The flatpick is the most common method for picking in Bluegrass today. It wasn't always that way, however.
Many of the early guitar players in Bluegrass - such as Charlie Monroe, Lester Flatt and Carter Stanley - used the combination of a thumbpick and a fingerpick. Flatt played bass runs (ala the Flatt G-run) and melodies with his thumbpick on the low strings while using the pick on his index finger on the high strings to add rhythm fills. Flatt, like Maybelle Carter, first started to learn drop-thumb frailing style banjo before he started to learn guitar, and this undoubtedly influenced how he approached the guitar. His mastery of the two-pick style in Bluegrass was never equalled.
Today, the flatpick is the plectrum of choice for Bluegrass guitarists. Players like Doc Watson, Clarence White, Dan Crary, Tony Rice and Norman Blake and many others have inspired countless players with their flatpicking skills. The flatpick is a simple tool that lends itself well to both rhythm and lead playing. However, for most of us mere mortals, it is a tool that is easy to use but difficult to master. For more information about flatpicks, see our Picks page.