When picking up an acoustic guitar as a beginner pretty much any model will do. The differences between a blues guitar and a fingerstyle guitar will mean little to nothing to you. But, as time goes along and you start to figure out exactly what type of music you like to play you’ll start to want to select a guitar that is built, setup, and designed for specific tasks.
Today, we’ll be looking at guitars made to be played fingerstyle, or as some would say, fingerpicking.
The table above shows our top 4 picks for best fingerstyle guitar in 2019, but we’ve added in two more “runners up” that we also thought should be included because of their quality, versatility, and to make sure you find an instrument you like!
Best Guitar for Fingerstyle
We ran through a TON of guitars to come up with this list for you. In the end we settled on six, all of which we think our readers will appreciate for different reasons. Each of these instruments have something that makes them especially appealing to a fingerstyle player.
These guitars have specialized bridges, a certain body shape, high-end electronics and various other components or features that we know you’ll appreciate when you get your hands on them!
1. Takamine Pro Series 3 P3MC Acoustic Electric
- Solid sapele back, mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard with wood "dot-in-dot " inlays.
- Gold tuners with amber buttons.
- Natural satin finish.
- Highly acclaimed CT4B II preamp system with three-band EQ, volume control and built-in tuner.
This is a professional level instrument for serious musicians and casual players who absolutely want the best. In fact, the only reason this is not our top pick is we realize the price is more than our average reader wants to spend.
This is a solid wood instrument that boasts a cedar top, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard and top of the line on-board electronics. As with many acoustic electric guitars, you will need a 9-volt battery for the electronics.
The elegant Venetian cutaway lends itself both to fingerstyle playing of the higher frets and adds a stylish cosmetic feature to the instrument. We also love the unique Takamine bone bridge and the CT4B II preamp system that helps this instrument sound as good plugged in as it does acoustically.
- Professional Guitar
- High Quality Electronics
- Elegant Finish
- Cutaway Helps Fingerstyle Players
- Amazing Sound
- Will probably want professional setup help
2. Yamaha L-Series LL6 Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Hand-selected premium solid Engelmann Spruce top treated with A.R.E.
- A.R.E. (Acoustic Resonance Enhancement) is an original wood reforming technology developed by Yamaha
- Rosewood Back & Sides
- 5-ply neck with high comfort traditional profile
- SRT Zero Impact (passive) Pickup
This is our top pick when it comes to the best guitar for fingerstyle. This guitar has almost everything we liked about the Takamine Pro without the hefty price tag. It also comes equipped with Yamaha’s new A.R.E technology that reforms the original wood to treat the Engelmann Spruce top that produces amazing resonance.
This guitar is shaped in as a traditional, classical guitar and has rosewood sides and back with Yamaha’s X-bracing finish the body of the guitar.
The two things that make this guitar especially appealing for fingerstyle play are the neck and bridge. The bridge is larger than most, helping to transfer even the slightest string vibration even with the most nuanced picking.
The neck is a mahogany surround with a strip of rosewood running the length of the piece. This helps the unit keep its shape even after years of the stress and bending that fingerstyle players tend to put on their instrument.
Yes, you can spend 2-5x the price of this guitar to get a “better” fingerstyle guitar, but for a second guitar, or for a player on a budget, this is our favorite fingerstyle model this year!
- A.R.E top
- Fingerstyle Bridge
- Multiple Sizes
- Multiple Colors
- Great Value
- Made in China
3. Fender CD-140SCE Acoustic Electric Guitar
- Single-cutaway dreadnought body style
- Fishman Presys pickup/preamp
- Solid spruce top with scalloped "X"-bracing
- Rosewood back and sides
- 'Easy-to-Play' neck with rolled fingerboard edges
This single-cutaway style dreadnought guitar is the best priced instrument on this list. That doesn’t mean it’s a beginner instrument or that it isn’t a quality fingerstyle instrument, though!
Just like the Yamaha LL6, it has a solid spruce to with a X-bracing system for true sound and a rosewood back and side setup to complete the body of the instrument.
The neck is designed for fingerstlye, just in a different way than some of our other choices. The CD-140SCE has rolled edges on its fingerboard, making it easier for your fingers to slide up and down the neck and reach their desired positions. This is especially nice if you have smaller hands or like to move quickly up and down the neck.
Lastly, the Fishman Presys electronics on this guitar are very underrated. They are an upgrade from what you’ll find on most other Fenders and anything else in this price range!
- Rolled Edges on Fingerboard make it easy to play
- Great Price
- Good Electronics
- Cutaway Shape for higher notes
- Case included
- Made in Indonesia
- Not all the “Bells and Whistles” of higher priced models
4. Martin GPCX2AE Macassar – Natural
- Body Body type: Grand Auditorium Cutaway: Single cutaway Top wood: Solid Sapele Back & sides: Macassar HPL Bracing pattern: X Body finish: Hand-rubbed Orientation: Right handed Neck Neck shape: Performing artist Nut width: 1.75" (44.45mm) Fingerboard: Richlite Neck wood: Birch laminate Scale length: 25.4" Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: Hand-rubbed Electronics Pickup/preamp: Yes
- The X Series GPCX2AE Macassar Grand Performance Acoustic-Electric Guitar is crafted from a solid Sapele top paired with Macassar patterned high-pressure laminate back and sides, a birch laminate high performance neck and Fishman Sonitone electronics
- A great guitar for studio or stage
- Case sold separately
- The Martin guitar's laminate birch neck is a multilayered wood creation, bonding layers of birch under extremely high pressure
The last of our top 4 main choices for fingerstyle guitars is the Martin GPCX2AE. Is any guitar related list really complete if it doesn’t include a Martin? We struggle to imagine it!
