Plectrums (picks) are supposed to be an important component of your guitar. It is not necessary to use a plectrum with your guitar, but it does make a lot of difference to the sound. Plectrum comes in different sizes, different shapes, are made from different materials and are used in different ways. Although a usual pick does not cost a lot but most of the musicians love to make their own guitar plectrums for several different reasons.
How to make guitar plectrums
Most of the guitar plectrums are made from plastic. But casein can also be used to make top quality plectrums. The cost is minimal. In fact, you can make a perfect casein pick at your home without investing much.
1- You need to take two tablespoons of vinegar (any type of vinegar) and two cups of milk. You will be using milk and vinegar to make casein.
2- Pour two cups of milk in a pan, and heat it. You do not have to boil the milk. Keep stirring it and make sure that it does not get too warm. After stirring for a few minutes when milk gets hot, add two tablespoons of vinegar in the pan. Do not forget to stir. Keep stirring the milk while adding vinegar.
3- Right after adding vinegar in the hot milk, you will see a plastic sort of floating material in the pan. This is casein.
4- You need to separate the floating material from liquid milk. Filter out casein from the liquid with the help of a filtering paper or a cloth piece.
Once you have casein with you, then is the time to convert it into plectrum. There are two ways to shape casein:
1- You can make picks from hand. Casein is easy to shape as it takes around 3 days to dry once you will separate it from milk. So you can easily shape it in any way you like.
2- Alternately, you can use molds to make plectrum from casein. No need to worry if you do not have any molds. You can easily make them at your home with the help of tin or metal plates.
The idea is to shape casein. You can choose any method you like. Once you have shaped them, keep all the picks at a dry place for at least one week, since casein needs a lot of time to dry. After 7 to 10 days, use sandpaper to make them smooth.
You need to make several different plectrums. Shape them differently. Make sure that you make picks of different thickness, shapes and sizes. This is good for several reasons. Some of them include:
a- The actual sound that will be produced by the plectrum majorly depends on the size, shape and thickness of the pick. So it is always advisable to try as many options as you can.
b- At the end of the day, you will have several different useless and faulty plectrums.
c- Since picks are small in size, it is very common that most of them will be lost with the passage of time. So you must have different alternates ready for use.
Another important thing to note is that, casein plectrums have different sound than plastic picks. So it is strongly recommended to try a few casein picks before making them at home. Only make them if you like its sound quality and tone.