5 Best Fingerstyle Guitars Reviews

The thing about the guitar is that unlike piano keys, guitar strings produce different sounds depending on how you strike it. So you can use a pick on the strings, or use your hands to strike the strings together.

But you can also use your fingers to pluck at the strings for a more complex sound. However, to get the best results you will want to use the best finger picking guitars for this style of playing.

The truth of the matter is that not all guitars are well-suited for fingerpicking. But if this is how you like to play the guitar, then at least we can help you find the top fingerpicking guitars you can get for your money.

Top 5  : Comparison Chart

Name
Type
Dimensions
Weight
View on Amazon
Sapele-laminate back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top
16.25 x 43.5 x 7.2 inches
11.25 pounds
Mahogany back and sides with a solid cedar top
6 x 44 x 20 inches
7 pounds
High-pressure laminate mahogany-grained back and sides with a Sitka spruce top
45 x 18 x 6 inches
10.8 pounds
Rosewood Back & Sides with a Hand-selected premium solid Engelmann Spruce top
43.5 x 22.3 x 6.4 inches
7.2 pounds
Basswood Back and Sides with a Laminated Spruce Top
17 x 43 x 6 inches
9.35 pounds

Best Picks of Fingerpicking Guitars  Reviews

#1: Taylor Guitars Big Baby Taylor, BBT, Natural

Plenty of younger people like to learn how to play guitar, so sometimes a full-sized dreadnought may be just a tad too big and heavy for them. In fact, some adults may wish for a smaller size too.

If you want something smaller (but not that much smaller), then that’s what you get with this model. This is the Big Baby Taylor, and it’s a tad bigger than the regular Baby Taylor. This one is 15/16 the size of a regular dreadnought.

Yet despite its “smaller size”, it plays big. It can project sound ably and the tone is quite full. Its sound is very bright, so it’s very well-suited for lead guitar performances. The frequency range is nicely balanced, and its low-end presence is a pleaser

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Even though it’s a bit smaller, the space isn’t cramped around the strings, and you can do your fingerpicking style with no extra trouble.

The wood looks nice, and the finish is also harmless to your skin. That finish won’t cause any sort of irritation, and the finish won’t wear off easily as well.

The quality of the sound has a lot to do with the high quality of the wood. The back and sides are made of spruce, while the top wood is solid Sitka spruce. The fretboard is African ebony, and it has a Sapele neck.

Since it is smaller and lighter, this guitar does make it great for younger players. Its smaller size also generally means it’s a very affordable model, and for newbies it’s more sensible not to spend a fortune on the first guitar. Who’s to say they’ll keep playing?

Of course, they may want to keep playing wherever they go. Its small size and low weight makes it much more portable, and very comfy to play as well. Even pros may want to have one of these in their collection, just for casual playing.

Highlighted Features
  • Because it’s smaller, it’s more affordable.
  • Its small size and lighter weight makes it easier to tote around.
  • The design of the guitar makes it easy to play.
  • The tonewood is of very high quality.
  • It offers a very full sound that projects nicely.

#2: Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, Natural

The GD20-NS Dreadnought from Takamine is to acoustic guitars as the Subaru WRX STI is to Porches. What this means is that you can satisfy your champagne tastes with Coca Cola prices.

This is a guitar that astonishingly cheap in terms of price, but definitely not cheap in terms of quality. This may cost a few hundred bucks, but if you didn’t know any better you’d thing it costs a few thousand dollars.

This is an entry level guitar not just for its price, but also for how easy it is for even newbies to play. The neck is nice and slim, so you don’t need huge hands to play your chords properly.

Takamine 6 String Acoustic Guitar, Right Handed, Natural (GD20-NS)
  • 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

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You’ll be able to play faster too, as you can change chords and slide around more easily. The slim neck also won’t tire out your hands too quickly, and that lets you practice for hours on end.

Another bonus benefit of this guitar’s design is that it has a pin-less bridge that makes it much easier for you to change your strings. So when it’s time for you to put in new strings, you won’t have to worry about losing your pins or breaking them.

