Can You Use Coin As a Guitar Pick?


Guitar picks are so easy to lose. Every guitar player know the struggle of constantly losing guitar picks all over the room.

Having that in mind, you’ve probably been in that situation when you want to play your guitar but don’t have any pick. Frustrating. Yes, fingerstyle is cool, but sometimes you just want to play good old rock ‘n’ roll.

So, what do you do then? Should you use a regular coin as a substitute for a guitar pick? Will it harm your guitar in any way?

Let’s find an answer!

Can you use coin as a guitar pick?

Yes, you can. Having a coin as your guitar pick will stress strings a bit more, but that’s more or less all that’s going to change. Strings have to be replaced regularly, anyway. Coins are usually harder to handle, though.

Coin Will Give You a Different Sound

When using a coin as a guitar pick, you’ll definitely get a different guitar sound. What’s different? Coins are causing the sound to be more scratchy and crunchy, as the attack change.

Now, you know the old saying: two people, three opinions! It all comes down to your preference. Some guitar players love that sound, some don’t.

Probably the most famous examples of using coin as a guitar pick is Queen’s guitar player Brian May and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.

Brian May is using a British sixpence coin as his guitar pick. I’ll assume you know that authentic sound his guitar makes!

Things To Keep In Mind

As it’s been already said, coins as guitar picks are causing more stress for strings. Keep in mind that your strings will last shorter if you use coin regularly.

Also, when you play guitar with a coin, be careful. Sometimes it may happen you miss a string. With coin as a pick, there is a probability you’re going to scratch a guitar body.

Also, coins don’t have serrated edge. Instead, they are round. They are not flexible and they are relatively thick. All of that makes playing guitar a lot harder.

There’s a high chance the coin is going to fall off your fingers while you play, because of its non-flexibility. Still, that non-flexibility is the reason why Brian May loves to play with his sixpence!

I recommend you look at this cool video in which you can see and hear the difference in tone between regular plastic guitar pick and a coin!

Metal Picks

If you’re looking for that authentic coin sound but find it hard to use coin as a pick, you may consider using metal picks.

I’ve found this pack of 20 stainless steel metal picks on Amazon. They serve as a great replacement for coin. You’ll get that scratchy sound.

Also, there are a few thing worth noting before getting yourself metal pick.

They are extremely durable, but at the same time they become sharp after some time. Sharp edge is very harmful to guitar strings. That’s why you’ll need to change them more often than regular plastic picks.

If you like to strum your guitar, keep in mind that you’ll probably scratch your guitar body. If you want your guitar to look as shiny as new, don’t use those picks.

So, the bottom line is this: metal picks are great replacement for a coin, as they give your guitar a nice, bright sound with a fast attack. At the same time they are safer to use on strings than coin is.

Choose Wisely

I hope this short article gave you some insight about using coin as a guitar pick. There are some pros, and there are some cons in using coin as a pick. It all depends on what your preferences are.

If you like it, go for it!

Don’t forget to check out some other interesting articles I wrote on this site!

Cheers, and rock on!

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