Lindsey Buckingham - Musical Style

Musical Style

Unlike most rock guitarists, Buckingham does not play with a pick; instead, he picks the strings with his fingers and fingernails. Initially after joining Fleetwood Mac, Buckingham used a Gibson Les Paul. Before the band, a Fender Telecaster was his main guitar, and was used on his first Fleetwood Mac album. In 1979, he worked with Rick Turner, owner of Renaissance Guitars to create the Model One. He has used it extensively since, both with Fleetwood Mac and for his solo efforts. He uses a Taylor Guitar 814ce for most of his acoustic performances and has also used an Ovation Celebrity in the past.

His influences include The Beach Boys and The Kingston Trio.

In an interview with Guitar World Acoustic Magazine, Buckingham said:

"I've always believed that you play to highlight the song, not to highlight the player. The song is all that matters. There are two ways you can choose to go. You can try to be someone like Eddie Van Halen, who is a great guitar player, a virtuoso. Yet he doesn't make good records because what he plays is totally lost in the context of this band's music.

Then there are guitar players like Chet Atkins, who weren't out there trying to show themselves off as guitar players per se, but were using the guitar as a tool to make good records. I remember loving Chet's work when I was a kid, but it was only later, when I really listened to his guitar parts, that I realized how much they were a part of the song's fabric, and how much you'd be going 'Oh, that song just isn't working' if they weren't there. "

And in another interview to Guitar World, he said about the choice using the fingers instead a plectrum:

"Well, it’s not really a choice at all. It’s just, you know, I started playing very young and from early on, the people I was listening to had some element of finger style. Probably the first guitarist I was emulating was Scotty Moore, when I was maybe 6 or 7. And he played with a pick, but he also used fingers. And a lot of the session players, like Chet Atkins, they played with fingers or a pick. Then I listened to a certain amount of light classical guitar playing. And of course later on, when the first wave of rock ’n’ roll kind of fell away, folk music was very popular and very influential in my style. "

"So it was really less of a choice than what I fell into. I use a pick occasionally. I certainly use it more in the studio when you want to get a certain tone. But it’s just the way I came up. I wasn’t taught. I just sort of figured things out on my own terms. I guess that was one of the ways that I became confortable and it just kind of set in. "

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