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Thread: The wear of celluloid

  1. #1
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    Default The wear of celluloid

    Still kinda new around here, and still settling into ďwhat I likeĒ
    As I have experimented with many, many picks (could start a great discussion, if we havenít had enough of these lol) I really like a couple of my celluloid picks. Particularly the 1mm rounded Golden Gate.

    I know one of the big selling points of BC and others is longevity. Is this why celluloid isnít as popular anymore, do they wear fast?

  2. #2

    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Just a guess, but back in the days when picks were 25 cents, people expected less from their picks, I'd say about 25 cents worth....

    Like everything else, when the price goes up people expect more. Like stating 75,000 miles from a new set of Michelins, and at $300 per tire, I see their point.....ouch -- I think it is mostly just to ease the pain a little.....

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Though itís been out a long time, Iím not very familiar with it.
    Iím guessing a celluloid pick wonít last very long?

  4. #4

    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I bought an $8 pair of camo Walmart brand "crocs" and got 8 months use from them. Very comfortable until I wore a hole clear through the bottom on both shoes, seems like it was the same week, believe it or not. Of course, the holes rendered them useless and I felt ripped off, even at 8 bucks, so I guess it is a matter of perspective.

    A 1mm pick should give you good service unless you are just sawing away at it really fast....

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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I am planning on getting me some Peek picks, but content for now with this while I wait for my new mandolin to arrive.

    Just seems that celluloid picks are getting thrown on the back shelf, yielding to newer materials being used. Might be wrong...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    These days it's more about sound and the way the pick glides thru the strings. The new materials do that better than celluloid for me. Played BC for a few years and loved the glide, but couldn't get the sound I wanted. Wegen helps, tho I have them custom made thinner. Used to do my own, but found they would do it for me, much easier. I still use a celluloid pick once in a while, but it just doesn't do it for me.
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  7. #7
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Quote Originally Posted by pops1 View Post
    These days it's more about sound and the way the pick glides thru the strings. The new materials do that better than celluloid for me. Played BC for a few years and loved the glide, but couldn't get the sound I wanted. Wegen helps, tho I have them custom made thinner. Used to do my own, but found they would do it for me, much easier. I still use a celluloid pick once in a while, but it just doesn't do it for me.
    It's mostly personal preferences (and right hand technique) and a (big) bit of clever marketing.
    I've played celluloid picks for 20 years in a band and I don't think I worn one. I made my own picks first reshaping Dawg/Golden gate to a more triangular shape (similar to the medium sized triangular BC's) and later when the thicker celluloid picks became scarce here I started gluing two or three thinner celluloid picks (mostly the large triangles of various brands) together to get ~1.5mm final thickness. I shaped the edges to symmetric rounded chamfers and after few years they wore to slightly asymmetric speed-bevels similar to the modern BC (but nowhere as extreme one-sided chamfer) and lost s bit from the sharp tip. I must admit that I paid lots of attention in right hand attack on strings and smooth pick movement in fingers.
    Several of my picking friends asked me for my picks and I gave out a bunch and they never sounded like me and some of them wore the picks heavily - especally the heavy handed pickers who dig into strings with a firm wrist (not everyone can train loose grip). One of these guys is frequent visitor for setup and he tried all kinds of the new "boutique" picks and they all do wear albeit a tiny bit slower. He can wear the pointy triangle BC to "Dawg" shaped very rounded in one season and new BC pick loses the crisp edges after few gigs in his hands. I often reshape or polish edges for him when he visits so he gets his favorite tone for a bit longer till the pick is too small for him.
    For me the pick material (unless it's something extreme) gives me the polished precise edge shape I need and some materials hold the like new shape a bit longer. Some plastics are too soft for me - like the nylon and such and wear quickly, some are hard but brittle (mostly acrylic, Gravity etc...) that can be nicely polished and work OK when new but the edge gets gritty after some use. Celluloid, polyimide (BC or similar), polyetherimide (delrin, Primetone picks etc...), or PEEK (some other modern picks) are all very similar the PEEK and PI probably a bit more durable, but not by large amount. The galalith picks (casein) are nice but they are suspectible to heat and water and can break without warning so I see no advantage in using those. Primetones come as clear winners when it goes to mileage per $ celluloid is 2nd and the expensive picks are mostly to fill someone's ego... IMO.
    Adrian

  8. #8
    Registered User Jill McAuley's Avatar
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I've been a Blue Chip user since 2009, but my go to lower price picks would be either celluloid or Delrin ones - I quite like the feel and sound of using a celluloid pick - I have one of those "Weber" branded ones they used to throw in with their mandolins, and at one point was using it as my main pick - after about a month of use there was a significant bevel worn into it and by the 2 month mark it had worn enough to have a negative impact on the tone when playing.

    I've got a Blue Chip pick that I bought in 2009 that aside from a few very faint scratches where I hold it has no signs of wear (and I play 2-3 hours every single day with it, sometimes more, but never less) - Pretty good return for the $30 I paid for it back then - works out at $2.50 a year, and it's still going strong, barring losing it (which, touch wood I've managed not to do in 12 years of ownership) I can't see meself needing to buy another pick. Shame they don't make thinner ones that I could use for my tenor banjo playing - I did have a thin pick made for me (.60mm) by another company using the same Vespel material that Blue Chip use, but I was warned that at thin weights there is the risk of breaking and sure enough the end chipped off during my first session using it.