The sound of this dreadnought is a bit unique as well. This is due to the pairing of mahogany for the back and sides with solid cedar for the top wood. This match results in a nicely warmer sound. It gives off this inviting vibe that’s simply a pleasure to hear.

To complete the classy vibe of the guitar, you have mahogany (with a satin finish) for the neck along with classic rosewood for the fretboard.

The rich sound is quite pure and this gives you a lot of versatility. Its sound doesn’t limit you to a just a handful of musical genres. That’s why many types of musicians and singers like this guitar. The quality of the sound is definitely premium but you won’t have to suffer from premium prices.

It also helps a lot that it doesn’t look cheap either. It does look simple, but its simplicity offers an elegance that’s quite unmistakable.

All in all, it offers great features for guitarists at every level, especially those who love fingerstyle.

Highlighted Features
  • It’s very affordable.
  • The sound is rich and warm.
  • The strings are easy to change.
  • You can use it for different genres.
  • It’s quite sturdy.

#3: Martin X Series 2015 GPX1AE Grand Performance Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural

Plenty of guitarists appreciate Martin acoustic guitars, and this is because their guitars are consistently of high quality in their construction. The tones they produce are also generally terrific.

They aren’t really cheap, but at least with the X Series 2015 GPX1AE the price is still reasonable. This is a Grand Performance model, and it’s a grand guitar alright.

Of course, it’s a bit bigger. That’s what a Grand Performance model is all about. But that’s cool for fingerpicking, since the larger size allows for more space in between the strings.

You can then pluck specific strings with more confidence, knowing that you’re less likely to hit another string by mistake.

Martin X Series 2015 GPX1AE Grand Performance Acoustic-Electric Guitar Natural
  • BodyBody type: Grand Performance 14 Fret Cutaway: Non-cutaway Top wood: Solid Sitka SpruceBack & sides: Mahogany SapeleBracing pattern: A-Frame "X-1" Body finish: None Orientation: Right handed NeckNeck shape: Performing Artist Profile Nut width: 1.75" (44.45mm) Fingerboard: Richlite Neck wood: Birch Laminate - RustScale length: 25.4" Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: NoneElectronics Pickup/preamp: Yes Brand: Fishman Configuration: Undersaddle piezo Preamp EQ: Not applicable Feedback filter:

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Once again you’ll see the classic tonewood combination of laminate mahogany for the back and sides and Sitka spruce for the top. The use of the laminate mahogany ensures that you have a nice depth and warmth for the sustain.

The spruce ensures that you have a bright and crispy attack for the front end of your tone. That’s crucial when you’re into fingerpicking.

The sound in the highs and upper mids resemble what you’d get in typical Martin guitars. That is, it offers a gorgeous shimmer, with lots of zing and ringing.

It’s able to play loud, which is an advantage when you’re fingerpicking instead of wildly strumming. You can project the music throughout a whole room.

This is also a modern acoustic guitar, as it comes with electronic components. It has built-in Fishman electronics and it actually has USB.

So you can capture and record your sound much more easily, and then you can use edit and mix that sound with your music software. The electronics also include volume and tone controls inside the soundhole.

For those with environmental concerns, you’d be relieved to know that this includes sustainable wood certified parts. The wood parts come from forests that have been managed responsibly.

The look of this Martin guitar is also quite appealing, since it’s not really very common. It offers accents on the chrome turners and the headstock, along with a tortoiseshell pick guard.

All in all this is a very solid guitar to play, and that should help you gain confidence when playing. You also enjoy the advantages of having electronic components built in.

Highlighted Features
  • The front end of your tone has a bright and sharp attack.
  • The sustain comes with warmth and depth.
  • It has electronics on board, including USB.
  • It looks great.
  • It’s great for fingerstyle, as it offers easy action and a natural feel.

#4: Yamaha L-Series LL6 Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Rosewood, Dreadnought, Natural

Yamaha has long been a respected brand in the music industry, and that’s also true for their guitars. For fingerpicking guitarists, Yamaha offers this great L-series LL6 and it’s wonderful. What’s especially attractive about it is its low price.

The sound you get is a fantastic balance of brightness on the attacks while you also have a warm resonance. That’s primarily due to the woods used. This has rosewood for the back and sides, and you have that reliable solid spruce for the top.

