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Sound sample: Bill Furner - Betsy

Fingerstyle and the term fingerpicking , which is often used synonymously, denote both a playing technique on the guitar and various forms of mostly instrumental guitar music in which this playing technique is used.

Playing technique

In fingerstyle, the strings of the guitar are struck with the individual fingers of the touch hand (usually the right hand ). The playing technique differs from flat picking with a plectrum or the technique formerly known in German-speaking countries as the strike guitar, in which several strings are usually struck with the thumb. The basis of the fingerstyle is the attack of the individual strings with the index, middle and ring fingers by a movement starting from the respective finger root in the direction of the wrist, in which the fingers curve slightly. The movement of the thumb also starts from the root of the finger, but here downwards. The thumb remains as stretched as possible. The strings can be plucked with the fingertips, with the fingernails or with finger picks .

Overlaps and delimitations

It should be noted that in English-speaking countries fingerstyle is often used as a general term for playing technique and can therefore also refer to classic playing technique.

In German-speaking countries, however , fingerstyle is usually more narrowly defined and understood as a name for a playing technique that differs from the classic. The main differences are:

  • In contrast to the posture of the classical guitar, the instrument usually lies with the indentation of the lower frame on the right thigh (for right-handers) and forms a more or less right angle with the body of the player (for both left and right-handers) Right-handed);
  • The forearm and the attacking hand sometimes form a straight line, but with most musicians a much more obtuse angle than with the classical way of playing;
  • the touch hand can be supported with the little finger on the guitar top;
  • the bass strings are often muted with the heel of the hand ( palm muting );
  • the fingers are generally not put on;
  • the lower strings (for anatomical reasons mostly only the lowest string) can also be grasped with the thumb of the gripping hand (this is the left hand for right-handed people).

Fingerstyle is mainly played on acoustic guitars with steel strings, but sometimes also on guitars with nylon strings ( David Qualey , Muriel Anderson) or hollow body jazz guitars ( Tuck Andress , Martin Taylor ). In addition to the standard EADGHE mood , open moods are also used.

Fingerstyle as a form of instrumental guitar music

Fingerstyle or fingerstyle guitar is also used as a generic term for mostly guitar music in which the playing technique explained above is used. However, the use of the term is not always clear and it has both a narrower and a wider meaning.

Some authors, such as the guitarist and guitar teacher Ulli Bögershausen , see fingerstyle as their own style. Here fingerstyle refers to a certain type of instrumental guitar music that has developed from country blues and ragtime and is characterized in particular by the alternating bass. In English this style is also known as the American fingerstyle guitar .

In contrast, other authors, such as the Hamburg journalist and jazz guitar expert Alexander Schmitz, use fingerstyle as a generic term for any form of guitar music in which the strings are not struck with a plectrum or even with the thumb. As with the Anglo-American understanding of fingerstyle , the term includes not only the use of this playing style in folk, country and blues , but also in classical music , flamenco , jazz and rock music . According to this view, the “fingerstyle jazz” of guitarists such as Joe Pass , Charlie Byrd and Baden Powell and the playing styles of Mark Knopfler or Jeff Becks also belong to the “fingerstyle”.

Origin and development

The transfer of the ragtime pianists' alternating bass to the guitar by musicians such as Blind Blake and Reverend Gary Davis in the 1920s is considered to be the origin of the playing technique . The role of the pianist's left hand is taken on by the thumb of the touching hand on the guitar.

The rediscovery of musicians like Mississippi John Hurt , as well as the folk boom of the 1960s, led to a revival, and the playing technique spread to almost all musicians in the folk movement. Chet Atkins and John Fahey, who died in 2001, were influential and influential in the USA from the mid-1950s . They transferred the fingerstyle playing technique of the country blues and ragtime guitar to other musical styles early on. The much more successful Leo Kottke , sponsored by Fahey and who shaped fingerstyle in the 1970s, was then a reference point in matters of virtuosity. Davey Graham , Doc Watson , John Renbourn and Bert Jansch played a similarly formative role in Great Britain in the 1960s . An important “finger stylist” of the 1980s was the American Michael Hedges because of his innovative playing technique . He influenced the playing style of many younger "finger stylists" such as Andy McKee or Thomas Leeb . The two-time Grammy nominee (including for The Day Fingerpickers Took over the World with Chet Atkins, 1998) Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel has been one of the world's best representatives of the genre for many years .

Development in Germany

Many guitarists in Germany got to know fingerpicking through Peter Bursch's guitar schools . Influential guitarists in the 1970s and 1980s were Werner Lämmerhirt and Peter Finger, as well as Steffen Basho-Junghans in the GDR . Klaus Weiland's track “Das Loch in der Banane”, which was used by NDR in the 1980s as intermission music, is probably the best-known fingerstyle piece in Germany.

The magazine Akustik Guitar , which has been published since the mid-1990s , deals with interpreters and playing techniques of fingerstyle and has thus contributed to the revitalization of the now very diverse scene.

Mixed form

A hybrid of flat-picking (also: Flatpicking) and Fingerstyle is the hybrid picking .

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Official website of Tommy Emmanuel
  2. Rolling Stone Magazine - Interview with Tommy Emmanuel