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StevenStanleyBayes

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Everything posted by StevenStanleyBayes

  1. There have been many updates in the file since the previous post. An important point : Some people wrongly think the pick can be compensated for by playing techniques. This is not true. The pick drives the strings to make sound. The pick is an important piece of the chain. The only technique to compensate for a slow pick is to play by fingers. Now, there are pieces where the pick does not influence the play as much ( usually, slow pieces ) and pieces where the importance of the pick is extreme ( usually, fast pieces ), but, there is always an influence. In other words, a good pick is also good for slow pieces, yet, the importance is not as high. Why use a bad pick for slow when a good pick can be used as well. The good pick influences the slow play too, I. e. the slow play is performed better with a good pick, yet, the difference between the slow play with a good pick and bad pick may be insignificant. Even though, better is to play with the good pick.
  2. Fender Tru Shell picks can also be easily unwarped, when they are heated by the fingers to the human heat of 36.5 degrees Celsius and then finger pressure is applied in the direction opposite of the warp. The pick, although extremely hard, gives under the pressure.
  3. I have updated the document with the new picks. Also, I have purchased and received the Teflon pick. 1mm is too soft for Teflon. Even 3mm may flex. Must be >= 3mm, best be 5mm not to flex. Otherwise, may be OK. Cannot say for sure because the pick flexes a lot. I have switched from Dunlop Carbon Fiber to Fender Tru Shell for now. The Fender Tru Shel pick self healed the sides, the top and the bottom of the modified tip to be smooth and lighting fast. How scratching sound. Maybe, light and heat from fingers ( 36.5 degrees Celsius ) did the trick after played for a while. An amazing pick! Ritchie Blackmore is right with everything : pick and strings!
  4. Help the Pick : In some cases, with some picks, one may increase the speed by twisting the picking hand ( right hand is assumed ) to upper and slightly to the right.
  5. Who Uses What : 1. Yngwie Malmsteen : http://pickingpower.com/yngwie-malmsteen-guitar-pick-brand-gauge/ Dunlop Delrin 500 1.5mm 2. Eddie Van Halen : http://www.evhgear.com/news/2014/01/ask-eddie-all-about-the-picks/ 0.6mm Nylon < 0.6mm in the 80's Brass and Copper before 3. Steven Vai : http://www.vai.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18112 Ibanez Steven Vai Signature pick, 1.0mm Heavy 4. Angus Young : https://www.guitarworld.com/artists/let-there-be-rock-acdc-lead-guitarist-angus-young-picking-hard Fender Extra Heavy Picks with a lot of plastic in them? 5. Jimmy Page : http://www.feelnumb.com/2011/07/17/what-guitar-pick-does-jimmy-page-use/ Dunlop Herco Flex 75 Nylon Pick 6. Ritchie Blackmore : https://www.thehighwaystar.com/interviews/blackmore/guitarplayer/guitarplay4.html Tortoise Shell, custom shape, one side squared, the other, pointed. “ What kind of picks and strings do you use? I use tortoiseshell picks, one end squared, one end pointed. I have them specially made for me because you can't get them at all. I use tortoiseshell because plastic is too soft; I like them brick hard. I've used this shape ever since I was 11, and I just cannot play with those round things everybody plays with, because when you jump a string you tend to hit the other string on the way. With this pick you can be more nimble. I use Picato strings; I've always used them. They're the best; Eric Clapton turned me on to these. He's now using Fender - I don't know why. Why Ernie Ball has the monopoly on strings I'll never know. The gauges I use are .010, .011, .014, .026, .036 and .042. “
  6. Also, I have been playing with Fender Tru Shell Extre Heavy ( modified ) and Gravity Picks Acrylic Sunrise 1.5mm ( modified ). 1. Gravity Acrylic Pick ( Modified ) The two picks perform excellently. The acrylic pick needed a lot of playing to achieve fast playability and is an ultra fast pick thereafter. 2. Fender Tru Shell Pick ( Modified ) The Fender pick is more interesting. I am not sure whether I am right or wrong, but, after modification, the pick has to stay for a while to “ harden “. Because the pick is made of proteins, this may be true. Similar to other organic materials, say, bread. When bread stays for a long while, bread hardens. This MAY BE the case with the pick too. Anyway, the pick has been made to replicate the real tortoise shell pick which is now illegal. I have never seen a real tortoise shell pick, but, there is a possibility these were not very fast and were slightly scratchy on the string and, thus, not ultra fast. The Fender pick is super fast, but, I do not know whether this has been the goal of Fender. Again, the main goal of Fender MAY have been to replicate the original tortoise shell pick with all the advantages AND disadvantages and not to make a faster pick than the original.
