#1
How many of you decided your musical style preference (but still non classical) really lended it self towards playing fingerstyle and you decided not to play with a pick any longer? What was it that made you decide that was the direction you wanted to go? How long had you been playing guitar when you made that decision?
#2
How long I had been playing is complicated. I gave up using a pick because there were things I wanted to be able to do by finger picking which were not possible with a pick, and everything that I wanted to be able to do with a pick were possible.

I think you could be a little bit faster with a pick, and it can deliver a nice tone that you can't get exactly without a pick, but over all I prefer not using a pick. I like the sound of fingerpicking also.

I think style-wise, it's as much that fingerstyle suited me, as it is that fingerstyle shaped me.
#3
About 2 weeks after I started to learn guitar - in the late 1960's - I saw a guy on TV finger-picking. I loved it and started learning to do it too. And I've finger-picked ever since.
#4
I've always played country blues and folk and have never used a flatpick, like Garthman it dates from the early 60s when the folk revival was at its peak. I sometimes regret not learning to do both, but recently I've started doing more backstrokes to emulate flatpicking, and stylistically it has been a quantum leap. So in a way I've gone in the other direction, from fingerpicking to including something approximating flatpicking.
Last edited by Tony Done at Nov 5, 2015,
#5
I've been playing for a long time, about 40 years. I started out doing both fingerstyle and bluegrass-type flatpicking, pretty much side-by side.

I got proficient enough with the flatpick to knock out solo pieces like "Under The Double Eagle" and others and to improvise solos on bluegrass and country tunes.
However, over the last couple of years I have gone over almost entirely to fingerstyle....Solo jazz guitar. Chord-melody playing.
This takes so much time and study that I simply don't have the time to keep up my flatpicking chops.
Recently bought a nylon-string "crossover" guitar.
#6
it's funny that you assume everyone started off playing with a pick. i've been playing fingerstyle since 1968, and it wasn't till 1996 that i tried a pick. i didn't like it much, and went back to fingerstyle. i do sometimes strum using my fingers, but not much as i like playing a variety of patterns. i like fingerstyle because i find the feeling of being in touch with the strings while i play very satisfying.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#7
Maybe what you think is funny is actually a generational difference? My generation was growing up when the Rock of the 80's was winding down and transitioned into the grunge rock era. I come across people in my generation out playing in common area in my town and that is what they seem to all play, that or country but all with a pick.

Even look at the responses. The people that have responded have been playing the guitar since the 60's. I wasn't even born yet.
#8
Quote by bigrewards
Maybe what you think is funny is actually a generational difference? My generation was growing up when the Rock of the 80's was winding down and transitioned into the grunge rock era. I come across people in my generation out playing in common area in my town and that is what they seem to all play, that or country but all with a pick.

Even look at the responses. The people that have responded have been playing the guitar since the 60's. I wasn't even born yet.



Just to clarify, I wasn't born yet in the 60s either. I did however start with a pick, and my first guitar was a MIM strat. I'm strictly acoustic now, and dropped the pick. It wasn't until I bought my first acoustic that I made that decision.

I've seen some people play electric open handed though.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 7, 2015,
#9
Quote by fingrpikingood
Just to clarify, I wasn't born yet in the 60s either. I did however start with a pick, and my first guitar was a MIM strat. I'm strictly acoustic now, and dropped the pick. It wasn't until I bought my first acoustic that I made that decision.

I've seen some people play electric open handed though.


Obviously I wasn't trying to say younger people don't play fingerstyle at all. Just providing my perspective to the comment that is was funny that I would think players start with a pick. Another reason I suggest that is the most common approach is because most of the beginner guitar series start with picking as the basics and strumming beginner songs. Where would a beginner even go if they wanted to begin playing the guitar without a pick?

Maybe another part of my orginal questions should have been around and more what I was driving towards was no just strumming without a pick. I mean actually playing with thumb and fingers as individual note players.
#10
Quote by bigrewards
Obviously I wasn't trying to say younger people don't play fingerstyle at all. Just providing my perspective to the comment that is was funny that I would think players start with a pick. Another reason I suggest that is the most common approach is because most of the beginner guitar series start with picking as the basics and strumming beginner songs. Where would a beginner even go if they wanted to begin playing the guitar without a pick?

Maybe another part of my orginal questions should have been around and more what I was driving towards was no just strumming without a pick. I mean actually playing with thumb and fingers as individual note players.


I didn't mean to imply you thought no younger people played fingerstyle, just that when you said "The people that have responded have..." technically that would have included me, I just wanted to clarify that I was not yet born in the 60s either.

To help with your other questions, I never learned from anything from any beginner series or anything like that. The beginning of guitar for me, was really just friends, and picking up my guitar, and earing stuff out, and just doing whatever to get it done. I have made use of videos online for some things, mostly theory, but I was not able to really make use of it for technique at all. You're right that it is tough to come across videos for fingerstyle, that aren't travis picking. I also probably never looked that hard so, I could be wrong.

