Tonight I tried a little experiment, born primarily from the fact the last knuckle on my right thumb is bent in the wrong direction due to an industrial accident I had as a teenager (18). I tried thumb picking patterns without a pick (as normal) and then tried them with a thumb pick, and the difference in tone is remarkable! I mean, the quality in tone isn't even close. With the thumb pick the tone is rich, deep, pronounced, simply excellent. With my thumb nail it's wooden, almost muted by comparison, no matter how I pluck, what angle, how hard, etc., etc., etc.
Has anyone else encountered this phenomenon, and, if so, how did you deal with it? I'm too old to transition to a thumb pick now, yet I'm irritated by the fact that the tone I get with the thumb pick is so dramatically superior.