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When it comes to guitar picks there are simply hundreds to choose from. Over the years I have purchased many different brands and many different shapes and sizes. Although picks are only cheap, they are easily lost so over the years I have probably spent a good few pounds buying new picks. One thing I had never consider was making my own picks, not until recently that is when I got myself one of these, a pick master plectrum punch.
A plectrum is simply another name for a pick. If you are unsure what one is, it's simply a small piece of plastic used for strumming guitar strings. The pick master plectrum punch is a simple device which lets you create your own. You can use any thing piece of plastic such as old credit or store cards, sheets of plastic sheeting or anything else you have lying around the house.
When I got mine I found a big stash of old credit cards and other similar cards. The punch is pretty easy to use and does not take much effort. You can sometimes find that the plastic will crack if you are not careful. Sometimes as well you get round edges which is not something you want when you are holding these in your fingers for long periods of time. If this does happen though it's easy to get a piece of sandpaper and sand down the edges. It only takes a second and it leaves you with a nice smooth pick.
I think this is a really good idea for a product as it gives you your own personal unique picks that are a one off and nobody else will have. You can personalise them with your own designs and the only really limit to what you can create is your own imagination. The pick master punch costs around £8 or it did when I got one, this is pretty good value when you think there is no real limit on how many picks you can make yourself.
Overall then I would highly recommend the pick punch. It's simple to use, good value and really good fun. I know that a lot of people collect guitar picks so this would quite possibly appeal to them as well. You can experiment with different thicknesses of plastic and different styles of pick. I have made some that I really like although I have never quite managed to perfect the picks quite as well as the ones you buy in the shops. That said, this is a novel idea that I think is well worth the money.
I received the Plectrum Punch as a gift, and immediately set about my old store cards and pretty much anything plastic and unrequired, creating plectrums of different gauges. I normally use picks of roughly 1.5mm gauge, and this thickness can be hard to find amongst the contents of one's wallet, however the plectrums I created were perfectly punched out, and resembled something you might normally buy from a guitar shop. You will often find rough edges, but one pass of a piece of fine sandpaper will remove this.
I prefer to use smaller picks than a standard size, which the Plectrum Punch might struggle with creating, but after some creative use of the cutting area it is possible to make something smaller, however not up to the standard of a shop bought example.
There are two main issues with the device. Firstly, once you have spent a while creating plectrums you may have enough to last you a couple of years within the hour, potentially limiting the re-use value. Secondly, the ability to create a decent plectrum largely depends on the quality of plastic you feed into it. Just something to bear in mind.
Want to give those expired credit cards a fresh lease of life? Then purchase a Pickmaster Plectrum Punch and turn your unwanted plastic into a handy strumming device. I used to cut my own plectrums with scissors - but the size wasn't regular, and they ended up looking more circular in shape than the classic teardrop '351' design. The Pickmaster punches out plectrums which are roughly 3 x 2.5 centimetres in scale, which roughly equates to the industry approved size.
Price & Design
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Costing £19.99 from play.com, the Plectrum Punch looks a little like a nutcracker, although it's flatter and embossed with the Pickmaster branding. Measuring 16 x 9cms, the device is fairly comfortable to hold but doesn't feel quite as sturdy as it looks. To use the punch, simply slide the piece of plastic you want to use into the 'jaws' (credit cards are an ideal thickness, although it will do a little thicker if required), and squeeze firmly. A fair bit of force is needed, but it's not something which requires a bodybuilder's physique.
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In my experience i've found that the Pickmaster works very well, yet leaves a fairly ragged edge on the plectrums it produces. To be honest, this is a little disappointing, but the edges can be smoothed with some sand paper or a file. I've found that as i've used the product more and more, producing plectrums is getting a little more difficult each time - I guess the punch teeth are becoming blunter, which leads me to ask how much longer the Pickmaster will be useable for.
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"Free plectrums for life" was one of the phrases using in the marketing of the Pickmaster - and in theory this could well be the case; it's very satisfying being able to take an unwanted piece of plastic and forge from it something which is useful to a guitarist. However, whilst my experiences with the Pickmaster have been satisfactory to date, i've read a number of reports from people which state that their one's have suddenly snapped in half! - watch this space for updates...
Pickmaster Plectrum Punch This sounds like a great idea, at least that's what my girlfriend thought. The idea behind this simple gadget, is that you can make your own plectrums / picks for your guitars.
