Fingerstyle vs strumming - which do you prefer?

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nkforsternkforster Frets: 24
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeqoIhHq690


Which of these two do you prefer? First Ian Stephenson plays the long scale (27") NK Forster Model C-HO, then Tom Fletcher. Both musicians play the same guitar, in the same DADGAD guitar tuning, in the same session in the same room.

All that changes is the musician and the playing style. Ian plays with a pick, Tom with his fingers.

What do you recon?

Nigel

http://www.nkforsterguitars.com


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Comments

  • equalsqlequalsql Frets: 3162
    edited May 2
    Fingerpicking for me on acoustic using the backs of my nails if I need to strum, a bit like the flamenco technique. My only problem is I learnt the method on a wide fingerboard Yamaha electro-classic so I find playing a conventional steel strung acoustic a bit too tight to achieve accuracy. I'm going to experiment usng my 12 string acoustic with only 6 strings as I find its width is a lot better for my thick fingers.

    I also use EADGAD tuning a lot when playing acoustic as I find it more flexible than DADGAD.

    (pronounced: equal-sequel)   "I suffered for my art.. now it's your turn"
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2026
    On that guitar it’s got to be fingerstyle. 

    On the question you haven't asked: cedar rather than spruce for fingerpicking
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  • Phil_aka_PipPhil_aka_Pip Frets: 9005
    Fingers for me, allows me to play simultaneously strings that aren't adjacent. I don't mind mimicing fingerpicking using a plectrum, but I'm not into strumming, although there are some people who do it well, but I don't.
    "Working" software has only unobserved bugs. (Parroty Error: Pieces of Nine! Pieces of Nine!)
    Seriously: If you value it, take/fetch it yourself
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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 2831
    Yup forgers for me, nothing beats it 
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  • LewyLewy Frets: 690
    I think both players pull wonderful sounds from that guitar, and it delivers for both styles. Flatpicking probably uses less of what it has to offer though because the notes don't really hang around long enough.....
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  • brojanglesbrojangles Frets: 99
    The flatpicking guy looked like he'd just got some really bad news but was being forced to play anyway and was trying not to start sobbing.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3330
    edited May 2
    Lewy said:
    I think both players pull wonderful sounds from that guitar. It delivers for both styles.
    +1

    I would like to hear the guitar again with a less intrusive reverb treatment.


    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32861
    This might not be the most useful answer ;), but I don't prefer either of them.

    They both sound equally fantastic, just slightly different.

    I wouldn't actually describe either of them as 'strumming', really - the first one is flatpicking, the second is fingerpicking.

    Strumming is what I do, when I just thrash away at the chords and hope it sounds vaguely musical... but I use my fingers, not a pick :).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 296
    a very fine sounding guitar Nigel, for many styles.
    I'm hearing the thumb pick and 'nails' on the second recording, the nails sound a bit thin.
    I play with fingertips a JUST enough nail to 'firm up' the finger ends - the notes are not 'made' by the nail so I get a rounder, fuller note - which can be modified.
    A nail IS a (thin) pick and invariably sounds like it.

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  • BigLicks67BigLicks67 Frets: 497
    I like the sound in both, but I 100% preferred the fingerstyle  over the flatpicking, as the notes sounded more resonant in that arrangement. 
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  • McSwaggertyMcSwaggerty Frets: 141
    Fingers for me too, sometimes with a Thumbpick if I'm looking for a strong bassline
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  • RolandRoland Frets: 2026
    Interesting that the question was “which of these do you prefer”, and most people have replied with how they personally play.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3330
    Roland said:
    most people have replied with how they personally play.
    True but the imprecise wording of the opening post does not rule out that interpretation. 

    Perhaps, more useful answers might have been derived by asking which of these two playing styles do you think is better served by this instrument? The emphasis should have been firmly on the instrument.

    It might have helped even more if the demonstration video had included some vigorous strumming on the same guitar. Never mind if this reveals that the Model C-HO is not built to take aggressive strumming. The information is useful. At the very least, it illustrates that Forster is a good judge of top bracing for specific end uses. Strummers should investigate other models in the range.






