Make Brass Guitar Picks From an Old Cymbal

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I like brass guitar picks. They have a tone all their own. Buying them in stores is very expensive, so I decided to make my own...

Step 1: Parts and Tools

I bought two cracked cymbals off eBay for one dollar.
I'll be using a tin snips, a bastard file, and a Dremel tool to make my picks...

Step 2: Cut the Cymbal Into Pick Shapes

I used three picks as templates for my picks...

First I cut them into small "chunks"...

Step 3: More Cutting

Then I cut the chunks into each pick shape. If you take your time, you can cut pretty close to the traced outline...
The better you do this step, the easier the next step is...

Step 4: Fine Tune Your Shapes

I used a cutting bit and my Dremel to get the shapes "just right".

Step 5: Finish Your Pick Shapes With a File

I then used a bastard file to smooth the edges and make them nice!

Step 6: Polish the Picks

Then I used my Dremel again, this time with an emory bit to further smooth and polish the picks.
Voila! Brass picks!

NOTE: Safety first - wear gloves and eye protection when making these picks!

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    62 Discussions

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    ShaneM52

    2 years ago

    I hope you wore a respirator. Brass contains lead which causes cancer, especially when ingested or inhaled. Anyone ever heard of Flint Michigan?

    1 reply
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    andrewmag166ShaneM52

    Reply 2 years ago

    Cymbals arent made from brass they are made from Bronze.

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    quadracer

    6 years ago on Step 6

    My brass picks are in high demand from all my guitar friends. i use mothers polish and a piece of cardboard to polish the edges, and I put a slight angle on all the edges. Then use mothers to polish the surface, Smooth as glass, Bright as gold.

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    jtaylore o

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha, I agree with the other drummers.
    I'm both a guitarist and a drummer. I would only turn my crappier cymbals and completely broke-beyond-repair cymbals into pick, especially since I don't breaking strings.
    Heh, but I have to say, if my guitarist ever uses my cymbals for picks, she's dead XD

    I just cut some picks from some 6061 T6 aluminum I had lying around. Thanks for the idea.

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    remssik

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Being a drummer, this wouldn't make sense if it was a small crack or chip. But otherwise, by all means. I did this to some stock no-name cymbals, they look really cool, and my 1st I still carry around.

    1 reply

    i am a drummer too and i agree the only way i would through out a cymbal would be if it was cracked all the way to the center

    i wonder if the pickups on the guitar pickup the vibrations from the metal picks, if so that could be part of the unique sound that they make, just a thought

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    guitarmonk15

    9 years ago on Introduction

    so I can see you play a little jazz guitar because you made jazz style (also known as tear drop) picks. One problem, wouldn't they be curved?

    1 reply
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    weaponscollector94

    9 years ago on Step 5

    how did the file get the name B******? i use them for metal working and they are quite handy for sharpening an axe but i am not sure how it got that name

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    remssik

    9 years ago on Step 5

    Couldnt you use the sanding part for the dremel? Just wondering.

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    halfroboy

    10 years ago on Step 6

    I have heard that you are not supposed to use anything metallic as a guitar pick.

    3 replies
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    scott!halfroboy

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    yeah, they wear your strings down faster until they break, I have a metal pick, but I don't use it mostly because I don't like the sound of it though

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    Shliggerhalfroboy

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 6

    I use metal picks myself. It's a rumor that they break strings. Players break strings not picks. The picks do "eat" at the strings over time (the strings will retain their luster wear you pick as they are being worn at.) Nice guide! Brass picks are kings among wimpy plastic plectrums.

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    Soupraokhalfroboy

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    it just wares your strings faster, and if your not careful it will take the paint off your guitar, and scratch it up