Our tests reveal little difference in tone between the two. But the ridged striking surface of a quilter thimble seems to produce a slightly sharper tone than a domed thimble.
Which Should You Get?
Because of the tough crown structure, a quilter will probably outlast a dome-top. But the crowned edge will likely dig a rut into a vintage tin rub board surface faster than a dome. So get a dome-top if you prefer a softer tone thimble that is kinder to your metal rub board surface. Get a quilter if you want a slightly sharper tone, and a feeling of precise control.
Brass thimbles are best for these washboards:
How Many Thimbles do you Need?
The number of thimbles you need for each hand is a personal preference. Most players use 3 thimbles (index, middle and ring fingers). Others add a 4th thimble to their pinky. Many prefer just 2 thimbles (index and middle fingers). Some players use just one thimble (typically index or middle finger). However, many players use 4 thimbles on their fingers, plus a large 5th thimble (typically 18 mm to 20 mm) on their thumb for a "full-house" of 5 thimbles. You can achieve greater musical color with more thimbles than less. But the optimum number of thimbles depends on the musical genre, type of thimble (wood, plastic, metal, horn), your personal playing style, and ultimately—what works best for you.
What is Your Thimble Size?
Download FREE Paper Thimble Gauge
In a Rush? Find Thimble Size Instantly.
1. Measure finger circumference
2. Find thimble size
63/20 61/20 59.5/19 58/19 56.5/18 54/17 52/17 50/16 47/15 46/15 44/14 43/14 41/13 40/13 36/12 33/11
If your finger measures 50 mm, then thimble size is 16 mm (50/16).