  7. 1. The Hardest Wood I Can Find I am exceptionally proud to inform you I have found African ( Gaboon ) Ebony wood and I have made a couple of Ebony picks. I need to test these picks more, but, the first impression is these picks are ultra fast, yet, a bit scratchy, i. e., abrasive. The picks are not scratchy when sanded often with a succession of 1000, 2000 and 3000 grid paper or sponge. There is zing but not as high as metal, normal as with most any pick except some. African ( Gaboon ) Ebony is extremely hard, one of the hardest woods on the planet. Best be cut with hacksaw for metals and is pretty much the same as metal. The wood can be easily split with a chisel. An important consideration is to use the grain of the wood throughout the length of the wood. In other words, the grain must run from the handle of the pick towards the tip of the pick. A good idea is to make a pick in the opposite of the normal way, i. e., the grain runs from side to side, just to find what happens. African ( Gaboon ) Ebony has a hardness of 3080 on the Janka scale which is one of the highest. Ebony is so dense and heavy, so the wood sinks in water. Ebony was used by the British navy to protect the side of their ships from cannon fire which bounces back unable to penetrate through th hard wood. I have also found a harder wood : Pink Ivory Wood which has a Janka hardness of 3250. I have not yet purchased and tried this wood. 2. Home Made Acrylic and Polycarbonate To find these materials is extremely high. Yet, there are some possibilities : work glasses and, mainly, magnifying lenses can be made of extremely clear acrylic or polycarbonate. Acrylic magnifying lenses are sold in St. Michaels. All of these are supposed to be very hard but not brittle and scratch resistant. Yet, clarity is the main parameter. This is why, I am unhappy, the lenses may have been built for clarity and not for hardness. Also, the manufacturers may need to make them not as hard to avoid a possible brittleness. Yet, a good idea may be to cut an acrylic magnifying lens and try to make picks thereof. The pick must be extremely well polished after made. The successive grids may be 1000, 2000, 3000 and much more, such as 5000. Real wool may need to be used.
  8. A List of New Ideas : 1. Stone Picks ( in a Process to Order ) : https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Tooyful-3-Pieces-Guitar-Finger-Picks-Pendant-Plectrums-Malachite-Stone-2mm-for-Guitar-Bass-Banjo-Ukulele/32841803542.html ( There are other stone picks at AliExpress and elsewhere. ) Please, note : Stone and bone picks may not be faster than metal and may generate just as much ( or more ) noise, thus, to test stone picks may be just for entertainment purposes. Please, note : there are Agate picks at AliExpress.com 2. Winspear Picks ( May Be Difficult or Impossible to Find ) : https://www.winspearinstrumental.com/collections/plectrums 3. Teflon Picks ( May Be Difficult or Impossible to Find ) 4. Cubic Zirconia Picks ( may not be available ).