Plectrums are the sometimes hard, sometimes fixable small pieces of plastic used for strumming the strings of both acoustic and electric guitars. The fact that most guitarists lose most of their picks here there and absolutely everywhere makes that fact that most picks are cheep to buy more annoying than you would think. Even small amounts of money being spent nonstop can and does add up very quickly.
This came packaged in a clear see-through plastic covering with a cardboard sheet at the back. The unit itself is made of heavy strong steel, and feels that it is made well. The majority of the unit is made up of the handle and this has the Pick Master name imbossed into it. In all honesty it's like an oversised,extra strong paper hole punch. You just place any flat piece of plastic into it's open mouth and press down hard on the top, long handle. The amount of force needed to ensure the plectrum shaped cutter goes through the plastic all depends on the thickness of the material you are using. If the plastic is particularly ridged more force will be required. If the plastic is thin like that of a credit card the plectrum punch goes through very easily.
One very important thing worth mentioning is more times than not it will not result in a clean cut. Once the punch has gone through and the plectrum is removable most of them will have a rough edge. This can make your makeshift plectrums not only look bad but feel a bit strange in your hand and worst of all it can prematurely wear down your strings. This can all be avoided by filing down these rough edges using a nail file (buy a new cheap nail file DON'T use your girlfriends expensive "diamond dusted" fancy French one. That's a lesson I learned the hard way).
Once I had made my first pick I found I became crazed. Looking everywhere for things made of plastic that I could use. It wasn't because I wanted more picks it was just compulsion to make them. When I found myself destroying things just to make inferior plectrums, I knew I had a problem and admitting you have a problem is the first step.
Hello, my name is 2night, and I'm addicted to making plectrums.
I found a cure for my problem online. Other owners had found using store cards to be the perfect solution and also the best thickness and strength for home made picks. By store cards I mean those thin credit card-like cards that can either be a store club card or for a store gift card. I however felt like a criminal taking two of these when I wasn't intending on using them for their intended use. The couple I took however did work a treat and were two Christmas gift cards that made some very festive looking plectrums (a double sided Christmas pudding and a double sided Santa face) and being a total Christmas maniac I love these picks more than any I own. I never repeated my heinous crime and I keep expecting to see a police composite drawing of my face popping up on crime watch one of these nights.
All kidding aside this is an okay novelty tool. Once you have the right materials it can make reasonable, usable, plectrums. I would never and have never used them in the studio or during a gig but for casual home playing and practise these do work well. The fact that this was a thoughtful gift makes me like it a lot more than it deserves. I don't think this is the answer to most players dreams if you own this it doesn't mean you will never need to buy a plectrum again.
This costs around £20 and in my opinion I would buy twenty pounds worth of quality, reliable, plectrums before buying one of these and you will get a lot of plectrums for that money.
All I have to say now is I hope my girlfriend never, ever reads this review, thank goodness for a dooyoo alias.
Thanks for reading :0) 2night
This can be purchased online at :
For £14.90 + shipping
When you just want to rock out there is nothing more annoying when you discover that you can't find any plectrums lying about. I have resorted to trying coins and tiddly winks but they just don't work (they're the wrong shape and feel odd). This led me to discover the Pickmaster.
This crazy gadget is simply a hole punch. You use old credit, debit or phone cards and use the Pickmaster to cut out a plectrum. With plectrums costing around 50p - £1 you soon make you money back on the device.
I bought it from Firebox.com for £20 which I thought was a lot. But after owning for over a year I have certainly made my money back and made great use out of my old cards.
The Pickmaster is around 15 cms long and 5 cm wide. I find it too big to carry in my pocket so leave it in my guitar bag. It is made from a thick stainless steel and is very sturdy. It has a shiny metallic look and looks like a bottle opener. When cutting out a plectrum it will usually do it with minimal effort. Although the longer I have owned it the more often I find myself cutting of excess parts with scissors (it needs a sharpen).
If I have an expired card or a free shopping card I always make good use of them with the Pickmaster. I never now find myself searching aimlessly to enable myself to rock out. Although it is not as sharp as it once was it still works for me. It has saved me money in the long run and makes my sporadic attempts of playing the guitar so much easier.
I bought this as a stocking filler for my guitarist boyfriend at Christmas as a joke against the fact
he can never find a pick when he goes to play but I find plenty of them randomly abandoned all over
Both my boyfriend and his son play guitar and although I mainly play bass and usually just use my
fingers to play I do occasionally use a pick to play depending on what I'm playing. With 3 possible
users the Pickmaster Plectrum punch seemed like a fun present that could be used by all of us.