My original incentive to play fingerstyle, was the sound and sort of vibe, but also the extra power of independence, which I like, that would let me play select strings, in ways I couldn't do with a pick. There was a little while there where I studied the pick techniques and fingerstyle, and I think I was originally going to maybe do both, but I eventually discovered a way to strum that suited me well enough to substitute for a pick, if ever I want a strum style. Once I discovered that, and that I could easily and effortlessly switch between strumming and fingerstyle, then I immediately dropped the pick altogether, and now my strum technique, when I want it, is even superior to what it was back then. I am now still predominantly a fingerstyle player, but I will often also have some strumming thrown in, and really have a kind of hybrid style that works very well for me. It's not something I've ever really come across elsewhere before. I do a few unorthodox things. I will sometimes even play some strings alternate picking with just my thumb for fast runs, and all sorts of little techniques here and there, which were later developments.

The main thing for me though, was that I saw there was no NEED for a pick, I dropped it. That said when I did that, I was not the fastest player in the world, and I now believe a pick will let you play more quickly. But if I could go back, for the speed difference, I would still drop the pick, easy.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 7, 2015,
#11
I've played nearly exclusively fingerstyle on the acoustic for about 13 years now, ever since I started learning the guitar with a classical teacher.
My God, it's full of stars!
#12
My experience has been like Dreadnought described, except I've only been playing for a couple of months. My teacher is a classical player and from the beginning, the lessons have been half classical (with a beginner's book), half rhythm guitar. I play without a pick.
#13
I started playing on an electric about 7 years ago. I always knew you could play with your fingers because my Dad would play Over The Hills a lot, but I was never really interested in doing it myself. Over the course of that time I could play stereotypical finger songs, Stairway, Over The Hills, Wish You Were Here, etc, but it wasn't until my birthday earlier this year, July 22nd, that I officially dropped the pick. I had been listening to guys like Bob Dylan and Dave Van Ronk, and playing some of their stuff, but I got a parlor guitar for my birthday and really started teaching myself how to fingerpick. Up till then I had only used my thumb on the first 2 strings, and played the third with my index, but after a night of intense practicing I broke the habit. In the past few months I've been playing more John Fahey/Leo Kottke type stuff on my dreadnought and 12 string. I really love the scene it sets for me. American Primitivism as a genre really kinda rakes me away, and I'm honestly really thankful that I can play it and compose my own pieces in it
(Sorry for rambling!!!)
#14
i have friends born in every decade who started off playing fingerstyle, although admittedly i know more people (from every decade) who started playing with picks, my husband (who's 11 years younger than i am) is definitely a guy who plays with a pick.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#15
Largely depends on what kind of music you started fooling with. When I started out, mid-70s, all my friends were old folkies and essentially everyone played "Travis Picking" style using thumbpicks and metal fingerpicks. That was just "what you did" locally.
The very few people I knew who used a pick were pure strummers....Hardly so much as a bass run.

When I started learning bluegrass-style picking, from lesson one it was learning to play runs, licks, and single-note figures within the context of that bluegrass "boom-chicka-boom" rhythm. Not that this was easy at first.....

But even now, out of practice, I can run through chord progressions and freely improvise single-note lines while never loosing the rhythm.
One is not limited to one or the other...It's a matter of learning to handle the pick properly.

The same with fingerstyle. Many of my contemporaries back then learned that basic, syncopated "Travis" picking pattern.... And that was it. Maybe a little bass run or figure now and then but very little variation. I started listening to more advanced fingerstyle players who could, as with the flatpicking, throw in chordal runs or single-note runs or whatever was desired.
It's taken me years to acheive proficiency at this, and I still can't play fingerstyle runs as quickly as I can with a pick... But I keep trying.
#16
Quote by bigrewards
How many of you decided your musical style preference (but still non classical) really lended it self towards playing fingerstyle and you decided not to play with a pick any longer? What was it that made you decide that was the direction you wanted to go? How long had you been playing guitar when you made that decision?


I started exclusively with a pick and played metal mainly. I then wanted to open up my playing and decided to take classical guitar lessons. Well, learning classical guitar completely blew my mind. I continued playing with a pick on electric and when playing some acoustic styles like bluegrass, that are pick heavy, but fingerstyle was where the complexity was at and I played a lot.

At one point I went to a gig and saw a blues player ripping up an electric all night fingerstyle. I was blown away as I had never really seen someone just play fingerstyle on electric that way - it gave me the idea to try it out. I learned that you need to adapt your fingerstyle grip on electric to get a good tone, you can't simply play it like a classical. From that point on I focused on fingerstyle and now I only use a pick once in a while, when I need a certain tone or when I need to play staccato picking lines. I was about 10 years in when I made the switch to playing nearly exclusively fingerstyle.

For speed I use legato mainly and now I can rip up a freboard fingerstyle just as well as with a pick, if not better when considering the advantages for playing arpegiatted notes or diads and other larger intervals etc. The dynamics are much more intense with your fingers than with a pick - you get much more variety and it makes you sound less like other players by default. I also find it keeps me from playing scales on auto-pilot which I do with a pick sometimes ( i.e. blazing up and down scales) - it almost forces you to think in terms of better phrasing.