stinky_petewell i have some questions for you then
how easy is it to learn if i've been playing guitar for a while?
do i really need finger picks or can i just play bare hand?
and i'm just looking to play whatever really, i like the avett brothers so probably some of their stuff
I haven't picked up the guitar yet, but I'm sure knowing how to play is beneficial. Left hand technique is probably easier, as you're only fretting four, maybe five strings instead of six.
For some of the stuff Scott Avett does, you will need picks, but it looks like he has roots in clawhammer, which you don't need picks for. I recommend starting out learning frailing/clawhammer, which are styles played by striking the strings with the back of your middle finger and thumb.
Once you feel comfortable with the instrument, you can move on to three-finger, or Scruggs style, which uses picks. This is played by both traditional bluegrass musicians like Earl Scruggs, who the style is named after, and Newgrass musicians like Béla Fleck, and the banjo players from Greensky Bluegrass and Yonder Mountain String Band.
Steve Martin plays both clawhammer and three-finger styles.