Forum - Banjo Ben Clark


Hey all, currently I’m using a dunlop 205 jazz pick for mando. I’ve been playing guitar with it for about 15 yrs. Super thick and like it a lot. So far the cross over to mando with the pick is going ok… Just curious what everybody else is using?


Several threads on picks here…


Cool! Thanks for the link.

I haven’t tried the 205, but I tend to use a thicker, rounder pick (currently a Wegen M150) for mandolin than I use for guitar. I think I remember Ben saying he uses the same type of pick for both guitar and mandolin, though.

I use the Dunlop 208, which I think is the larger cousin of the 205.

I’ve always liked the 205 but am tempted to try one of those blue chip picks. They way people talk about them it makes them sound like they have magic dust in them or something… :mrgreen:

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They way people talk about them it makes them sound like they have magic dust in them or something… :mrgreen:

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They better have something in em for $35 a pick?!? I am curious too but can’t bring myself to pay that for a pick. As Gene Simons said of make up before being out voted, “Fog Hat does not need this to rock!”

That said the dunlops are pretty thick at 2mm, I don’t know if blue chips come that thick?

Blue chip has picks that are at least 2mm thick. I remember they had a TD 100 which I think would have been like 2.5mm thick. With that said, I find there is almost no flex in their “50” size picks (so I don’t need anything thicker). I have a TPR-50 I think “50” represents .050" which is roughly equal to 1.25mm.

Blue chips are nice. They are very durable. They have great tone. They play great. If you want the best buy in a pick, these are not it. If you tend to hang on to picks for a while, they are worth a shot. With all that said, it won’t fundamentally change who you are as a player.

Speaking of bargains, I think the Wegen Bluegrass and Dunlop Ultex are the best buys in picks. The Ultex need the edges shaped, but once done, they are pretty sweet.

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Speaking of bargains, I think the Wegen Bluegrass and Dunlop Ultex are the best buys in picks. The Ultex need the edges shaped, but once done, they are pretty sweet.

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I agree that most of it comes down to the player. Curious how you shape your picks? I’m prone to finding some carpet to shape edges that may have been worn down…

By shaping, I generally just mean the playing edges or the bevel, not the overall shape of the pick (although some people do that). I like a nice, rounded edge to make it play and sound better. The Wegen and BC bevels are already nicely shaped and polished (the Ultex are not beveled, but they are only $1). I do have to touch up the Wegens over time, but the blue chip really doesn’t seem to wear much at all. Tortoise wears real quickly. I guess carpet would polish it out with a little elbow grease. The best tool I have found for the job is a multiple grit nail file. Here is a link to a quick review I did on the tool:

You’d put a manicurist to shame with that description! :smiley:

I have probably used almost every pick known to man for guitar and mando. The best picks i have found (and the ones i only recommend myself) are wooden picks made by “pick your axe” i would put the thick ness at 1mm mark but they are well balanced and do have an effect on improved sound of instrument, plus they don’t have the clingy sound of plastic.

Priced around $4 a pick

I prefer paduak wood pick as its balanced sound, lacewood has a good popping quality to it. Just prefers on style.

I will never go back to plastic. All though this is just my opinions.

Also like to note, that if you plan on spending $35 for a pick (blue chip), it better play the instrument for you :slight_smile:

Has anybody tries wegen picks or pro plec. They seem to be the shape equivalents to the blue chips, not in material but shape.

I’ll give my opinion, but that’s all it is (and it’s only worth about what I charge for it). Picks are kind of like strings, different people have different tastes. I have multiple Wegens, a blue chip and tortoise to compare. I don’t have a pro plec. The Wegens are absolutely nice picks and the Wegen BG pick is about $4. Well worth the money. If you want a real rigid pick get the 1.4 thickness. The 1.0 has a bit of give. The material of the Wegen is fine. I actually prefer the material of the dunlop Ultex (about $1 per pick), however, the Wegen has the nice little grip holes and they have a nicely shaped bevel.

The blue chip are nicely crafted (nice bevel) but what sets them apart is the material. It has several properties that make it special. First, tone wise, they are great, they seem to have a wee bit more pick noise than tortoise but are otherwise very similar. It’s a darker tone than most, and some may not like it (but I do). Second it gets through the strings well. Third, they are all but indestructible. I have been playing one daily for 6 months and it has never needed edge maintenance (Wegens will need to have the business edges polished up from time to time). I only use the tortoise on “special” occasions (mainly recording) as tortoise does wear. Lastly the Blue Chip has a tackiness that makes it want to stay put in my grip. Tortoise does the same thing. The BC is as close as I have played to tortoise, and it is actually superior in durability.

I would highly recommend Wegens for anyone to try. For $4, it is tough to beat. I find a BC to be worth the money, but when it’s $35, it’s not going to be for everyone. However, assuming you don’t lose it, I can’t imagine ever wearing one out. If someone is on a real tight budget or loses picks often, the Dunlop Ultex is a nice alternative and with a little bevel shaping is a nice playing pick.

This is a slight digression, but it appears to me from recent videos that Ben has started using a relatively thin tortoise shell pick for both guitar and mandolin. I believe he was using a Wegen previously.

Verneq, I had a Pro-Plec but seem to have mis-placed it. What I remember about it though is it seems that they only come in one thickness (1.5mm) & that was a little too thick for the sound I like. It seemed to darken the sound even mute it some on both mandolin & especially guitar. Very nice pick, but should come in more thickness options. I may be wrong about the thickness, so someone correct me if so. I have Wegens & they’re great, but then I bought a Blue Chip & then another & that’s my favorite. Are they worth it? Probably not. Is it worth 60 or 80.00 to fill up your car & burn it out & then do it again a week later? Definitely not, but we all do it. Or spend 40 or 50.00 on a nice meal plus tip for two people. Of course not but it’s fun, & enjoyable, therefore we don’t seem to mind (once in a while). The Blue Chip will give you years of enjoyment as long as you don’t lose it. How much do people spend on boats or golf equipment or other hobbies? Everone’s different & that’s good.

Getting back to your question, I would recommend trying a couple different thicknesses of Wegens & the Pro-Plec & see what you think. They’re not that expensive. Another option would be a V-Pick. I think they grip even better than the BC, but not quite the sound. I also agree with Mike, for a cheap pic the Dunlop Ultex is hard to beat. All these options is what makes this more enjoyable.

These are just my opinions & it doesn’t mean I’m right about any of it. Hope this helps, & if you do happen to try a Blue Chip & find it’s not for you, They’re real easy to resell on Mandolin Cafe for 28.00 to 30.00, so you’re not out too much.

God Bless…Jeff