Author Topic: Plectrum Issues  (Read 1414 times)

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Offline willsie01

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Plectrum Issues
« on: August 21, 2017, 02:19:22 pm »
I've persisted using a plectrum only since starting using Justin's website around 18 months ago and hearing his advise that it is a good approach to start with. Before that it was always my thumb and fingers that I used.
The first thing I noticed with them was that I had to stay with the very thin 0.38mm white ones for quite a while as I just could not get on with any plectrum that wasn't super flexible. I had to stay with these, and after a while the slightly thicker 0.46mm white ones, even though I could hear the clacking they made on the strings, which was quite demotivating. However, the good news, I've now persisted through a transitional stage and I'm able to use the stiffer, red, Justin branded 0.5mm ones, which sound so much better. I can even use thicker for some playing styles. There is a caveat: I've bonded a strip of fine sandpaper to the "thumb grip" area of the plectrum to stop it turning in my hand. Although it allows me to carry on practicing the other elements of guitar playing I can see that I may be guilty of not being persistent enough to learn to control the plectrum by developing the technique required.

When I started using plectrums I used to lose loads!.
I don't know why, I just did, but for some reason I  haven't lost the 0.5mm one and the length of time I've been using it has led to the tip wearing down and becoming wider.
I only noticed this for the first time last night and I can't say I've noticed any difference in using it.
Either in the way it feels to use or the way the guitar sounds.
Is there any guidelines as to the amount of wear that can be accepted before deciding to discard a plectrum and start with a fresh one?

Offline Johan217

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 04:03:15 pm »
I don't think there are any explicit guidelines for this. I suppose if the worn plectrum feels very different (worse) compared to a new one, it's time to replace it.

Nylon plectrums get ragged edges (easily fixed with some sandpaper) while celluloid plectrums just seem to "melt away": my favorite one must be like 10% smaller than when I started using it!

As for losing plectrums: I try to keep them all in one place, but they often end up in the washing machine whatever I do  ;D

I wouldn't worry about plectrum thickness too much. Most people indeed seem to prefer thicker plectrums as they progress, but e.g. Paul Gilbert uses very thin plectrums so it's not a rule set in stone.
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Offline Joerfe

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2017, 04:10:35 pm »
I'd say it's time to get a new one when the wear hinders your playing. For me it would mean trouble navigating between strings. But I haven't really experienced to wear one down.

I don't think I've lost one, but I make sure to secure them in between the strings when I hang the guitar in the wall hanger.

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Offline Joerfe

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2017, 04:11:53 pm »
Like this:

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Offline tobyjenner

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 07:19:29 pm »
I naively bought an acoustic sound hold cover, believing that it would quieten down my old Encore. Doh !
Anyway it now makes a nice pick holder on my desk, on top my training schedule/song book, Justin's BSB 1 & 2 and his Rock Songbook. Couple of my guitars have those stick on sprung pick holder thingies but I rarely use the picks in them but handy if I ever performed outside of my den. 

As to thickness, guess we all start thin then work up to what's comfortable. For practice I'll swap between a 0.5 and .88 for rhythm but may go up to a 1.0 or thicker for scale type practice.

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Offline Loefgren

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2017, 09:59:00 am »
I  started to play with fingers, since I really struggled with the pick. But I have worked hard to improve my plectrum technique.

I started with real thin picks but they sound so bad...Lately I've been using 0.5's which starts to work real fine.

Yesterday I thought I should try the yellow 0.73 for strumming some chords and wow, it sounded good and felt really good. Like a new guitar!

Could not play with 0.73 earlier so I guess my technique has improved   :) Gotta try even a thicker one today!

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Online joueur de guitare

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2017, 12:25:42 pm »
Never worn a pick out, usually lose them! Fortunately I've managed to acquire a lifetime's supply over the years :)

You can reshape the business end of a pick with a piece of fine grit abrasive paper. It'll give you some more use out of it.
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Offline Russ d Cayzer

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 02:27:19 pm »
Personally, industrial carpet is the perfect plectrum point shaper. A few dedicated swipes on both sides of the business end of the pick gets it back into playing shape.
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Offline Slim Willie

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Re: Plectrum Issues
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2017, 05:30:14 pm »
I struggled with picks for a couple of years, trying thin ones, ones with rough areas making it easier to grip, ones with holes in them also making it easier, etc. With time and practice I don't need those anymore as I can play comfortably with most picks now, even .73 and higher. Justin's RUST DVD helped a lot. With all of that behind me I have concluded that for most of the music I play I prefer finger style anyway. I like the sound and there are many great players out there who never use picks. But a teacher once told me not to avoid picks just because they were hard for me to play with. That was good advice.

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