I can’t tell you how many guitar picks I’ve lost, and you likely can’t remember how many you’ve lost either. But if you’re wondering whether your pick was sucked into an alternate dimension or if it simply vanished into thin air, know that neither of these is true.
I rounded up the most common reasons why guitar picks are so easy to lose. I’ve also included another section down below that explains how to stop losing them. However, let’s talk about why they’re so easy to lose first.
Guitar picks are so easy to lose because they’re small and cheap. Because of their size, it’s really easy to misplace them, drop them, and forget where they went. And because they’re so inexpensive, they’re easy to replace, so most guitarists don’t really care about keeping them safe.
A great guitar pick can also help you create brighter or warmer tones and improve your playing technique. This simple piece of plastic (or whatever your pick is made out of) is an essential piece of gear for almost all guitarists. Losing them right before an important performance is a nightmare. Let’s talk more about this in the section down below.
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The Main Reasons Why Guitar Picks Are Easy to Lose
1) Guitar Picks are Small
Guitar picks usually come in all shapes and sizes but with one commonality – they’re all relatively small. And some of them are really tiny. With that in mind, it’s probably no wonder that you keep losing so many of them at a time.
Guitar picks generally come in 4 size ranges according to their thickness: thin (0.40-0.60 mm), medium (0.60-0.80 mm), heavy (0.80-1.20 mm), or extra heavy (1.20 mm or more).
Most guitar picks are just about the size of your thumb, but you also have XL variants you can use if you need more grip space.
Not only are these picks tiny, you probably put them in places like between strings or on the table where they can easily fall off unnoticed. This makes them extremely easy to misplace.
A great tip to stop losing your picks is to consider them an essential part of your gear, like the violinist’s bow or the drummer’s drum sticks.
It’s the vital connection between you (the player) and your guitar. The fact of the matter is that If you treat your pick like it’s disposable, you’re much more likely to lose it.
2) Guitar Picks Are Cheap Too
While the cost of your pick depends upon its manufacturer, its material, and the type you’re buying, picks shouldn’t cost more than a few cents or 1-2 dollars apiece. Check the price of my favorite picks, Dunlop Jazz III Max Grips, on Amazon.
Most people usually buy them in bulk to save money and then end up scattering their picks everywhere. I know have probably 20-30 at my apartment and then another 5-10 at my parents’ place.
Instead, it may be a good idea to only buy a handful at a time (maybe a pack of 6) and use them sparingly.
You’ll likely feel more inclined to hold on and save the pick you’re using than discarding it and taking a new one out each time you play. On the other hand, I know I prefer having them in multiple locations.
3) Other Players Ask to Borrow Them
Similar to how cigarette smokers always steal each others’ lighters by accident, fellow guitar players often ask to borrow your guitar pick during a live show or a rehearsal.
It’s hard to deny them this simple request, especially when you know how common it is to lose one’s pick. And when it’s your close friends making this request, there’s simply no getting out of it.
While it is always nice to be helpful, you should remember to ask for them back. But on the other hand, you probably don’t want to seem cheap and stingy about it either (although, I don’t actually care about this – what’s mine is mine).
Sometimes borrowed picks are returned, but more often than not, they disappear, never to be heard from again. But if that seems like too much work, it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of picks specifically for lending people.
After all, you shouldn’t get too attached to a guitar pick. Personally, my favorite pick is the Jazz III Ultra-Grip which I linked to earlier. They’re great for fast picking but they don’t slip out of your hand either – a perfect combination.
4) It’s Easy to Drop Them Somewhere And Then Forget
We don’t always pay much attention to where we’re putting our picks after rehearsing or after a performance. And each time you put down your pick, they’re likely to disappear into thin air.
You might drop your guitar pick, and simply pull out a new one to keep playing. But by the time you go back to search for it, it has probably gone under some furniture or just disappeared somewhere where you can’t find it.
If you’re worried about that, it’s a good idea to pick them up as soon as they fall. If you’ve ever lost a pick in an open area, you know how hard it is to find them. The weird thing is when you drop it and they bounce to some far-away location.
5) You Don’t Have a Dedicated Place for Storing Guitar Picks
This might seem like a continuation of the previous point, but the most common reason you keep losing those pesky picks is that you probably keep them anywhere and everywhere.
Your wallet, under your couch, under your car seat, behind your wardrobe, in your friend’s bag, somewhere in your house, and everywhere other than where it should be – near your guitar.
Over the years, I’ve decided on a few places to store them other than your wallet, so I’ll tell you about those now if you keep running into this problem.
How To Stop Losing Your Guitar Picks
While it may seem impossible to stop losing your picks, some of the tips I’ll share with you now will help save time and allow you to practice more important things like jamming to backing tracks (my guide) and memorizing key signatures (also my guide on this).
1) Make A Dedicated Guitar Pick Container
If you have too many picks lying around the house, you could consider investing in a dedicated guitar pick container to store your picks after you are done using them. Any old container like a plastic box would do, really.
