So as my playing progresses, I’m becoming more and more unhappy with my Ernie Ball Pickey picks. They are fast off the strings but thing is, the faster i play the more i realize they simply aren’t built for a lot of power. Which is most likely why almost zero pros play them. So my question is, next to the Sammy Shelors, what is your favorite pick? I’m just not quite ready to dish out the money for those even though i’d really like to. @BanjoBen, @AdamAsh @Mark_Rocka, @Archie especially intrested in your opinion. And everyone else for that matter.
I guess I’m not the right person to ask. I’ve only played 2 picks my entire life. My first set (which I still have) was a set of Dunlop .020 gauge I bought in 1985. I graduated to Shelors a couple of years ago. At first I really didn’t notice that much of a difference, but when I play my Dunlops now, it feels completely foreign to me.
I love my Sammys.
I love Sammy’s but about to give the Bob Perry picks a try!
Sammy Shelors. It’s worth it. If you really can’t bite the bullet, maybe the nickel National NP-2.
Hey I did the EXACT same thing but obviously not in '85 haha😅
Ok Thanks for all the feedback guys. Maybe i will just bite the bullet and get some Sammy’s and a JD Crowe. Haven’t quite decided yet. @BanjoBen, Looks like your gonna get a bit more to help with that new guitar from Gruhn’s. By the time i’m done you’ll get it for free…
Okay. As an empty nester engineer I have as much fun trying all the accessories as actually learning to play— and maybe my playing would be better if I stopped trying everything out. But with that said, I’ve tried/owned a wide variety of picks.
My Shelors are super comfortable, but being stainless they are a little too hard and bright for my taste. Roy’s Own are the opposite end of the hardness scale as they are soft nickel “silver” (a nickel alloy—not silver) and really bite into the strings. I like them okay—and they sound great on my Chinese built Gretch banjo—but my favorites are Yates Oval 8’s. Yates makes these as replicas of the old style Nationals. I’ve never played with an old style National, but I hear that Yates came close. They are just a bit harder nickel alloy than Roy’s Own. Haven’t tried the Bob Perry’s, but they look like they may be real similar to the Yates 8’s. Hmmm, another pick to try out .
Recently I bought some Landis picks. They are heavy and pressed like a coin from a silver alloy. They give a super mellow tone. Landis puts micro teeth on the inside of the band, so they have a great grip on your fingers. Fun to play around with, but they are twice the price of Shelor’s and not likely to win you over for that price.
So it’s probably best to listen to Ben, get one pair of Bob Perry’s and avoid the addiction that I’ve acquired.
Wait a minute… you are saying I don’t have to stay with the picks that came with my banjo?!?
What is everyones thoughts on the Acri Picks? Are they really nice as an all around pick? I know they are really comfortable so don’t bother telling me that.
So almost 2 years ago I switched to SS and BlueChip. I don’t need to try any others, because I already know these are the best for me and my playing style. I like the Russ Carson pick for its added length and weight, allowing me to accent thumb notes with ease.
I’m not gonna tell you how to spend your own money, but I 100% recommend Shelors and BlueChip. They are the smoothest, nicest picks I could ever want.
@Shaky_loves_banjo I personally switch back and forth between National NP2-SS (stainless steel) and Bob Perry picks. The Sammy Shelors are probably the absolute most comfortable pick that I’ve ever had, though. I’ve not tried the Acri picks, other than trying them on in the store. They are right there with the Shelors as far as comfort, I’d say, but the bands are really big and I think that for me they would get in the way of bending my finger at the first joint like I need to attack the string.
Hey thanks so much guys. I really appreciate the feedback and am taking it to heart. I will probably order the Sammy’s sometime next week.
@Shaky_loves_banjo if you have not purchased new picks yet you might want to look at the Wyatts or the Hoffmeyers i have not tried the Shellors so i can not comment on them but I do have both the Wyatts and Hoffmeyers and they are both vary comfortable and have great tone
Here’s my two cents worth - I bit the bullet and now sport $75 worth of jewelry on my fingers every time I pick the banjo. It’s a weird feeling as I am not accustomed to wearing jewelry, but the fit and the sound is very very good.
I also use a set of National NP-2 finger picks. They sound brighter and I prefer them for bluegrass tunes if I’m being real serious about playing bluegrass.
Then I heard a bit from Jens Kruger. He says he uses the NP-2’s because of the different environments in which he plays, from air conditioned studios to hot & humid outdoor venues. This causes his fingers to swell up or shrink down. The stainless steel picks are hard to adjust for these changing conditions, but the NP-2’s are much easier. While he loves the slickness of the Shelors & other stainless steel picks, the flexibility of the NP-2’s make them his go-to pick. Somedays I have the same issue. Fat fingers, so I use my NP-2’s.
Blue Chip JC Crowe is my thumb pick, hands down. I have an Acri that’s a lot cheaper and not bad. I’m tempted to ty a Pro-Pik simply because I’m a sucker for trinkets.
I started playing banjo in 1982 using Dunlop picks. A friend bought me a JD Crowe bluechip thumb and Sammy Shelor fingerpicks about 5 years ago. Love them.
Hi @Shaky_loves_banjo Justin. After much trial and error I have settled with ProPik Stainless Steel 2 - ANG angled picks and an inexpensive Jim Dunlop Clear Plastic Thumb Pick. I do have a Blue Chip JD Crowe Thumb Pick & Sammy Shelor Stainless Steel Picks which I like but my go to picks are the less expensive ProPik & and Jim Dunlop. clear plastic. I think it’s all down to personal choice. You have to break a few eggs to make the perfect omelette so my advice would be to trial a bunch of different picks to see what suits you best, not necessarily what others use or recommend, but what feels comfortable and helps you play better.
If you do decide to carry out a trial don’t just pop on/off the picks try playing with them for several weeks/months. It’s a bit like the angler who spends all his money buying fancy flies at the tackle shop and wonders why he never catches any fish except for the big one that got away after it snapped his line.
Gabe Hirshfeld has a great video here comparing different picks available on the market. Pretty interesting watch.
By the way, I am currently using the Blue Chip J.D. Crowe and Sammy Shelor’s like so many others here. They were a Christmas gift from my wife. I’m not sure my untrained ear can tell much difference between those and the the cheap NP2 Nationals or the Golden Gate thumb pick that I originally got from Amazon. I will say I like the feel/comfort of the Blue Chip.
Maybe not too much tone difference but they are more comfortable to me.