I've been playing guitar since I could hold one, basically, but never tried flat picking. I've played jazz, blues, big band stuff. I read music, used to teach classical guitar as a teenager for walk-around money.
What is the best way to get up to speed on flat-picking? What is the first song to learn? And what is the best way to learn the technique?
thanks for comments on a really basic question....
I think Wildwood Flower is a pretty typical first song to learn as a flatpicker. It's nice because you can start out playing the basic rhythm and then figure out a basic lead for it. That probably won't take you very long since you already have experience playing guitar. Then try to learn how to crosspick it nice and clean with proper crosspicking technique. Chances are this will take you a while because you're probably not used to alternating pick strokes every 1/8 note. After you get that down, just keep complicating the song more and more as you progress. There are loads of tab versions of it on the net. I think that will blow open some doors for you.
My first tune was Whiskey Before Breakfast. I never was able to learn the whole thing on banjo, but I learned to flatpick it faster than any other song. It's a very fun fiddle tune. You might take a stab at something like that too.
You have one up on most people. It looks like you don't need much education on music. You probably only need help on technique. I assume that you want to flatpick because you like the sound, therefore know the music.
I would suggest investing in a few lessons from a very good player, or one of the many excellent flatpicking technique DVDs.