A Timeline of the Guitar Pick – Playing the Stringed Instrument Through Centuries

A Timeline of the Guitar Pick - Playing the Stringed Instrument Through Centuries

The history of guitar and guitar picks goes back many centuries and eras. Guitar picks have evolved over the years and are essential equipment for guitarists. Even before you start Guitar Lessons to learn about guitar playing, you need a guitar pick and a guitar. Without the right set of guitars and guitar picks, you cannot learn to play the guitar. Guitar picks come in different sizes and different shapes but serve a singular purpose. In this article, we trace the timeline of the guitar pick.


Ancient times

The earliest guitar pick was used to play the lyre, a Greek instrument that is believed to be played by even the God Apollo. The lyre was made of wood, and its strings were plucked using picks made of wood, goat’s horns, or animal bones. The pick of the lyre was usually flat or round in shape. These picks were not kept in a modern Guitar Pick Holder but attached to a leather string linked with the lyre. This way, the picks, and the lyre would stay in one place.


Medieval Times

The stringed instruments evolved further in medieval times and gave rise to the Oud, which was used in Middle Eastern countries. The instrument was made of hollowed wood and was pear-shaped. The instrument was also played with the help of a pick or a plectrum. The plectrum was called the Risha, and it was not like the Guitar Pick Heavy ones that we have today. The guitar pick was made of eagle feathers. The eagle feather or quill would create haunting and beautiful music when used on the strings of the Oud. Today, the picks of Oud from Tick Pick are made of plastic or wood.


Modern times

The first use of a guitar pick was made for a guitar-like instrument, the Spanish Vihuela. The Vihuela remained a popular instrument from the 13th to 17th centuries. The earliest guitar picks were made of wood or bones.

In modern times, from the 20th century, the guitar rose in popularity, and guitar picks were created using a plastic called celluloid. The raw material was easy to mold and use. Celluloid was also very easy to source as it was cheap. Today, the material of guitar picks like Tik Pik has evolved in quality and properties that make music creation easy.