  9. 1. Fender Tru Shell Extra Heavy I am proud to inform you all I have received the Fender Tru Shell pick. This pick has been made of proteins and is, therefore, organic. The organic structure has been made to copy this of the tortoise shell. The pick, however, came warped in a factory sealed wrap. Fender claims the pick must not be in a high temperature and the pick had never been. Most likely, however, strong light can also make the pick warp. This may have happened to other warped picks I have had. I played with the original pick without any modifications. The pick played perfectly and incredibly quickly. However, when I modified the pick, the pick could not be smoothen very well. Most likely, however, the pick will become very smooth after some playing. This is because I do not have real wool to smoothen the pick. 2. Gravity Picks Acrylic Sunrise 1.5mm Pick This is what happened to Gravity Picks Acrylic Sunrise 1.5mm pick. I reported the pick seemed to be brittle. This is, probably, not the case or may be, but, does not affect playing. This is because some materials have the property to " stick " when under mechanical action. As mentioned, wood is one of these materials. The atoms and molecules get closer and strionger one to another. Thus, after awhile, the Gravity Picks Acrylic Sunrise 1.5mm pick performed excellently and is not brittle nor abrasive. Just perfect. The problem was most likely the nasty lacquer which was filed off after more play. 3. Dunlop Jazz III XL Series Black Pick This is, most likely, made of very strong and very highly compressed Nylon. The thickness of the pick is around 1.25mm or 1.30mm, but, the pick is as strong as made of Titanium alloys. I have filed the tip to fractions of a millimetre and the tip continues to be strong and inflexible. This is one of the fastest picks I have ever seen, along with Dunlop Big Stubby Nylon. I hesitated whether to switch to this pick from Carbon Fibre and decided to stay with the Carbon Fibre material but was very close. I got another 6, though, to have 10 in possession. The shape was not bad, although, I heavily modified the pick to a faster ( I think so. ) shape. 4. Dunlop Gator Grip Picks I tested one and disregarded the pick long back. Big mistake. These are excellent picks. They are not as durable when filed off and sanded, but, extremely durable when playing. The string has hitting effect too and not only abrasive. They seem to stick well when driven by the string. The speed is amazing. These picks are made of Delrex ( something similar to Delrin but faster ) and are the fastest picks by Dunlop made of other than Nylon plastics. These are also a Dunlop bestseller along with Tortex and Delrin 500. Cannot get wrong to get them. Also, the Internet says these are preferred by Heavy Metal players ( fast ). 5. Janicek D Grip A 1.40mm I got another D Grip pick by Janicek. The 1.40mm is perfect even in the original shape. I still think, however, their material is not as slick as Janicek Brain 1.60mm ( compressed Nylon ) picks. 6. Clayton Acetal Decided to revise Clayton Acetal. These perform lighting fast after reshaping and smoothening. Acetal, Delrin and, probably, Delrex are made of a similar material which has a few commercial name, but, the real name of which is Polyoxymethylene. I have tried to find out which one is faster : Dunlop Delrin 500 and Delrex, Fender Touiring Delrin or Clayton Acetal. I cannot find an answer. Maybe Clayton Acetal, maybe not. All of them are fast.
  10. I played with the picks I last purchased : 1. Gravity Picks Sunrise 1.5mm : The material is OK. May be slightly brittle and, thus, abrasive. Difficult to tell because of the lacquer. Did not remove the lacquer with Acetone ( nail polish removal can be used too as the nail polish removal is mostly Acetone ) because the pick is very expensive and want to keep close to original. Slightly sharpened the pick horizontally to widen the horizontal angle ( not as pointed as the original ), but, very slightly. Made a very slight vertical angle, just 1mm to 2mm from the tip. Sandpapered, thus, removed the lacquer around the tip where the pick was mechanically processed. Seems to work OK. The lacquer is bad and drags the strings. Much better without. The material is OK. May need to be made very slightly softer, but, very slightly to prevent brittleness and abrasiveness. Yet, the material needs to be strong, thus, the pick is OK as is. The pick endures a lot of abuse. Acrylic may be an excellent material. 2. Gravity Picks Sunrise 3mm : Excellent shape. Did not touch the shape at all. 100% original. The pick offers inertia and strength to hit the string, overcome any possible drags and go through. Again, problem with the lacquer. Excellent, strong material as mentioned. 