This model comes with a Grand Auditorium Cutway for easy access to the higher frets and a solid Sapele top and back with special Macassar high-pressure laminated back and sides and a laminate birch neck that is multilayered and holds up very well to a fingerstyle players needs.
The Fishman Sonitone Electronics are a step above the ones found on the Fender CD-140 and the richlite fingerboard is our favorite out of the four instruments on our list!
While this guitar is a bit more expensive that the previous two we mentioned, the Martin name comes with a quality of manufacture that is hard to beat, and even then it’s not the most expensive guitar on our list! We can’t think of too many ways we’d rather spend this money than on the X-series!
- Cutaway Shape
- Martin Quality
- Beautiful Finish and Sound
- Birch Neck
- Richlite Fingerboard
- No Case
- Slightly More Expensive than others on list
The Best Fingerstyle Guitars – Honorable Mentions
When looking at our top four picks we noticed a few things. The list missed a few types of instruments and so we wanted to add in two extras that cover areas that we didn’t have. The next two guitars bring a true acoustic guitar to the list, a budget option if you’re a little low on funds or want a beginner model that still will be decent for fingerstyle playing, and …. a Taylor.
The Taylor BBT Big Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar
- Body Body type: Dreadnought 15/16th-Scale Cutaway: No Top wood: Solid Sitka Spruce Back & sides: Layered Sapele Bracing pattern: Taylor Standard Big Baby X-Bracing Body finish: Matte 2.0 Orientation: Right-Handed Neck Neck shape: Taylor Standard Big Baby Profile Nut width: 1 11/16" (42.8mm) Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony Neck wood: Sapele Scale length: 25-1/2" Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: Matte 2.0
- The Baby Taylor's scaled-up sibling, the Big Baby (15/16th-size), makes a sleek yet full-sounding travel companion with its svelte four-inch body depth, which is about a half-inch shallower than the depth of a standard Dreadnought
- Slightly bigger than a Baby Taylor and just shy of a full-size guitar, the Big Baby Taylor is ideal for easy-playing, great-sounding guitar fun
- The overall size keeps you in the ""portable"" category, yet with an extra dose of volume and fullness
- Like the Baby, the Big Baby has an arched back that provides strength and contributes to its big tonal output
Just like we didn’t want to leave this list without a Martin, it felt wrong to leave the list without a Taylor guitar too. Afterall, if they are good enough for Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, who are we to argue!
This actually includes two guitars. The “Big Baby” is just slightly smaller than a standard guitar. The “Baby Taylor”, on the otherhand is about 3/4ths the size of a standard dreadnought. This makes moving up and down the neck easier and helps newer fingerstyle players navigate the fretboard.
The top of this guitar is a Sitka-Spruce with a solid-wood Sapele back and sides that really sounds great both when being strummed and fingerpicked.
The final benefit of this instrument is that is is a full acoustic guitar. If you never plan on playing your instrument plugged in, or have a full electric guitar already, this not only helps with the weight of the instrument but helps the more traditional look of the guitar!
Fender CD-60 Natural Acoustic Guitar
- Dreadnought body style
- Solid mahogany top with scalloped "X"-bracing
- Mahogany back and sides
- 'Easy-to-Play' neck with rolled fingerboard edges
- 1- year Warranty Included
The budget addition to this list, the Fender CD-60 is a great beginner instrument that can be fingerpicked or played fingerstyle reasonably well.
This guitar comes with a solid spruce top and laminated mahogany sides and back. While the dreadnought shape is slightly larger and not as easy to play fingerstyle as some of the other instruments on this list, it does have the same rolled fingerboard edges as the CD-140 that we really enjoyed playing.
If you’re a beginner, or just on a budget, you could do much worse than the CD-60 from Fender.
Features Of the Best Fingerstyle Guitars
Fingerstyle guitars generally have a few features in common that make them extremely good for players who like to really pick individual notes.
The first thing is a wood that resonates very well. You might have noticed that most of the instruments on our list have a Spruce top of some type for this very reason. This helps really sound the individual notes being played and gives a little extra volume and a fuller sound to the instrument. Any guitar can resonate well when a guitar pick is being used, but it’s much harder to get that sound from fingers on strings.
The cutaway shape is also very popular for fingerstyle players. Fingerstyle players tend to move up and down the neck more to hit individual notes, and reaching the higher notes near the sound hole is much easier if the bottom of the “eight” is removed.
Lastly, but for the same reason, the neck of the guitar needs to be easy to move around. This is part of the reason for the rounded edges and slightly smaller size that is common with this type stringed instrument.
The Final Note
We hope that you were able to find the perfect fingerstyle guitar using our guide! If you’re not sure that fingerstyle is for you, check out our full guide on the best guitars for beginners, where you may have better luck finding the perfect guitar!
We also encourage you to check out our full selection of guitar related content, where you can find articles on how to play, reviews and tips, and more!
Last update on 2020-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API