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  1. #1

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    The Blackwing 602 pencil-602-box-front_590x-jpg
    Yeah, it's a pencil. Not what we normally think of as a musical gizmo, but if one composes music or needs to pencil in notes on sheet music or in a music book, a pencil that writes dark enough to be read from a few feet away is needed. Also, the eraser is great. It lives up to its motto: Half the pressure, twice the speed.

    An old article giving the backstory on the pencil and its use by novelists and screenwriters, among others. (The article was written before the pencils went back into production by another company. I have no affiliation; I just love and use the pencils.)

    Blackwing 602: Why Is Hollywood Obsessed With This Pencil? | Hollywood Reporter

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Great pencils. Definitely not your standard #2. Pricey, but nice. We use them in when annotating sheet music.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Z
    Great pencils. Definitely not your standard #2. Pricey, but nice. We use them in when annotating sheet music.
    I love them! I had known that Nabokov used them---I read everything of his I could find at one point, and there was a lot to find even pre-Internet---but I had never seen one 'in the flesh' much less used one. But now I swear by them.

    I had noticed that when I wrote in (regular #2) pencil on a practice logs (-say, the tempo I had reached on a piece or the name of a song I wanted to learn or a book I needed to find, I couldn't read it the next day because it was so faint. That really bugged me.

  5. #4

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    soft lead pencils are not only a writers friend...but artists and musicians as well...i like 9B pencils..which are super soft...great for art, but also great for guitar work!! some soft graphite in a nut or saddle slot...or on the gears of open back tuners! invaluable!

    cretacolor fine art graphite 9b from austria



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 02-01-2020 at 07:11 PM.

  6. #5

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    The difference of course, is that the black wings don't smudge as much.

    I want my high numbered B pencils to smudge.

  7. #6

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    That's the pencil that Stephen Sondheim always raved about.

    And it's made a comeback at the exact moment my music is being all transcribed into Finale!

    I guess timing is everything---LOL.

    Seriously, gonna grab some now (right along with old-fashioned scoring paper). I bet they are great...

  8. #7

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    Gotta admit, though, it's gonna be hard to give up my trusty PaperMate Sharpwriter mechanicals. I've used them forever, they're cheap and dependable---and no sharpener ever. Old friends. Yeah, the line is lighter, but I darken in a chart with pen after I'm convinced I can't improve it any more.

    Anyone else use them?

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    soft lead pencils are not only a writers friend...but artists and musicians as well...
    A review with much drawing.


  10. #9

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    ^ genius!!! and historically correct vid!! great

    thanks mark!

    cheers

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    ^ genius!!! and historically correct vid!! great

    thanks mark!
    You're welcome! I was astounded at how good that was, how careful, how meticulous, how creative, how entertaining.

  12. #11

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    Just looked them up. Wow, they are expensive! I'll pass, but will ever wonder...had I bought one would I have finally written a poem worth reading, a novel for the age, or a symphony for the generations, but most of all, would it make me play like Joe Pass on Joy Spring? I'll never know, though I have a hunch...

  13. #12

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    Being lefthanded has it's own set of challenges and inconveniences, and only another lefthander can truly appreciate the mess associated with using a #2 or softer pencil. The 602 does help a bit.

    Old left handed men like me remember our hands looking like this every day, starting from early school days when the pencil was our main tool. Of course the paper would be all smudged up also.


  14. #13

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    As an engineer I have, over the years, developed a liking of Rotring mechanical pencils. I have also found them just the thing for transcribing.

  15. #14

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    My favorite every day pencil for many years was the Berol Black Warrior.

    They've since been rolled into papermate, and now all you can get is mirado black warriors, just not as good.

    I can't use mechanical pencils, I'm too heavy handed.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Being lefthanded has it's own set of challenges and inconveniences, and only another lefthander can truly appreciate the mess associated with using a #2 or softer pencil. The 602 does help a bit.

    Old left handed men like me remember our hands looking like this every day, starting from early school days when the pencil was our main tool. Of course the paper would be all smudged up also.

    HA! My hands still look like that, but covered over with white out! I'm an antediluvian MF...

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    Being lefthanded has it's own set of challenges and inconveniences
    of course the real question is: can you go righty?

