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Mechanical Pencil Question

mechanical pencil lead 2b music composition

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17 replies to this topic

#1 Orca871

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 03:23

Hey guys, I'm a young composer and soon to be college student. I currently write music with regular wood case pencils, but I'm interested in trying a mechanical pencil. I have heard good things about the Alvin draftmatic pencils and will probably buy one unless  someone can suggest a better pencil. In music you need to be able to write thin and thick lines, so just one pencil probably wouldn't cut it. My question is what size lead should I be using, and what I should do about making the thicker lines because I don't feel like .9 would be thick enough, although I'm not sure.



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#2 Orca871

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 03:31

Oh, and I should probably point out that I am going to try 2b lead because I want my writing to be at least a little bit darker than my HB pencils.



#3 Chthulhu

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 03:31

Consider something in 2 mm; the lead is the same size as that in most woodcase pencils, available in a wide range of hardness, and you can sharpen it as you like. Otherwise you'll need to decide what lead sizes you really need, and buy two or more pencils that accommodate those sizes. Take a look at Jetpens.com for quite a few interesting pencils in various lead sizes.

 

The Draftmatics are decent drafting pencils, but I find them, and most other drafting/technical pencils, uncomfortable to do much else with. You're going to be using it/them a *lot*, so find something that fits your hand comfortably. The Retro 51 "Tornado" pencils come to mind, but they're all 1.15 mm as I recall.

 

A flat-lead pencil may be another option for you. There's a Chinese-made version called "2B" that's made for filling out scantron test forms that may be suitable, but they're very lightweight plastic things. Easy to find on eBay, though, and quite inexpensive.


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#4 pencils+pens

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 13:07

You might want to consider a set or family of pencils. That way the feel of the pencil will be the same regardless of the lead width.

The Pentel PG Graph Pencil series may have the widest range on the narrow end, although some of them will take some digging to find. The pencils (the number is the lead diameter: PG2, PMG3, PG4, PG5 and PG7.

The Staedler 925-25 series in silver or black may have the widest range on the wide end. They have a .3, .5, .7, .9 and a 2mm leadholder. You can sharpen or blunt the 2mm to any width you want - just like a lead pencil. The 2mm is not listed in the drafting pencils section of JetPens, you have to find it in the leadholder section.

If you picture long writing sessions, a rubber grip may be suitable. Normally I don't like rubber grips on my pens or pencils. Pentel came up with a great compromise with the GraphGear 1000 series, which is available in .3, .4, .5, .7 and .9. JetPens sells the set at a discount over buying the pencils individually.

#5 Felix1

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 13:32

I'm a big fan of the Staedtler graphite 925-35 mechanical pencils...available in sizes from 0.3mm to 2mm.

 

If you can't find them from a U.S. retailer, take a look at cultpens.com. Shipping to the U.S. isn't overly expensive.


I always get a kick out of these "no affiliation" notations when it's blatantly obvious the poster has absolutely nothing to do with the brand, company, etc. beyond being a customer. It must be a feel-good/feel-important thing. So I'll note up front that nothing I write here on this forum is influenced by any financial-gain motivation.

#6 Orca871

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 22:18

What do you guys think of the staedtler mars techno 2mm? And what about pentel super polymer leads?



#7 pencils+pens

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 22:33

What do you guys think of the staedtler mars techno 2mm?


I have never used or owned one.

And what about pentel super polymer leads?


I use them almost exclusively. The only pencil they would not fit in was the Uni Shift Pipe. Uni leads are a lot thinner than other leads.

#8 Felix1

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 22:50

What do you guys think of the staedtler mars techno 2mm? And what about pentel super polymer leads?

 

Pick your lead from one of these:

 

Best  -- Uni Nano Dia

Next best -- Pentel Ain Stein (not to be confused with Pentel AIN which is also a strong lead)

 

To answer your first question, the Mars is a clutch pencil. I prefer a click-advance mechanism which is on the suggestion I gave you further up in the thread. 

 

Guess it depends upon whether you are looking for an entry-level mechanical pencil or one you'll still have when you leave college.


I always get a kick out of these "no affiliation" notations when it's blatantly obvious the poster has absolutely nothing to do with the brand, company, etc. beyond being a customer. It must be a feel-good/feel-important thing. So I'll note up front that nothing I write here on this forum is influenced by any financial-gain motivation.

