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Thread: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

  1. #1
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Hi Everyone,

    Here’s a pretty sweet pick comparison. These are all what I consider to be valued picks that seem to occupy similar market space in terms of reputation and cost.

    1. Wegen TF 140. - 1.4 mm
    2. Dunlop 513R15 - 1.5 mm
    3. GG Clown Barf - Extra Thick

    Other variables include:

    1. John Hamlett 2-Point
    2. D’Addario XT Medium/Heavys
    3. iPhone SE

    What strikes ya’?
    Hamlett Two-Point
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  3. #2

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Wegen for me. It sounds with just a bit more clarity. Although given the limitations of iPad speakers, it may be my imagination.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    To me the Wegan is a bit harsher, less refined sounding. The Primetone is cleaner, more open. Clown Barf is somewhere in between. Not as harsh as the Wegen but not quite as full sounding as the Primetone.

    Clown Barf would be fine for stuff like the little "bonus" bit at the end. But the Primetone was the clear winner (to me) for the main Roanoke demo.
    The first man who whistled
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Primetone is clearer and with more sustain to my ears compared to the wegen and clown barf.

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  8. #5
    Resident Hack
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Primetone, in your comparison.

    I am in a similar place in my journey with the new two-point. I'd been through the whole gamut of picks and am now working through the string universe with another trip through the pics each change. I keep coming back to a similar trio to yours.
    1. Wegen M150. - 1.5 mm
    2. Dunlop 515P1.5 - 1.5 mm
    3. Golden Gate MP-12 Deluxe Tortoise Style Mandolin Pick -Rounded Triangle

    I go back to EJ74s (Phosphor Bronze) between each untried set as a pallet cleanser. On the monel strings, the Wegen was winning but as soon as I went back to EJ74, the Primetone was back in service.

    Nice to hear. Keep us updated
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  9. #6
    Moderator JEStanek's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    The primetone sounded the crispest to my ears. The Wegen and the Barf were pretty similar. Very subtle nuances. Maybe it's the bevel. I think these may be more interesting in the context of a solo performance but would become less so in an ensemble.

    Jamie
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    I think there is more difference for the player. I don't hear any glaring differences in my speakers. It is a very good sounding mandolin regardless of the pick. I might like the clown barf at least on the D part a little better.

  11. #8
    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    I actually just recently bought both a Wegen TF140 (bevelled) and a Primetone 513. Also currently testing out flatwounds on an Eastman MD315. I'm really undecided. I find the difference subtle, but here are my thoughts.

    • Playability: I find the Wegen is much easier to play with - it just glides through the strings, while the Primetone feels a bit more "sticky" on the string.
    • Sound: To my ears, the Wegen seems to produce a tone that I like for it's softness and warmth, maybe lacking some fullness and volume. The Primetone feels crisper and louder, but at times a bit harsh. These seem to align with my perception of the feel at least.


    I know they're different, but I can't really tell if any of the above are just placebo or simply getting used to and preferring one or the other depending on which I use more. I have been leaning Wegen recently (but it's a more recent purchase so that makes sense).

    I think my opinion for now is: meh, why not both? I think I like both enough and prefer the Wegen for jazzy softness and the Primetone for bluegrassy punch. I play a lot of classical too and can't decide which I like best for that, except that the Wegen seems to be slightly easier to tremolo with.

    I think the more I look into the subject, the more I find that among popularly accepted "standard" picks, the tradeoffs and preferences are very personal. But I'm on a mission to try 'em all.
    Diego

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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    What strikes ya’?
    It strikes me that there is no need to pick one. I rotate between several picks depending on the setting, large jam or living room picking, and depending on the music, bluegrass, classical, and depending on what kind of tune I may be chasing - lots of tremolo or lots of fast individual notes.

    This now famous column I found helpful. The pick makes a huge difference.
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  14. #10
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Thanks for your time and interest in this, Everyone.

    Itís quite a fun journey exploring a bee instrument you like a whole lot. Iím the fortunate position of being on such a journey. Iím finding my new Hamlett to be a fine, fine instrument, itís pushing me to practice a lot and to try to sounds my best.

    My favorite of the three is the Primetone. However, I also donít think we need just one kind of pick. With that said, the Clown Barf is my next favorite. I think itís because itís fundamentally different than the Primetone.

    The Wegen is in the Primetone ballpark tonally. Itís just a little much for this mandolin, which is already quite bright but with emerging complexities. The Primetone seems louder, more conducive to diverse tones, and it plays quicker.

    SoÖ Primetone! Next up, a Primetone/Blue Chip CT-55 pick-off. :-)

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Don't forget Apollo picks....

    https://www.apollopicks.com/

    Nik hand makes them out of casein and PEEK and is a very nice guy to deal with.
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

  17. #12

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    Thanks for your time and interest in this, Everyone.
    So… Primetone! Next up, a Primetone/Blue Chip CT-55 pick-off. :-)
    Hey, I have that "pick-off" every time I sit down to play for more than 10 or 15 minutes. Whichever one of those two I start with, at some point I decide it's not sounding right so I switch to the other.

    Yeah, I know. I'm totally mental.
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
    He went around all day
    with his lips puckered,
    afraid to swallow.

    --"The First" by Wendell Berry

  18. #13
    Registered User TonyEarth's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Briggs View Post
    Next up, a Primetone/Blue Chip CT-55 pick-off. :-)
    You might consider a blind test with a reveal at the end? I think it'd be interesting to form my opinion with no prior knowledge of which is which.
    Diego

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  19. #14
    coprolite mandroid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    I Suppose the Saga Golden Gate replica of the Dawg Pick is the same material, whether mock tortoise shell or 'clown barf' looking colored plastic.
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Oh for crying out loud ... you guys are totally to blame for this.

