Now here’s a list that’s close to my heart: Gibson’s 10 All Time Great Finger Pickers. Why? Cause that’s mostly how I play. I may have been weaned on rock ‘n’ roll, but my wanderings into classical and folk made me drop the pick.
Here’s the list: Merle Travis, Davy Graham, John Fahey, Martin Carthy, Jerry Reed, Reverend Gary Davis, Tommy Emmanuel, Jorma Kaukonen, Leo Kottke, Chet Atkins.
I can’t pretend to know all of these guys, but I would have added Mark Knopfler, probably the most successful finger picker in rock. And Bruce Cockburn, for my money, one of the best acoustic guitarists of all time. And where is Robert Johnson, the guy with titanic influence over most genres, the guy whose licks we’re still trying to figure out, the cat that made one guitar sound like three?
Anyway, hats off to the finger pickers. They might not get as much energy into the strings as the plectrum crowd, but they can pull off some tasty licks.