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  #16  
Old 01-01-2022, 09:37 AM
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Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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Originally Posted by TBman View Post
I've been working on that tune on and off, over the last month or so. It's just regular fingerstyle to me.

Classical guitar is another can of worms completely. Body position, guitar position, thumb behind the neck (at times), right hand angle, nail care, no tab, just notation. Its a different world than what I do. Its more like a lifestyle approach to guitar in a way if that makes sense.

I'm pretty simple when it comes to styles - using a flat pick? No. Strumming? No. Using thumb and at least one finger? Ok, its fingerstyle. The style of music is another thing. "Travis picking" uses alternating bass which doesn't have to be that boom chuck genre, but can be.

I think the term "finger picking" is just a non formal way of saying "fingerstyle."

Please pass me the Grey Poupon, thank you
Here's the problem, though. Or maybe "challenge" rather than "problem"...

In my first guitar-playing incarnation, circa 2006 or 2007 what I most wanted to do was playing [fill in the blank] just about exactly like Ed Gerhard's "The Water Is Wide" (in fact I spent weeks working on his arrangement of that tune). Or the Celtic stuff like Steve Baughman plays. Usually altered tuning, maximizing open strings and sustain, use of drones, generally deliberate tempos with plenty of air or space for the tune to breathe.

So let's say someone like 2007 version of me comes to AGF and wants to talk about instruments or technique or repertoire in that specific genre. They are about 99.9% likely to refer to what they want to discuss as "fingerstyle guitar", right?

From my experience I know they'll get plenty of well intentioned advice from the "alternating bass to the exclusion of all else" crowd. Usually starting with telling them not to practice anything else until they can alternate their thumb between the lower three strings independently of moving the other fingers or playing any non-bass notes.

But hey, it is what it is. Language is banging on a cracked kettle, yada, yada, yada. But for people who are enthusiastic about THAT style of music (call it what you will) it's a frustration.

Now of course I'm repeating that entire linguistic journey because I'm learning "flatpick" which means all sorts of things to all people but to me it means

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Last edited by Kerbie; 01-02-2022 at 05:13 AM. Reason: Adjusted video placement
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  #17  
Old 01-01-2022, 10:02 AM
RRuskin RRuskin is offline
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"Fingerstyle" is just a gentrification of the term, "fingerpicking."
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  #18  
Old 01-01-2022, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by rick-slo View Post
Those terms contain a lot of overlapping and interchangeability which fuzzes it all up. Personally I prefer saying fingerstyle over saying fingerpicking.
I like that!! ^^^^

For me.....fingerstyle is a noun (person, place or in this case a "thing"). Fingerpicking is more of a verb, or an action. in the end.....all the same stuff, no biggie!
As in: A beautiful fingerstyle song, with some wonderful fingerpicking.
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Old 01-01-2022, 10:43 AM
Aimelie Aimelie is offline
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I read ďfingerpickingĒ and I see Roy Clark and that other guy picking and grinning and having a ball doing it.

Which is nice.



And occasionally Iíll play like that just for funzies and it really is fun, smile and all.
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  #20  
Old 01-01-2022, 12:00 PM
Don W Don W is offline
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I think of finger picking as "pattern picking" like Travis picking or a different style or pattern that usually accompanies a voice or other instrument. I think of finger style as more like classical guitar but on steel strings where the bass rhythm and melody are played...a solo guitar style.
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  #21  
Old 01-01-2022, 12:12 PM
12barBill 12barBill is offline
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Originally Posted by Don W View Post
I think of finger picking as "pattern picking" like Travis picking or a different style or pattern that usually accompanies a voice or other instrument. I think of finger style as more like classical guitar but on steel strings where the bass rhythm and melody are played...a solo guitar style.
That's pretty much exactly how I think of it.

Finger picking as a pattern style, often as picking a pattern from chords accompanying singing a song.

Fingerstyle as playing a composition.
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  #22  
Old 01-02-2022, 04:51 AM
Robin, Wales Robin, Wales is offline
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That's pretty much exactly how I think of it.

Finger picking as a pattern style, often as picking a pattern from chords accompanying singing a song.

Fingerstyle as playing a composition.
Yep, that was where I started out with this thread.

It has been fascinating to read all the responses, some of the historical perspectives, and folks feelings on the matter.

