Guitar pick holders are often overlooked. A lot of performing guitarists don’t even own one. What are they supposed to do if they drop their pick? Or, as has happened to me, their pick snaps in half?
These holders can be concert-savers. And your concert can be ruined if you don’t have one handy.
So we’re going to cover the benefits of pick holders, what the best holders are and why, and then a couple alternate and/or temporary options.
The Benefits Of Guitar Pick Holders
As good as your grip may be, sometimes the pick still slips out of your hand
A guitar pick holder is a thingamajig that can store multiple guitar picks at once. A holder is most often designed to attach to your guitar or to a microphone stand.
How would these come in handy?
Imagine you’re performing onstage. Everything’s going well, you’re on top of your game, and the audience is resonating with your music. But then your guitar pick slips out of your fingers and falls to the floor.
Without a pick holder, you have two options: 1) continue playing with your fingers or thumb and pretend like nothing happened or 2) stop playing for a moment while you stoop down to retrieve your pick, killing the vibe in the process.
However, if you have a guitar pick holder, you can quickly grab another pick, whether the holder is on your mic stand or attached directly to your guitar.
So if you’re currently performing with a guitar or you plan to, a guitar pick holder is an essential tool for your guitarist’s “toolbelt.”
The Overall Best Guitar Pick Holders
This method works for holding a pick, but obviously not while you’re playing
There aren’t many design options when it comes to guitar pick holders, but we’ve narrowed it down to the most reliable holders made by the most reputable companies. Plus, there’s an alternate pick holder option at the end of the list.
The Wedgie Guitar Pick Holder
This pick holder is nifty in that it attaches to your guitar strings just above the neck on the headstock. Because of this, it won’t affect your guitar tuning or tone.
It’s super easy to install and doesn’t involve any annoying and potentially damaging adhesive. It’s made of a soft material, so it quickly slides in between the strings of any guitar. Just rotate it 90 degrees and it will lock in place.
The big downside of this design is that you can only store two picks at a time. So if you’re a rock guitarist who plays hard and often drops picks, this option may not be best for you.
Konig & Meyer Mic Stand Guitar Pick Holder
Another pick holder design is one that attaches to your microphone stand. With the K&M mic stand pick holder, you just snap the plastic holder onto your mic stand and slide your picks into the slot.
There are two sections made of plastic that attach to each other and then attach to the stand. Each slot can hold three guitar picks, so you can store six picks between both sections.
And when you purchase a K&M pick holder, the company includes four 0.81mm guitar picks in your shipment as a little bonus.
Jim Dunlop 5005 Guitar Pick Holder
Yet another pick holder design is one that attaches to the body of your guitar using adhesive. Not to worry, it uses guitar-safe adhesive tape, so it shouldn’t damage your instrument.
It’s a plastic device shaped like a guitar pick so your picks slide in and out easily. The inside is spring-loaded, kind of like a Pez dispenser, so you always have another pick at the ready if needed.
Dunlop doesn’t make it clear how many guitar picks it can hold, but it does hold multiple.
D’addario (Planet Waves) Mic Stand Guitar Pick Holder
D’Addario’s guitar pick holder is similar to K&M’s in that it attaches to your microphone stand. The big difference is that this holder holds nearly twice as many picks, capping out at 10 standard guitar picks.
Instead of making an extra long pick holder, they use two channels that face the singer, making them easily accessible while performing.
Like the K&M holder, it attaches to any standard-sized microphone stand.
If you like to do things yourself or you need a temporary fix until you choose a pick holder, you can either make one yourself or use a secret trick for acoustic-electric guitars.
DIY Guitar Pick Holder
If you need multiple pick holders that attach to your mic stand but you want to save a little money, you can make your own! It’s not that difficult (it takes about 15 minutes) and all the materials are available online. It can hold about 10 guitar picks, but you can customize it to your needs.
First, you’ll want to get these materials:
Step 1: Cut The Foam
First, measure 3-cm-wide piece of foam and cut it in a straight line. You’ll then have a strip of foam that’s 3 cm wide and as long as the binder bar.
Step 2: Prepare The Foam
Next, fold the foam in two lengthwise so that one side is just a little wider than the other — this emulates the shape of the binder bar. Then place the steel ruler right in the crease of the foam and tape the foam to the ruler.
Step 3: Place Foam Into Binder Bar
With the foam taped to the ruler, push the foam into the slot of the binder bar. Do this slowly so as not to rip the foam and to make sure it goes in evenly.
Once the foam is fully inserted in the bar, carefully remove the tape. Then slide the ruler out very slowly. You may want to place your fingers at the end of the binder bar to the foam doesn’t slide out with the ruler.
Step 4: Test Your Pick Holder
You’re done! Now slide your guitar picks in between the foam. It should securely hold them without scratching them. Depending on the length of the binder bar, it should be able to hold several picks at once.
Step 5: Attach Pick Holder To Mic Stand
If you want to attach your DIY pick holder to your microphone stand, you can drill a hole on either end of the binder bar and use zip ties to attach it to your mic stand.
Pick Holder Trick For Acoustic-Electric Guitars
A special trick to hold your guitar pics
If you play an acoustic-electric guitar, there’s a temporary trick you can use as a makeshift pick holder.
Almost all acoustic-electric guitars have a little control panel on the top side of the guitar (the side facing you when you look down). It usually has settings for Volume, Brilliance, Treble, Middle, and Bass, or some combination of those things.
There should be a little slot somewhere in this control panel (see the picture of my Martin DCX1E). And it’s just big enough to hold one or two picks.
Now, doing this long-term probably isn’t good for that little control panel as it could loosen it or affect the electronics. But if you need a bit more time to decide on a real pick holder, this is a nifty method for the time being.
Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist based in Austin, Tx. He’s been playing guitar since 2002, writing songs since 2005, and producing music shortly after that. After getting a few (unofficial) basic guitar lessons from his brother, he taught himself guitar the rest of the way. Since then, he tries out any instrument he can get his hands on, like piano, banjo, ukulele, and cheap keyboards from the 90s.