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    Just looked them up. Wow, they are expensive! I'll pass, but will ever wonder...had I bought one would I have finally written a poem worth reading, a novel for the age, or a symphony for the generations, but most of all, would it make me play like Joe Pass on Joy Spring? I'll never know, though I have a hunch...
    They can't improve the quality of one's writing, just the readability of what one has written. And they do take less pressure and allow faster writing. (The latter is not the concern for me now that it would have been while taking notes in a fast-talking teacher's class.) My wife says they are noisier than regular pencils and that bothers her.

    They don't need to be sharpened as often, either. That's another plus.

    I got mine for $1 a piece ($12 a dozen) and they will last me a long, long time. Looking now, I see the price is much higher. Put them on your Wish List and some unassuming day you will see them marked down dramatically. (Jo Kessel's bio of Barney fluctuates in price from $19 down to $12. I'm holding out for a price under $10 and one of these days I'll get it.)

  19. #18

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    I've always been partial to the good old Dixon Ticonderoga.

  20. #19

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    I'm not sure I've ever had pencil gas before, but kinda? Before I switched to a tablet, i found that I preferred a pencil to pens for taking notes. I went thru several items before deciding on a chubby, semi fancy mechanical pencil. It was nice and all, but I kept wearing through the sweet spot quickly and kept having to rotate the lead.

    I wonder if something like this would have been the answer. I don't have any classes on the horizon so maybe I won't find out, but I really do enjoy the tactile joys of putting a nice pencil on a nice piece of paper. Sadly, I'm fairly paper less these days.

    These are probably a little less frustrating than my apple pencil, too

    I think the Dixon Ticonderoga was like the high end pencil when I was in elementary school, but I always preferred the fat blue ones with the bear on them.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    I've always been partial to the good old Dixon Ticonderoga.
    I've used those too. The black ones, right? I still have several. Problem I have with them: the line is faint. I have lots of manuscript books where I wrote down things in #2 pencils; sheets from several years ago are awfully faint, esp when sitting on a music stand and me sitting a couple feet back from it.) Also, the eraser isn't as good, or replaceable. (The great weakness of most #2s is that the erasers get hard and won't erase, they just smear or, worse, tear the paper.) But the Ticonderoga eraser is better than most #2 pencil erasers I have tried.

  22. #21

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    I use this one, it makes the music more visual

  23. #22

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    Without a doubt, this is hands-down the best thread I ever had the pleasure to read on Jazz Guitar Online.

    We should discuss typewriters next. Or has that been done already?

    (For those who might be tempted to read a measure of facetiousness into this reply, let me assure you, there is none.)

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Perdido
    We should discuss typewriters next.
    as you like

    In case you missed it. The Keaton Music Typewriter, 1936. : Jazz

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patlotch
    No dissemination of religion, Patloch. Sneaky, sneaky...

  26. #25

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    I raise you:


  27. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    No dissemination of religion, Patloch. Sneaky, sneaky...
    Religion is the virus of the people, isn't it? I also have this one in store, if you prefer, it's in excellent health


  28. #27

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    I see what you did there...Corona Jazz Band Virus. Yeah...

  29. #28

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    I have pencil GAS. At work we have a box full of the cheapest pencils money can buy. They suck sooo hard. The lead is off center in the wood in many of them. You have to go hunting for one that can be sharpened. And I think the 'wood' is some sort of fibrous plastic. And don't get me started on the 'eraser'. It's really a smudger.

    Not all pencils are created as equals.

    Patloch: Off Topic: Old Typewriters

  30. #29

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    indeed interesting thread! I like mechanicals because the point is always sharp. But I tend to erase and rewrite a fair amount, so I use a plastic engineering graphics eraser that I've had for EVER... it's GREAT at removing graphite without damaging the paper. I lost the cardboard wrapper long ago but IIRC it's a Staedtler Mars Plastic eraser. IDK whether the ones made today (vinyl) are comparable in softness to this ancient eraser from decades ago - I haven't had any issues with tearing paper, as the following video indicates, but maybe that's because I'm using music manuscript instead of engineering drafting paper.


  31. #30

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    So no SharpWriter or general mechanical pencil fans here?

    I'm disapernted!! (disappointed?)

    Excuse me while I go blubber awhile...

  32. #31

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    Fortunately for me I do not suffer from eraser GAS, as I have a couple of those decades old white Staedtlers myself. And I'm glad I do considering how crappy the ones on the end of those cheap-ass pencils I mentioned are.

    I like that eraser shield thing. Sadly, top notch drafting seems to be another skill being killed off by the computer. I rarely see hand-drawn architecturals in my line of work anymore. I remember a time when that was pretty much all I ever saw.