    I have successfully put aside PAS since those clown barfs were introduced, but then I started reading this thread and it was all over with. Banjo Ben is now a few cents richer and has room for more clown barf inventory. I'm sure they will be totally satisfying. For at least a while...

    Speaking of PAS, I have also really enjoyed having the Miller SG-40, which I encountered in another thread on the cafe a while back.

  21. #16

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    I just got the 1.3mm version of the beveled (i.e. "hand burnished") Primetone in a slightly smaller triangle size than the 1.5mm one. Don't know if it's the slight difference in thickness or maybe the smaller shape makes me hold it different but a surprisingly different tone. Not to say better, just more different than I imagined.
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
    He went around all day
    with his lips puckered,
    afraid to swallow.

    --"The First" by Wendell Berry

  22. #17

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Hutto View Post
    I just got the 1.3mm version of the beveled (i.e. "hand burnished") Primetone in a slightly smaller triangle size than the 1.5mm one. Don't know if it's the slight difference in thickness or maybe the smaller shape makes me hold it different but a surprisingly different tone. Not to say better, just more different than I imagined.
    I tried the smaller triangle in 1.5mm so could A/B against the larger triangle (1.5mm, smooth, which I still use on guitar). I guess it's the fact that more of the pick's mass is squashed between your finger and thumb, because it does sound different - a bit darker, for lack of better vocabulary.

    I liked it, but found the shape not quite what I wanted, so continuing my use of large(r) triangle shapes.
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  23. #18
    Registered User Kevin Briggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Haha!

    I appreciate all of these replies. The wonderful world of picks. :-)

    I've since been lured by the Blue Chip. It's easy to see why it's so revered. There's a difference for sure, and I think it is probably a justifiable $30 difference from the Primetone. That doesn't mean I won't use the Primetone, because I like it very much too. It just means the Blue Chip is awesome and if it lasts a long time (and/or IO don't lose it) it makes sense to buy one.

    Two things:

    1. I wish the Primtones came in a non- or significantly less beveled version. The bevel is cool, but it seems to sacrifice a tonal fatness. I imagine a non-beveled Primetone would be my go to if it existed.

    2. I emailed and asked what the Clown Barf was made out of. They didn't give me permission to copy and paste their reply, but to paraphrase the response... it's a secret and they're not telling. :-)
    Hamlett Two-Point
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  24. #19

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    So we know it's "barf" and we know it's from "a clown" but they're not saying which clown or what he ate to make him upchuck (or "upchurch" as my late grandmother used to say it). Got it!
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
    He went around all day
    with his lips puckered,
    afraid to swallow.

    --"The First" by Wendell Berry

  25. #20
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Fun stuff Kevin! I'm not really convinced that I can hear much difference between the 3 picks in the context of this video and and my PC audio system, but I do think that your playing with the Clown Barf sounded more "authoritative". I did get some clown barfs myself, and have been enjoying playing with a couple of different thicknesses. The medium is kind of bright and slappy, but not as satisfying as the heavier ones. For a thinner pick I really prefer something very rigid like a Blue Chip TAD/TD 40 (bevel) or a Miller SG-40 (no bevel). I got turned onto the Blue Chip 40's after becoming entranced by Don Stiernberg's tremolo sound on the G string. For celluloids I've also found the PickBoy Rainbow 1.2 to be quite nice - the celluloids with a point and no bevel seem to get a nice "airy" tremolo sound.

    I've really enjoyed your Hamlett videos and appreciate your sharing them with us!
    Will look forward to more.

  26. #21

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Really dumb question. Why rounded picks vs. pointed. It seems rounded just don't have the volume.

  27. #22

    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Quote Originally Posted by newmanj24 View Post
    Really dumb question. Why rounded picks vs. pointed. It seems rounded just don't have the volume.
    I personally have never been able to get any volume or articulation with a rounded pick. And I'm someone who plays flatwound strings and is fine with a pleasing, not very loud tone from my mandolin.

    My guess is, there's some fundamental difference between the way I strike the strings with a pick and the way people who prefer rounded picks strike the strings. I'm not nearly knowledgeable enough to speculate what exactly that difference might be.

    Seems to me one of those "There are two kinds of people in the world..." things.
    The first man who whistled
    thought he had a wren in his mouth.
    He went around all day
    with his lips puckered,
    afraid to swallow.

    --"The First" by Wendell Berry

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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    Quote Originally Posted by newmanj24 View Post
    Really dumb question. Why rounded picks vs. pointed. It seems rounded just don't have the volume.
    I played with rounded picks for several years, they are warmer. I am now using a more pointed pick for a brighter sound and a little less force to my wrists. The rounded picks can have as much volume as needed depending on your attack. I could play in a nice sized jam and be heard well with a rounded pick. It will also play quieter than a pointed pick if you angle it.
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  29. #24
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    Default Re: Wegen vs. Primetone vs. Clown Barf

    I guess I'll weigh in. I typically use a rounded pick. I'll grant that a more pointed pick will get you a brighter, louder sound, but I just cannot do any form of tremolo with one. On the Muddies I use a thinner teardrop pick turned sideways. On the Kenucky Wegen M-150-I like the bevel. Plus it's smooth and glides off the strings easily. YMMV.
    Thanks

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