7 Best Guitar Pick Punches | February 2017
- creates uniformly smooth shapes
- comes with a satisfaction guarantee
- does not catch picks
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
- works on multiple types of plastic
- large double spring
- base may bend over time
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- tough stainless steel blade
- hollowed out base catches cuts
- requires more force than others
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
- punches standard 351 shapes
- weighs well over a pound
- instructions included
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
- holder included
- heavy base for stability
- comfortable curved handle
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
- comes in a gift box presentation
- suitable for serious musicians
- stainless steel blade
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
Your Card Has Been Declined
There are few more embarrassing words in the English language than "I'm sorry, but it seems your card has been declined."
It's a terrible situation for both the customer in question and the salesman or waiter charged with charging the destitute fool.
That may have been too harsh. There's no proof here of destitution. In my time, I've had a card or two declined just because the purchase raised a flag in the card company's identity theft algorithms.
If you do face the unfortunate experience of actually having your card declined and then deactivated for one reason or another, or if you simply have a card that's expired, you may find yourself in a position to make the most out of the pick punch.
It's a pretty simple device, really. It uses leverage focused toward a simple hinge the same way a stapler works. But, instead of driving a stapler, the pick punch pushes a pick-shaped piece of metal through a pick shaped hole lined with a blade.
Think of it like Wile E. Coyote running through a stone wall and leaving the perfect imprint of his body, but this time his body is shaped like a guitar pick.
When I Went Green
If, when I was a teenager, Jim Dunlop held a press conference and announced the bankruptcy of his company and the discontinuation of the .88mm green Dunlop Tortex picks, I might have quit playing the guitar then and there.
I had that much of an emotional connection to them.
It's still my go-to pick, as it has been for nearly 20 years of guitar playing.
That kind of commitment is hard to give up, and if you've played with a specific thickness of pick for a long while, it's something you're going to have to consider when selecting your pick punch.
A credit card or a gift card, for example, which are probably the two most commonly cited items punched into guitar picks, is .76mm thick. That's not quite .88mm, but it could do in a pinch. If that's much thicker than what you normally play, you'll have to seek out thinner plastics.
No pick punch set comes with an .88mm sheet set, though several brands offer .90mm sheets sold separately on their websites, and it was possible that I could make the transition from one weight to the next without losing too much sleep. But I far preferred the specific feel of Dunlop's .88mm nylon.
So what's a boy to do? Well, lucky me, the plastics industry is always happy to oblige a paying customer. You can find pretty much any kind of plastic or synthetic material online for your pick punch. As long as it's in the same Vicker's hardness test ballpark and it's less than 1mm thick, you should be able to punch it.
Playing Guitar Uphill, Both Ways
More and more I find myself playing the "When I was your age" card. Now, that's a card I'd be happy to feed to the pick punch!
The truth is that these punches weren't around when I was learning the instrument, and for the many years I spent playing out and touring with bands.
There was a stigma against homemade guitar picks back then. This was mainly due to the fact that, in order to cut a pick for yourself out of something like a credit card, you had to do it by hand. Usually, we'd use scissors.
The process was long and inarticulate, and the resulting picks were but shadows cast on the wall of the cave, flickering, unshapely semblances of a far away ideal.
They were too sharp, so they often cut through lighter strings. They were the wrong material, so they produced an ugly tone.
It's only in the past decade or so that all those problems were solved with a pick punch and a little bit of light emery cloth.
There's some disagreement about who made the thing first, but we can all agree that it works.