When playing, on my fret hand, how much should i be playing on the very tips of my fingers versus the pads? I've noticed that even when I'm playing on the higher strings, my thumb encroaches a tiny bit over the top of the neck, hindering me from playing on the very pads of my fingers. Is it a style thing? it seems like blues players primarily use the pads of their fingers and classical or shredder style players use the fingertips more?

I know that when it comes to bending you have to use the pads of your fingers more, but I mean more so in general playing.
yeah it's fairly dependent on what you're playing, as you said. For more intricate chords and the like you're going to want to use tips, for bluesier lead with a lot of bending etc. (and even for some types of electric playing where a lot of your effort goes into muting) you probably want to use the pads more.

a fair amount is dependent on which you find more comfortable, too, I guess.
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I use both in conjunction so much I'm not sure which I use anymore...
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You generally use both depending on how many strings you want to mute, dave_mc summed it up nicely.
Something of note, classical technique; though not many people are taught this, or get far enough to be actually nagged by it; does not require the player to actually use their exact fingertips (when playing non-barred, non-muting) passages. Quite often players will place their hand somewhat based on their index-finger, which results in a number of 'bad' habits(thumb over the neck, wrist unnaturally bend or even hooked, locked up or bent pinkies and ring-fingers, etc).

While it is arguable what constitutes as a bad habit and what does not, the above I find happening with every student I teach, and I always have to correct them because I know that with too much practice this results in injury. And while it is true that it would be strange to teach a person something that is apparently very rarely naturally learned, it does in the end help many people with improving their technique.

What I am getting to, is that it depends on both what music you intehavend to play how far you wish to go. I've played electric guitar for about 9 or 10 years before I started playing flamenco guitar, and eventually classical. The difference in technique, and mainly how much you can get away with on an electric guitar, was staggering.

Using the pads to mute, is indeed a good habit, but it needs to be able to go both ways. When you wish to let a string ring you must be able to play with the tips perfectly as well. The point which I started a bit earlier, is that it's not just the tips or the pads you should consider, but also on which part you base your positioning. The inside, being the side of the finger that is towards the thumb, or the outside, being the side that is towards the pinky finger.

Towards the thumb one will have more power, and it will appear more easily to orientate one's fingers because the index, middle- and thumb are more often used. The problem that arises with this side however, is that you take a lot of strength and room for manoeuvrability for your weaker fingers which could already use all the help they can get.

To compromise 'is said' to be a bad idea, though I must admit I've only had it happen once to me. But it was enough to remember not to do it again. While you won't need as much strength to play on an electric, in my experience at least, you will be in trouble if you try to position your fingers exactly on the middle of the tip. This is because there are apparently a lot of nerves there, and if you press exactly on that one spot, especially with a single point like a string would be, the pain is excruciating. I've only had it once, but it was a moment to remember, and I did not play until the day after which is a long time for me.

So ideally; and I should stress that 'ideally' means which theory and such you find to be the best argument for yourself personally; one more or less leans a bit on the outside (pinky-side) of the hand, allowed the pinky-finger easier access and more strength, while avoiding the 'pain' spot that is the middle of the fingertips.
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The argument that's frequently made regarding sloppy hand placement and technique is that "if it's good enough for _________, it's good enough for me." Low-slung guitars and badly placed wrists are producing a lot of carpal tunnel and nerve-damaged hands. The good news is that the requirements of 7, 8, 9 and even 10-string guitars seems to be forcing changes in technique for the better, because the fretboards are too wide for thumb-around, and don't allow the "baseball bat thick neck" business of bringing forearm muscles into bending, etc.

My main callouses are on the "little finger" side of my fingers, but I've got some pretty good ones on the other side as well. Take a look at a fan-fret guitar -- it turns out that these are quite ergonomic, since the frets usually angle the way your hand would fall naturally.