  33. #32

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    On this side of the pond a rubber is something entirely different. I can assure you that cars over here do not ride on prophylactics either :-)

    Of course, these days none of the items have much to do with actual rubber anyway. Isn't that something in the card game Bridge?

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longways to Go
    I've always been partial to the good old Dixon Ticonderoga.
    Me too. Funny that my #1s seem to get traded out for my daughter’s #2s. I guess that should be happy that she hasn’t confiscated any of my shirts (yet.) Maybe we should just be a #1 household.

  35. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    ...I rarely see hand-drawn architecturals in my line of work anymore. I remember a time when that was pretty much all I ever saw.
    That’s my line of work. When I do any hand sketching I usually do very light pencil lines first and then go over them with markers and eventually erase the pencil lines. It is just easier to get a variety of line weights that survive scanning that way. If I need to do any type of shading I do it with marker stipulating. All that said, my sketches are rarely for full on presentation purposes. Sometimes but very infrequently these days.

    Edit: I could go back and describe days of mechanical pencils, vellum, Mylar, ink, etc. and whole manual drafting era, but it is kind of pointless these days. The only real remnant is my hand lettering. Mine has retained the discipline that I learned far back. A lot of people these days never went that far with that skill.

    Edit 2: Stippling, gd spell check.
    Last edited by lammie200; 02-02-2020 at 07:25 PM.

  36. #35

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    Sketching ability is really handy. I've lost it for the most part due to decade or 2 of CAD. I really respect people who can do it. I remember a site meeting where the contractor and I were trying to resolve a millwork/carpentry conflict. He and I were going over the 'blueprints' side by side. The architect came by and sketched a perfect isometric showing the solution from the other side of the table. Upside down! We were pretty amazed. A Mozart of the pencil.

  37. #36

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    On a related front: "The Sure Hit Songwriter's Pen"


  38. #37

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    "real men" use oil...haha



    cheers

  39. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    "real men" use oil...haha



    cheers
    ...and oil paint contains lead...

  40. #39

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    What would Bob Dylan think of this thread?

    'Come writers and poets who prophesise with your pen'...

    Or Stevie Wonder?

    '....A writer takes his pen...'

  41. #40

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    Yeah but how easy is it to tune up.?

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccroft
    On this side of the pond a rubber is something entirely different. I can assure you that cars over here do not ride on prophylactics either :-)

    Of course, these days none of the items have much to do with actual rubber anyway. Isn't that something in the card game Bridge?
    Sorry, ccroft, I rubbed out my post for fear of offending someone...

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    What would Bob Dylan think of this thread?...
    Don’t know but I believe he is a prolific painter of the canvas type.

  44. #43

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    dylan liked the typer...



    no doubt he liked the key clacking rhythms

    cheers

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by lammie200
    Don’t know but I believe he is a prolific painter of the canvas type.
    As is 'Antonio Benedetti'...

  46. #45

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    Turns out I was using a sakura sumo grip pencil. It's nice. Enough so that it warrants a whole damn 12 minute review.



    As type writers go, I'm more of a giant art Deco royal/Underwood sort of person, but even Olivettis and some ibms look pretty neat. Never used one, though.

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by feet
    As type writers go, I'm more of a giant art Deco royal/Underwood sort of person, but even Olivettis and some ibms look pretty neat. Never used one, though.
    There's an old line about Hollywood screenwriters: "schmucks with Underwoods."

    There's also a "Writer" cap that's logo is in the old Courier font, once the default for writers. (It was the easiest font for editors to read.) -----These caps are usually black with the logo in white.
    The Blackwing 602 pencil-writer-cap-jpg

  48. #47

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    It still is the default font for screenwriting, because the spacing stays the same or whatever. Don't ask me how I know, or what all those notes I took with a pencil were for.

    Though they've probably been updated to schmucks with macbooks now

  49. #48

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    We also should hear about the pink perfect attendance pencil.


  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    As an engineer I have, over the years, developed a liking of Rotring mechanical pencils. I have also found them just the thing for transcribing.
    I've also been a Rotring man for many years. Go Rotring!

    Wiki says: "602 possessed the unique softness and smoothness of a 3B/4B lead but with the rate-of-wear of an HB."
    Hmmm...any other products with the same spec?
    Last edited by Hammertone; 02-03-2020 at 08:27 PM.