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  #31  
Old 05-04-2009, 08:06 AM
Piotr Piotr is offline
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Originally Posted by billv View Post
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.
And yet, in the early days of BG almost all lead guitar was fingerpicked. Think of Jackie Phelps or Charlie Cline with Monroe or Scruggs on F&S gospel numbers.
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  #32  
Old 05-04-2009, 01:15 PM
BigRed51 BigRed51 is offline
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Originally Posted by billv View Post
And let's not forget Lester Flatt as a fingerpickin' bluegrasser!
There is no question that in the earliest days of bluegrass' development, guitar was considered a rhythm instrument, and the primary right hand tool was fingers. Lester Flatt was primarily a Carter style guitar player, who combined that with some licks from his days as a drop-thumb frailer on the banjo. He is given credit for bringing the G-run into bluegrass, and it has remained a signature of the music.

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Originally Posted by Piotr View Post
And yet, in the early days of BG almost all lead guitar was fingerpicked. Think of Jackie Phelps or Charlie Cline with Monroe or Scruggs on F&S gospel numbers.
Last time I counted, there were at least 60 guitar players who had played with Bill Monroe as a Bluegrass Boy long enough to be considered part of the group. Charlie Cline was a fiddle player, but seems to have played guitar in emergencies. Jackie Phelps was an eefer ... and seemed to be available to fill in as a rhythm guitar player when needed ...

Billie Forrester played accordian with Bill Monroe for a couple of years, as I recall, but that doesn't make it a bluegrass instrument!

I have heard two opinions on who brought the flatpick into bluegrass. One group would say George Shuffler when he played with the Stanley Brothers. Most, however, lean toward Don Reno, saying he started to flatpick fiddle tunes when he was playing rhythm to accompany Tommy Magness ... Doc Watson gives credit to Don Reno as the one who started flatpicking bluegrass music. It soon became the standard, because it maintained the guitar's role as a rhythm instrument, but also made in an effective lead instrument ... very similar to the transition from frailing to three finger banjo playing.
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  #33  
Old 05-04-2009, 01:56 PM
MikeTX MikeTX is offline
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Default Diff Strokes!

Personally, For Me, I Think... sorry if I missed any qualifiers!

I do both, all of the above. If I'm best at anything, it would be flatpicking and strumming. I do just a very FEW songs where I truly fingerpick (bare) - Blackbird, Stars by Fogelberg, Secret O' Life by JT... There are some tunes I do that SHOULD BE fingerpicked - Classical Gas, Don't Think Twice, Puff, others - but I am so much more comfortable with a flat pick that I play them with a pick, yet my versions work. I also sometimes use my fingers WHILE flatpicking. The only thing I do NOT do is use fingerpicks - I just can't.

I say all this (about ME) only to support the earlier mentioned stance that BOTH is a fine solution, you do NOT have to go completely one method or the other. Find what works for you, practice, perform, have fun!

Best, Mike
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  #34  
Old 05-04-2009, 02:10 PM
BULLSPRIG BULLSPRIG is offline
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That's a good point where a few of you have pointed out some of the speedy classical and flamenco artists. Where I suggested a FLATpicker is faster.

I can't really disagree with that. I guess I'm thinking of pure BLAZING speed for minutes at a time. And the aspect of amplification as well. A flamenco player is most likely playing solo, so he/she can do as they please with the volume and such. However you put that fingerpicker into a concert scenario with other instruments in a live performance and the fingers cannot do what a pick can do in that situation. You probably disagree with that, too. LOL

Its all a wash. I like both styles. The one fellow who said the learning curve from fingerpicker to flatpicker is shorter than the reverse .......AMEN TO THAT!
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  #35  
Old 05-04-2009, 02:37 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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Originally Posted by BULLSPRIG View Post
That's a good point where a few of you have pointed out some of the speedy classical and flamenco artists. Where I suggested a FLATpicker is faster.

I can't really disagree with that. I guess I'm thinking of pure BLAZING speed for minutes at a time. And the aspect of amplification as well. A flamenco player is most likely playing solo, so he/she can do as they please with the volume and such. However you put that fingerpicker into a concert scenario with other instruments in a live performance and the fingers cannot do what a pick can do in that situation. You probably disagree with that, too. LOL

Its all a wash. I like both styles. The one fellow who said the learning curve from fingerpicker to flatpicker is shorter than the reverse .......AMEN TO THAT!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oyhlad64-s&fmt=18
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cadb...eature=related

Fran
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  #36  
Old 05-04-2009, 02:39 PM
David Hilyard David Hilyard is offline
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Originally Posted by BULLSPRIG View Post
....However you put that fingerpicker into a concert scenario with other instruments in a live performance and the fingers cannot do what a pick can do in that situation. You probably disagree with that, too. LOL
Yeah, I think I'll disagree. That would just be a matter of amplification of the instrument, wouldn't it? And not even necessarily so. I'm thinking you are suggesting that a picked string with a flatpick will cut through where a fingerpicked string won't? Use of fingerpicks and acrylic nails, let alone some who play very loudly with bare fingers, makes that not so. A friend of mine flatpicks and fingerpicks. He's a pretty aggressive flatpicker. I play fingerstyle with him. Mostly acoustically. Sometimes with the same brand (loudness) of guitar, Lowdens. Our volume level in blending together is pretty even. I play with acrylics. He sometimes uses a stiff Wegen.

