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Hello, All,

I'm always trying to maximize the sonic potentials of my dulcimers (or just of the dulcimer in general), and have been trying out and using various finger picks, since I can't keep my fingernails long.  Furthermore, the picks produce a greater variety of sounds than I could make with my fingernails. 

I wanted to share that I've figured out a way to get a sharp point with nail clippers and a nail file on the Fred Kelly Delrin finger picks (which by themselves, worn the correct way, produce too dull a sound for me).  Having the sharp point on the Fred Kelly allows for a sound like that of regular plastic picks but also allows the possibility of frailing away from you.  (I wear the Kelly pick backwards, for comfort and for smooth take-off from the string.) 

What I like about fingerpicking, of course, is the possibility of playing 3 of the four equidistant strings, even if they're separated (for instance, 1, 2, and 4), simultaneously.  I also like the fact that different fingers, with their differing strength and positions above the strings, produce different sounds and tonal qualities.

Anyway, I wanted to show you all the picks I've been focusing on, in case others want to try them.  I've found the ProPik FingerTone picks allow for the muting of the string with your finger pad, so preventing the clanging sound of the average metal or plastic finger picks as they hit the string, but I also like them for the tone they can produce. 

I post a picture of my finger picks below:  the sharpened, pointed Fred Kelly, worn as I do when I play with it (it can be put on any finger), a standard Dunlop metal pick (which produces a nice, softer tone, but can clang against the string when muting it, if you're not careful), the unsharpened Kelly finger pick worn the regular way, and the ProPik FingerTone pick. 

Just some choices for people to consider!


Edited by Nuthin Nu
Misspelling, added photo
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Thanks for this!  I was just watching Aubrey Atwater's workshop on 4 string equidistant and she did a couple demos of finger picking with 4 strings.  She used finger picks, which sounded great and that got me interested in getting a set to try out.  I've only done finger picking with just the pads of my fingers which produces a soft lute-like sound.  It sounds good for some things, but it's very muted.

Do you have any thoughts on which of those might be good for a beginner to start with?

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I've never seen Aubrey Atwater's workshop; I'd be curious what picks she used.  Yes, using your finger pads would produce a softer sound.  The sharper the point, the sharper, brighter the sound.  (Of course, the thickness of the material, the type of material used for the pick, and the angle the pick hits the string impact the sound.)  Of the three I mentioned, the ProPik FingerTone might be the most satisfying, on the whole, for fit and sound.  Their edges, like most people's fingernails, aren't pointed, and you can't frail, as I mentioned, but they won't fall off or wear out.  They're also angled slightly so they have a cleaner take-off from the string.  Just be sure to mark which ones go on which finger once you bend their wraps for the best fit (I used nail polish to mark the first, second and third letters of "ProPik" to indicate my index, middle, and ring fingers).  You can buy them either in a split or single wrap.  I have split wraps and they fit just fine.  They're available at pro-pik.com. 

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That's great info, I'll definitely consider getting a set of the ProPiks. 

Unfortunately she didn't mention the brand she uses as it was just a quick demo, but I grabbed a screenshot from the videos she sent.  Maybe you recognize the brand? 



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Hi!  I'm unfortunately not sure what brand of fingerpicks those are.  They're a pretty standard design, though.  White plastic, with a pointed edge.  Hm.  Dunlop?  (Don't think so.)  Maybe D'Andrea? 

I've usually found soft plastic finger picks, like in the picture above, producing too dull a sound for me, but perhaps since those are very pointed, they'd be nice.  If you find out what brand they are, I'd be curious.

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