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Thread: Pick Edges

  1. #1
    Registered User Uncle Brad's Avatar
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    Default Pick Edges

    Folks, I tried something for smoothing up the edges of my pick. As shown in the attached photo, I bought a fingernail buffing pad from Walmart that has four progressive buffing surfaces (Equate Beauty Large 4 Way Buffer). I used it on my pick and it smoothed all the roughness and gave it a real nice polished edge. I like the smooth edge and how it allows the pick to slide off the strings "cleanly." What sparked this idea is comparing edges with some higher end picks I have that have real smooth edges (e.g., BlueChip, Hense). I realize some folks may think this is another one of Crazy Brad's ideas and you may be right, but I like it!! Just food for thought.
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  3. #2
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    Pick on...
    2021 The Loar LM700 VS

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  5. #3
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Brad View Post
    I realize some folks may think this is another one of Crazy Brad's ideas and you may be right, but I like it!! Just food for thought.
    I have used a similar nail buffer on my fingernail tips for years (I'm primarily a fingerstyle guitar player). They give the nails a nice smooth edge that gives an attack on the strings without catching or scraping. A while back, I re-shaped and re-beveled a corner on a mandolin pick with a fine file and sandpaper, but the edge was still kind of rough. I figured that the nail buffer worked on my fingernails, why not on a pick? It worked well, and since then, I have used them on picks after they wear a bit, or after changing the corners. The buffers are pretty cheap, and work well.

    I suppose if you want to be fanatical about it, you could use micromesh in decreasing grits to polish the edges like glass, but I never really saw a reason to go that far.

    YMMV, of course.
    Kit
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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    I use a sharp knife and scrape it across the pick like a scraper. It works well and gives a nice smooth edge.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

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  9. #5
    Registered User Uncle Brad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    This sounds great!!!

  10. #6
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    I have used similar nail buffer when making custom picks out of Ultem plastic. I used Dremel and coarser sandpaper initially but ended with nail buffer.
    Jim

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  12. #7

    Default Re: Pick Edges

    The contour of the pick edge is as important as the smoothness. Whether there is a sharp point to the edge or more of a curve makes a big difference in the tone.

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  14. #8

    Default Re: Pick Edges

    One of the big reasons I like the (blue) Dunlop Tortex picks is that I don't have this problem, like I did with the classic plastic picks like Fender.

    And when one gets worn out, I throw it away and pull a new one out.

    That is, if it ever happens that I wear one out before losing it. Where do they all go? They seem to be disappearing even though I've hardly left the house in the last two years. I think I'll blame the cats.

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  16. #9
    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Brad View Post
    This sounds great!!!
    Yay! I was going to say, if it sounds great, do it twice!
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

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  18. #10
    Mando-Afflicted lflngpicker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    Makes sense. I have tried that too when I wanted to reduce the pointed-ness of a particular pick. Glad you shared this tip!
    Dan
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  20. #11

    Default Re: Pick Edges

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffLearman View Post
    That is, if it ever happens that I wear one out before losing it. Where do they all go? They seem to be disappearing even though I've hardly left the house in the last two years. I think I'll blame the cats.
    They are hiding out with the unmatched socks.

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  22. #12
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffLearman View Post

    * * *

    That is, if it ever happens that I wear one out before losing it. Where do they all go? They seem to be disappearing even though I've hardly left the house in the last two years. I think I'll blame the cats.
    That's my explanation for everything that happens in the house that is weird, unusual, destructive or otherwise unexplained: "Because, cats."
    Kit
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  23. #13
    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pick Edges

    Ultimately it depends on the kind of pick a person uses. If it's a hard material like a BC pick, yes, filing or sanding the edge can work, although if it's that hard it may not need this kind of work at all.

    I use Fender heavy picks. Easy to get and inexpensive. It seems like just playing them keeps the edges smooth, at least the way I play them, although every once in a while I'll run the edge of my fingernail against the pick playing edge just to make sure it is smooth. Fender heavy picks last plenty long, and after a month or two they develop a nice concave wear-formed arc along the string-contact edge that ends in a smooth bump at the end of the pick, which kicks the string very nicely. I've really grown to like that wear pattern and it just gets better over time.

    With these picks I used to get a thumb-and-finger shaped holding-formed curve that fit nicely in my fingers, but that seems to have stopped since I re-learned how to hold the pick much less tightly. Relaxed fingers; a little moisture on the fingers provides all the friction necessary to hold the picks.

    I have never worn through one of these Fender heavy picks, or worn enough that the pick is unusable; they just seem to get better... I do intentionally change picks every once in a while so I have extra worn picks to use if I lose one.
    -- Don

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