The Hybrid-Picked, Drop-D Delights of Richard Thompson

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For an artist with such a vast body of work, Richard Thompson has spent much of his musical life under the radar.

A founding member of Fairport Convention (he penned their anthem “Meet on the Ledge”) and the folk-rock duo Richard and Linda Thompson, he is also a critically acclaimed solo artist whose songs have been covered by numerous artists, including Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, David Byrne and R.E.M.

Thompson plays Martin, Lowden and Farrington acoustic guitars, and as we’ll see in this lesson, he favors hybrid picking (“pick-and-fingers” technique) and often opts for drop-D tuning (lower your sixth string’s pitch one whole step, to D). Today, with a career spanning almost 50 years, Thompson is still recording and touring, and is busier than ever. Let’s examine some of the things that make this picker tick.