3. Fred Kelly Polycarbonate ( Fat Flat ) : The material is too soft. Yet, takes the pressure to some extend. Slight drag on the thicker strings because of the soft material ( like glue ) as well as on the thin strings ( the soft material catches and drags more easily ). Thicker versions of the pick take more pressure. The original shape was 100% OK. Sharpened the pick horizontally and vertically to make a thinner tip. Worked OK. Performed marvelously. 4. Fred Kelly Nylon Medium and Heavy : Fred Kelly's Nylon is excellent. Sharpened the picks horizontally very slightly to get a sharp tip. Perfect. Nylon is Nylon! And Fred Kelly's Nylon is excellent! 5. Fred Kelly Delrin Heavy ( Red ) : Did not have success here. Too soft. Too gluey. Catches and drags the strings. Tried the original shape. Did not work. Tried own shape. The same result. Gave up for now. May be in a while. 6. D'Andrea Pro Plec : Similar to Fred Kelly Polycarbonate. May be slightly harder, yet, very soft. Work OK, though. Works well with high amplitude tremolos. 7. Janicek D Grip A 1.18mm : Nothing to do with the original Brain Nylon. Totally different material. Too rubbery. Catches and drags the strings. Sharpened and thinned the pick a lot. When the tip is very thin, the pick seems to work. Managed to make the pick work OK. When the tip is very thin, the tip flexes slightly to overcome catch and drag. The price is a slight flex. Very slight. 8. Dunlop Ultex Standard 1.40mm. The same as most Ultexes. Not happy with the material a lot. Changed the shape very slightly ( horizontal angle not as pointed ). Still not good. Ultex needs to either be filed ( and, probably, washed with Acetone ) and polished well to become glassy or played a lot in order for the strings to do so. Looks like Dunlop coats them with rubbery stuff, probably for grip and against zing. Reduces the speed tremendously. Clayton Ultem seems to be faster. In some cases, such as Flow ( and probably PrimeTones, I do not have them, have only the black ones ) the Ultex material Dunlop uses may be better and may not be coated with rubber. Although I consider Dunlop Delrin 500 2.0mm ( heavily reshaped ), Dunliop Tortex 1.14mm ( heavily reshaped ), Fender Touring Delrin 1.0mm ( ordered 1.14mm, still do not have them ), the Nylons, etcetera, I continue to use Dunlop Jazz III Max Grip Carbon Fibre ( washed with Acetone, reshaped and with glued extension handle ). I hope this helps and I hope I can update the document, I do not know when.
  11. Another, still subjective, but, slightly more objective way to test materials may be to scratch the pick with a file, sand paper or knife and examine the scratches with a magnifying lens.
  12. A simple diagram of the pick shape I use. Please, note, the diagram is NOT proportional.
  13. This is to inform all interested I have just acquired two picks, $7.50 each, Gravity Picks Acrylic Sunrise pick : 3mm and 1,5mm. I have not played them yet. They look extremely beautiful and the material ( Acrylic ) looks very strong and slick.
  14. 1. I guess what I meant was, is there a particular set of dimensions and angles you work towards when refining the shape of your picks, and how did you arrive at those values? Not clear what you mean when you use terms like horizontal / vertical angle, sharpening vertically etcetera. A diagram defining what these terms refer to would help. I shall try to attach some simple diagram. Please, note : the diagram is not proportional to the real picks but is just to provide an idea of the discussed terms. I will try to explain again : When one puts a pick on a table and looks at the surface of the pick to, say, read the manufacturer name an logo, one looks at the horizontal shape of the pick. The angle of the tip is the horizontal angle. When one holds the pick with hands and looks at the sides of the pick, one looks at the vertical shape of the pick. The pick cannot stay in such position, just as a coin cannot. Must be held. The tip angle looked from the side ( provided the pick is sharp vertically ) is the vertical angle of the tip. When one looks at a Porsche from the side, the angle of the hood towards ground is the vertical angle of the hood of the Porsche. To sharpen the pick horizontally is to sharpen the SIDES of the pick, then put the pick on the table and look at the changed horizontal angle. To sharpen the pick vertically means to file the surface of the pick near the tip. When the pick is on the table, there will not be much of a difference. When the pick is held sidewise, the vertical angle of the tip is changed. 