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Your amp is dialed in. You’ve tuned your guitar. You’re plugged in and ready to go. But where is your pick?
If you are anything like me, you have spent too much of your precious practice time throughout your music career looking for that ever-disappearing guitar pick.
You swear you just set your pick down on the counter, yet it isn’t there. It didn’t sprout legs and walk away. Right?
I have become increasingly convinced that guitar picks are THE portal to the fourth dimension. Somewhere in time and space, there are billions of guitar picks in giant heaps, longing for their owners to rescue them.
This topic might seem silly on the surface, but unless you are exclusively a finger-style guitar player who doesn’t use a pick, not having a pick ready to go is a serious problem.
So what can we do to stop losing guitar picks?
First, establish a designated container or location where you keep your picks. You can also start keeping picks in specific spots on your body (like a pocket, wristband, or even a key chain) or on your guitar. Don’t be afraid to stock up so it’s not a big deal when you lose one.
Let’s take a closer look below at some quick tips and tricks that can help you to stop losing your guitar picks.
1. Have A Designated Storage Container
One of the easiest ways to help keep track of your picks is to have a designated storage container. This might sound simple enough, but I am always amazed at how many guitarists do not have a specific place to put their picks.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Something as simple as an old cup or bowl will do. I have seen people use anything from used spice containers to Altoid tins and just about anything in between. I am currently using an old ceramic bowl that was in our garage when we moved into our house.
A designated storage container brings peace of mind, knowing you won’t have to hunt for lost guitar picks, allowing you to focus on the most important thing: making music.
Another option is to have multiple designated storage containers. This is especially important if you don’t just play guitar in one specific place.
Keeping storage containers in all of your most frequent playing locations makes you much less likely to set your pick down in a random spot, reducing the chances of losing your picks.
2. Put Your Picks Back!
Guitar picks are a lot like keys. You often lose them, and when you lose them, you can’t effectively use those bigger, more important objects such as your car or guitar.
Putting your picks back where you got them from goes hand in hand with having a designated storage container, but it becomes even more critical if you don’t have one. While I certainly advocate for a designated container (or containers), you should at least have a consistent spot where you put your picks.
Along with keeping my picks in my ceramic bowl, I also keep it in the same spot, which, as you can see, is next to some of my pedals, cables, and other accessories like my slide, clip-on tuners, and capos.
The idea here is to keep all of my essential guitar accessories in one designated location, so I always know where everything is instead of having to spend time hunting around my home recording studio for them.
Preventing the loss of guitar picks boils down to treating your guitar picks as an essential commodity. While often overlooked for being relatively cheap, picks are a fundamental component of your gear and should be treated as such.
3. Keep Them On Your Guitar
Another option to help you stop losing your guitar picks is to keep them physically on your guitar.
Keeping picks on your guitar gives you the advantage of always having them handy, and placing the pick directly back onto the guitar when you are finished playing is easy.
There are several guitar pick holder brands, most of which are inexpensive, usually around the five to fifteen-dollar range. They come in various styles and designs, and you can likely find one to suit your aesthetic tastes.
Typically, the holders come with an adhesive back that you can place virtually anywhere on your guitar body or headstock. Alternatively, there are pick holders that can go around the headstock near the nut or holders that clip onto your guitar strap.
Lastly, you can keep a pick or two wedged in your guitar strings, as shown below on one of my acoustics and electrics. I prefer this as I don’t like how pick holders look on my guitars:
4. Keep Them Nearby At All Times
If you are still adamant that you do not need a designated container or spot for your picks and you don’t like how holders or picks look on your guitar, at the very least, you should keep multiple picks nearby.
Keeping a few picks in your pockets and wallet/purse/etc. can be a good idea to ensure you always have picks nearby, ready to go.
Billfolds, or whatever else you keep your cards and money in, offer a safer location than your pockets, and you typically have those items close. There are even some billfolds that specially designed slots for picks.
There are many other cool products, such as specifically designed pick-carrying cases, keychain pick holders, necklaces, and bracelets, that can help ensure you have a pick ready to go whenever the urge to pick up your guitar strikes you.
Lastly, since many guitarists wear wristbands, you can use them to store a few picks for quick access while you are shredding. However, they might get a little sweaty, so be aware that they might initially be a little slippery.
5. Empty Your Pockets
This tip is straightforward, so you might ask yourself why I would put something so obvious on this list.
Well, if you didn’t remember that pack of gum, ballpoint pen, important note, or that $20 bill in your pocket before you stuck your clothes in the wash, do you really think you will remember the guitar pick you left in there?
There is nothing inherently wrong with keeping picks in your pocket. However, you do run the serious risk of forgetting them there, at which point they join your socks in the black hole that is the washer and dryer.
So if you choose to use your pockets as your go-to pick storage, make emptying your pockets part of your daily guitar-playing routine.
6. Keep Lots of Extras
Just like guitars, you can never have too many picks. Luckily, picks are significantly cheaper than guitars. It is a good idea to keep a lot of picks around because no matter how diligent we are, we will eventually lose some of them.
This is especially key if you have the habit of putting your picks down wherever you happen to be playing at the moment. Having a couple of dozen picks around ensures you are never far from a pick.
Not only is having several picks handy a good idea to ensure you always have a pick ready to go but having a variety of sizes and thicknesses can be beneficial for experimenting with different playing styles and techniques.
There is an old saying that goes, “less is more.” This is not the case with guitar picks. Having more guitar picks nearby means less of a chance of losing them or at least less of a chance of losing all of them.
7. Give Your Picks Sentimental Value
Lastly, giving your pick some sentimental value can help you be more mindful about where you are placing your picks around the house or studio, thus making it less likely that you will lose them.
As I said earlier, treating your picks as if they are essential will make it less likely that you just mindlessly put them down wherever you happen to be. However, if you have a hard time doing this, you can make them have more sentimental value.
The first way to do this is to buy unique-looking picks with really cool artwork or your favorite band’s logo. Doing this will immediately give the pick more value versus a simple-looking pick that thousands of other guitarists also have. This video does a great job showing you how you can do this at home:
Guitar picks are a vital part of a guitarist’s gear and need to be treated as such.
Most of us are not full-time musicians, meaning our playing time is already pretty limited, so wasting any little bit of that precious time looking for picks is highly counter-productive.
Coaches and business leaders consistently say that the little things matter and pay attention to the details. Well, your guitar picks are the little details that mean a lot. There are plenty of ways to stop losing your picks but even if that doesn’t work you can also go for classical guitar and give up your pick altogether! There are also a surprising number of creative alternatives you can use but the best option is to not lose them in the first place!
I hope you found some of these tips and tricks for not losing your guitar picks useful. Best of luck, and enjoy your playing!
Hi everyone! I have been involved with music most of my life, beginning in grade school with the trumpet. I am a largely self-taught multi-instrumentalist (drums, guitar, bass, and starting the piano and violin). I currently play drums in two bands and write and produce many genres of music in my home recording studio. I am also an avid guitar and drum collector.