The Waybacks, when Stevie Coyle was with them, blended Stevie's fingerstyle with James Nash's very aggressive flatpicking. It worked fine. Lots of other examples exist.
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  #37  
Old 05-04-2009, 03:05 PM
Herb Hunter Herb Hunter is offline
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Originally Posted by BULLSPRIG View Post
...However you put that fingerpicker into a concert scenario with other instruments in a live performance and the fingers cannot do what a pick can do in that situation. ...
Can you be more specific about what a pick can do in that situation that fingers cannot?
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  #38  
Old 05-04-2009, 03:48 PM
BULLSPRIG BULLSPRIG is offline
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Sure.

Take your typical rock band. Loud and amplified. I think you'd struggle to find a fingerpicker who could play lead solos at high speed for a sustained period of time, where it would be advantageous versus using a pick. Nor do I think the clarity would shine through. Same with a bluegrass acoustic fingerpicker. My opinion (which is only opinion, remember) is that a PICK enables a guitarist to consistently play LOUDER and CLEARER when other instruments are competing for sound.

Having said all that, I probably have more overall respect for a talented fingerstyle player than a single pick guitarist. I just think he's going to shine a little better if his music is softer and more subtle.

Generally speaking, of course.
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  #39  
Old 05-04-2009, 04:08 PM
David Hilyard David Hilyard is offline
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Originally Posted by BULLSPRIG View Post
Sure.

Take your typical rock band. Loud and amplified. I think you'd struggle to find a fingerpicker who could play lead solos at high speed for a sustained period of time, where it would be advantageous versus using a pick. Nor do I think the clarity would shine through. Same with a bluegrass acoustic fingerpicker. My opinion (which is only opinion, remember) is that a PICK enables a guitarist to consistently play LOUDER and CLEARER when other instruments are competing for sound.

Having said all that, I probably have more overall respect for a talented fingerstyle player than a single pick guitarist. I just think he's going to shine a little better if his music is softer and more subtle.

Generally speaking, of course.
Addressing just the volume/loudness/clearness issue of competing with the other instruments.....it's in the mix. If the fingerpicker isn't as loud in that band situation you are using, then just turn his volume up. "Soft" in that situation is controlled by the sound guy, not how the strings are picked. Doyle Dykes, Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Reed, Tommy Jones, Buster B Jones, Thom Bresh, Paco de Lucia, Paco Pena, Wayne Henderson, Stanley Jordon, Martin Taylor, Martin Simpson, Don Ross, Joe Pass etc, etc, etc all play fast leads fingerstyle at length.

Last edited by David Hilyard; 05-04-2009 at 04:16 PM.
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  #40  
Old 05-04-2009, 08:46 PM
BULLSPRIG BULLSPRIG is offline
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Here's an example of what I'm talking about. With the harmonics and more subtle sounds, notice the fingerpicking. The actual pick is held back for the more complex and rapid playing. Once he goes beyond Mach 1, or the speed of sound, notice its 100 percent flatpicking.

Take the time to watch most of it.

And then ask yourself if anyone on this planet could do this without a pick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnqpOFcBiMM
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  #41  
Old 05-04-2009, 09:40 PM
Piotr Piotr is offline
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Originally Posted by BigRed51 View Post
There is no question that in the earliest days of bluegrass' development, guitar was considered a rhythm instrument, and the primary right hand tool was fingers. Lester Flatt was primarily a Carter style guitar player, who combined that with some licks from his days as a drop-thumb frailer on the banjo. He is given credit for bringing the G-run into bluegrass, and it has remained a signature of the music.



Last time I counted, there were at least 60 guitar players who had played with Bill Monroe as a Bluegrass Boy long enough to be considered part of the group. Charlie Cline was a fiddle player, but seems to have played guitar in emergencies. Jackie Phelps was an eefer ... and seemed to be available to fill in as a rhythm guitar player when needed ...

Billie Forrester played accordian with Bill Monroe for a couple of years, as I recall, but that doesn't make it a bluegrass instrument!

I have heard two opinions on who brought the flatpick into bluegrass. One group would say George Shuffler when he played with the Stanley Brothers. Most, however, lean toward Don Reno, saying he started to flatpick fiddle tunes when he was playing rhythm to accompany Tommy Magness ... Doc Watson gives credit to Don Reno as the one who started flatpicking bluegrass music. It soon became the standard, because it maintained the guitar's role as a rhythm instrument, but also made in an effective lead instrument ... very similar to the transition from frailing to three finger banjo playing.
I'd say Don Reno. Anyway, Shuffler's playing is somewhat elementary in comparison - but he was without doubt the No. 1 bass player in Bluegrass, as late as the 60's.