It helps that it features X-bracing for the internal bracing. This helps bring out the natural nuance of the woods for greater balance. The Engelmann spruce at the top has even been treated with Yamaha’s innovative Acoustic Resonance Enhancement. This boosts the qualities of the tone of the woods.

Yamaha L-Series LL6 Acoustic-Electric Guitar - Rosewood, Dreadnought, Natural
  • 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

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Another special feature you’ll find here is the bridge mechanism. It’s a tad larger than average, so it’s more effective in transferring the vibration of the string to the body of the guitar.

This will result in a more nuanced sound that will depend greatly on how you play the strings. For fingerstyle guitarists, this means you can really control what kind of tones you get.

The neck has also been upgraded here, because there’s a strip of rosewood set in the middle of mahogany. This keeps the guitar durable when you play for too long. Sometimes guitars can be too stressed when the neck has a single timber block design. With this wood combo, the stress is handled better.

This also has the SRT Zero Impact Pickup. It’s a new passive pickup that reduces the impact of the pickup on the tone of the instrument.

Highlighted Features
  • This particular model is in the Dreadnought class, but you can get a Concert or a medium jumbo version.
  • You can grip the neck with more stability, while you can play more smoothly.
  • The neck is much sturdier.
  • The rich tone has a vintage quality to it.
  • The pickup doesn’t alter the tonal quality of the wood.

#5: Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar – Natural Satin Bundle

Fender may be famous for its electric guitars, but that doesn’t mean that its acoustic guitars aren’t good. It’s especially great for beginners, and Fender has set up a beginner’s package that features the FA-100 Dreadnought acoustic. It’s meant as a starter guitar, and you can get a bundle of guitar essentials.

Let’s tackle the guitar first. Despite the attractive price, this comes with reliable spruce for the top. That’s well and good, since spruce works well with the fingerpicking style. It’s also very bright and durable. You then have basswood for the back and sides.

Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Satin Bundle with Gig Bag, Tuner, Strings, Strap, and Picks
  • Full-size dreadnought body for full and vibrant tone, suited for all styles of music
  • Rosewood bridge with compensated synthetic bone saddle
  • Laminated spruce top with X bracing
  • 20-fret fingerboard with dot inlays
  • Chrome hardware

Last update on 2020-05-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

All in all, the sound here is nice, rich, full, and pleasantly resonant. Newbies will like it, and for those embarking on fingerstyle the sound offers richness and a volume that you’d appreciate.

What else is in this bundle? There’s a clip-on tuner, a strap, and extra strings. It also has a gig case so you can bring it along easily. It even comes with picks, just in case you want to take a break from fingerpicking.

Highlighted Features
  • It comes with lots of nice accessories.
  • It’s very affordable.
  • This sounds nice.
  • Its durability is proven.

 

What Is a Fingerpicking Guitar?

It’s a fair generalization to say that you can use a fingerpicking playing style for any acoustic guitar.

But not all acoustic guitars are equal. Some are simple better for fingerstyle. The best fingerstyle guitars sound better and they’re more comfortable to play.

Usually, this sort of guitar is lighter in weight. This makes the guitar more responsive to the lesser force used when the fingers are used on the strings (compared to the force need when using a pick).

Also, as the fingers will be dancing around the strings it’s better if there’s wider spacing around the strings too. The standard spacing for the strings of an acoustic guitar is 53mm.

The average spacing for guitars meant for fingerpicking is about 57mm. Some may even reach up to 59mm. The extra space allows you to pluck the strings while it lessens the chance that you’d another string accidentally.

The nut width of the average guitar is also 45mm, but on fingerpicking guitars it’s more like 43mm.

Now that you know the typical feature of a fingerpicking guitar, check out the next section to learn how to find one that’s best for you.

How to Choose a Fingerpicking Guitar

Identifying a guitar meant for fingerpicking is one thing. It’s another case to determine which one will suit your fingerpicking style the best.

In general, you need to consider 2 factors. One is the punch of the mid frequencies. This punch must be powerful and compelling. That’s because most of your rhythmic licks are best played in the mid-range.

