my thumb perfectly. The pick itself is a little long though, as evidenced by how the tip of the pick keeps flattening out because I apparently hit the head quite frequently with it. When this happens I take an emery board to it to round it out a little. As you you can see, the one pictured is due for a filling down. This is my second Blue Chip pick and I do like it. I still keep the first one in reserve though, it’s still quite usable.

I do also use this cheap National medium as well though and I swap out every week or so just for grins and I don’t really have to “get used to” the different pick; I find they are very similar. The national is not as long as the Blue Chip, not even my worn down Blue chip as you can see, so I’m not striking the head with the National as with the BC (I used a straight edge along the left of the picks on the part that wraps around the thumb to line them up so the length of the pick part can be compared). The all plastic National also fits my thumb tighter, it expands when I put it on, like it’s spring loaded sort of. It has never slipped off while playing. My BC has occasionally unfortunately. Being that it’s metal, it doesn’t have that springy snug feel to it.



Thanks for all the great responses everyone. I still don’t know what I’ll do, but I have a lot more info to make the decision. It’s a good community around here.

And thanks for the generous offer Jeff @jw11. I’ll probably wait to see what black Friday brings before deciding anything.


JD Medium as @MissMaggie uses and tried a few others but his for fit and comfort is the best

I also had an issue with some of the plastic one having a much bigger pic so i cant use them after using the JD bluechip as that seems to have just the right amount of pic for me



Whats the chance of me in the UK getting a pair of Sammy Shelor Picks sent over?


Hi Lee, No probs for @BanjoBen I bought some stuff from the General Store a while back. Great service.


did you have to pay customs charge pal and did you order direct from the site?


Hi Lee

I think I had to pay VAT + Royal Mail Handling Charges. No import duty.

I think it depends on the value of the items being imported. In the past I have made lots of purchases from the US mostly Books & DVDS. I got the sender to write on the Customs Slip - Educational Materials. Most of the time I wouldn’t be charged.

I cut back on buying items from the US after the US Postal Service put up their postal charges.

The thing is you don’t realise that you may have to pay VAT & Handling Charges until the purchase arrives at the PO and the Postie sticks a card through your letterbox. Strange as it may seem I have bought stuff on eBay & Amazon from China and never been charge VAT or Handling and in the case of eBay free postage.


i know pal its a strange one… Thanks appreciate the reply


The Golden Gates and Dunlops seem to be a better reference against the BlueChips than the Nationals. I would use a Large in any of those first three, but a Medium National seems to work best for me if I use a National.