I wonder if "pattern pickers" who sing and the more melodic fingerstyle players fall roughly in to two camps who view the flat top acoustic guitar from fundamentally different perspectives and are likely to make very different choices about their instrument selection?
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  #23  
Old 01-02-2022, 05:40 AM
stanron stanron is offline
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I should start out by saying that these days I can't play at all. A combination of old age, arthritis and unfortunate medication left me with fingers that don't bend enough to fret strings.

So, when I could play, I developed a set of instrumentals that were more than just pattern picking.

Some of these did not use alternating thumb at all. For example;



This one used alternating thumb partly, but not constantly;



and this one used it most of the time;



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pc3kXgVt0os&t=3s

When I was singing I would keep the guitar playing very simple. Sometimes alternating thumb, sometimes pattern picking and sometimes other styles. Instrumental breaks were more developed. I'm sure that I am not unique in this approach.

I really don't think the distinctions you make between finger style and finger picking are valid.

Last edited by Kerbie; 01-08-2022 at 07:45 AM. Reason: Corrected YouTube link
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  #24  
Old 01-02-2022, 05:43 AM
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Wow, I’m more confused now than I was at the beginning of this thread. I mostly play with a pick, using some combination of strumming and picking out individual notes as accompaniment when I sing with it and picking leads during lead breaks. I don’t know what to call this - flatpicking or just playing with a pick (plectrum)?

But I always thought fingerpicking and fingerstyle were interchangeable terms for when I’m playing bass rhythms with my thumb on the low strings and picking out melody with my other fingers, generally on the higher strings. I don’t do a lot of this thumb and finger type playing and I’m not very goood at it, so I never bothered with using the “right” term for it. I play some pieces with a steady bass on just the root E or A or whatever the root of the chord I’m playing, and some with an alternating bass on two or three different notes / strings per chord. Now, earlier in this thread I’m told when I’m playing alternating bass I’m playing fingerstyle, and when I’m playing steady bass I’m fingerpicking? Who knew?!?!

It’s also suggested that when I don’t have fingerpicks on and just play with my bare fingers, that’s fingerstyle (or is it fingerpicking?) but when I play with fingerpicks and thumbpicks, that’s fingerpicking (or is it fingerstyle?). I do both, depending on the piece and whether I have fingerpicks handy. What about those who play with a thumbpick and bare fingers, which I don’t do but I’ve heard of people doing? What unholy combination of thumb picking / fingerstyle / thumb style / fingerpicking is THAT?!?!?!

But then later it’s suggested it’s all fingerstyle because fingerpicking is when it’s picking patterns with your fingers over chords as accompaniment to singing. Well, I’m not near good enough to pick with my fingers and sing at the same time, which would indicate I’m playing fingerstyle whenever I play with the digits instead of a plectrum. But sometimes I do sort of play patterns within the chords I’m playing with a plectrum as I sing, and I’m at a total loss as to what to call this? I’m pretty sure it’s not flatpicking, it’s not arpeggios strictly speaking - I think it may not have a name? Oh, horrors!

I’m just gonna keep playing my guitars in a variety of manners, and when y’all decide what we’re calling each of these things, let me know. Until I hear something firm, I’m just gonna call it playing with my fangers and playing with a pick (plectrum, as opposed to fingerpicks) and let God and St. Peter sort it out at the end of the journey (if they even exist and could care to give it a thought - I doubt any of this is gonna be the basis of any north / south directional decision making)! Oh, good heavens (or good hades) I hope not!!!

My head has commenced to hurt!

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  #25  
Old 01-02-2022, 06:03 AM
Nymuso Nymuso is offline
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I put on a plastic thumb pick and brass finger picks and play the acoustic guitar. I call it finger picking. You can call it fingerstyle if you want, but I suspect most fingerstylists would not. I think material and context are the main two determinants of the difference.
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  #26  
Old 01-02-2022, 06:12 AM
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Brent Hutto Brent Hutto is offline
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Originally Posted by raysachs View Post
But I always thought fingerpicking and fingerstyle were interchangeable terms for when Iím playing bass rhythms with my thumb on the low strings and picking out melody with my other fingers, generally on the higher strings.
You are not confused at all, apparently.

