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6 Best Guitar for Fingerstyle in 2021 You Should Know About

Fingerstyle is a guitar-playing technique made popular by artists. Fingerstyle has its roots in folk music, acoustic guitar-based music often involves both strumming and fingerpicking guitar. This is a different playing style with an interesting, higher, plucked sound. Instead of strumming or flat-picking, the strings are plucked with the fingertips. Fingerpicking style is used for playing arpeggios across the fretboard. This article features some of the best fingerstyle guitars in 2021.

Fingerstyle players need to have great accuracy in their right-hand fingers to play fingerstyle guitar properly. We’ve been picking our way through the catalogs to bring you our roundup of the best guitars for fingerstyle playing. We’ve included a mix of guitars here, some are best for beginners, others are at a more professional level.

I tested 6 products and found the Takamine G Series to be the best fingerstyle guitar for professionals. For beginner and intermediate players, the Yamaha C40II is our favorite choice. 

The Takamine is a truly beautiful instrument, with hand-selected tone woods and the finest levels of craftsmanship. Its tone and feel lend themselves well to fingerstyle players. Ranging from crystalline bright singing tones to warm, resonant, full-scale bass sounds. The build quality makes it easy to play, with fantastic sound projection. Although the price makes this a pro-grade instrument!

I’ve been playing guitar since I was a young child. Throughout this time, at some stage or another, I’ve had an interest in many types of guitar-playing techniques. From left-handed tapping, hammer-ons, slide playing, fingerpicking, even bowing, trust me I’ve tried it.

For certain techniques, you can feel when an element of the guitar doesn’t comply with the needs of your body. It’s hard to explain without a physical demonstration, but sometimes it just feels like the hardware is off.

I think it’s important to play a guitar that works both stylistically and technically for the techniques being used. This is why Slash played a beefy Les Paul standard instead of a Ukulele. Because the Ukulele couldn’t handle his shredding skills. 

Fingerstyle technique is used in many genres, but generally folk, acoustic and classical styles.

We felt the Takamine G series had a fantastic sound for fingerstyle guitars. It produces a more modern sound than the nylon-stringed axes but still works for traditional music. This is easily one of the best fingerstyle guitars on the marketplace. Being an acoustic-electric guitar, it packs in a tasty pickup and electronic section, making it ideal for gigging, busking, and recording.

We also marked the Yamaha C40II as a strong contender. This is a more budget-friendly, nylon-stringed classical guitar. This range of fingerstyle guitars produces a more classical, traditional-sounding tone that will be more familiar to folk, classical, and Spanish players. We recommend this over the Takamine for newer players. It costs about a quarter of the price but sounds and feels like a similar quality level. Also no electronics on this model. It’s a much more traditional design, but still one of the best fingerstyle guitars we’ve tried

You might be wondering, what makes a guitar good for finger style?

There are several elements.

The way your arm rests on the guitar is different for strumming. The right-hand needs to rest above the strings with enough reach to smoothly pick each string.

Also, the tone of the guitar is important. Playing fingerstyle guitar creates a brighter tone as the string is excited by a harder object. For this reason, fingerstyle guitarists often prefer softer, warmer-sounding guitars.

Having a wide and comfortable fretboard is important. Fingerstyle requires faster and more complex fretting positions. Finding the right Neck Width is very important for your best fingerstyle guitar. Traditionally fingerpicking originates from Spanish and Folk styles of music, so usually is played on a Classical Guitar.

Keep reading for our full lineup of the 6 best guitars for fingerstyle technique.

Best Guitar for Fingerstyle in our tests

List all the products as a table of content

  1. ¾ Beginner Classical Style Nylon String Acoustic Guitar
  2. Beginner Steel String Acoustic
  3. Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught
  4. Yamaha C40II Classical Guitar
  5. Gretsch Gin Rickey
  6. Takamine G Series

6 Best Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle Reviewed in Detail

1. ¾ Beginner Classical Style Nylon String Acoustic Guitar

Beginner Classical Style Nylon String Acoustic Guitar

A budget-friendly ¾ sized classical-style acoustic guitar. This is a no-frills nylon stringer.

A great choice for beginners looking for an affordable acoustic guitar for fingerstyle. It won’t blow you away but it won’t disappoint.

This is a great beginner instrument for a musician’s first exposure to the fingerstyle technique. Despite being a ¾ sized guitar, the neck is still wide enough to play fingerstyle comfortably. The classical guitar design is comfortable to hold and encourages a sound that conforms to the style of the genre.

The nylon strings felt ok to play and were good enough for fingerstyle. The overall build quality of this instrument is fairly low. 

The woods are cheap and unremarkable, the fretboard felt coarse and unrefined. The sound was adequate. It wasn’t anything ear-catching but it wasn’t total trash. For the price, this is a decent fingerstyle guitar. For the professional musician, it probably won’t make the grade. 

But for a beginner or new guitarist wanting to experiment with new techniques, this is an affordable instrument to practice fingerstyle on! Also a great guitar for players with small hands.