2. You mention that refining the shape is leading you towards faster speed and lower contact area, but in the photos in your paper, many of the modified picks have quite a “ broad “ tip with a large included angle. Isn't this increasing the contact area? To that end, wouldn't a tip with a smaller included angle with the smallest amount of contact area be better for speed, such as a stock teardrop shape or the smaller Dunlop Jazz III? Yes, the shape I use is with a broad, large, wide included angle ( horizontal angle ) of 90º to 120º. The point you have made is of immense importance. Yes, you are right. Mechanically, the more pointed the tip ( sharp horizontal angle ), the lower the contact area ( although edge ) as the travel of the pick on the string is lower. In other words : when you hold the pick horizontal to the string, the contact surface is lower. When you twist the hand and the pick is not horizontal, still the contact surface and the contact period are lower. Your point is 100% true. However, the more pointed ( sharper horizontal angle ) the pick, the more the drag on the string when the hand is twisted. Thus, I pay with some friction ( supposed to be low amount ) in order to be able to quickly go through the strings with twisted hand. Thus, in case you always play with the pick 100% horizontal to the pick, yes, the more pointed the pick the lower the contact area and the lower the friction. However, for twisted hand, a compromise is to be made. 3. I personally find that the small red Jazz III works for me. I used to use the standard Dunlop Tortex picks exclusively, maybe 1 - 1.3mm thicknesses. Years ago a friend of mine gave me a teardrop pick to try and I immediately fell in love with the small shape, the rigidity and fine point. That eventually led on to the Jazz III, and I've never changed back since. Even now If I go back to the standard-sized pick it feels like I'm trying to pick the strings with a dinner plate; it just feel too big and clumsy in my hands. Weirdly I couldn't get along with the black Jazz IIIs, despite it being the same size and shape as the red ones. The surface finish was slightly different, which made it harder for me to hold on to. The red one is more glossy and easier for me to get a grip with. Many people say like you. I, however, may have a difficulty with a tiny pick such as Jazz III. Please, bi kind to do so : For around $5, purchase a bag of Dunlop, Max Grip, Carbon Fibre. They are very tiny and similar in size to Jazz III. Please, try the pick as is. Please, use 1000, 2000 and, in case available, more sand paper to sand the tip. You can sharpen the pick horizontally ( can be done with 1000 grid sand paper and then 2000 to smoothen up ) until the pick is sharp. Please, try the pick. You can use the pick for a while. Then, in case you wish, you can sharpen the pick horizontally with the sand paper. You may wish to put the sand paper sheet on a piece of wood ( may glue the angles of the sand paper with duct tape not to move ) and move the pick on the paper. Please, provide some kind of address and I will mail you some Carbon Fibres and others for free. 4. Super thick picks don't sit right with me (3mm Dunlop Stubby). Too chunky and clubby. Many people say like you. Most people would not consider a thicker than 1mm pick. Some shops do not sell picks thicker than 1mm and one has to order them through the shop. I like thick picks too because they can provide an excellent 3D shape which cannot drag the string, regardless of how the pick is held ( straight hand or twisted ). This is paid with larger contact area and friction. Dunlop Big Stubby NYLON, however, is incredibly slick and does not add too much friction. The biggest advantage of big and thick picks is the inertia and handling. The power is much higher. Thus, even when the string is slightly dragged, the powerful pick will plow through. 5. I did try a couple of metal picks years ago ( and more ) Please, do provide some address and I will mail you some metal picks. Brass is excellent and will not darken your fingers.
  15. Thank you for your excellent input again. I will answer in turns. 1. Cubic Zirconia ( CZ ) I have never seen, nor touched Cubic Zirconia. I know this is used for artificial diamonds and, some specialists say, the clarity of CZ is greater than this of a diamond. The hardness is not greater but is very high, higher than some real gems. You are 100% right : the greater the hardness, the greater the breakability ( brittleness ). The question is whether CZ is brittle enough to be broken from guitar playing. I do not have an answer to this question because I do not have access to CZ. However, I realise a few things : * CZ is used for mass consumption ( jewellery ). Therefore, the price of CZ may not be high. For picks, clarity is not important, thus, CZ may be even more inexpensive. * CZ is used for rings. Rings are exposed to a lot of scratching and banging. Hopefully they are able to improve CZ.