Just keep it handy near your guitar, and you are good to go. But remember to put them back in their case immediately after using them, or they are likely to disappear again.
This is one way of doing it, but the following is actually my favorite. I own several of them, as a matter of fact.
2) Buy Adhesive Guitar Pick Holders
Another way to keep track of your picks is to buy adhesive pick holders and attach them to your amplifier, wall, vehicle glove compartment, etc. That way, you have multiple picks on hand and no chance of losing them.
When you are done using them, just put the picks back in the holder, and you won’t have to worry about losing them anymore.
The pick holders especially come in handy during a live performance, when you need a place to put down the picks without losing them. You could also attach the holders to a mic stand if you’re performing.
I prefer putting them right on top of the amplifier head. I also have another one on my computer desk right next to my audio interface. I’m definitely a fan of attaching these all over the place or anywhere where I might be playing the guitar.
There are also adhesive-free guitar pick holders available on Amazon if you want to organize your picks without damaging the guitar surface.
These can be placed right near the headstock and they actually look kind of cool, although, I have to say that I’ve never actually used one. Usually, you can find pick holders suitable for both electric and acoustic guitars.
3) Put Your Pick Between The Strings
Another practical solution – and this is also one of the favorites that I mentioned earlier – would be to insert the pick between the strings after playing. You can put the pick between any strings, or you could always put them right above the nut as well.
This keeps your pick ready to use whenever you pick up your guitar. While this is really simple, it’s helped me keep using my favorite picks for a lot longer than usual.
But remember that the pick can still slip off and fall, especially when packing/unpacking from a bag and carrying it around. In those cases, it’s probably better to take the pick out and put it in your pocket.
4) Get A Pick With Extra Grip
If you have sweaty palms, then you may drop the regular glossy picks out of your hands more frequently and lose them. If that’s the case with you, you might buy thicker or textured picks and see if it suits you better.
There are also several DIY methods to produce your own textured grips. You could roughen up the edges of the pick with some sandpaper or create textures in the wide holding area of the pick.
Thicker or heavier picks tend to slip off your hands less often, too, and you might prefer them over thinner ones. Plus, many people prefer their tonality, as picks can greatly influence the feel and sound of what you’re playing.
As I said earlier, I prefer the Jazz III Ultra Grips, because they’re amazing for fast alternate picking and they never slip out of my hands. I used to use the regular Jazz IIIs all of the time, but I prefer the Max Grips now for sure.
5) Buy Brighter Picks (Colors Like Bright Red or Yellow)
Avoid buying transparent or clear picks as they are easier to lose. Start buying more brightly colored or neon ones, maybe glow-in-the-dark (fluorescent) ones if you can find them since they are less likely to disappear on you.
Several known brands like Dunlop make fluorescent versions of their standard guitar picks. I prefer red ones because they’re very easy to spot if you’ve dropped them on the carpet or on the floor somewhere like what I did in one of the images earlier.
I’d say a big thing is to avoid buying a set of guitar picks that are the same color as your carpeting or flooring. If you make this mistake, it could take ages to find if you’ve dropped it.
6) Start Checking Your Pockets
To avoid finding picks in your dryer, try checking your pockets each day before you go to sleep. Most people leave their picks in their pockets after practicing, and you might lose fewer picks if you start the habit of checking your pockets after each workday.
The worst thing is leaving a pick in your jeans and putting it in the washing machine – that’s a good recipe for ruining it.
7) Buy Your Picks In Bulk
While I don’t always recommend buying picks in bulk, it’s probably more economical if you keep losing them.
I don’t have an issue doing this kind of thing. I’ll buy several packs of the same kind of guitar picks and leave one in each corner of the house. They were so cheap, so why not?
I’ll put a pack in my guitar case, another pack in the drawer beside my bed, and then another on top of my guitar amplifier in a small bin. Another thing that I’ll do is I’ll always, and I mean always, have one in my wallet.
8) Buy More Expensive Picks Or Get Them Tailored To Your Needs
You can start buying more expensive picks, so you don’t take them for granted anymore (subconsciously). It’s best to try out a range of picks, see what works best for you, and then stick to it.
You can even get custom-designed guitar picks if you don’t like any of the common ones. After you tailor your guitar pick to your guitar playing needs, you will likely lose them a lot less and feel more comfortable playing with them.
Important Things to Note About Losing Guitar Picks
1) Just Buy New Ones If Losing Them Is A Problem
Sure there are a lot of things you can do to avoid losing your picks. But it’s not that severe of a problem considering the price. I made this argument in my article on people who boil their guitar strings.
In my personal opinion, my advice would be to just store them in the same place every time and have one extra one in your wallet at all times.
Maybe some people are bothered by this kind of thing, but I’m not. You can get a pack of 24 of your favorite guitar picks for relatively cheap, so even if I have lost a few, it’s not a terribly big deal to me.