#9 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 23:27

I know this isn't really a direct answer to your question, but how about "music nibs"? Those nibs were specifically designed to write music.


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#10 seacritasianman

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 23:37

I hate to be so old fashioned, but I highly recommend the classic: Pentel P205. I've used one of these for almost 10 years (and I'm only 19!) It works flawlessly, writes solidly, and is overall, in my opinion, one of the best pencils ever made. It comes in 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm variants, so hopefully you can find what you need!


Check out my budding pen blog here! pentheism.tumblr.com

#11 Felix1

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 23:57

I know this isn't really a direct answer to your question, but how about "music nibs"? Those nibs were specifically designed to write music.

 

Do you suppose our "young composer" might make a few mistakes along the way...and have to erase portions of his next great symphony.   ;) 

 

BTW, I love Music nibs and I'm no musician. We ordinary people can use them too.

 


I always get a kick out of these "no affiliation" notations when it's blatantly obvious the poster has absolutely nothing to do with the brand, company, etc. beyond being a customer. It must be a feel-good/feel-important thing. So I'll note up front that nothing I write here on this forum is influenced by any financial-gain motivation.

#12 Orca871

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 00:19

 

Pick your lead from one of these:

 

Best  -- Uni Nano Dia

Next best -- Pentel Ain Stein (not to be confused with Pentel AIN which is also a strong lead)

 

To answer your first question, the Mars is a clutch pencil. I prefer a click-advance mechanism which is on the suggestion I gave you further up in the thread. 

 

Guess it depends upon whether you are looking for an entry-level mechanical pencil or one you'll still have when you leave college.

I read some reviews on the uni nano dia, and most seem to prefer the stein and I think I would too because the uni seems to smear more, and when writing music on cramped staves smearing could be fatal. Do you think 2b would smear to much?



#13 GabrielleDuVent

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 00:21

 

Do you suppose our "young composer" might make a few mistakes along the way...and have to erase portions of his next great symphony.   ;) 

 

BTW, I love Music nibs and I'm no musician. We ordinary people can use them too.

 

 

That's what ink eradicators are for.


Tes rires retroussés comme à son bord la rose,

Effacent mon dépit de ta métamorphose;

Tu t'éveilles, alors le rêve est oublié. 

 

-Jean Cocteau, from Plaint-Chant, 1923


#14 Orca871

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 00:24

I know this isn't really a direct answer to your question, but how about "music nibs"? Those nibs were specifically designed to write music.

Yes, I have definitely considered using one of those, however from what I see they are very expensive.

 

 

Do you suppose our "young composer" might make a few mistakes along the way...and have to erase portions of his next great symphony.   ;) 

 

BTW, I love Music nibs and I'm no musician. We ordinary people can use them too.

 

Yes, you are quite right! I make mistakes all the time, but thankfully I don't have I write with a quill and ink. I am however going to write my newer composition down with a fountain pen after I finish it and I'll see if I like it or not.



#15 Orca871

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 16:06

Oh, and what is a good sharpener for mechanical pencils? 



#16 pencils+pens

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 17:49

Oh, and what is a good sharpener for mechanical pencils?


You usually don't sharpen mechanical pencils from 1.1-1.3 and smaller. They sharpen themselves, but it help if you rotate the pencil so the lead doesn't wear down on one side.

The sharpener for a 2mm leadholder is also called a leadpointer. I have one made by Staedtler. It is a rotary tub. I have my father's older brass leadpointer made by A.W. Faber Castell. It has two holes, the smaller hole is to put an extra fine point on the lead.

I sharpen my 5.00 Art Alternative leads with an E+M "egg" sharpener.

You can also go old-school, low tech and sharpen the leads with a sanding block, which is what I use for my 4.0 Pilot Croquis, since I don't have a sharpener in that size.

#17 Orca871

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 17:58

Okay, thanks! I might not need one in that case, then, because the point of me having a 2mm is for thick beams.



#18 Paddler

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 19:24

If you want to make thin lines and thick  lines with the same pencil, you may have to use a drafting pencil with the spring-loaded collet and sharpen the lead to a chisel point. We often write music notation here, and we don't bother with the line variation. If we need something more formal, we write with black ink and an italic nib.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: mechanical, pencil, lead, 2b, music, composition



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