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Guitar picks - make your own picks

Updated on February 8, 2011

All about guitar picks

Why are guitar picks so important?

  • The pick hitting the string on guitar is the source of the sound. So you want the quality of the string and the pick to be as high as possible. A certain amount of it is physics - a thicker string with more mass and a thicker pick with more mass will probably result in a better tone from any instrument.
  • Taken to extremes, the pick could be 1.5 mm in thickness, and made of tortieshell substitute or stone, and the string could be 0.13 on the first string. This is the sort of thing used in Gypsy Jazz in an attempt to get the tone that Django Reinhardt became famous for in the 1930s.
  • Heavy gauge picks may be more suited to fast lead solo playing. For rhythm guitar it's much more comfortable to use a lighter pick. I like Jim Dunlop .73mm and .88 mm picks for most chord playing, as a bit of flexibility gives you a better tone. It's worth trying nylon and tortex picks to see which are easiest for your own style of playing.
  • I also like to have an embossed surface, as it is easier to hold on to the pick. Jim Dunlop grey nylon picks have this kind of rough surface.

recycled picks

The nature of picks is to get lost so it's nice to have some spares. Although it may not be worth the hassle, you can make your own picks as shown in the video - I like the idea of recycling old CDs, as there is nothing quite as useless as a scratched CD - although they can also be used as drinks coasters.

Recycle old CDs


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    • guitar picks profile image

      guitar picks 5 years ago

      Recycling is one great idea especially for the resourceful ones. I have tried so myself, but when all else fails, I can depend on my favorites from ; they sure make available what I need, a good pair with my good old guitar.

    • profile image

      Michael 6 years ago

      Thanks Jon, I got CDs at home. I can now get more use to it. Simple yet very informative video. I will post in my blog about this with your link of course. Hope it's fine with you.

    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Thanks Bill - it's still easier than catching a tortoise!

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 6 years ago from Cape Cod

      Finally something a CD can do better than vinyl!!!!!!!!

      Thanks for the tip. I have already tried it and I like it. (from recycling angle and also cause it was kinda fun).

    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      I'm keen on this from the recycling angle as plastic is so wasteful generally and picks are so easy to lose!

    • dsmythe profile image

      dsmythe 6 years ago

      Cool! I have a ton of old CD's I could use for this.

    • kenny thomas profile image

      kenny thomas 6 years ago from Australia

      gadget sound good! But I have my faves and for the sake of a couple of bucks nothing seems to work as good as my esp picks.

      But I do use anything at hand when required and I try to keep a couple in my wallet. But that stamp idea sounds good, let us know how it goes.

    • Jon Green profile image

      Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK

      Hi. There's also a gadget that stamps out picks from plastic sheets, which I'll check out soon.

    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      Great idea! I have lots of old CD's. Thanks Jon.