What is a pickin' stick?
A pickin' stick is a three-string, fretted instrument with a small soundbox at the end of its fretboard. It looks somewhat like a guitar and is held like a guitar when played. The fret placement and tuning are like those of a mountain dulcimer. One plays a pickin' stick by fretting the high-pitched string with one hand and either picking that string or strumming all three strings with the other hand. The sound produced by the instrument is somewhere between that of a mountain dulcimer and a banjo.

The pickin' stick is similar to another instrument known as the backpack guitar.


The pickin' sticks I build
I've built and sold numerous pickin' sticks. The stick pictured at the left has a cherry neck with a sycamore body. The one at the upper right has a poplar neck with a walnut body.

An early prototype
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A newer, slimmer design
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A recent stick in padauk and curly maple
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Takin' a break
I'm neither building nor selling pickin' sticks at this time so that I can experiment with ukulele building.