The Pickmaster is basically an overgrown paper punch with a pick shaped punch instead of a small
round one the idea is you make your own picks from old credit cards and bits of plastic rather than
buying them. This means you can kid yourself you are helping the environment by recycling and
saving money while leaving pick shaped holes in any available bits of plastic you can find.
My boyfriend and his son went mad with this on boxing day but didn't think to actually check
if any of the plastic they used was still being used for it's original purpose. Although they did at
least leave the bar code in place I now get rather strange and bemused looks from the checkout
staff in Tescos as I hand over my clubcard with 2 pick shaped holes in it while I wait for the new card
While I think the punch is a great idea it has some downsides in actual use. The punch is quite hard
to push down through the plastic so although my boyfriend can do it with his hands his son Ryan
can't manage it and has to put it down on the floor and stand on it to get it to punch through.
On the plus side it does seem to be well made and is solid enough to withstand being stood on by
a 10 year old.
The other downside is the punch leaves rough burred edges around the picks which means you
really have to file the edges with an emery board or sandpaper before you can actually use the
picks to play. Although it only takes a few seconds to smooth the edges this does kind of spoil
the fun of making their own picks.
We've used this with everything from old bank cards to the lids of throw away food containers
and Ryan loves the fact he now has 2 picks with his face on them courtesy of his old bus passes.
This has also provided a use for the packaging and top up cards from the many free pay as you go
sim cards we seem to have acquired lately. My boyfriends latest supplies seem to have come
from using the free Shell points cards that you can pick up in any Shell fuel station. I'm sure the local
Shell garage are now wondering why the points cards are now flying out the door but nobody seems
to be collecting points.
Overall this was good as a novelty gift but sadly it doesn't work as well as it could and although my
boyfriend and his son have used it loads in the last couple of weeks I can't see it being used much
once the initial novelty value has worn off. Given the fact I usually buy picks in packs from Ebay and
you can often get 20 picks for around £1 somebody is going to be busy making a lot of picks before
the Pickmaster pays for itself and starts to save any money.
All guitarists will know what its like to have a guitar out, wanting to play and theres no plectrums in sight so you find yourself going on a hunt for them. And small pieces of plastic go missing so easily so you find yourself going to buy more plectrums before having a total clean out and finding tones in your home. Plectrums tend to cost 50p or more depending on what you buy and it can really add up! These are minor annoyances but as humans, we always look for options to make our lives run that little bit smoother.
Enter the Pickmaster! I first saw one of these little contraptions on Firebox.com for presale. The slogan "free plectrums for life" especially caught my eye and I read more. This is literally a plectrum shaped hole puncher for old credit/phone top up cards and any plastic material strong enough for use as a plectrum, really. On Firebox and Amazon they are priced at around £20 but if you look around and especially on Ebay (thats were I got mine), you can get one for as low as £15. Postage may cost a bit because it is quite heavy.
Pickmasters are packaged in thin, clear plastic with a cardboard backing. The artwork on the card is very attractive to the eyes. It has been well designed and there is a little chart on the back so you can work out how much money you have saved on plectrums by buying the Pickmaster! I thought that it was a very nice touch!
The Pickmaster itself is around 15cm in length and about an inch in width. It is much bigger than it looks on the pictures, it is made out of quite thick metal. You really can't call it pocket sized so its not something you can easily take around with you but you could fit it in a gig bag. So on a test run, I used an old I.D card and it took a lot of force to punch the plectrum out. Then there is sometimes bits you have to grab a pair of scissors and cut them off but if you don't cut them off, they don't really get in the way or make it difficult to play. Sometimes the pins fall out and I almost loose them. I'm not sure that that is just the way I use it or just my Pickmaster but it is quite annoying.
Something that has never happened to me before is having to have a little pot on my desk because I have so many plectrums that have been cut out of anything I've found around the flat thick enough to use as a plectrum. I've had my Pickmaster around 3 weeks and according to the chart, I've saved just over £10. So far, s good! I think its a great little tool for guitarists that is a tiny bit overpriced and not very well marketed because not many people know it exists! I think its worth having one! I'm glad I decided to buy one! I recommend getting one to any guitarist that goes through plectrums like nobodies business!