  16. A general point is : the guitar pick material is more important than the shape and the thickness because any shape and thickness can be made with $1 file, sand paper and super glue but the material cannot be changed with the exception of some cases where some material can be washed or polished with Acetone and other chemicals. Thus, the most important thing is to fine the correct material which is very difficult because there are a lot.
  17. Important : In the explained method of reduction of friction and contact area, to sharp the tip vertically may seem contrary to the goal. True, thin picks do not have to be vertically sharpened. Thick picks best also not be sharpened for the said purposes. However, this is only good for large pick amplitudes, when the pick moves a lot away from the string when consecutive hits on a given string are played. When the amplitude between the pick and the string is tiny, <= 1mm, then, obviously, the thickness of the pick may not allow for such an amplitude. This is why I sharpen the pick vertically : to allow for a tiny amplitudes. When the hand is twisted and the pick surface is NOT parallel to the string, the vertically sharpened pick does not hit the string with larger contact area and, thus, does not slow the pick.
  18. I want to also clarify objectivity can be achieved with logic and with manual tests by anyone too to a great deal of extend. As an example I want to give the automotive industry : when they design a given car, they think where to position various controls such as gear lever for manual cars to be faster for the driver to use. They do NOT have machines and they use simple, average people to test, just in cases, although such tests are not necessary because the design is OBVIOUS and everything even the best pilots do can be thought of by the designers. They do NOT use machines to test the controls. The research I have made mostly contains obvious things. Some people may NOT have thought of these things, though, the same way as I have not thought of the nuclear engines for locomotives.
  19. I have tried to answer all of your questions in the previously posted answers. Please, be kind to review all answers and, please, ask more questions or make more comments. Please, inform whether the answers have been made well or not.
  20. Just another clarification : I do NOT have a test set of strings. I have only one set with which I play : 9.5 plain, 13 plain, 17 plain, 22 plain, 32 wound ( no plain available ), 42 wound ( no plain available ). On acoustic, I prefer Nylon strings or flat wounds for acoustics ( there are such ) or a combination : All non wound Nylon strings are used as well as all other strings are flat wounds. The point is : THERE MUST NOT BE ANY WOUND STRING ANYWHERE.
  21. Another manual, yet accurate to some extent, method which I and anyone who wants, can use is to play a fast tremolo with the pick at large amplitudes as well as at tiny amplitudes of every fret of every string of the guitar. Large amplitude tremolo can be applied with the pick going over the string, perpendicular to the string. Even larger amplitudes can be made when the pick moves sidewise as well as up and down over the string, i. e. at an angle. The sidewise movement will generate noise with wound strings. Different pick materials with the same shape will perform differently. Everyone can try and say what happened.
  22. Again, very important : Regardless of what the person known as the Forum Manager says, this person is the most intelligent guitar person in the world. I have never been asked such intelligent questions. I have never been told such intelligent things. I have never seen a person who puts guitar and accessories as scientific products. And they are. As everything else, guitars, accessories, musical instruments, etcetera as SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING and NOT art. People who have never played guitar and do not even know what music is can make much better guitar and accessories than those who can as long as they are scientifically and engineeringly inclined. The lack of knowledge of playing is compensated by their ability to apply ERGONOMY. Ergonomy is an engineering subject which deals with HUMAN mechanics or the mechanics of a human parts, such as hands and fingers. Specialists in this science know what a player would do even better than the player who would do this. Ergonomy has mostly been applied for tools for people to use, manual tools and power tools for manual ( not fully automatic use ). Because musical instruments and accessories are not considered to be important, such science has never been used there. These are simple scientific facts. Another fact, proven by averaging of opinions, is the fact the musicians are very conservative. Even when a better quality instrument ( in terms of playing ) is made, the musicians would never use this instrument because they are used to and because they only want to use what is considered to be the classical ( in terms of historically standard ) version of the instrument, even though such may be inferior to the new one.
