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Thread: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

  1. #1
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Contrary to most of what I read here, that seems to be the mandolin pick for me.

    My question is: do you know what thickness it is? Just so I can compare with the discussions.

    Thanks! jc.
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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Hi JC: The Fender medium has been my preferred guitar pick for years. According to Fender (this info is a few years old), their standard guitar picks come in batches with slightly variable thicknesses, which are always quite close to the following averages:
    Thin - average .50 mm
    Medium - average 0.73 mm
    Medium-Heavy - average .88 mm
    Heavy - average 1.00 mm
    Extra Heavy - average 1.14 mm
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  4. #3
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Thanks much Ed. I guess .73 is pretty thin for most mandolin players. I tried the 1.0s (heavy) but just don't like 'em. I wonder if and when I upgrade the mando (I have a Rover RM-50) I might change my mind . . .
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

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  5. #4

    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    I believe the difference is one of technique, not the particular mandolin. The picking stroke utilizing a pick that flexes as it strikes the string is different than the picking stroke suited to a rigid pick that forces the string to do all of the flexing.

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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    I don't know why we even talk about this! All mandolin pickers should use Fender med picks and J74 strings. Oh, and we should all play a F5 type mandolin. What is wrong with you guys? Nick
    ntriesch

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    Work in Progress Ed Goist's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Well said Brent. I would call my guitar stroke a sweep but my mandolin stroke a strike. I found that the lighter picks just give too much to produce a good 'strike'...
    But, as with so many things, there's no right or wrong here...If it works for you, it works...All of our mileages vary.
    c.1965 Harmony Monterey H410 Mandolin
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  9. #7

    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Triesch View Post
    What is wrong with you guys? Nick
    What's wrong with me is apparently my pick being too thick, my strings EXP coated 80/20 Bronze and my mandolin missing a curly part. Other than that there's only the "no talent" thing...

  10. #8
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Hutto View Post
    I believe the difference is one of technique, not the particular mandolin. The picking stroke utilizing a pick that flexes as it strikes the string is different than the picking stroke suited to a rigid pick that forces the string to do all of the flexing.
    Thanks Brent. I just wondered if a better quality instrument would give out with less of dull, thudding sound than I'm currently getting with the heavier pick.
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

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    Registered User Douglas McMullin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Thanks Brent. I just wondered if a better quality instrument would give out with less of dull, thudding sound than I'm currently getting with the heavier pick.
    Might be more technique than instrument or perhaps you just prefer a brighter tone. I have favored heavier picks, meaning 1.5mm to 2mm+, on every mandolin I have ever owned. To my ear, the best sound I can get from a thin pick is shrill and tinny, but obviously tone is very subjective. Play what sounds good to you and ignore the rest.

  12. #10
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Not sure I agree on the "differing techniques" for different pick thicknesses, especially after the Sam Bush "Rhythm Mandolin" DVD, where he does some incredibly fast strumming. (Not real simple with a thick stiff pick, so I do need to fine-tune the grip strength.)

    But I do believe the general effects of thin-vs-thick picks:
    - Thin gives more flex, less string displacement, lower volume, and more overtones (harmonics).
    - Thick gives less flex, more string displacement, higher volume, and more fundamental / fewer overtones.

    I've always use the "Fender-medium" style on guitar (where overtones are the characteristic sound), and thicker on mandolin where the smaller body already provides lots of overtones.

    To my ear, a "too-thin & too tinny" pick is under .065 or so on guitar, but under 1.00 on mandolin. Yes, there are exceptions, and I'm assuming proportionate stiffness and common (non-exotic, non-big-$) materials.

    JayCat asked: "I wonder if and when I upgrade ... I might change my mind ...". I suspect the answer is Yes, but maybe based more on experience and fine-tuning the technique & grip, than on the instrument itself.

    But as always, YMMV!
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    Registered User Douglas McMullin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    I think the technique comments are implying that how you hold and attack with a pick can impact tone as much as choice of pick.

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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    To be a bit more detailed...I think if try a 1.4mm (0.055") pick and a 0.73mm (0.028") and use exactly the same technique with each pick then one or the other of them will sound much worse than the other. Put another way, if one guy is using the 1.4mm pick and it sound absolutely great and another guy is using a 0.73mm pick and it sound absolutely great then you can be pretty sure their grip, stroke, angle of attack, etc. are quite different.

    So one implication is, if you're getting best results with a 0.73mm nylon pick and decide to start using one twice a thick...be prepared to adapt your picking stroke to get a good sound.

  16. #13
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas McMullin View Post
    I think the technique comments are implying that how you hold and attack with a pick can impact tone as much as choice of pick.
    Well, I hold and attack the same way I do when playing guitar. Probably because I've been playing guitar for 40 years and mando for 6 months. So maybe I just don't know any better.

    But aside from the tone, the feel of the heavier pick on the strings seems clunky to me.
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

    Some tunes: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa1...SV2qtug/videos

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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    I switched picks. I can't believe it. After years of using a Blue Chip I am now using a Fender Medium for all my mandolin work. As most of us have done, I tried every pick under the sun and I always seemed to favor the heavier pick for mandolin and it's hard to beat the Blue Chip. They last forever! And they sound good.

