In Praise of the Nerdy Pick Holder: The Pocket Protector of Stringed Instruments

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This is a Jim Dunlop “Scotty” pick holder. It costs two or three dollars, and if you don’t own one you should stop what you’re doing and get it. It is kind of silly-looking; inelegant. I used to see people onstage with one of these and think, damn, who needs that many picks? Who is so anal retentive that they require between 4 and 8 (depending on gauge) so close at hand? It’s not like you break them, generally. Music stores are full of accessories designed to solve problems that don’t actually exist.

And yet, this simple device is a masterpiece of design. It has a little spring to ensure that any amount of picks is tightly held. It sticks to your instrument without damaging the finish, and you can even twist it off and re-stick it somewhere else with no loss of stick. It can accommodate any size of pick I’ve encountered (and if you don’t need them that big, they also make a more compact “Ergo” model). It does one thing extremely well, and you need this one thing more than you think you do. How many times in your life have you been onstage and had someone ask you for a pick? It’s not your job, sure, but if the guitarist isn’t ready to go it becomes your problem. Most people keep picks in their pocket, where they get lost, or in their instrument case, where they get lost, or stuck under the pickguard, which doesn’t hold that many and isn’t an option for those without a pickguard.

What if you were just the person who always had a pick? How would your life be different?

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