Fingerpicking and fingerstyle mean the same thing, playing the guitar by plucking the strings with the fingers. But in order to differentiate the guitar technique of the alternating bass, in this site I used these two terms for these guitar styles:
Fingerstyle: the term I use for the general fingerstyle technique where we pluck the strings with the fingers of right hand.
Plucking with the fingers we are using the fingerstyle technique whatever the music genre that we are playing: Classical, Flamenco, New Age or otherwise.
There are also more specific terms fingerstyle jazz, fingerstyle blues that indicate the use of fingers to perform songs from jazz and blues, in order to play the bass lines, chords, and the melody of the song.
Fingerpicking: (thumbpicking or alternating bass): is the term I use in this site to indicate a particular style fingerstyle where your thumb play alternated bass, while the index and middle play the melody on the high strings.
This style was born when the guitarists at the end of '800 tried to play on guitar the ragtime written for piano, and the movement of the thumb on the bass alternated in this case was used to imitate the left hand of the pianist. Down the ragtime style was later taken up and developed by the great guitarists Chet Atkins and Merle Travis who used to play a certain type of folk music but also blues and country.
So, in this site, the presence of alternating bass is the essential condition for a song is defined in fingerpicking style or thumbpicking style.
By Nicola Mandorino