    But I started learning some choro music and many of the choro players, including my teacher, use a medium pick. I tried it several times and kept going back to the heavier bluegrass chop gauge. But finally after trying to play some faster, more complex phrases, I found that the medium pick allowed me to play cleaner and faster. Now maybe it's just me, since we all have different muscles and brain neuron connections, whatever the case, for me I found that I can play choro better with the thinner pick. So now after using it I have found that it works for all the genres I play.

    And now I wear out a pick in a week, compared to the Blue Chip I have been using daily for the last 6 years. But what can I say. I can afford a lot of Fender mediums and don't care if I lose one. So an old dog can learn new tricks. Who would have thunk?!

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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    I tried the BC for years, liked the glide thru the strings, but not the sound on the G string. Finally went to Wegen TF100. I thinned them down, but it was a pain so I decided to simply order a few in the thickness I wanted so that's what I did. I like the sound of the thinner pick, my G string is killer, and the durability of the Wegen. Now I have both I am a happy camper.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    I use a 1.4mm pick for fiddle tunes and old time and bluegrass type playing, to get that warm tone. I use a 0.75mm or 0.73mm pick for classical to get those scintillating highs and sparkle.

    Within that I use different picks for large noisey venues than I do for small close intimate venues. And a different pick for practicing / noodling at home.

    I see absolutely no reason to limit oneself to one size pick or one kind of pick. That would be as unthinkable as having only one pair of shoes and expecting them to be appropriate for formal occasions, driving the jeep through the mud, golf, playing basketball, and bowling.
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    Professional Dreamer journeybear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    I dunno. I think people overthink this stuff. I think it's more important to play well than use any particular piece of equipment - more or less. I used to use a Fender extra heavy pick back in the wayback time, and somewhere along the line switched (more or less) to Dunlop 1.5 mm. That might have been because I liked putting a number on it, might have been because of the textured grip provided. In any event, I gravitated toward heavy picks because they impart energy more efficiently to the strings, to my line of thinking. I'm aware there are those who believe more flexible picks do this more efficiently; I remain unconvinced. I also don't buy into the notion that picks wear out as often as some say. I've been using the same Dunlop 1.5 mm pick for something like five years - for every genre, on every instrument. And I got this pick from one of the members of Old Crow Medicine Show, whose dining room table was covered with them left over from shows - he said they were burnt out after each show. I don't get it. I really don't. This pick works just fine, and I haven't noticed any wear or other diminution in effectiveness. It ain't whatcha do, it's the way how ya do it.
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    Innocent Bystander JeffD's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Here is that famous article again. I find it very useful.
    Life is short, play hard. Life is really really short, play really really hard.

    The entire staff
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  24. #19
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Fender heavies are pretty good mandolin picks. I noted in another thread that mediums in celluloid, white and CB (clown upchuck) are allegedly different flexing picks but haven't tried a comparison yet (actually i can't find any CB's to buy)

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...=1#post1836935
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    Registered User Eric Platt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Well, have found that a thinner pick sounds best - to me and my bandmates - on my Coombe. So for that one a Tortex .73 (yellow) is what I've settled on. For now. Practice at home, it's a Tortex 1.14. The thicker pick mutes the sound enough so the neighbors don't complain.

    Other mandolins like different thicknesses.

    FWIW, the Coombe has TI starks on and I don't play bluegrass or anything close to it. So the sound I want to get out of the instrument probably is not what the majority of folks here want.

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    Registered User Frankdolin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Well this is a 10 year old thread but I love the Fender Mediums, and shread them in about an hour. I've had my BC TAD-3R 40 for 6 years. Used every day for certainly thousands of hours and it still performs perfect. I also have a CT55 and TAD-3R 60 collecting dust. I challenge any one to find I have any sort of pick control issues.

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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankdolin View Post
    Well this is a 10 year old thread but I love the Fender Mediums ...
    Beats starting up yet another thread, beginning from scratch, when there are existing ones with pertinent insights, ruminations, and observations. Gladdens me to see someone did a little research instead of just popping a question. Leastways, that's how I see it.
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by journeybear View Post
    Beats starting up yet another thread, beginning from scratch, when there are existing ones with pertinent insights, ruminations, and observations. Gladdens me to see someone did a little research instead of just popping a question. Leastways, that's how I see it.
    That, was uncalled for and hardly in the spirit of this conversation or the forum.

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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by Frankdolin View Post
    That, was uncalled for and hardly in the spirit of this conversation or the forum.
    Huh??? What the ... ? I think you're way off base there, buddy.

    There have been several old threads resurrected recently, and I commend this activity. Don't see any reason to get upset about what I said.
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    Default Re: Fender medium-gauge guitar pick

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycat View Post
    Thanks much Ed. I guess .73 is pretty thin for most mandolin players..
    It's not just the thickness of the pick, it's also the stiffness of the material. I use .73mm picks on mandolin, but they are made of Ultex or Ultem, a very stiff material that wears very well.

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