  23. The paper is written as a research article, but, a good portion of the arguments presented rely on personal opinion. I have tried to write a research article as everyone who writes something on guitars or accessories should. Guitars and accessories are engineering and technology and are not art and music. Ergonomy ( the mechanics used by human parts ( hands, fingers, etcetera ) should play a great deal. However, in order to present everything objectively, I must have machines and instruments. Even super rich companies do not want to spend money on machines, not even basic ones. In case I had a few million dollars, yes, everything was to be made with femtometre precise machines and tested by such. Here is a point, which is logically correct : better to have research on anything made and tested manually, then not to have any research at all. Without a few million dollars a real research cannot be done. Thus, better have a manually made one. I used simple mathematics to reduce the human error. I take many measurements and average them. I play in a few different ways form months and weeks with some picks and years with others. I also assess the difference : when I improve with a given pick over another AFTER I PLAY THE SAME WAY, because the way is the same, most likely, but, not 100% the pick is objectively faster. Again, mistakes have been made. Big mistakes. There may be some method dependency : the best material and the best shape may depend on the style. I think this dependence is low. Others think such a dependence is high. I do not know who is right and who is wrong. I can say how to find out ( to some extend ) more objectively whether I am right or wrong and spend only around $2. I say Clayton Ultem picks are faster than Dunlop Ultex as far as the MATERIAL ( or only the cover material ) is concerned ( there may be some difference when Ultex is polished to glass ). Everyone who wants to know can purchase one Dunlop Ultex and one Clayton Ultem with the same shape and thickness or as close as possible. ( Best be non flexible, >= 0.8mm. People who like thin picks should disregard this and get thin picks. ). Play for a week alternating between Dunlop Ultem and the same ( or similar ) Clayton Ultex. In case the verdict is Clayton Ultem is faster, I may be proven right in this case. In case the verdict is they are the same or Dunlop Ultex is faster, I may be proven wrong in all or most cases.
  24. There is frequent mention of altering the tip geometry of the pick. Can I elaborate what these modifications are for and how they are implemented? What is the reasoning behind modification if the stock pick shape is less than optimal? Is this a universal improvement that can be adopted by any player or is this a technique that needs to be adapted to suit an individual's needs? 1. Can I elaborate what these modifications are for and how they are implemented? These modifications are only for speed with an idea to achieve lower friction and lower contact area which lower contact area would introduce even lower friction. They are implemented by two sets of manual files ( rough and fine ) and three sets of sound paper with grids 1000, 2000 and 3000. 3000 is not sufficient although the string will sand the pick even higher. Yet, real wool with high “ scratchiness “ must be used. I do not possess such. In case I find any I would use. A real wool wheel for a grinder would be nice. I do own a grinder which I also use mainly for metal, stone, bone and wood. ( I have never even touched stone and bone picks, but, I am sure a grinder can be used for them. ) I have explained the shape in another post. I will copy and paste the explanation here : I use thin, yet, strong material and I sharpen the pick horizontally to be sharp, yet, may not be very pointed : 90 to 120 degrees of horizontal angle may be OK : the more pointed the better to a point where the pointed picks may drag the string when not twisted a lot to play with the sides. The walls of the so sharpened pick must be at 90 degrees. This means the file must be at 90 degrees towards the pick surface when horizontally shaped. I also sharpen the very tip vertically. This may not be possible, nor, necessary with extremely thin picks. I pay attention ( or reshape ) to ensure the walls remain at 90 degrees after the tip is sharpened vertically. Thus, when the hand is slightly twisted down, the pick glides the 90 degrees edge of the walls on the string and the sharp very tip engages the string without too much mechanical energy. ( Obviously, when loud volume is necessary, the engagement must be stronger ). I have, SUBJECTICALLY, proven this by playing with the tip before and after every stage of modification as well as after the full reshape. Because the thin picks are very difficult to take a picture of, one can easily see the shape of the thick picks in the document. Similar is the shape of the thin picks. I have applied this shape to most any pick I got hold of and I am able to play faster with a reshaped pick than with the original shape. I am not sure whether the others would, because, the way the pick is used may be related to the shape. I, personally, can only think ( and thinking may be wrong ) everyone would profit from this shape. 