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Old 11th June 2004, 07:02 PM   #1
benny is offline benny  Australia
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Lightbulb DIY Guitar Picks

I thought seeing as this forum is for DIY and this is under the musical instruments part that says 'and everything that makes music', i thought i'd share my latest DIY... i made DIY guitar picks, which actually work far better than anything i've ever bought! there are two positives to DIY picks, you get a custom tone, and custom feel.

main reason i did this was for custom tone... and i got it... i made, would you believe it... wooden picks! and the change in tone is amazing for something so simple! as a jazz player, these picks are so much better for me! the tone is so much warmer, and, you don't get that horible plastic clicking sound you get whenever you pick with a plastic pick! i am so happy.

the other good point is you can shape it to exactly how you want it... i've got mine with a really nice taper on it from top to bottom, which makes it feel like i'm holding something pretty substantial, while alowing me to have a very thin picking end.

if anyone else wants to try it out, all you need it a decent quality hardwood, i used a wood called vic ash, but any hardwood will do... just get a good quality one, free of imperfections.

then all i did was do a rough cutout, and then used a coarse sand paper for shaping, then smoothd off with a fine grade sandpaper, and then i finished with oil... oil because this soaks into the wood, so it's not going to rub off with playing.

that's it.. sweet as... and... they look amazing too, very classy... much nicer than those plastic ones.

soon i am going to try other materials... i might even give bone a shot.

hope someone finds some usefulness out of this.

cheers
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Old 11th June 2004, 09:09 PM   #2
Stocker is offline Stocker  United States
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I did this when I was a kid.

Be careful with your wood selection: too soft and the thing will get worn down between the grain and eventually have like a sawtooth edge- you may or may not like the sound. HARD hardwoods have a tendency to break either in manufacture or in hard use. Especially Ebony (which is also toxic! )

Also try: flat rawhide (wears out, but very mellow) or even a hard felt or leather. various plastics. Glass, even (careful! ). Fiberglass. Experiment with different thicknesses and shapes of the same material. also vary the shape and texture of the edge. You can get some interesting effects by putting a sine wave-looking edge on a pick!

Some ideas. This is great fun and can yield extroardinarily satisfying results. Have a ball.
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Old 12th June 2004, 12:27 AM   #3
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well....I did it a few times...when someone asks me to play when I'm unprepared...I just take out my bus card or phone card...and cut a simple one out...I guess it would be "making" one?? but now I just carry one in my wallet...it's faster...I suppose a custom one would better suit your feel...
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Old 12th June 2004, 01:10 AM   #4
Stocker is offline Stocker  United States
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don't bus cards cost like $50/month?

and how do you have a guitar to play without a pick? weave one into the strings or get a pick holder it.

If you can stand the feeling, try growing your nails out a couple of millimeters and clipping them to a soft point. Then you always have a set of picks handy...

$0.02
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Old 12th June 2004, 02:59 AM   #5
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our bus cards are of single use...so after you use them...u would return them or throw em away...and of course the guitars are from my friends house...some last minute visiting...I might try the fingernail thingy one dae...but I'm still in scholl, so it's againts the R and Rs...
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Old 13th June 2004, 01:50 AM   #6
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Default something free from the banks at last...

...I cut up my old credit cards, they have just the thickness for me,
(maybe a bit heavy for some).

Cheers
Pete McK
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Old 13th June 2004, 12:50 PM   #7
benny is offline benny  Australia
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yeah, speaking of cutting things, i've used the cover of my school diary many times. what's left of it now? well, not much... but hey, at least i'm using it for something, even if i've got no diary for the rest of the year... it's not like i use it anyway.

Quote:
Be careful with your wood selection: too soft and the thing will get worn down between the grain and eventually have like a sawtooth edge- you may or may not like the sound. HARD hardwoods have a tendency to break either in manufacture or in hard use.
yeah, i did have one crack when i was making them, buy the rest are good... the way i got them close to thinkness was i split the wood with a little axe, because i thought that this would split it down the weakest parts, and then from there i cut out a big square which i sanded down to a pick. i made sure i used high quality wood with no imperfections with a nice straight even grain... and as far as hard use... well, when i'm rocking out on the electric guitar, i just go back to the good ol plastic ones, they suit the distorted sound better, but most of the time i'm playing jazz, which doesn't really call for an agressive attack a lot... only a bit. and add to that, 2/3 of the time's i'm playing jazz it's on a nylon string classical guitar anyway, the other third on an electric, but this is only soft, i don't like using electric guitars for any jazz that requires loud dynamics, it just feels so fake, like you don't have to work for it, and it's too easy... so i'm not fearing them breaking... only loosing them, cuz they take so damn long to make compared to something you go and buy for a couple of cents.

Quote:
Also try: flat rawhide (wears out, but very mellow) or even a hard felt or leather. various plastics. Glass, even (careful! ). Fiberglass. Experiment with different thicknesses and shapes of the same material. also vary the shape and texture of the edge. You can get some interesting effects by putting a sine wave-looking edge on a pick!
thanks for those... i planned to try others seeing as the ones i made this time worked so good... the initial reason i wanted to make them was because the big thick picks i used to use are no longer stocked by the local music store, and in desperate need of a couple, i thought, stuff this, i'll make my own... and now they worked so good, i thoughtk, 'well wood sounds so nice, i wonder what i can get with other materials'... thanks for the idea on the shapes too.

Quote:
...I cut up my old credit cards, they have just the thickness for me,
(maybe a bit heavy for some).
you should see the thickness of the picks i use!!! they're about three credit card thick!!! they're wierd the first time i started using them, but now i can't use anything but... you just gotta get used to having the pick just a bout floating between your fingers when you alternate pick fast though... even more than you do with thin ones! also, make sure you don't cut up the new credit cards!

anyway, that's all my rambling for now.

cheers
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