    FYI I didn't buy a Blue Chip to "fill my ego" - I was initially sceptical of spending that much on a pick, but all the rave revues peaked my curiosity and I took the plunge. Of all the picks I'd tried out before it (delrin/celluloid/Wegen/acrylic) the Blue Chip felt the most comfortable to use, and sounded the best on the strings for my liking. If they stopped making them, there were no second hand ones to purchase and I lost my one, then I'd go back to using celluloid or delrin picks.
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I really appreciate all of the feedback. Iím definitely going to get me a Peek pick, once I get my new mandolin in and have a feel for what thickness I might want with it.

    I really like the 1mm GG, but that is on my Donner with light strings. Iíll be sticking with mediums on the Eastman 314.

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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    If you want to really try to see what you like best, there are 2 travelling pick samplers that you can sign up for and see what you like best (do a search for "travelling pick sampler.") Good luck!

  11. #11

    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I use Golden Gate picks on my guitar. I've never worn one out. The only (slight) wear is from being in my pocket with my change and other picks.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Different materials have different properties. If you have sweaty hands, some picks are easier to hang on to when moist (BC for me, YMMV). Some break easier (Red Bear for me, YMMV). Some inexpensive ones are pretty good (Golden Gate, Dunlop Primetone for me, YMMV).
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    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I lose 'em before they get the chance to wear out...

    Which keeps me from buying $35 picks, since I'd agonize over losing one of those.
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I treat the expensive picks the same way I treat my good sunglasses - I keep up with them. Again, YMMV.
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I played celluloid picks for years and will still use them in situations at high risk for pick loss (lake docks, camping when sharing instruments with friends and their kids, etc (well, before lockdown). I just like the feel and tone of Bluechip and Wegen better. I have both, donít have to impress anyone with my playing (though I like to), so I play what I like. Bluechip and Wegen definitely wear less than celluloid for me...
    Last edited by CES; Apr-07-2021 at 5:12pm.

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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Makes a lot of sense. Just trying to learn all of the fine details of my new passion

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    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Question Re: The wear of celluloid

    You can still get like 72 Fender picks for like $35.. but as old hat , not the latest thing. they get no press ..

    Its a crowded market place out there..
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  20. #18
    Adrian Minarovic
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Quote Originally Posted by mandroid View Post
    You can still get like 72 Fender picks for like $35.. but as old hat , not the latest thing. they get no press ..
    Its a crowded market place out there..
    +1
    I've got small box of the "boutique" picks but I never bought one. They are mostly ones that owners just gave me when they picked up their mandolin from me. Ususally with words like "... I have no use for this, it's worn and lost the tone" sometimes I just reshape the edges for them and polish it and they play it again for a while but eventually they wear it again and consider it too small for them. I have some BC that used to be large triangles and now are shaped as small triangles and they work for me. I have some Gravity picks, of course many Primetones, some Red Bears etc. But when I pick a pick for picking my hand usually goes for my old celluloid pick (the very first one of my own I made 20 years ago) or one of Primetones.
    I don't care about price of picks as I seldom lose one, but Majority of the $30 picks are way overpriced. I can see such high price for picks made of polyimide or PEEK as the raw plastic is REALLY expensive, but calling acrylic or HDPE pick "boutique" and ask $30 is red herring and just result of good marketing skill.... The casein picks are somewhere between as the material used to be hard to get and expensive but now it gained popularity in some other fields and is no more hard to get and relatively inexpensive. The salespitch of being similar protein as the real tortoise shell repeated by many producers over and over is utter nonsense.
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  22. #19
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Yup, I'm still using Fender Heavy picks. I've been using one in particular for a couple of hours every day for the last 13 months playing online (JamKazam). The pick has worn a bit, I have turned it over once so far, but there's plenty of meat left on it at this point in time.

    I really like three things about Fender Heavy picks: (1) they shape to your fingers after a few weeks and become very comfortable, (2) with a little moisture on your fingers they stick extremely well, and (3) if you do lose one you've only lost about 50 cents monetary investment.

    I have tried my wife's BC picks and really don't like how stiff they are in comparison; I like feeling a little give in the pick.

    My personal opinion and experience is that once a person learns how to hold a pick in a relaxed hold, and how to angle a pick for the tone and volume that is desired, they should be able to do it with any pick.

    The only problem for me with the Fender Heavy is that if I lose one, it takes a few weeks for me to get a new one shaped to my fingers again -- ironically, I'd gladly pay $50 for a Fender Heavy that was already shaped like that.
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  23. #20

    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I've used Golden Gate plectrums fo quite a few years, can't see any noticable wear on them.

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  24. #21

    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    I have several bluechips. They’re great. I worry about loss. I like the feel and slickness.

    That being said, i also use, among other brands, golden gates and pickboy (cellulose, ultex, and high carbon picks).
    All wear. Thats life. Buy a few at a time.i dont worry about loss, and, there are times i prefer strong attack.

    Imho, other than certain brands, picks are cheap. Experiment. Buy many. I find, over the years, my choices come and go and come again.

  25. #22
    Registered User Murphy Slaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: The wear of celluloid

    Quote Originally Posted by stevedenver View Post
    Experiment. Buy many. I find, over the years, my choices come and go and come again.
    This.

    My taste changes from time to time.
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