I have been working my way through Troy’s Pickslanting course and love it so far, but I noticed that there was no discussion on metal picks. Rumor has it that Eddie Van Halen played metal picks occassionally and Brian May from Queen uses sixpence coins. I’m curious if anyone on this forum has any thoughts about using metal picks. I’ve played around with coins, Dunlop tech picks (brass 351 shape), and others in the past. Of course, they don’t have any give to them, which changes the interaction with the string, but I’m curious to hear others experiences. I happen to love the aggressive/bright attack they give for certain tunes. Thanks!
Other than Brian May, I can’t think of many that use metal picks. There was someone else that used some kind of currency, no?
That’s who I was thinking of!
Some 80s players that use or used metal picks come to mind: George Lynch, Warren DeMartini, Brad Gillis and Jeff Watson.
Steve Albini and his bandmates in the noise rock band Big Black used metal picks with notches in them to get a very specific noisy sound.
I remember in my teens I bought one to try it out. If I can recall right it felt horrible and felt like I’d easily break strings. My technique back then would have been awful though so maybe when using them right, they can sound/feel good?
I have not tried a metal, stone, or ceramic pick for decades. Can one play “slide guitar” using such a pick? Yes?
I note that plastic picks are very good at muting; if they rest on a string it dies out quickly. What about metal picks?
Years ago I found a guy on ebay selling handcrafted jazz 3 size picks from old silver coins. They had a really pretty tone quality, like a bell. Unfortunately I found that they wore the point away very quickly and it would be expensive to have to keep a supply of silver picks lol.
All metal picks have a flaw IMO, in that they are super ‘chirpy’ - there’s so much harmonic activity with every note. With fast alternate picking or sweeping you almost get more harmonics than the fundamental tone. I prefer a more muted sound from like tortex or whatever flow picks are made from.
I am pretty sure that Roope Latvala (former Children of Bodom), who is (was) an amazing lead guitarist (Stone, Sinergy) used the TechPick brass. Although he said somewhere that he asked “them” (I guess he meant Dunlop by that) to make them sharper, so it could be that they made a pointy version of that pick for him, not the standard 351 shape.
I use metal picks regularly. There’s a guy on Reverb who makes them. I’ve ordered many. They are expensive but they last a long time and there’s no other way to get that tone you get from metal.
I use them and Swiss picks as a general. Find they are my favourites.
Alexi used the same brass picks too. They both also used to have Antti, their old tech, sand down the backs of the necks on their guitars.
Warren I think still does, or he possibly stopped recently because they were hurting his fingers and destroying his strings - something like that. Phil Collen still does as well.
Thats the main thing stopping me using metal, damaging the strings. I like to have a set of strings last as long as possible, I don’t have sweat that corrodes the strings or care about strings being super bright. So I’ll keep them untill one breaks.
I’m wondering if it’s actually an issue tho as I’ve never used a metal pick consistently. Perhaps I’m more worried about it than I should be?