2. What is the reasoning behind modification if the stock pick shape is less than optimal? When I purchase a pick I seldom purchase a pick per se. I purchase material. Then, I shape this material to make a pick. I think I have a faster shape than the original. ( In some cases, the original is fast enough. ) Therefore, the reason is, again, speed by reduction of friction and contact area. I try to engage the string with the very top of the pic, just a millimetre or two of the tip best be used. Razor sharp tips have to, therefore, be faster. The only shape, somewhat close to what I use, is the shape of Gravity picks. I published the shape I had made up long back, many years back. I first learned of such a company called Gravity Picks a week back. I first saw a Gravity pick ( Sunrise, 3mm ) on Friday. Thus, I have, therefore, not copied the shape of Gravity Picks Sunrise 3mm. I apply similar shape for all thicknesses. 3. Is this a universal improvement that can be adopted by any player or is this a technique that needs to be adapted to suit an individual's needs? I would answer “ Yes “. Many people would answer “ No “. I do not know who is right and who is wrong. The only think I can say is this shape does NOT hurt. In other words, I do not think any player who thinks the shape I use is good would suffer when they play with such a pick. However, I do think a fast or ultra fast player may suffer from a shape which is incorrect. However, most players do not play tremolo pick techniques. They do NOT move the pick very quickly. They hit only once in a very while with the pick and they achieve speed by pulling and hammering the strings in between picks. Most any pick would do then. But, again, the picks I use would not make such a player suffer. I consider the shape I use to either help or do nothing.
  25. The choice of strings for the electric guitar tests is unusual ( flatwound 6th and 5th, plain 4th ). Is there a particular reason I chose such an odd set of strings instead of the more “ standard “ round wound set (round wound 6th/5th/4th, plain 3rd/2nd/1st)? Plain strings generate a lower amount of friction than wounds. Also, plain strings do neither have friction nor noise when the pick moves sideways on the string wounds. The wounds are like a comb : when the pick moves sideways on the comb, there is friction and noise. Therefore, plain strings are faster than wounds. Because the 5th and the 6th string are very thick, the manufacturers do not make them plain. They come either as wounds ( considered standard in North America but NOT in Europe, although, Britain may be influenced by the US in this ) or flat wounds ( considered standard in Europe, unknown for Britain ). Flat wounds are not only faster but make a stronger electromagnetic field and a higher volume of sound. I do not like to talk of sound, yet, the sound of the flat wounds is considered better by many because of the bassy tone. Wounds would give more higher frequency harmonics ( overtones ). However, who likes what sound is not a subject to this question. Now there is another problem : which strings are faster? Thin or thick? This is a very difficult question. Thick strings are at high tension and can be easily “ tested “ when one plays the pick near the lower bridge. Because of the super high tension, the pick cannot drag the strings and glides nicely, mainly with twisted hand. Yet, the tension must be very high. Thin strings ( such as 9.5 ) have low tension. Low tension may mean something else than drag : the pick will get out of the string anyway : the string cannot be dragged because the pick will bend the low tension string and move away. When a car hits concrete is bad. When a car hits snow is also bad, yet, not as much : the car just plows through the snow, bending and moving the snow away. Now, here is what I think : to make strings so high tension as not to be draggable is difficult. The tension needs to be rather high. To make strings so low tension so the pick pushes them away and does not drag them is easier : the commercially available 9.5 gauge would probably do. The thinnest string I have seen is gauge 6. ( Very thin strings may generate lower volume of coil picked sound, but they are OK ). I have also applied a rule which I prefer : I use equal tension strings. All strings have the same ( or as close as possible ) tension. So, I have looked at the D'Addario string chart ( available online ) and found the thinnest string set available ( without wounds ). This is the set in the document. As far as I remember, this is : 9.5 plain, 13 plain, 17 plain, 22 plain, 32 wound ( no plain available ), 42 wound ( no plain available ). This are the thinnest strings at a similar tension which exclude wounds I have found. Anyone finds other sets, please, inform.
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