Guitar Pick Punch: Yes or No?

A few years back at a previous job, my boss gave me a guitar pick punch for Christmas. I always thought that it was a unique item, but never would have bought one for myself. It is only recently I have realized how handy this thing is!

If you are not familiar with it, the guitar pick punch looks a lot like a desk stapler. You take old credit cards and expired gift cards, place them in the punch, and Voila! You have instant guitar picks! With practice and a good aim, one can get four picks out of a normal-sized credit card.

About a year ago, I posted a blog related to this. The guys at Casino Guitars had stated that the guitar pick punch was a terrible Christmas gift, and I disagreed with them ( At the time, I said that you can use it to make guitar picks to give to moochers while you keep your good ones for yourself. Well, I am now learning that these homemade picks are a lot more valuable.

I recently went into a Guitar center to pick up some Tortex guitar picks. My personal choice for playing are the orange .60 mm standard picks (you know, the ones that are shaped like Joe Scarborough’s head).

Anyway, they used to cost about $3.00 for a dozen. Well, now they are over twice that price! Even on a bargain place like Sweetwater, they are going for $5.49 for a dozen. Paying almost 50 cents for a piece of plastic? That is out of line, in my opinion.

So the guitar pick punch will be resorted to a lot more these days. Think about it:

  • Cost effective. You get four picks off of one expired credit card. A quick sand-down of the edges once punched out, and you have saved yourself almost $2.00!
  • Environmentally friendly. You throw a bunch of credit cards and gift cards into landfills, and they just sit there. After punching out picks from them you are recycling over half of that plastic!
  • Endless supply. I have about five or six tobacco dip tins full of homemade picks. I realize now that I will probably never need to buy another guitar pick (that Tortex pack will probably stay unopened for a while).

Of course, every guitarist has his/her preference for pick thickness. Credit cards seem to be a close thickness to those orange Tortex picks, and thinner gift cards tend to reflect the red Tortex (which I use with my mandolin). The purple heavy 1.0 mm Tortex picks that I use with bass guitar will probably still be purchased, since I don’t see much credit cards that thick, and I don’t think that the punch can handle that thickness.

These punches go for about $25.00 at various online shops like Amazon or Sweetwater. Guitar picks are items that always seem to get lost along the way, and you end up needing more at the end of a gig or practice. Why not save yourself some cash in the long run and help out the environment? I leave you with this guy’s view of the guitar pick punch.

Chew on it and comment.


By Matt Merta/Mitch Matthews

Musician and writer (both song and print) for over 30 years. Primarily interested in roots music (Americana, bluegrass, blues, folk). Current contributing writer for Fiddler Magazine, previous work with Metro Times (Detroit), Ann Arbor Paper and Real Detroit Weekly, as well as other various music and military publications. As songwriter, won the 2015 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (Bluegrass Category, "Something About A Train," co-written with Dawn Kenney and David Morris) as well as having work performed on NPR and nominated for numerous Detroit Music Awards.

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