    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • ICBMICBM Frets: 32861
    It might have helped even more if the demonstration video had included some vigorous strumming on the same guitar. Never mind if this reveals that the Model C-HO is not built to take aggressive strumming. The information is useful. At the very least, it illustrates that Forster is a good judge of top bracing for specific end uses. Strummers should investigate other models in the range.
    Yes - @AuldReekie has two Forsters, and they sound wonderful when he plays them, which is mostly lightly picked in open tunings. They don't do a lot for me at all, although I can hear they're *good* when I play them. Which is fine - I also once owned a nice Lowden, which was a fantastic guitar if you play like Richard Thompson, but does not sound like Neil Young no matter how hard you hit it... and trust me I tried :).
    "Take these three items, some WD-40, a vise grip, and a roll of duct tape. Any man worth his salt can fix almost any problem with this stuff alone."
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  • AuldReekieAuldReekie Frets: 162
    I have no preference between the styles in the video.  I have 2 Forsters - 12 Fret Model C which I keep in DAAEAE and fingerpicked; the Model G is in DADGAD and is fingerpicked ( mainly), plectrum and strummed and handles all of these well. All I'll say is that for me and the style I play, Forsters are easily the best acoustic guitars that I have ever played and are truly outstanding instruments
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  • KilgoreKilgore Frets: 1161
    Roland said:
    On that guitar it’s got to be fingerstyle. 

    On the question you haven't asked: cedar rather than spruce for fingerpicking
    Neither. Mahogany for me.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3330
    Forsters are easily the best acoustic guitars that I have ever played and are truly outstanding instruments
    I don't doubt it.

    ICBM said:
    a fantastic guitar if you play like Richard Thompson but does not sound like Neil Young no matter how hard you hit it... and trust me I tried :).
    I have exactly this issue with my Stonebridge grand auditorium. Lam into it and something in the soundboard/bracing area produces a nasty overtone that resembles electric guitar distortion.  :s

    For most of what I do on acoustic guitar, my mid-price Martin dreadnaught is more appropriate. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • AliGorieAliGorie Frets: 296
    the title in / on the vid is what reacted to - plectrum vs fingers (including attachments) - so I took it to mean - which showed the guitars at it's best - as noted there was no 'strumming - thankfully - ths is NOT a 'rhythm' guitar - way to sophisticated a voice.
    Again - I'd appreciate a no nails example as I know it's capable of subtlety.
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  • RockerRocker Frets: 2745
    The flatpicked tune, the first one. Fingerpicking always comes across as contrived to me. Give me a loose flatpicking piece any day. 
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. [Albert Einstein]

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  • nkforsternkforster Frets: 24
    When I commission the videos, sometimes I ask Ian to play a specific tune. If you have watched a lot of my stuff, he plays the same tune, and has done so for years. It's a traditional tune from Finland. We do this so folk can flip between the videos to compare the different guitars.

    But other times I let the lads play whatever they like. That's what I did here. Ian played his arrangement of another traditional tune and Tom played one of his own compositions called "Through the mill." Lovely tune. 

    It's nice to know what folk like the sound of better - but I do feel my work works for both fingerstyle and plectrum. Some folk think you have to make a specific type of guitar for each. Well, that might be true. It depends on the results you want.  But with my work, and the sound I'm looking for - power, clarity and separation, the musician can get out of it what they are capable of.  The guitar sounds very different to my ears when played by Tom compared to Ian - and both are world class players in their respective fields.

    My work is also pretty good for strumming too - here is Ian playing a very similar guitar (same soundboard design) but with a regular scale length:



    This was recorded years ago with a cheap camcorder. But you should get the idea. If that long scale guitar is still around in a couple of weeks, I'll see if I can get him to record the same tunes. No one can smash the living daylights out of a guitar like Ian Stephenson!

    Nigel
    http://www.nkforsterguitars.com/instruments/handmade-acoustic-guitar-model-c/
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  • stevehsteveh Frets: 79
    Both great players but every time I hear Tom Fletcher he pulls my head off. Fabulous touch. It was him playing one of yours Nigel that "forced" me to buy your Session King. haha

    That second tune is another I'll have to learn then... Reminds me a lot of Simpson's 90s instrumental work.

    Does he have any CDS etc out there - Google is no good since I keep getting shi*e about the guy who was in McFly.
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  • nkforsternkforster Frets: 24
    steveh said:
    Both great players but every time I hear Tom Fletcher he pulls my head off. Fabulous touch. It was him playing one of yours Nigel that "forced" me to buy your Session King. haha

    That second tune is another I'll have to learn then... Reminds me a lot of Simpson's 90s instrumental work.

    Does he have any CDS etc out there - Google is no good since I keep getting shi*e about the guy who was in McFly.
    I've been nagging him about this for a few years now. He's recorded a few but not released anything yet. I'm seeing him Sunday, I shall kick him up the arse/encourage him to get on with it.

    nigel
    www.nkforsterguitars.com
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