Phelps played lead on Cheyenne, Dec. 31, 1954; Cline played lead on Used to Be and Brown County Breakdown, Sept. 16, 1955.
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  #42  
Old 05-04-2009, 10:02 PM
David Hilyard David Hilyard is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BULLSPRIG View Post
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. With the harmonics and more subtle sounds, notice the fingerpicking. The actual pick is held back for the more complex and rapid playing. Once he goes beyond Mach 1, or the speed of sound, notice its 100 percent flatpicking.

Take the time to watch most of it.

And then ask yourself if anyone on this planet could do this without a pick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnqpOFcBiMM
That was tastefully done, and with a pick. It was an example, IMO, of a style that is best done with a flatpick. Another is Gypsy jazz. Another is hard rock. I think that speed and complexity are entirely different issues. I didn't see that as greatly complex or at unbelievable speed. I feel he "held back" to play those things with a pick only because he himself couldn't play them as well fingerstyle. As has been stated, speed can be had with both styles. Some styles are better played with a pick and some better played fingerstyle. I'll accept that. But not that one can handle speed and complexity better than the other.

This is a speedy tune, best played fingerstyle. Pete Huttlinger's "Brown Bomber":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a33rP0u-7eA

And Joe Pass, who played with a pick and fingerstyle, does this fingerstyle, just because he wanted to. He often held a pick in his mouth so he could switch off, when he wanted a different sound.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDjMLTtv6Us

This is a cool tune played with a banjo roll approach. That'd be hard with a pick. I'm enjoying the CD I got from Martin Tallstrom.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XZgz...780A08&index=4

My point is, both methods can be used with speed and complexity.
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  #43  
Old 05-04-2009, 10:07 PM
Piotr Piotr is offline
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Originally Posted by Piotr View Post
I'd say Don Reno. Anyway, Shuffler's playing is somewhat elementary in comparison - but he was without doubt the No. 1 bass player in Bluegrass, as late as the 60's.

Phelps played lead on Cheyenne, Dec. 31, 1954; Cline played lead on Used to Be and Brown County Breakdown, Sept. 16, 1955.
Oh, and the accordion player's name was Wilene Russell Forrester. Monroe gave her the stage name Sally Ann. The accordion band recorded just once, in early 1945. Bluegrass, as we know it, was born later that year when Earl Scruggs joined the Bluegrass Boys.
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  #44  
Old 05-04-2009, 11:27 PM
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220volt 220volt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BULLSPRIG View Post
Here's an example of what I'm talking about. With the harmonics and more subtle sounds, notice the fingerpicking. The actual pick is held back for the more complex and rapid playing. Once he goes beyond Mach 1, or the speed of sound, notice its 100 percent flatpicking.

Take the time to watch most of it.

And then ask yourself if anyone on this planet could do this without a pick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnqpOFcBiMM
He is using lots of hammer ons, pull offs, arpeggios, and combine that with lots of delay and verb, you get the sense that he is cleanly picking everything. I agree, some shred monsters can pick 30+ notes per second, but it comes down to a matter of simple physics. You can only pick one string and one note at time cleanly with pick, no matte how fast you are. With finger, you can pick pretty much 5 at once at enormous speed.
I am a mainly pick player, but lately have been studying fingerpicking, and I must say it;s far more versatile then pick playing, but you do need to know both, plus some hybrid picking to be a complete player. Like Eric Johnson is actually.
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  #45  
Old 05-05-2009, 06:31 AM
Piotr Piotr is offline
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Originally Posted by David Hilyard View Post
Addressing just the volume/loudness/clearness issue of competing with the other instruments.....it's in the mix. If the fingerpicker isn't as loud in that band situation you are using, then just turn his volume up. "Soft" in that situation is controlled by the sound guy, not how the strings are picked. Doyle Dykes, Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Reed, Tommy Jones, Buster B Jones, Thom Bresh, Paco de Lucia, Paco Pena, Wayne Henderson, Stanley Jordon, Martin Taylor, Martin Simpson, Don Ross, Joe Pass etc, etc, etc all play fast leads fingerstyle at length.

Ah, yes, how great. Leave the work to the sound guy. Don't bother to develop good technique and dynamics because you will never need it. No wonder so much music sounds so anemic and artificial today.

But not all. In April I went to a big guitar show in a large city. It was pretty noisy.
I had the bizarre experience of seeing a Taylor dealer deomonstrate his
products plugged in to listeners just a few feet away.

In the evening I went to a classical guitar recital in a big school auditorium. No PA, no amplification, of course, just a lone player and his guitar. How refreshing.
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