I have been a flat-picker since I first started seriously playing guitar back in 1979, as a high school freshman. Influenced by all the Rock guys that most others were; at that time. 1982 saw significant changes in my influences. I was best friends with a drummer who wanted to be in a Country band. I was all Fusion and Prog; musician's music, some would say. Country? No way. Then a guitar "mentor" of mine, who happened to live next door to my drummer friend, called me. I went to his house and he introduced me to Albert Lee. My world was forver changed. I think the drummer went to him and whined wbout me not wanting to play Country. I was introduced to the world of Hybrid picking. For a flat-picker, it's, IMHO, not too awful difficult to learn. I started to embrace Country Music and its musicians and artists. I was raised with Hee Haw; so I already knew a lot of them. I started getting into Steve Wariner (still one of my dearest favorites), Jerry Reed, Chet, and others. In 1994, I heard a song that would, again, change me; Alan Jackson's "I Don't Even Know Your Name". Who in the world was that playing guitar?!?!?!? Brent Mason... I started researching all these great Country players and found they had something in common - thumbpick. I bought a Dunlop thumbpick and was stopped dead in my tracks. It felt like I was learning to play after an accident or something. I couldn't play play for anything. Left hand was fine. Right hand, where, IMO, a lot of these guys get there tone and technique from, was gone. I threw the thumbpick in a drawer and went back to the flat pick (hybrid) technique. It was safe. The thumbpick kept calling me and calling me. Fast forward to now. I can play proficiently with both. I won't say I'm an expert. That would be up to the listener. Here's my take. I'm definitely faster and somewhat smoother with a flat pick. I play smarter and more "blended" with a thumbpick. My lead/solo playing is good when I'm having a good day. I keep a thumbpick on my desk at work. When I go to GC during lunch, to mess around, I'll take that with me. I love the thumbpick and playing with it. I like the difference in my playing and what it becomes using the thumbpick. Why did I post this? It's been on my mind a lot lately. Wondering if anyone else has a story like this.