DIY Guitar Picks?

Borders went bankrupt. Now what the heck am I supposed to do with this pretty red card?

Behold my latest gizmo acquisition: the mighty Pick Punch!

It may look like a humble office stapler, but it stamps out standard-sized guitar picks from any compatible material.

I made picks from an old credit card, then another old credit card, and then . . . hey, folks, I need more ideas! What else would be a good, but unconventional, material for DIY picks?

FYI, this thing is sturdy, powerful, and sharp. If you stick your hand in it, you can probably make a decent skin-and-bone pick. When working with less self-destructive plastics, the edges are a little rough and furry, but nothing that a few seconds of sanding or playing wouldn’t sort out.

I found this treasure at the wonderfully silly gift site Think Geek, a nerd-toy emporium that specializes in such life essentials as the Zombie Head Cookie Jar and Alien Chestbuster Plush Toy. You can also order it directly from creator Von Luhmann via PickPunch.com. He also sells blank sheets of plastic advertised as similar to the material used in several popular pick types, plus sanders, inks, and so forth. He also sells a version of the Pick Punch that stamps out smaller, pointer “jazz style” picks. Pricing is reasonable: $24.95 for the Pick Punch, and $3.25 for enough plastic stock to 60 or so picks.

One advantage of buying directly from Luhmann rather than Think Geek: You won’t be tempted to outfit yourself with one of these.

Anyone out there in the habit of making their own picks? Show and tell, please!

27 comments to DIY Guitar Picks?

  • Mmm… How about really thick felt? 

  • zyon

    Used to buy bass pics made out of felt. I currently make picks out of rosewood. Great sound and I have more spare rosewood than I can shake a stick at…sorry, no I can’t sell any. It technically belongs to CF Martin

    • joe

      I have a couple of John Pearse rosewood picks, which I wrote about here. They sound great, but they are super-bright — probably the brightest picks I’ve ever heard! But I imagine they would be especially good if you play, say, high-gain rock with humbuckers, and you need all the brilliant attack you can get to prevent your tone from “mushing out.”

  • The singer of the Elvis band I’m in made me a pick out of stainless steel, engraved to read:”When Words Fail, The  Guitar Speaks”. It’s way too harsh and bright for a pick (Phil Collen of Def Leppard uses them on 13 gauge strings and it sounds like pitched warfare with cutlery), but not wishing to let such an unexpected gift languish, I attached it to the headstock of my main gigging guitar:

     https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150665160141605&l=576a4ab0dd

  • I’ve seen these punches. Credit cards are too flexible for me though. I like the purple Tortex picks. But it’s a great option for people who like more flexible picks.

    How about this stainless steel pick I made back in the 70s? ;)

     

    • joe

      I think stainless steel picks sound great for certain applications — but I’d only use them if I were prepared to change strings afterward. That metal shreds them up in no time!

  • young-jim

    i once folder a peice of paper and used it as a bass pick :P  and the rings off beer/coke cans :P

  • Sam Geese

    Back when I was 13 or so I glued 2 pieces for rather stiff leather together and cut out a pick.  My Vox Panther bass sounded great through my dad’s Curtis Mathis tube Hi-Fi.

  • Mike

    I’ve got a Pick Punch. I mostly use it to make novelty picks. The credit card picks are useless after about ten minutes of play. Plus, you really need to sand them down so they are not so noisy.

  • The-Destructor

    Bastardize and ABS rack case with it!!!!

  • The-Destructor

    Sorry – drop the “D” …an.
    Beer makes for sloppy fingering. just ask your wife, or your audience!

  • Alex

    I’ve made couple picks out of old cd’s and dvd’s :satansmoking:

  • Mika

    I have one and I love it. All the old credit cards and IDs get punched. Best result came from a bright orange Old Navy card which was a little thinner but sturdier than most. 

    On the slightly negative side, now that I own so many picks they seem to turn up everywhere…

  • I reviewed one of these last year http://leftyfretz.com/pick-punch-review/ 

    I don’t like thin picks, so I bought a sheet of 0.75mm perspex.  Punch two picks out and then sandwich an image between the two picks with superglue.  Hey presto, 1.5mm custom picks! Here are some examples I made…

    http://leftyfretz.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/pick-punch-examples.jpg 

    Too many people just associate the Pick Punch with making cheap picks from credit cards, but if you get creative it’s actually a really useful little gizmo. 

  • Jacob

    I made one from tin once, with a little force you could bend it in any shape.

  • I love the concept of these things, but I’ve been using the Dunlop fin picks for years now, & can’t go back.  I’ve written to the company that makes the punch, & my shape is low on their list.  Ha ha.

  • The punch looks like fun. I wonder what materials you could use with the laser cutter? 

  • Brent

    I have made picks out of a variety of exotic woods, paper clips, guitar string pieces glued into a piece of wood (ala jellyfish), flat stone slices made for beadwork, etc. The most unusual pick though, was a repurposed battery powered drink mixer. It has 2 soft plastic prongs that rotate quite quickly. The effect is sort of like a growly, edgy ebow (for only $5)

  • Brent

    I will try to take some pictures this weekend… the recordings will probably take a little longer

  • Brent

    Ok, the photo is sooner, the recording will still be later. I couldn’t locate my homemade jellyfish, but it worked well enough that I bought a real jellyfish pick. Another day I will photograph my unusual slide collection

  • Speaking of motorized picks. This is a 9v battery and taped to an electric motor with a switch. Someone left this on my table at the DIY Electronics swap in Berkeley. There is a piece of electrical tap attached to the shaft of the motor, this essentially acts as a pick. Sort of a pro mans Gizmotron. 
     

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