The electric guitar represents the last step in the historical evolution of the instrument. Since the beginning of the 20th century many attempts were made to amplify the vibrations of the strings of several acoustic instruments. During the 20’s and early 30’s many inventors succeeded in their endevour claiming to be the first but actually we will never know for sure who was the one.
The first electric guitars were almost identical to the typical acoustic guitars but with an electric pick-up to amplify the sound. Only towards the end of the 40’s the electric guitar solid body came to life from a designs which is still well know nowadays, like the Fender Stratocaster or the Gibson Les Paul.
Historically the electric guitar has been usually played with the pick and this is due to the fact that rock, the music mainly performed by electric guitarists, is fast and with a steady rhythm. The pick works perfectly in these conditions providing fast and clean strums as well as great speed when it is required, particularly in case of fast solos.
I follow my soul (Federico Chianucci)
Anyway, amongst the electric guitarists who made the history of the instrument, there are few exceptions who used to play just with fingers. This particular feature made their phrasing and the attack on the string immediately recognisable if compared to the standard pick technique. Amongst the others we cannot avoid to mention Mark Knopfler and Jeff Beck, both came to fame in the 70s. In particular Knopfler, the Scottish lead guitarist, frontman and composer of Dire Straits, not only brought his way of playing to hundreds of millions of people with several amazing albums released, but was even able to show how effective and richer in tone and expression electric guitar fingerstyle can be.
Here at the Fingerstyle & Classical Guitar Studio we are specialized not only in the Knopfler technique, but even in an evolution of that, developed by the commingling of the typical floating techinque adopted by the classical guitarists with the anchoring technique so perfectly executed by this legendary musician. With the definition Floating Technique we tend to define a way of playing the guitar in which the hand picking the strings is completely detached from the body of the guitar, in order to maintain absolutely liberty of movements along the length of the strings and up and down on the body of the guitar. In this way the guitarist is free to control and vary the tone and quality of the sound with relative ease. With Anchoring Technique instead we define a technique where the ring finger and the pinky, sometimes just the pinky, are used to anchor the hand on the body of the guitar. In this way, if on one side we are going to lose the use of at least one finger, on the other hand we can get enormous benefits in terms of dynamics range, volume and rhythmic precision.
It is useless to say that the fingerstyle technique applied to the electric guitar is not an easy technique at all and it can take several years to be learned and mastered in an effective and flawless way. Probably the best way to approach this way of playing is starting the learning process on an acoustic guitar, preferably a nylon strings one with the classical guitar technique, in order the gain easily technical foundations free from bad postures or basic mistakes. Once the student will have reached a good level of confidence on an acoustic guitar, only at the moment will be advisable for him to start practising on an alectric guitar. Electric guitar lessons advanced or for beginners with fingerstyle technique are not so common to be found in music schools nowadays, and here at the Fingerstyle & Classical Guitar Studio we are proud to provide the service at a very high quality level.