Then you have to consider resonance as well. This refers to the volume of the sound you generate. It helps if the sound really reverberates when you pluck the strings.

This will depend greatly on the quality and material of the tonewood. For resonance, many brands go for either mahogany or spruce.

Of course, you also need to consider other factors as well. Aside from the sound, you also need to take the guitar’s playability into account. It’s great if the guitar is very comfortable to play, and it should be portable too.

Durability counts as well. You want a guitar that will last, and for that you need to check the quality of the hardware too. You need to check that the materials for the nut, bridge, and other components aren’t substandard.

Finally, the look of the guitar is important too when choosing a fingerstyle guitar. Who wants to play a guitar that’s ugly? If you like the look of the guitar, you’re more revved up to play for longer hours and you enjoy yourself more.

It also helps when the look of the guitar impresses your audience. After all, when you’re performing, visuals help with the audio.

When you get the best fingerpicking guitar for yourself, you can then enjoy the benefits. Find out what those are in the next section.

Advantages of Owning a Fingerpicking Guitar

So why own a guitar that’s made for fingerpicking? Well, if that’s your style of play then it’ll be better for you. If it’s not your style, then maybe you can learn it when you get a guitar fingerpicking for beginners. In any case, here are some benefits to such a guitar:

  • A fingerpicking guitar sounds better with your style of play, compared to a regular acoustic guitar.
  • You will have greater volume when you play with a guitar like this, so that you’re not the only one who can actually hear the music.
  • The wider spacing around the guitar will let you play faster with fewer mistakes, since you won’t inadvertently hit another string by accident.
  • A guitar like this is often lightweight, so it’s comfy to play and bring with you.

To really make sure you enjoy these advantages, you should start looking through the right guitar brands first. Those are listed in the next section.

Top Fingerpicking Guitar Brands

So what brands should you focus on if you’re looking for the best guitars for fingerpicking style? Some brands offer a lot of value, especially for fingerstyle guitarists:

  • Taylor Guitars: This brand has been around since 1974, and they’re known for their premium electric and acoustic guitars.
    They’re the real deal, since musicians as diverse as Mick Jagger, Prince, and Taylor Swift use these guitars. They combine a strict attention to detail with the latest tech innovations in the guitar industry.
  • Takamine: This may be a Japanese brand, but their renowned for the quality of their steel-string acoustic guitars. That’s why Americans like Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Glenn Frey, and Jon Bon Jovi all play guitars from this brand.
    Not bad for a company that started out as a tiny family guitar business by the foot of Mount Takamine in 1959. The company renamed itself after the mountain in 1962, and the rest is history.
  • Martin : This is a famous brand for flat top and steel-string guitars, and they’ve been in the business since 1833. At that time, there were only 24 states in the USA! Many of their models command thousands of dollars and some are even priced at the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, they do offer high quality guitars at more reasonable prices.
  • Yamaha: Yamaha has been producing fantastic guitars for the last 50 years, and they keep on going. They have built a reputation for crafting the guitars that guitarists love.
    They’re very much into the vintage vibe, while they also make sure that their guitars have the modern features that keep these instruments friendly.
  • Fender : Seriously, if you’re a guitarist then you have to know the rep of the Fender brand. Of course, this reputation has mostly been built by their electric guitars, but their acoustic guitars offer fantastic value. Some are priced ridiculously low, yet they sound a lot more expensive.

5 Tips For A Better Fingerstyle Tone

Final Verdict

Now that you’ve gone over our Fingerpicking Guitars reviews and read up on the additional info, you should have a clearer idea of what to get.

But if you want a definitive recommendation, we’d suggest that you take a closer look at the Martin X Series 2015 GPX1AE. If you’re thinking about getting your first Martin Guitar, it’s a great choice.

For fingerpicking players, the full size of the GPX1AE is an advantage. You have the space to move your fingers around the strings as you pluck them. The tone is also wonderful, and your style of playing can really bring forth wonderful results.

This even has built in electronics, and the USB feature is certainly convenient. The GPX1AE will suit your fingerstyle needs, and that’s why you should really consider it among all these best finger picking guitars we’ve listed.

Featured Image by Neta Bartal/ CC BY

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