Dansm's Acoustic Page

Styles of Picking
Two schools of acoustic guitar picking have developed: the flatpickers, who use small plastic picks; and the fingerpickers, who use their fingers without a pick. I fall into the latter category, because I find fingerpicking to be much more liberating than using a pick. I even have a page of fingerpicking lessons which you might want to check out.

You may also hear of a technique called "fingerstyle," which is very similar to fingerpicking. Basically, fingerpicking is defined as playing only one string at a time, while fingerstyle players sometimes play two- or three-note chords using their fingers. However, the distinction between these two styles is rather worthless because most guitarists, including Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, John Denver, Jim Croce, and myself, play both styles at different times or even during the same song.

Most players use both styles, flatpicking and fingerpicking, at different times. Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on what sound you want to get, so it is all up to you. Even if you don't fingerpick much, it is very helpful to know how to do it in case the need ever arises.
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1997 Daniel E. Smith. Last updated 6-5-97