There are many different types of guitar fingerstyles for rock and different for blues and this technique can be best learnt on an acoustic guitar. Mastering diverse fingerstyles will assist you to effectively render blues music and backing tracks.
When you are playing your guitar, the technique by which you strum the strings or pick your guitar strings without using a pick is called a fingerstyle. Fingerstyle has been in use for quite a long time in jazz, blues, rock and is even used for blues backing tracks. There are some greats of the world of music like Mark Knoprfler, Jeff Beck and Chat Atkins who do it very well. Some of the blues guitarists who do the fingerstyle better than anyone else include John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Otis Rush and Albert King among others. Learning the fingerstyle will definitely make things easier for you especially when you are trying out blues backing tracks.
In a nutshell, this technique is all about how well you are able to use your bare fingers. You can use blues fingerstyle on both the acoustic blues and electric blues but they should have nylon or steel strings. Using the fingerstyle gives blues players a definite edge. Most of the blues guitarists of the Delta style used extensive blues backing tracks reinforced by fingerstyles.
You may have heard the word fingerpicking more than finger style and mind you – both the words sound similar but mean different. Fingerpicking in blues is more centered on particular picking patterns that have been inferred from certain chords and are always played in a style quite similar to arpeggio. For illustration: The song Layla by Eric Clapton is fingerstyle but the song Never goin back again by Fleetwood Mac is fingerpicking.
Types of Blues Fingerstyles
There are different types of blues fingerstyle techniques that you can learn as you progress up the ladder and of course if you want to play blues backing tracks. The most common way to use fingerstyle in blues backing tracks is by using the classical guitar style. In the classical guitar style, you have to use your thumb for playing the 3 bass strings, and use the index, and middle finger for playing the melody strings.
There are 3 distinctive style of blues fingerstyle guitar and each have a different effect in blues backing tracks. They are:
1.Using the thumb: The thumb fingerstyle mostly requires down-strokes. It will provide you with a hard style, hard sound, and a great tone but you will not be able to play fast. This is considered a beginners style and will provide you with a feeling of the guitar and the strings and create the base for blues backing tracks.
2.Index finger and thumb: In this technique you need to simulate playing with a pick except you will be using your fingers instead of the pick. The thumb will help in down-strokes while the index finger will be used for up-strokes.
The thumb, index and middle finger: In this technique you will have a definite advantage over the other two techniques and can play blues backing tracks with ease and speed. The middle finger and the index finger will be used for alternate picking.