Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

When do Picks wear out?

I think the title says it all. Do they ever? I know one great banjo player that still plays with his dads nationals after his father passed 30 years ago. I know some who go through them nightly.

Reason I mention it is I broke down and bought another pair of Sammy Shelors. I felt like my first few years of playing experimentation had bent them to some places where they had lost that long defined rounded edge. Thought a new pair would give me the change to get back to playing as they were when they were new. I also noticed with Ben’s last video to me concerning hand position his SS were not adjusted at all, just turned on the fingers.

So what say ye?

1 Like

I know that I’ve never worn out a set of metal fingerpicks.

I did adjust them a bit.


Have you ever adjusted them enough that you though they might have lost their original intended design? lol

Yes, I used to use Jim Dunlop Nickel Silver Finger Picks and found the blades would wear along the edge creating a sharp burr which I had to file away. I also used to use Dunlop fake tortoise shell plastic thumb picks and the blade would wear down over time. On occasion the clip would snap off. I now use ProPik Angled Stainless Steel Picks and Jim Dunlop clear plastic thumb picks no problems with these.

1 Like

I’m still using the same finger picks I bought 33 years ago. I did wear out a plastic National thumb pick once. Funny thing was, when I bought another one that was exactly the same, the reach was so much longer I couldn’t use it without filing it down. :slight_smile:


The only picks I’ve worn out are National thumb picks. They start feeling loose and then one day without warning the bend starts to open up and the pick falls apart from plastic fatigue. There is no saving a broken pick, just put another one on and keep picking! I bought a Golden Gate pick a while back and gave it a try. I really disliked it at first, but I’m starting to come around. Seems like I get fewer string snags with the Golden Gate, but it is so tight on my thumb it must be what wearing a girdle feels like. They’ve got those fancy new material printers at the library. Maybe I’ll look into “printing” a custom thumb pick. That would be an interesting conversation with the reference librarian. I wonder if Ben would loan me his “hair-do” and give me a few tips on communicatin’.


I think mine are more about twisting one way then another to figure out what is the best way to play. So not worn out but perhaps not in the original intended shape.