Carter-style picking can be thought of as a blend of rhythm and lead. It is a technique named after Maybelle Carter of the Carter Family, who popularized this style in the group's recordings in the 1930's. Carter-style is characterized by playing the melody notes on the bass strings and rhythmic fills on the treble strings. This lets the guitar perform as both a lead instrument and rhythm instrument at the same time.
Carter-style is often heard in slower songs like ballads and in old-timey songs. It also works well in introductions and endings. For more information about Carter-style picking, visit our Study Tune pages for Wildwood Flower and Arkansas Traveler. Both include tutorials on how to learn this style.