My auntie is a music teacher, and when I was about sixteen she gave me one of the coolest Christmas presents ever: a plastic box full of guitar picks. There was a little of everything there: thin picks, thick ones, pointy ones, rounded ones, thumb picks, jazz picks, and even those huge Jim Dunlop Stubby picks, which I probably never would have tried out on my own. It wasn’t until years later that I realised that the box she’d put them in was a Seymour Duncan pickup box.
Of course, being a dude who’s changed a pickup or two, I’ve amassed a lot of pickup boxes over the years. Sometimes I use them to store spare pickups, but after I started storing spares in a little compartmentalised drawer (a sort of wunderkammer of tone) I realised I’d have a whole bunch of clear plastic pickup boxes sitting around. So now I use them to stash various pieces of guitar gear. There are some parts that I still stash in my drawer – strings, tubes, wire cutters and stuff like that – but I like to keep a few of the movable bits and pieces in pickup boxes so I can easily cart them around the house. Hey, sometimes it’s just fun to work in the living room, right? So here are a
few ways to re-use your spare pickup containers.
I used to use a little tin box which came with a copy of Total Guitar magazine to keep my picks in. It served me well for many years and I still keep it filled with many different kinds of picks and stationed next to my computer, but for around the house I like to keep a Seymour Duncan pickup box filled with my main picks: Dunlop Jazz IIIs and Big Stubby 3.0mm for most of my guitars, and sometimes Dunlop Max-Grips for my Strat. I only fill it with picks I expect to need at a moment’s notice, whereas the stash next to my computer is reserved for experimenting with different types of picks during recording and stuff like that.
Screws and Springs
I like to keep various screws and pickup springs together in a pick box rather than in my parts drawer, again because it’s easier to transport them when I feel like working elsewhere in the house. As an added bonus, the lid is an ideal place to stash screws while working on the innards of a guitar.
Guitarists tend to amass a lot of Allen wrenches anyway, but this is especially true of those of us who like their Floyd Roses. I like to keep various sizes of Allen wrench in a pickup box so I always know where they are, whether I need one to change a string, loosen the set screws inside my Ibanez Edge tremolo posts, tweak the truss rod or adjust pickup pole pieces.
I keep a backup length of solder and some electrical tape in a pickup box just in case I happen to misplace my regular stuff. This has saved my butt a few times, because it’s sometimes a little too easy to forget where you – (and by you, I mean me) have left stuff.
Spare Pots And Caps
I like to have extra pots, switches and capacitors on hand just in case I need them, and sometimes it’s nice to start with a completely new wiring harness when installing new pickups (especially if it’s a testbed guitar that’s had a million pickup changes).
My girlfriend is a talented crafter and she’s always threatening to steal my pickup boxes to make terrariums or to keep googly eyes or buttons in. And our six-year-old likes to put Lego minifigs in them. So perhaps if you have leftover pickup boxes that you don’t intend to reuse, maybe someone else in your household might be able to put them to good use.
What about you? Do you have any pickup box uses to share?