Shaping Picks


I've been "shaping" picks for a few years now. I sand, drill, and carve them into just the right shape for my idea of what a pick should be.

I started "shaping" when I began adding a bevel on the ends, the way a pick naturally wears when played.

Then I began experimenting with more ergonomic shapes.

Now the pick design has become a bit more dynamic.

Use your mouse arrow over the picture to the left to see a transparent view.

The darker colors in the picture show the thick parts of the pick.

The lighter areas indicate the bevel edges and the valleys through the middle portions of the pick.

The valleys in the middle are there to help grip the pick. They create the perfect hold for playing. Your fingers mold to the pick in a natural way.

I don't always drill holes in my picks but they can add a superior grip when playing in hot sweaty bars.

It takes a lot of work to make one of these picks but it's worth the effort for a really great pick.
Alan Bond

Here are some great picks.


Dawg picks are my new favorite for shaping and playing. I hear David Grisman really uses these "Dawg" picks. In the studio and on stage!
I love them.

I got my "Dawg" picks at First Quality Musical Supplies

Dunlop 1.5mm is a nice pick if used sideways. Picking with one of the round ends the Dunlop works as a fine mandolin pick. It's made of a wonderful crisp sounding l plastic. I only wish there was a triangle version.

Mock Turtle Picks by Golden Gate are much like real tortoiseshell picks. They're thick and stiff with very little flex. I got some from Acoustic Music Supply in Glen Rose, Texas.

Clayton Gold Picks are perfect for mandolin. I prefer the gold over the soft white Clayton picks. The thick Gold Claytons really have a great sound. I get mine at the Fifth String Music Store, 3051 Adeline, Berkeley, CA (510) 548-8282. I round them off before I use them.

Pick-Pack by TurtleWork are available from First Quality Musical Supplies. These Tor-tis brand flatpicks are stiff and closely mimic the feeling and sound of real tortoiseshell. You'll need to sand and shape these a little.

Try all these picks and see what works for you.