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  1. #1

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    So I lost my pick the other night (stubby) and was desperate for something, anything to cover.... Then I saw some buttons in my wife's sewing room. I grabbed a few and sat down with with the guitar to try them out. Some were too big, or the wrong shape or feel, but then tried out the smallest one, recessed with 4 button holes, with a grippy surface and textured sounding edge. Result? The best pick I've ever tried in my entire life! No only did it feel perfectly contoured for my grip, but it sounded better than any pick I've ever tried. Hard to explain, but it's like a violin bow, before and after freshly applied rosin. Edgier tone, which I like.

    Now I understand why Django used a button! ... Problem is, it was an old button, about the size of a thumbnail, and probably not made of plastic, maybe bakelite? - oh, and it's wearing out real fast....

    It's probably only good for a coupla dozen hours, then no more magic pick . Anyone out there use a button? I've seen the Django picks online, they don't look like I'd like them. Besides, wouldn't the buttons in his day have been made out of some primitive plastics, or bakelite perhaps? Hmmm, I might have to go looking for old buttons in thrift shops or something....

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2
    .... Oh dear, I've got a sneaking suspicion that Django's button picks may have lead to his demise...

    Turns out bakelite contains formaldehide and asbestos, which causes cancer, heart attacks and stroke (which is what killled Django). What? You can get a stroke holding an asbestos button? Probably not, but the stuff shreds into a fine dust/powder (it's all over my pickups after a few hours), so it's only logical to assume you might be breathing some of that in every time you play. Whether there's any truth to this idea or not, it's obviously not a good idea to shred bakelite within breathing distance...

    Sorry folks, bakelite button picks are too good to be true, unless someone can think of a non toxic type of synthetic material that has a similar kind of surface friction? What about stone picks? I've never tried one, any thought about those? I don't wanna go back to ordinary plastics....

  4. #3

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    django's pick | Martin Taylor

    Django's Pick makes an entry around 6 minutes in...

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dot75
    django's pick | Martin Taylor

    Django's Pick makes an entry around 6 minutes in...
    Obviously he used other materials after starting out with buttons? I'd love to see a pic of an actual button he used, it would had to have been either tortoiseshell or bakelite I suspect, although it might have been something else (mother of pearl?).

  6. #5

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    Galalith aka casein.

    Django - Manouche Picks

  7. #6

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    actual vintage bakelite buttons...



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 02-29-2020 at 07:05 PM. Reason: cl-

  8. #7

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    and this handmade

    old buttons could have been made of wood, bone, horn, etc etc

    cheers

  9. #8

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    Many years ago I fashioned picks made from an industrial hand cleaner dispenser. The tube was @ 5" in diameter, so the picks had a comfy hand- fitting - arc that gave the picks positional stability. The picks themselves were @ 1/8" thick, so plenty of meat to shape a tapered edge. Not sure what the plastic was, but it was translucent and very tough - the material was quite hard, not brittle, and was workable to a very smooth, burr-free surface. And they did not wear out! I only made a few, as they were hard work to make. But they sounded great, had low friction, and generally the best picks I ever had. Eventually I lost them one by one, and Dunlop Jazztones filled the gap for me. Eight hours of work versus a fin for a dozen or whatever.... But darn good picks!

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    .... Oh dear, I've got a sneaking suspicion that Django's button picks may have lead to his demise...

    Turns out bakelite contains formaldehide and asbestos, which causes cancer, heart attacks and stroke (which is what killled Django). What? You can get a stroke holding an asbestos button? Probably not, but the stuff shreds into a fine dust/powder (it's all over my pickups after a few hours), so it's only logical to assume you might be breathing some of that in every time you play. Whether there's any truth to this idea or not, it's obviously not a good idea to shred bakelite within breathing distance...

    Sorry folks, bakelite button picks are too good to be true, unless someone can think of a non toxic type of synthetic material that has a similar kind of surface friction? What about stone picks? I've never tried one, any thought about those? I don't wanna go back to ordinary plastics....
    Sounds good to me, but I don’t really need to worry about toxicity.

  11. #10

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    I posted a year ago about using a button from an overcoat as a pick.


  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by corpse
    Sounds good to me, but I don’t really need to worry about toxicity.
    How come?

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmic gumbo
    I posted a year ago about using a button from an overcoat as a pick.

    Only recessed on one side, that's gonna sound and feel different either side, no? (maybe that's a good thing?)

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    actual vintage bakelite buttons...



    cheers
    I'd love to take a file to those babies... but then I'd have to wear a mask to play with them, let alone to file them! I think I'd prefer round buttons though, with recessed button holes, and a bevilled edge...
    Last edited by princeplanet; 03-01-2020 at 03:09 AM.

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky
    Galalith aka casein.

    Django - Manouche Picks
    Do you know much about how all the different types of materials sound? Like faux rhino horn, cotton fibre etc? Most people seem to prefer less friction, but I like a little more...

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    How come?
    he's already a corpse!!

    god forbid

    cheers

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by princeplanet
    How come?
    Sorry, just one of those old corpse jokes.

  18. #17
    hehe ...

  19. #18

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    The guy from ZZ Top uses a coin for a pick.

  20. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Drumbler
    The guy from ZZ Top uses a coin for a pick.
    Hey Brian May also... I tried it for a while, but decided for quick jazz lines it wasn't the right vibe. I may try it again, this time filing (to bevel) the edge.