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How to Make Banjo Picks From a Ping Pong Ball

Updated April 17, 2017

Don't trash those old ping pong balls. You can make inexpensive banjo picks suitable for clawhammer style playing. According to musician John Balch, picks made at home from ping pong balls sound great and will endure several years of use. It's also a fun way to expand your arsenal of musical equipment. You can get an assortment of distinct sounds from traditional picks, brass picks and your new ping pong ball picks.

Draw the shape of the pick on a sheet of thin paper. It should look like a 1 1/4-inch long pointed fingernail with wings making a 2-inch base to wrap around your finger. Cut out the paper pattern.

Cut a ping pong ball in half. Place the paper pattern on one ping pong hemisphere with the pick-shape pointed toward the dome centre. Trace the pattern onto the ball half.

Cut the ball half with small scissors, following the traced outline. Trim the pick so that it fits your finger. Use this pick as a master for tracing additional picks.

Finish each pick by placing the base around a finger and wrapping with plastic adhesive tape.

Customise the shape of each pick with small scissors, fingernail clippers or files.

Things You'll Need

  • Ping pong balls
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Small scissors
  • Plastic adhesive tape
  • Fingernail clippers
  • Fingernail file
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About the Author

Maxfield Carroll is a writer and artist whose work has appeared on various websites and in newspapers. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and journalism.