The gist of this thread has basically said you're exactly right. For most people "fingerpicking and fingerstyle [are] interchangeable terms" for alternating bass using fingers rather than a pick.

I personally think it would be useful if there were SOME term, whether "fingerstyle" or something else, that we could use to refer to playing with fingers with no alternating bass rhythm at all. It's a valid style, there are many great artists who play that way but there's no word or simple phrase that can be used to describe it without people thinking we mean alternating bass.
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  #27  
Old 01-02-2022, 06:13 AM
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I agree there is too much overlap between the terms to make any sensible distinction. To me, "fingerstyle" sounds somewhat more sophisticated than "fingerpicking", but that's all. "Fingerpicking" has a kind of downhome, country vibe to me. I wouldn't call classical guitar "fingerpicking", but I might call it a kind of "fingerstyle".

Having said that, it's worth bearing in mind that both terms are often used to make a distinction between playing with the fingers (with or without thumbpick or fingerpicks) and playing with a flat pick - "plectrum style" or "flatpicking". And that then depends on the musical culture you come from, it seems. Obviously within classical guitar circles, no such distinction is necessary!

But there are certainly important distinctions between the classical kind of "fingerstyle" and the folk/blues/country kinds of "fingerstyle" - but again there don't seem to be standard conventions in terminology. "Alternating bass" is a type of playing that you tend not to find in classical guitar. (You do sometimes get alternating bass patterns in classical guitar, but very rare.) "Thumb style" is quite a good term, because it underlines how much the thumb dominates in that style; in classical guitar, thumb and 3 fingers tend to be equally balanced.
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  #28  
Old 01-02-2022, 06:45 AM
Italuke Italuke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hutto View Post
For most people "fingerpicking and fingerstyle [are] interchangeable terms" for alternating bass using fingers rather than a pick.
IMO, it doesn't even have to be alternating bass.

One of the (many) downsides to the Interwebs is that it encourages extremes of OVERTHINKING, over analysis, and over labeling. Many of us are just not somehow satisfied unless we can quantify and name every possible little thing that we're discussing. Concepts begin to take on a life of their own -- which never existed -- and then the horse is outta the barn and way down the road.

So if "fingerpicking" and "finger style" are each clearly defined terms, distinguishable by some list of objective criteria, then I ask:

"Says who?"

Is there a God or supreme being or prime mover of guitar terms residing somewhere in the ether that I didn't know about? (Insert eye roll emoji...apologies for the snark...)
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  #29  
Old 01-02-2022, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Italuke View Post
IMO, it doesn't even have to be alternating bass.

One of the (many) downsides to the Interwebs is that it encourages extremes of OVERTHINKING, over analysis, and over labeling. Many of us are just not somehow satisfied unless we can quantify and name every possible little thing that we're discussing. Concepts begin to take on a life of their own -- which never existed -- and then the horse is outta the barn and way down the road.

So if "fingerpicking" and "finger style" are each clearly defined terms, distinguishable by some list of objective criteria, then I ask:

"Says who?"

Is there a God or supreme being or prime mover of guitar terms residing somewhere in the ether that I didn't know about? (Insert eye roll emoji...apologies for the snark...)
So how would you refer, in the fewest possible words, to the style of playing that (for instance) Ed Gerhard uses in his "Water Is Wide" arrangement?

He's using fingernails to play slowly and freely in an altered tuning with no identifiable alternating bass. That's about 17 words and it would nice to have a 1, 2 or 3 word phrase that most people understood to mean that style.

But alas, there's no such term. Any word (or two or three words) I'd use to describe it will be interpreted as meaning some sort of blues or folk alternating bass style.

P.S. I agree with JonPR that "thumb style" is a better term for what most people mean with they say "fingerstyle".
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  #30  
Old 01-02-2022, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by islandguitar View Post
I like that!! ^^^^

For me.....fingerstyle is a noun (person, place or in this case a "thing"). Fingerpicking is more of a verb, or an action. in the end.....all the same stuff, no biggie!
As in: A beautiful fingerstyle song, with some wonderful fingerpicking.
Agreed - I play fingerstyle by fingerpicking. I can not say "I play fingerpick by fingerstyling.". 😳

I donít change how I play either if I use an alternating, walking or free bass line or whatever. All this does is change the order the notes are played...
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