Guitar Picks - That nice woody sound.

  • Advertise with us
Project by wellington posted 08-08-2010 11:34 PM 2902 views 17 times favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m an acoustic guitarist, so I have the habit of getting really nerdy about the sound of wood…

Recently, I’ve been trying to think of a congratulations gift for a friend, because he’s about to land a record deal; this is what I came up with.

Five are walnut, and there’s a mahogany one for good luck (having 5 of one, 1 of another is a guitarist superstition thing).

The second picture is the tips of one of the woodies and my standard Dunlop Ultex 1.14mm pick.

Having spent quite a bit of the afternoon playing with these, I’m not going to lie, they actually sound quite wonderful. The edges are very round, and they cut back on overtones, so the sound they produce is very mellow.

It’s probably obvious, but these were made with a bandsaw and sandpaper… hand sanded to 1500, and finished with bee’s wax.

-- I want to be a space ship when I grow up.

23 comments so far

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3088 days

#1 posted 08-08-2010 11:54 PM

Now you gotta make a pick shaped case to keep ‘em in! lol

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3113 days

#2 posted 08-08-2010 11:55 PM

Very cool! I have never thought of this.
I play a little, but I have a friend who plays alot and has for around 30 years.
Would you mind if I stole this idea as a gift for him?
They are just awesome.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View wellington's profile


60 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 08-09-2010 12:06 AM

bigtiny – excellent idea! and then i’ll need to make even more to fill said pick-shaped pick case.

woodenfrog – dooooo it! it’s a great way to use up thin scraps… also, make sure that the grain runs toward the tip of the pick… if the grain runs perpendicular, it tends to scrape against the high E and B strings (even when it seems like it’s glass smooth). i promise your friend will love them… because seriously, who has hardwood guitar picks?

-- I want to be a space ship when I grow up.

View Bluebear's profile


417 posts in 3097 days

#4 posted 08-09-2010 12:07 AM

:D :D :D i keep getting surprised at what you can make with wood… i play a little myself, and would love to hear the sound of wood!!

-- -- It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 3113 days

#5 posted 08-09-2010 12:13 AM

Cool man. I made a few of these a while back but haven’t done any lately. I had to let the flat, tender spots on my finger nails grow out,haha. Did you get a manicure while sanding yours?

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View wellington's profile


60 posts in 3072 days

#6 posted 08-09-2010 12:17 AM

flemming – perhaps i’ll post up a video of what they sound like… because it’s pretty nice :)

raftermonkey – actually, i had a clever (if a little precarious) way of doing most of the sanding on my 1.5” belt sander… i only got myself once… and even then, it wasn’t much of anything, because it’s strung with 150 grit sandpaper…

-- I want to be a space ship when I grow up.

View WoodenFrog's profile


2737 posts in 3113 days

#7 posted 08-09-2010 12:25 AM

Thanks Wellington! I think I`ll give it a try.
I always have thin small pieces that I use for the wooden rings I laminate together.
Thanks again.

-- Robert B. Sabina, Ohio.....

View SPalm's profile


5325 posts in 4082 days

#8 posted 08-09-2010 12:27 AM

I don’t play, but my son does. And now he has requested some from me.
Any more hints on shaping/sanding. You seem to have done a very repeatable pattern (maybe just duh, rounded triangle) or is it just easy/tedious?

Thanks for the post,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View wellington's profile


60 posts in 3072 days

#9 posted 08-09-2010 12:35 AM

woodenfrog – my pleasure, i can’t wait to yours done :)

steve – first off, i can only imagine that you’ll end up making the craziest guitar picks the world has ever seen :) as for the shape, i used my dunlop ultex as a stencil… since that’s the pick that i’ve been playing with for the better part of a decade and i wanted something familiar.

it’s actually not as tedious as i thought it was going to be, it only took about 10 minutes to finish each pick… trace it, cut it out on the band saw, sand it to thickness on my little belt sander (i made the tips a bit thinner than the rest of it, just to get closer to my actual picks), finish the round edges by hand, oil… done.

-- I want to be a space ship when I grow up.

View mgb_2x's profile


180 posts in 3269 days

#10 posted 08-09-2010 01:06 AM

Must be fun to have to throttle back all the horsepower you have in your awesome shop to build these small items. Like driving a finish nail with a sledge hammer. Nice work, look forward to seeing more of your great stuff.

-- "aim small miss small" m g breedlove

View Sailor's profile


543 posts in 3465 days

#11 posted 08-09-2010 02:18 PM

Pretty neat that’s for sure. I play a bit myself and I will have to try these out. Great job and I appreciate how you respond back to the comments on your project. I think that is a very good trait of a Lumberjock.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View Manitario's profile


2681 posts in 3083 days

#12 posted 08-09-2010 04:38 PM

wow, great idea. I play guitar myself and have tried a lot of different things for picks; from quarters to smooth stones, but the wooden picks would be something new

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View wellington's profile


60 posts in 3072 days

#13 posted 08-10-2010 03:55 AM

Mgb – actually, these were done on the tiny tools in my basement… A tiny 1/3 hp bandsaw, a 1.5” belt sander, and some good old sandpaper :) I think if I tried to make these at the shop I would lose a number of fingers and various limbs…

Sailor – absolutely do it! I’ve discovered new wonderful trait of these picks today. I was playing out in the 90 degree heat and humidity, and the wood does a great job of wicking away sweat, so they’re very easy to keep a grip on.

Also, I think it’s only proper to respond to individual questions, because if there’s any information at all that I can share to help someone, that’s exactly why I’m here! Everyone gives me excellent suggestions, and all I can do is return them in kind.

Manitario – I used to do that too :) these were jus a whim to get rid of my walnut scraps… And I’m already completely sold on them, I probably won’t be using plastic picks anymore. You’ll love them.

-- I want to be a space ship when I grow up.

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 3341 days

#14 posted 08-10-2010 04:21 PM

Awesome picks! I’m going to have to try this. Like Manitario, I’ve played with just about everything, besides wood…

-- David

View TroutGuy's profile


224 posts in 3912 days

#15 posted 08-10-2010 07:20 PM

Very cool idea!!! I may have to ‘borrow’ this one myself. My son-in-law is a bass player and he has a birthday coming up…

-- There is nothing in the world more dangerous, than a woodworker who knows how to read a micrometer...

showing 1 through 15 of 23 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics