How To Extract a Pick from Inside a Guitar or Ukulele

By Lila Karash, Local Musician and Teacher at Twin Town Guitars

During a lesson recently, the pick slipped out of a student's fingers and went through the sound hole.  Every guitar player has probably done this at one point or another.  I know I have.  It can be tricky to extract a pick once it has fallen inside the guitar.  Sometimes it comes out easily.  Other times, not so much, as in this instance.  We both tried for a while with no success.

A book I read a while ago mentioned a method for dealing with this problem.  I thought it was funny at first, but it is very practical advice after all.  The author explained that you should jiggle the guitar with the sound hole facing up until the pick is visible directly beneath the hole.  Then, quickly flip the guitar and the pick should drop out "after a try or two."  Sounded simple enough, so I tried it.  Unfortunately, there were wooden braces on the inside just near the sound hole, and they were blocking the pick from sliding out smoothly.  After more than a try or two, I said to my student: "This could take a while."  I lent him my guitar and said: "Practice that song while I figure this out."  

After several minutes of wasting valuable lesson time, I had an idea.  I ran out of the room and got a piece of tape.  I rolled it end-to-end so that it was sticky on both sides, like you do when you hang a poster.  I stuck one side of the tape to the end of a pencil and reached inside the guitar with the sticky end of the pencil-and-tape, placing it against the pick (now visible directly beneath the sound hole according to instructions).  The pick stuck to the tape and Presto!  I pulled it right out.  I am thinking about marketing my new invention. Pick Stick?

January 07, 2021 — Carrie Bell

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