If you’ve ever found yourself without a guitar pick you might wonder if you can replace it with something more commonplace.
Can I use a coin as a guitar pick is a common question that gets asked.
Whether you want to use a metal quarter, or a sixpence coin as a guitar pick, you’ll be able to make it work, but there are some things you’ll want to know before you start shredding.
Losing guitar picks is so common that it’s almost a rite of passage to go through packs of guitar picks.
Maybe you want to have a backup plan in case you lose your picks, or maybe you just want to skip guitar picks altogether and substitute them to begin with (can’t lose a guitar pick if you never had one to begin with, right?).
A coin can be used instead of a guitar pick, with relative ease. It may take a bit of getting used to, but shouldn’t pose an issue.
You should know that using a metal coin in place of a guitar pick will wear out your strings faster, but is not likely going to decrease the strings lifespan by more than a few weeks.
How do you make a guitar pick out of a coin?
Coins come ready made for picking guitar strings from your local mint.
That’s a joke, but you are more than able to use a coin, as is, as a guitar pick.
Some guitarists do take it to the next level, however, and trim the coin into a more normal pick shape.
However, trimming and shaping a coin into a guitar pick seems like it defeats the purpose altogether.
If you want to use a coin, so you never have to search for your pick, or worry about losing them, shaping coins into picks brings you right back to where you started.
Shaping the coins this way is likely going to cost more money or time than getting normal picks would.
My recommendation is just get used to coins as they come from the Mint, or stick to normal guitar picks.
Do coins damage guitar strings?
Yes, the metal on metal contact between the coin and the strings will wear them down more quickly than a plastic pick will.
I wouldn’t go so far to say it will damage the strings, as that makes it seem like you’ll play with a coin once and need to change your strings.
Rather, using a coin will likely mean you need to change your guitar string a few weeks before you would, if you were using a plastic plectrum.
Metal Coin guitar picks and pickups
One minor concern you might want to be aware of when switching to a coin as a guitar pick is that it may, to a small degree, interfere with the pickups of your guitar.
Guitar pickups via magnets, any external ferrous material that gets in the way of the pickups operating as normal may be cause for concern.
Nonetheless, this hasn’t been reported too often, or caused any big issues when it was.
It certainly should be something you watch out for when using a coin as a guitar pick.
For instance Brian May of Queen uses a coin without issue.
Does Brian May use a sixpence coin as a pick?
Yes, brian May of Queen using a Sixpence metal coin as his guitar pick.
He mentions that he likes the rigidness of coins as he gets more feedback from the strings that way.
Here’s a great video of him discussing it: