Take Your Pick

Red Henry

Red Henry

Folks, I was just looking through some old posts, and I realized that I'd never talked about flatpicks. This is an important and interesting subject for those guitar and mandolin pickers who are learning to play.

Some new pickers try out a thin, light flatpick, and get used to it, and use it from then on. Now, everybody will have his or her own preference for picks, but I'd recommend trying out a medium pick when you get a chance. If you've gotten used to the thin pick it will take a little getting used to, but a medium pick has some advantages. A few of them are: (1) you get a more solid sound from the instrument; (2) the pick doesn't bend as much, so you hit the strings with it more accurately; and (3) your motion and energy go less into bending the pick, and more into making the note.

. . . . .

On the other extreme, there's been sort of a fad in the last several years for using really heavy picks. Some of these are made of exotic materials, such as caribou horn, buffalo hoof, or the teeth of a Siberian timber wolf (just kidding-- a little). But these extra-heavy and rigid picks do not bend at all, and can cause clumsiness in playing and a lack of clarity. I use a fairly heavy pick, but not an extreme one -- and it's not made from fossilized Triceratops skull, either!

Try lots of picks, and Take Your Pick.


Posted in Accessories, By Red and tagged on by .

About Red Henry

Began playing mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and banjo in 1967-69. I married Murphy in 1974. We led the Red & Murphy bluegrass band, playing professionally, from 1975-87. Since then I've handled the technical side of Murphy Method cassette, videotape, and DVD production. When you call I usually answer the phone, and I'm normally the one who sends out the orders.