Mosaic Celluloid

Vintage Japanese Mosaic Celluloid Picks!

I was surfing eBay last week to see what was out there in the vintage celluloid pick market, and saw these mosaic celluloid picks. I love the look and I had to have them.

Celluloid is getting harder and harder to find for pick manufacturing, so I figured I better scoop up what I like before they are all gone… These appear to be the D’Andrea No. 346 shape or the Herco No. 35.

Mosaic celluloid was used for Herco picks by their Japanese manufacturer when their “shell” colored celluloid wasn’t available. Herco later asked their manufacturer not to substitute the assorted color/mosaic celluloid except for their thumb pick. I guess the assorted colors didn’t sell well at the time, with the Herco thumb pick being the exception.

They sound similar to a Fender celluloid pick, but look way cooler. Very Rock and Roll!

Source: Picks! by Will Hoover

Fender Celluloid Pick Review

This is the pick that started it all… It is the pick I first used when I started playing guitar. Actually, it was more like trying to play the guitar and making plenty of noise. I know I drove my Mom crazy.

Pick Specs:

  • Gauges: Thin, Medium, Heavy, and Extra Heavy
  • Material: Celluloid
  • Shape: Regular/351
  • Tip: Rounded
  • Price: About .50¢ a piece or $6.00 for a 12 pack

I think it is safe to say every music store that sells guitars sells Fender picks, so you can get these quite easily at any music/guitar store. They are inexpensive, and the celluloid material is quite soft. These picks wear down quickly and the thin and medium gauges tear quite easily. I used these picks because everyone else was using them at the time. Hey, I didn’t know any better, and Randy Rhoads used a Fender Medium. That was good enough for me! Nor was there the huge selection of picks in the late ’70’s early 80’s like there is available to us today.

I used the medium gauge for several years. When I went away to college a friend of mine who lived in the dorm room next door, who was a very good guitar player, suggested I switch to the Fender Heavy instead of the Fender medium. He said I would be able to play faster and more accurately with the Fender Heavy, since it did not bend as much while playing. I considered this and split my time between the medium gauge and the heavy gauge to see what worked best for me. I ended up moving to the Fender Heavy gauge exclusively until somewhere in the early 2000’s.

Fender Heavy

The celluloid material these picks are made from is very smooth, which allows these picks like to move around when you are playing. They are also fairly easy to drop when your hands start to get sweaty. Some people would glue cork or sandpaper to their picks to make them easier to hang onto while playing live. I always had plenty around, so I would just grab another one if the pick happened to fly uncontrollably out of my finger’s grasp while playing live.

Fender celluloid guitar picks are available in four colors.

• White
• Black
• Confetti
• Tortoise shell

How do they sound? The Fender celluloid picks produce a nice warm, rounded tone, and create plenty of pick flap against the strings while playing, especially when using the thinner gauges. This gives you the classic celluloid pick sound. Celluloid picks have a sharper attack against the strings than the Gator Grip picks do, and sound a tad brighter too. With a distorted amp tone playing some first position cowboy chords it almost sounds like a motor is running with the chord. Kind of like when you clothes pinned playing cards into the spokes of your bicycle wheels when you were a kid, but not exactly.

The lighter gauges are great for rhythm work and the heavier gauges are better for lead work and super fast thrash metal type and/or high speed rhythm playing.

If you are on a tight budget Fender celluloid picks are great to start out with, and do produce a very nice tone.