Fingerpicking or fingerstyle is one of the most beautiful styles of playing guitar. It combines harmonic and melodic elements like not a lot of other styles can, and it also results in very calming and soothing music.
And as you’ve probably realized if you’re beginning your journey into the world of fingerstyle, then you might have noticed that a regular acoustic guitar might not cut it most of the time. A good guitar for this style will have to resonate just right, feel just right, and also be able to have a balanced tone so all the elements of your playing can be heard properly.
That’s why in this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best fingerpicking guitars on the market today to make choosing the right one much easier. We’ve also included a buying guide at the end of the article to really help you understand what to look for when buying acoustic guitars for fingerstyle.
So read on to learn more.
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Top 5 Best Fingerpicking Guitars
- Solid cedar top with mahogany back and sides
- Slim satin-finish mahogany neck and 12"-radius rosewood fingerboard provide great feel and playability
- Split-saddle design of the pin-less rosewood bridge provides superior intonation for sweeter-sounding chords and single-note runs
- Bone nut and bridge saddle
- Elegant Natural satin finish
Kicking things off is what we consider the best acoustic guitar for fingerstyle playing. This is based on the sound, construction, playability, and overall quality of the instrument.
It is made with a cedar top and mahogany on the back and sides. This gives you the best of both worlds. You get bright and bell-like high and mid-tones because of the cedar top, while the mahogany body will add body and some low-end to the tone. This is great for fingerpicking and fingerstyle as it will allow you to hear all the harmonies and melodies that you’re playing very clearly.
It comes with a rosewood fretboard, which is about the standard in its price range, and the 12’’ radius on the guitar makes it very comfortable to play. It has a truss rod, so the guitar can be further adjusted to really suit any player’s needs.
It has a split-saddle design and a pinless bridge, which gives you more accurate tones and top-notch intonation, which is a great pair to the bone nut and bridge saddle. On top of all of that, it also has a great piezo pickup included so that you can plug it into an amp or sound system!
Next up, we have a complete kit that’s ideal for beginners or mid-level players looking to upgrade their gear. It comes from the Fender brand, which is known all over the world as one of the best guitar brands out there.
This is a dreadnought style guitar with a beautiful dark brown finish. Usually, this size is not ideal for fingerstyle because of the extra low-end. But that problem is easily solved because there’s an option that comes with a Spruce top on the instrument, which amplifies the high end and mid-tones very well.
The fingerboard on this guitar has rolled edges, which makes it a bit easier to play, but the difference is mainly felt when doing fingerstyle or fingerpicking.
This is also a great pick for beginners because it has everything you need to start out with the guitar. It comes with an instructional DVD, a strap, a hard case, a tuner, extra strings, and a couple of picks. It may be on the pricier side, but it’s an investment worth every penny.
- Spruce Top
- Rosewood Fingerboard & Bridge
- System 68 Pick-Up
- Gig bag Included
- Bridge Pins:Black ABS
For most children under the age of 12, a full-sized guitar will simply be too big and very uncomfortable to play. That’s why it’s recommended to get them a ¾ sized guitar, which is also known as a ⅞-size guitar.
This model from Yamaha is exactly that, which makes it a great pick for children and beginners. It comes in multiple colors, so you’ll easily find one that suits your tastes, and the combination of a Spruce top and a Moranti body makes for a very bright sounding guitar. All the details of your fingerpicking will come out in this instrument.
It also has a single cutaway, so if you find yourself playing tunes that require you to climb up all the way to the highest notes on a guitar, you won’t have too hard of a time. The instrument also comes with a gig bag, which will make it much easier for a child to bring the instrument to their music classes or even to performances.
And if the player of the guitar finds themselves playing at bigger events, there’s also a pickup included so they can plug in directly to the sound system!
#4, Taylor Academy 12e Grand Concert Sitka Spruce Guitar – The Best Grand Concert Sized Fingerpicking Guitar
Next up is a model from Taylor Guitars, one of the most respected acoustic guitar brands in the world. This model is made out of Spruce, which gives it a very bright and detailed tone. It also has a classic grand concert design, which is reminiscent of the old-school guitars used by the classic folk musicians.
This is a very comfortable guitar to play, which makes it very ideal for fingerpicking styles. It has a shorter scale length and smaller radius than a lot of guitars, which can make it much easier to play. And since fingerstyle songs can sometimes require big stretches of the hands, having this smaller scale length can be a great help.
This is a beautifully designed instrument that is well-worth investing in, especially if you take guitar playing very seriously. And on top of that, it also has the signature piezo pickups of Taylor, which is well-known around the world as being some of the best out there.
So if you’re looking for a premium guitar, made of premium materials, with a premium sound, then this one might just be worth the investment.
#5, Ovation CE44P-FKOA Acoustic-Electric Guitar – The Best Acoustic/Electric Guitar For Fingerpicking
- Classic mid-depth Lyrachord cutaway body with a stunning Figured Koa top featuring the Elite multi-sound hole design, which provides clear highs and focused, balanced bass response
- Remarkable new scalloped "X" bracing design that borrows from the past and is voiced for the present, with natural tone and optimal response and power
- Together, body, top and sound holes create the classic Ovation Elite sound, resonating with full projection, remarkable note clarity and balance, and nuanced tonal complexity
- The top also has elegant multi-wood epaulets, black binding, abalone purfling and a beautiful Natural gloss finish
- For great live sound, the CE44P-FKOA features an Ovation Slim line pickup and OP-4BT preamp system with three-band EQ, volume/gain control, onboard tuner and low-battery light
If you find yourself playing a lot of live music, then this is a great pick for you. It’s an acoustic/electric guitar, so it has a thinner body and neck. This makes it a lot easier to play, though you might have to sacrifice a bit of the acoustic tone.
