My roommate is trying to tell me that since Tommy Emmanuel can fingerpick faster than Yngwie/Gilbert/Batio/whoever can alternate pick, fingerpicking is a more efficient and better technique to use, even on an electric. He basically claimed that rather than learn to alternate pick, we should all just learn to fingerpick. It seems to me that if this were true, a hell of a lot more electric players would fingerpick. Help me out here, where does the flaw in his argument lie?
well he CANT finger pick faster than those mentioned anyway , he is good , REALLY good but speed isn't his forte , I mean those guys you mentioned are the ones that practically made the whole shred movement
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Different styles of playing first of all.

Yeah, but would it be possible to play a song like Far Beyond the Sun with strictly fingerpicking?
you loose your ability to palm mute if playing with fingers which is incredibly important in metal with high distortions, you cant pick faster than those guys, you are much more precise if you play with pick
its not more efficient as it is way harder to do, and takes a lot more work to get it to sound right.
this is why not many players learn to fingerpick, that and the fact that it suits a completely different style of music that what shredders play.
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when using apick, you can go quickly from palm muted power chords to alternate picked solos and sweeped arpeggises.

generally, its because finger picking lacks aggression. thats why it is more common on blues, jazz, CLASSICAL than in rock, metal etc
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Yeah, but would it be possible to play a song like Far Beyond the Sun with strictly fingerpicking?

yes. It would be harder, but it could be done.
Fingerpicking doesn't have the same tone as a flatpick.
It's also probably pretty hard to pick-tap when you don't have one. Maybe even tapping in general, because of those fingernails - if I'm thinking of the right kind of fingerpicking.
Oh, and you can always hybrid with a pick, but it's probably kind of hard to alternate with fingers.

What's Emmanuel's NPS anyway? I wonder how it compares to some of the crazier tapping speeds.
I flesh pick on my electric, much of the time I prefer it to using a pick, but I wouldn't even try to finger pick over using a pick if I were going for speed, cause there are just too many techniques that can't be effectively applied while finger picking.
Well, for one everything will sound muddier when you use your fingers....
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Fingernails don't sound muddy though.

Alternate picking sounds choppy and fingernail sound sharp and have more attack than picks if you really "snap" each time you pick.
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Fingernails don't sound muddy though.

It's a bitch to finger pick with nails on an elec though. I always scrape the pickups of my PRS.
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