Can You Use A Coin As A Guitar Pick?

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Read More

Every guitar player has faced a situation where they have lost their guitar pick. So in this case, when you don’t have a guitar pick, but want to play the guitar, what can you use instead? Can you use a coin as a guitar pick?

In this article, we provide an answer to this question and explain what benefits or harms come from using a coin as a guitar pick. Continue reading to find out.

Key Takeaways

  • Using a coin as a guitar pick is possible, it can provide some benefits, but also causes damage.
  • There are differences in sound and the sound might be crispy, but also with brighter tones.
  • The coin as a pick can cause damage to the strings and body finish (if there isn’t a pickboard).
  • Using a coin as a guitar pick might cause pickup interference.
  • Coins are convenient and long lasting.

Can you use a coin as a guitar pick?

Yes, you can use a coin as a guitar pick. But you should keep in mind that the sound might be different and there will be more pressure on the guitar strings compared to using a regular guitar pick.

In the following paragraphs, we explain the differences in sound and how damaging the coin might be to the strings if used regularly.

Does picking with a coin provide a different sound?

As we mentioned, using a coin will give you kind of a different sound compared to using a guitar pick. Basically, the coin may provide you with a more scratchy and crispy sound.

Because of the fact that coins are round and thick, it is not a surprise that the produced sound might be harsher. But to manage how soft or harsh the sound is, you can play with the angle of the coin and try to pick the strings in a way that works for you.

Some guitar players are fine with this sound and like it, but it depends on everyone’s preferences. Some famous guitar players who used coins as a guitar pick are Brian May from the band Queen and Billy Gibbons from the band ZZ Top.

Does using a coin as a guitar pick cause guitar damage?

Due to the fact that coins are thick and have ridges on them, they can damage the strings, especially if you pick the strings aggressively. Coins also have edges to them which means that they can be sharp when picking the strings and can remove metal from the strings which result in more wear.

The risk of the guitar strings breaking and being damaged or wearing out faster is bigger when using a coin as a pick regularly in comparison to using a plastic guitar pick. So if you use a coin regularly you will have to change your strings more often because they won’t last so long.

Another thing that can be damaged when using a coin is the body finish of the guitar, especially if the guitar doesn’t have a pick board. These scratches might ruin the guitar without having a pick board as protection. Or if there is one, then the scratches will end up on it.

Scratching the body finish can happen if you accidentally miss a string and there isn’t a pick board. As coins are not so flexible and they are thick, playing the guitar might be harder, hence this accidental scratching and ruining your guitar’s look.

Something else that has been noticed when using a coin as a pick is pick up interference. This could happen due to the fact that coins are often made of the same material as the guitar strings and pickups work through magnets, so here pickup interference can happen. But this doesn’t always happen, as long as coins contain more silver in them.

What are the benefits of using a coin as a guitar pick?

Despite the fact that there is some damage that the coin might cause, to the strings or the body of the guitar, there are also some benefits and good sides of using a coin as a guitar pick.

You Always Have A Coin

It often happens that you might lose your guitar pick or you don’t have one nearby at the moment when you want to play guitar, so a coin is an easily findable replacement.

There is a high chance that at least someone might have a coin in their pocket or wallet, or there is one in a jar on the counter or around the house. Basically, coins are a convenient choice in many situations when you don’t have a guitar pick.

The positive side is the convenience and the fact that any small or medium coin might be of use, but it is preferable to have a coin with more silver in it.

More Area To Pluck The Strings

Apart from making guitars a bit harder to play because of their thickness and rounded edges, there could also be a positive side which is the fact that there is more area to pluck the strings, hence more feel when you are strumming.

When it comes to the tones in the produced sound, they can be much brighter. Basically, some guitar players like using a coin as a guitar pick for this kind of tone and volume while also having a more aggressive effect.

So if you are looking for some differences in sound and something new, you should try using a coin as a guitar pick. This kind of effect in the sound cannot be achieved through other guitar picks, but something close can be done with a metal pick.

Coins Don’t Wear Out

Another good thing about using a coin as a guitar pick is the fact that they are long-lasting. They are durable and you won’t have to be looking for specific guitar picks all the time.

On the other hand, plastic or metal guitar picks can wear out faster and then make picking the strings sound weird. So you will have to get another one with similar qualities or find a new kind that works better.

Final thoughts

Using a coin to pick the strings of your guitar can be a good choice when you can’t find any other guitar pick.

It can also provide some benefits such as brighter tones and interesting sounds while being long-lasting and convenient. So if you are someone who likes to explore new sounds and be creative, you should try using a coin.

But because of the damage that it can cause to the guitar strings and the body finish, you should be more careful when playing and you should keep regular maintenance of the guitar.

Basically, if you pay attention to how you play the guitar and if you like the sound it gives, using a coin as a guitar pick might be a good choice.

Whether you want to learn about guitars, guitar equipment or other instruments, Guitarsquid has all the answers.