Instructables

DIY Plastic Finger Picks

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I did this project because I broke my nail one time too many. I play clawhammer banjo, and to get the tone I like I need my nail out past my finger tip.

Most commercial finger picks are made of brass, steel, or hard plastic. Unlike natural fingernail, these materials don't have give when they hit a string, and are harder so the don't absorb the shock by letting the string dig in. The result of this is that when playing with these picks they make an annoying scratching and pinging sound.

By using soft flexible plastic I corrected both these problems creating a pick that produces superior tone and is fit perfectly to my finger. These picks are also a great recycling project and are very low cost. 
 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

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For this project you'll want yo get:
-Tin snips or other strong scissor
-Nail clipper
-File
-Pen
-Medical tape
-Soft flexible plastic (I'm using plastic dog food containers)

Step 2: Cut out Rough Shape

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First make sure whatever plastic you're using is clean and dry. Next use the tin snips to cut out a large flat section plastic. Cut out a rectangle approximately 1 inch by 2 inches in size. Cut two 7/8" deep slits in the long side, one 3/4" from the end the other 1 1/4" from the end. Next cut in from the ends to the end of the slits at a 70 degree angle to the slits. Make parallel cuts to these on the back of the pick creating the shape  in the last picture.

Step 3: Wrap the Sides with Tape

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Take a piece of medical tape and wrap it around the sides of the pick. As the pick is curved you'll have to fold it in the center.

Step 4: Curve the Blade

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Use the body of the pen and bend the blade of the pick around it creating a crease in the plastic. you can see the result in the last picture. 
OneHarp1 year ago
Great idea! I typically use the "meat" of my fingers for fingerpicking (I'm a blues guy), but this might be a cool alternative sound for me to try out!