The 7 Best Guitar Pick Punches

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This wiki has been updated 33 times since it was first published in December of 2015. If you're looking to buy an interesting and useful present for the musician in your life, you might want to consider these pick punches. They allow any guitar, mandolin, or ukulele player to create their own custom plectrums from just about any plastic material, including old credit cards, hotel keys, and driver's licenses. Some even include decorated strips to get you started. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Pick-a-Palooza Mega Pack

2. BridgeWire Music Perfect Puncher

3. Pick Punch Original

Editor's Notes

June 19, 2020:

Whether you play an acoustic or electric guitar, you probably use plectrums. And if you're always losing them, or you want a great tool for making DIY guitarist gifts, a pick punch is the way to go. We've added kits that include fun plastic sheets, as well as those that do not come with materials, requiring you to provide your own. In the former category, both the Pick-a-Palooza Mega Pack and the BridgeWire Music Perfect Puncher remain tough to top. The plastic strips included in each kit will make 100 and 50 picks, respectively. Plus, the Pick-a-Palooza model is offered in several colors, and even comes with a pick holder keychain. The HQMaster Cutter also comes with a couple of plastic strips, although these are plain and on the small side.

When it comes to models sold without accessories, the Pick Punch Original remains a solid option. It is robust, easy to use, and relatively affordable. Or, for an even more budget-friendly choice, there's the EconoLED Plectrum Press. It doesn't have any bells and whistles, and it isn't quite as sturdy as higher-priced alternatives; nevertheless, it can be useful, especially for those who want a simple way to recycle old credit cards. And, finally, there's the PickMaster Premium. It takes some effort to squeeze and use, but it boasts a handsome metal body and makes standard 351 picks.

Special Honors

Personalization Mall Personalized If you want a truly customized option, and a pick punch just won't cut it, try the Personalization Mall Personalized. You have the option of adding an image or message to both sides of your plectrums; when they arrive, you can count on the smooth celluloid construction for excellent playability.

Pickslay's Woodworking Custom Engraved The Pickslay's Woodworking Custom Engraved makes an excellent, thoughtful present for the guitarist in your life, if trying to punch your own picks for gift-giving is not offering you the results you need. There are a wide range of woods to select from, including Caribbean rosewood and applewood, and you can choose whether you want engraving on one or both sides.

4. PickMaster Premium

5. Elrido DIY

6. HQMaster Cutter

7. EconoLED Plectrum Press

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.

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.

But I far preferred the specific feel of Dunlop's .88mm nylon.

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.

They were too sharp, so they often cut through lighter strings.

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.

Melissa Harr
Last updated by Melissa Harr

Melissa Harr is a language-obsessed writer from Chicagoland who holds both a bachelor of arts and master of arts in English. Although she began as a TEFL teacher, earning several teaching certificates and working in both Russia and Vietnam, she moved into freelance writing to satisfy her passion for the written word. She has published full-length courses and books in the realm of arts & crafts and DIY; in fact, most of her non-working time is spent knitting, cleaning, or committing acts of home improvement. Along with an extensive knowledge of tools, home goods, and crafts and organizational supplies, she has ample experience (okay, an obsession) with travel gear, luggage, and the electronics that make modern life more convenient.

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