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The Roman Plectrum
A much longer pick is used by European Mandolin players. Expensive and hard to get I decided to give it a try and make my own
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October 27, 2014 - 4:35 pm
Member Since: October 2, 2012
Forum Posts: 128
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This post results from noticing this pick being used by some mandolin players more info and most of the post comes from

Here are some photos of this plecktrum :RomanPlectrum2.jpgImage Enlarger

 RomanPlectrum3.jpgImage Enlarger

 Roman-Plectrum1.jpgImage Enlarger

 Intrigued and not finding them for sale at anything near normal pick prices I decided to try making one following the ancient method. "How do you sculpt an elephant statue, You get a big block of grey granit, And carve away anything that doesnt look like an elephant"

So I cut some ebony off-cuts into  a 60mm length and cut away everything that did not look like a plectrum. Hack Saw, box cutter, scraper and various kinds of sandpaper were used. Glue stick held the plectrum on its edge. No Tortoise shell to work with here. First tries on the mandolin are promising.MyRomanPlectrum1.jpgImage Enlarger

 myRomanPlectrum2.jpgImage Enlarger

Brora, North-east Scotland
October 27, 2014 - 4:46 pm
Member Since: March 22, 2014
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HA !   Nice work Ray !  I like the "traditional" approach... very cool !

I seriously recommend not copying my mistakes. D'oh - guntohead.JPG

Please make your own, different mistakes, and help us all learn :-)

California, the place of my heart
October 27, 2014 - 5:19 pm
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Very cool Ray. 


Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

King for a Day, Peasant for many

October 27, 2014 - 8:59 pm
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Would using a bench mounted electric belt sander be still considered "traditional"...?facepalm

"If you practice with your hands you must practice all day. Practice with your mind and you can accomplish the same amount in minutes." Nathan Milstein


October 28, 2014 - 2:15 am
Member Since: August 28, 2013
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Ah very cool.  Thanks for sharing pictures.


Opportunity is often missed because it wears suspenders and looks like hard work.


Alaska, the Madness; Bloggity Stories of the North Country


October 28, 2014 - 3:19 am
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cdennyb said
Would using a bench mounted electric belt sander be still considered "traditional"...?facepalm

I would think that would give an odd sound and be kinda rough on the strings.

Although I have seen some metal kids picking with power drills and such..


"This young wine may have a lot of tannins now, but in 5 or 10 years it is going to be spectacular, despite the fact that right now it tastes like crude oil. You know this is how it is supposed to taste at this stage of development." ~ Itzhak Perlman


November 25, 2014 - 9:31 pm
Member Since: October 2, 2012
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You to can experience the feel of a Roman Plectrum using a plastic thumb pick, Tucs suggested it and I dropped a plastic thumb pick into a tumbler of water and microwaved it for 2 minutes. It totally uncurled itself and I dumped the water, dried and cooled it off and it gives a decent impersanation of a Roman Plectrum.

Octave Ray

Michigan, USA

November 25, 2014 - 11:53 pm
Member Since: January 21, 2012
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Wonder how they would work for violin "Pizzicato"   dunno

Nice work, Ray.



Honorary advisor

November 26, 2014 - 12:59 am
Member Since: September 19, 2013
Forum Posts: 234
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Hey Ray ,

 Great idea to make yer own plectrums ...different materials and degrees of stiffness yield results that can be honed to yer tastes ... keep up yer good work ...violin-1267Good question , Fiddlestix ...i asked myself the same thing a couple of years ago about using a pick fer pizzicato on violin ...two issues i found were ...excessive string wear ..a bit rough on our expensive strings ...dang ....also , quality of sound produced was poor ...perhaps from a lack of gripping texture we get from bare fingers and thumbs ..note that i often rosin up my fingers fer doin pizzicato ...sticky but works fer me ...bunny_pole_dancer

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