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  #1  
Old 04-24-2009, 08:42 PM
johnra johnra is offline
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Default Flatpicking v. Fingerpicking

For playing mostly instrumentals and solos which is best? Why, please.

To accompany singers which is best? Why, please.
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Old 04-24-2009, 08:57 PM
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In my opinion, there is no "best" for either one of your questions. Both techniques can be used effectively for instrumental, solo, and vocal accompaniment.

Now, if you talk about specific styles of music, then there are more prevalent types of picking. For example bluegrass probably has a greater percentage of flatpickers vs. fingerpickers, although both techniques are used.
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:43 AM
Bob1131 Bob1131 is offline
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I have to echo what Bill said! Neither is better. Hard rock players generally use a pick, but many electric rock guitarists use only their fingers, which gives testimony to the idea that both are effective and neither is best!
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:54 AM
rmyAddison rmyAddison is offline
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I agree with Bill and Bob, neither is "better".

But I will add that the guitar has some influence. As a gross generalization Dreads and Jumbo are better flatpickers/strummers, and OM/000's are great fingerpickers.

You can certainly play anything on any guitar but they do have some strengths/weaknesses which is why they make different body types and use different woods.

I "mostly" flatpick/strum my dreads and "mostly" fingerpick my small bodies.
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Old 04-30-2009, 10:02 AM
BULLSPRIG BULLSPRIG is offline
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I think a fingerpicker can control the tempo better on particular songs. He/she can pick a bass line to compliment the rest of the piece. Potentially 5 digits on the picking hand, versus just 1 with a pick.

However, I think when the speed increases to a certain point, a flatpicker takes over the reigns. Precision alternation, especially when working up and down a guitar neck, lends itself to a pick.

Both have there strengths and weaknesses. A complex question and even more difficult to explain.

There are a few fingerpickers or hybrid players such as Mark Knopfler who can play electric guitar rock and combine both entities well.
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnra View Post
For playing mostly instrumentals and solos which is best? Why, please.

To accompany singers which is best? Why, please.
There is really no "bottom line correct" answer to this, expecially for very accomplished players in these styles. However, I'll stick my neck out and say that for average intermediate players, the fingerstyle player will usually have more going on to keep things interesting for the listener than the intermediate flatpicker who will mostly strum with an occasional run. This is true for solo instrumentals and to accompany singers.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
However, I think when the speed increases to a certain point, a flatpicker takes over the reigns. Precision alternation, especially when working up and down a guitar neck, lends itself to a pick.
I would have to disagree. Just listen to some Flamingo players like Paco De Lucia or some classical monsters. They play scales up and down the neck with only their fingers like no other.

I think fingerstyle vs flatpicking or hybrid picking is more of a preference in sound and volume. It doesn't hurt to know all three really well.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:33 PM
David Hilyard David Hilyard is offline
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Fingerstyle probably lends itself to solo guitar instrumental arrangements more. But Dan Crary and others like him can sure keep all voices going playing solo with a flatpick, too.

Playing backup to a singer sounds good both ways and it depends on the kind of sound you want. Strumming full or partial chords and doing some fills with a pick has a whole different sound than intricate sounding fingerpicking. Imagine "The Boxer" by Paul Simon if he strummed it? It'd be a different thing. And some people do it that way and it's okay, too.

Speed can be had with both a pick and fingers.

BTW, no flamingos are used or hurt in the playing of the Spanish style of flamenco.

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Old 04-30-2009, 04:02 PM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Learn to play fingerstyle and you will, for the most part, be able to play flat-pick style. Learn to play flat-pick style and you won't be able to play fingerstyle without a lot of long, hard practice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BULLSPRIG View Post
However, I think when the speed increases to a certain point, a flatpicker takes over the reigns. Precision alternation, especially when working up and down a guitar neck, lends itself to a pick. ...
I disagree and here is why:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7jjO5is-nE
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Old 04-30-2009, 04:49 PM
David Hilyard David Hilyard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
Learn to play fingerstyle and you will, for the most part, be able to play flat-pick style. Learn to play flat-pick style and you won't be able to play fingerstyle without a lot of long, hard practice.


I disagree and here is why:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7jjO5is-nE
That's a little too broad for me to agree with. I think if you learn fingerstyle, that's what you'll be able to play. If you learn how to flatpick, you can play with a flatpick. Maybe you can strum some chords and keep rhythm, too, if you play fingerstyle, if you spend some time trying. Or maybe you can do alternating bass and pick some strings with your fingers if you flatpick, if you work on that. Neither skill gets the other coming along for the ride, IMO.

Developing the skills to do this, didn't happen when John was playing fingerstyle, which he doesn't do much of.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Tm5Ikl1AXw
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:01 PM
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Each style is defined by it's limitations more than the volume or speed. Fingerstyle tends to stand on it's own in a solo context better but flatpicking is unparalleled for delivering drive and punch.
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Old 04-30-2009, 05:58 PM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hilyard View Post
That's a little too broad for me to agree with. I think if you learn fingerstyle, that's what you'll be able to play. If you learn how to flatpick, you can play with a flatpick. ...
Put another way, the learning curve for a finger-picker to learn to play like a flat-picker is shorter than for a flat-picker to learn to play like a finger-picker.

Last edited by Herb Hunter; 05-01-2009 at 06:21 AM. Reason: Typographical mistake
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
Put another way, the learning curve for a finger-picker to learn to play like a flat-picker is shorter than for a flat-picker to learn to play like a flat-picker.
Huh????????????
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:19 PM
David Hilyard David Hilyard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Hunter View Post
Put another way, the learning curve for a finger-picker to learn to play like a flat-picker is shorter than for a flat-picker to learn to play like a flat-picker.
I think I agree but I'm not sure. I think it's fair to say that the average person who picks up a guitar and learns some chords is probably going to be using a pick more often than their fingers, just because the image of a guitar player everyone is used to seeing uses a pick. (Tell someone who doesn't play that you play fingerstyle guitar, and see how often they look confused.) And they will probably make more progress, and do it faster using a pick than the average person who picks up a guitar and starts to learn to fingerpick. Making the right hand fingers behave enough to have them do what you want is probably harder than making a pick do what you want.

I don't know, though. Anybody else got any thoughts on this?
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Old 04-30-2009, 08:48 PM
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I am a long time flatpicker, and it has been a long journey for me to gain any dexterity at fingerstyle. I never took lessons, so perhaps that was part of the problem as it took me many years to approach it with any amount of discipline.

I can't speak to the other way 'round though.
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