How To Make Your Picks Last Forever (Or Until You Lose Them)

When I started guitar lessons, my main teacher for years was a left-handed convert. He learned guitar right-handed and never had any issues. It wasn’t until I went away to college when I realized that there’s a multitude of ways to hold a pick and indeed I was doing it “wrong” (Spoiler: there’s no wrong way).

See, compared to the traditional way to hold a pick, I angle it opposite of what a right-handed guitarist does (even though I am, indeed, a right-handed guitarist). And by doing so I’ve boggled the mind of one astute random bystander and, conveniently explained why I always lose my picks and never throw them away, because they’re as good as the first day I bought them (or even smoother). The bevel hardly ever changes and I certainly don’t “grind down” picks like some guitarists do (Though your traditional pick scrapes can still do some damage).

Shout out to the random bystander in Guitar Source (RIP) in Kansas who noticed this and brought it to my attention, way before the internet ever would have (or Cracking the Code). Many sleepless nights have been wasted on his remarks (though he wasn’t complaining at all, just fascinated that a right-handed person would do it). Enough sleepless nights to acknowledge that what I know is already ingrained in me, has a lot do with my natural pick attack, and keeps my picks fresh and snappy as Day 1. I’ve also learned in this time that it’s very, very hard to change the angle of your pick without deliberate thought, definitely a natural motion once you’ve taken up guitar for any length of time.

When you twist the angle of the pick as a “/” instead of “\”, you consequentially end up changing the angle of attack for that pick. And it’s an audible difference as well as a visual one. Because – as you may notice – the string wrap direction is no longer aggressively cutting into the edge of the pick as it sweeps across the string in any standard picking motion.

So give the pick angle direction change a shot, even for just a bit. You might find, as I do, that the attack is a bit softer, the tone is every-so-slightly warmer/duller, and coincidentally that your picks will last an eternity.

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