But that problem is easily solved once the guitar is plugged in, because of the high-quality pickup included. Another cool feature is the tuner that is built into the guitar, so you won’t have to worry about being out of tune on stage.
It’s made of Koa wood on the top, which is a very dark wood that has a deep and warm sound. This is great for fingerstyle, though the tone might be a bit too muddy on the low end of some players. It’s also a very light guitar because the sides are made of fiberglass which is very durable and reliable.
All in all, this is an ideal instrument for professional musicians looking for a trusty, durable, and reliable piece of equipment for their gigs.
What Makes A Good Fingerstyle Guitar?
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering what the difference between a fingerstyle guitar and a regular acoustic guitar actually is. And we explain exactly what the difference is in this section.
A good guitar for fingerpicking and fingerstyle will have a balanced tone. A lot of regular acoustic models out there will have a very warm tone with a lot of low-end. And while this might be great for regular strumming and rhythm guitar parts, it’s not ideal for fingerpicking.
Next, a proper instrument for this musical style will also need to have good spacing between the frets and have a comfortable feel. The right feel will differ greatly from player to player, but once you hold the right guitar in your hand, you’ll instantly feel the difference and not want to stop playing.
And those are the main differences. Next up, we’ll take a look at some specific features and characteristics you’d want to check out when buying a fingerstyle guitar.
What To Consider When Choosing A Fingerstyle Guitar
- The Sound
First and foremost, you have to check out the sound of the guitar. With acoustic instruments, the quality and timbre will usually stem from the tonewoods used and the construction of the guitar.
Everyone will have different preferences. Some players will prefer are a darker and warmer tone, while others will prefer brighter and clangier tones.
However, for fingerstyle, the most important aspect of any sound and tone is how balanced it is. Since you’ll be playing with a wide range between notes, you would want the low end and the high end to generally be of the same volume and quality.
The next thing that you’d want to look at is the size of the guitar. Ideally, you would like to have either a concert or grand concert-sized guitar as they tend to have the most balanced tone and feel very comfortable with fingerpicking techniques.
Dreadnought and jumbo guitars tend to have a bit too much low-end for fingerpicking, but that also largely depends on the brand and maker of the instrument. Martin dreadnought models tend to have a lot of low-end, which is great for strumming, but not for fingerpicking.
If full-sized guitars are still too big for you, then a great pick is a ¾ size guitar, which is also called a ⅞ size guitar.
Next to the sound, this is probably the most important aspect of any instrument. You have to make sure that the model you’re getting feels comfortable to play, especially since fingerpicking can take up a lot of stamina.
The only way to determine this is to actually hold it in your hand and play the instrument. So if ever you have the opportunity to try it out before buying, make sure to take it. This is by far the only way to ensure comfort when playing, so it would be best to find a way to experience how it feels to play a certain guitar before buying.
Is Fingerstyle Guitar Hard?
While it is definitely not easy, learning this style of playing can be done with enough practice and dedication, just like any style of music. For beginners, the techniques may feel a bit unnatural, but with enough practice, it will become second nature to the player.
Are Dreadnought Guitars Good For Fingerpicking?
While there are a lot of dreadnought-sized instruments that work well with fingerpicking, it’s more recommended to get smaller concert and grand concert-sized instruments. This is because the sheer size of a dreadnought may result in there being more low-end in the tone, which isn’t ideal for fingerpicking.
Is Strumming Easier Than Fingerpicking?
At first glance, it might seem easier to strum the guitar than to fingerpick. This is because the general movements needed for strumming are more natural and easier for a beginner to learn.
However, as you progress, there will also be more difficult strumming techniques that are just as hard if not harder than certain fingerpicking ones.
Is A Jumbo Guitar Bigger Than A Dreadnought?
Yes, a jumbo guitar is bigger than a dreadnought. This will result in a warmer and fuller tone with more low-end. These types of guitars are ideal for strumming and other rhythmic guitar parts.
Should I Use A Pick When Playing Guitar?
Using a pick will result in a brighter and more consistent tone than if you pluck with your fingers, and it might also be easier for beginners. However, if you plan on journeying into fingerstyle guitar, then it would be best to improve on your plucking skills along with your picking skills. This will make a lot of the more complicated fingerpicking techniques easier to pick up along the way.
With that, our list has concluded. We made sure to have a guitar for just about anybody who wants to get into fingerpicking in this collection. We have premium and expensive models for professionals, as well as more budget-friendly and affordable ones for beginners and mid-level players.
Everyone will have different requirements for their guitars and instruments, which is why it’s important to really understand the timbre you desire as well as what features would make a guitar comfortable to play.
And if you have that down pat and think you found the right guitar for you in this article, then all that’s left for you is to head out and get your hands on one yourself! Before you know it, you’ll be plucking away with a great sounding new instrument!
My name is Demarcus M. Greiner and I was born and raised in the mid-seventies on the flat country near Stamford.
From the age of twelve, I received classical lessons from the guitarist Jimi Hendrix. Two years later, I work on playing the electric guitar on the side and self-taught and is part of various rock band constellations.
Since 2004 I have been giving private guitar lessons and since 2005 I have been a lecturer for classical and electric guitar at the New York Guitar Academy. In the years 2006-2010, I study at the New York City Guitar School in the subject “classical guitar”.
After completing studies and obtaining a diploma as an instrumental teacher, I completed a further training course in the field of jazz guitar, similar to a course of studies, with the – beyond this scene – renowned guitarist Chuck Berry.
Later I was addicted to dark metal. Years later Carter USM, Pop Will Eat Itself, Jesus Jones followed. Then the electronic stuff. Techno, Warp stuff, Ambient. Today I listen mainly to Indie, Shoegaze, Dream-Pop, Folk, Post-Rock and Electronica.