Product Specifications:

  • Size: ¾ size body, 36”
  • Weight: 4.74 pounds
  • Neck Width: 1.6”
  • Top wood: Basswood
  • Body wood: Laminated Basswood
  • Neck Wood: Maple
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Fret Count: 18
  • String Type: Nylon

Advantages & Disadvantages:

  • Affordable
  • Good for beginners
  • Soft and easy to play
  • Flimsy construction
  • Loses tune quickly
Check the Price on Amazon

2. Beginner Steel String Acoustic

Beginner Steel String Acoustic

Next up is a basic starter Acoustic guitar. This is a step up from the ¾ nylon model. Still affordable, this is a full-sized, steel-string acoustic guitar. This is louder and brighter than the previous model. There are many similar models to this, from a variety of manufacturers. We chose this particular bundle due to its great value for money.

This is another great affordable acoustic guitar for fingerstyle guitar players. 

Its basswood and maple construction felt relatively sturdy. Although some areas felt a little “unfinished” or could have gone through some final stages of hand sanding and refining. Although at this low price you can’t expect perfection.

This guitar had a good loud volume projection and a fairly versatile tone. The sound was a little on the brighter side.

This is full-sized. The neck felt like a decent width, it didn’t feel cramped or claustrophobic for fingerpicking.

Don’t expect too much from the tuning pegs. They did seem to detune pretty quickly. This guitar (and many similar models) comes packaged with all the accessories you need, including a gig bag, spare strings, tuner, picks, and a strap.

We recommend this guitar for beginner to intermediate players. These are even decent guitars for children.

 This would be a great fingerstyle guitar for a new guitarist, with a bit more budget to spend than the previous model.

Product Specifications:

  • Size: Full, 38”
  • Weight: 5.34 Pounds
  • Neck Width: 1.68”
  • Top wood: Basswood
  • Body wood: Basswood
  • Neck wood: Maple
  • Fretboard: Maple
  • Fret Count: 18
  • String Type: Steel

Advantages & Disadvantages:

  • Loud, clear projection
  • Full Sized
  • Affordable
  • Relatively low quality
  • Unremarkable sound
  • Some unrefined sharp edges.
Check the Price on Amazon

3. Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught

Fender CD-60 Dreadnaught

This is an intermediate acoustic guitar produced by the world’s most famous guitar manufacturers. This model was actually my second ever acoustic guitar (after a really crappy one). I still use it and play it today. I haven’t bought another acoustic since. These are high-quality but affordable acoustic guitars with the respected Fender logo.

This is a fantastic intermediate to semi-pro steel-string acoustic dreadnought guitar from Fender. 

Using high-quality tonewoods, a mahogany body is paired with a beautiful solid Spruce top and rosewood fretboard. The dreadnought body shape makes this full-size guitar a joy to play. The fretboard is smooth and well refined. The strings are well spaced and easy to play.

There are several different models within the Fender CD range. Besides this dreadnought guitar model, you can find cutaways, 12-string, and acoustic-electric guitar models in the range. There are also a few different finish styles, including solid colors, sunburst, and natural.

We think this is one of the best fingerstyle guitars on the market that doesn’t cost the earth. You will be hard-pressed to find instruments of equal quality for the same price. Definitely not with a Fender seal of approval.

We recommend this choice for intermediate guitarists, maybe with a couple of years under the belt. This is a big step above the previous guitars on this list, in terms of quality and sound.

This is a great acoustic for fingerstyle for players of all skill levels though, from beginner to pro. 

Although a professional may consider buying a more premium instrument, this will last many guitarists many years of picking.

Product Specifications:

  • Size: 4/4 Full. 46”
  • Weight: 10 pounds
  • Neck Width: 1.68”
  • Top wood: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Body wood: Mahogany
  • Neck Wood: Maple
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Fret Count: 21
  • String Type: Steel

Advantages & Disadvantages:

  • Fender Build Quality
  • Versatile Sound Quality
  • Rosewood Fingerboard
  • Lacquer finish can be noisy / squeaky.
Check the Price on Amazon

4. Yamaha C40II Classical Guitar

Yamaha C40II Classical Guitar

A high-quality classical style guitar from Yamaha, the C40 II is a great guitar for the fingerpicking or fingerstyle guitarist.

This is a well-built, reliable, full-sized guitar with a beautiful warm and mellow tone. The sound produced, and build quality make this a quality guitar for fingerstyle picking 

This is a high-quality nylon-stringed acoustic guitar. The Yamaha C40 comes in both a full-sized or slightly smaller ⅞ compact model.

With a solid Sitka spruce top, rosewood fretboard, nato neck, and warm meranti body, the tone of this guitar is warm and resonant. The sound was perfect for fingerstyle playing, with a full-bodied, rich tone, with elements of brightness when played harder. The overall frequency response is broad, showing the quality of this instrument.

The build felt very nice, you can tell when holding it in your hands that effort and care have gone into the manufacturing of the instrument. The details have been seen, no corners have been cut. The neck and strings had a buttery smooth action that left me wanting to play more.

This is a high-quality classical-style nylon guitar. Nylon stringers aren’t for everybody, but if they are to your tastes, then this will not disappoint. This is one of the better quality affordable nylon string guitar models. You can pick up the cheap factory nylons for around $40, but this blows them out of the water.

We recommend this for beginner to intermediate players who have gotten a feel for classical-style guitars. This is one of the best fingerstyle guitars in the nylon category. 

Product Specifications:

  • Size: 4/4 Full sized(C model), or 7/8 smaller size (CS model).
  • Weight: 4.4pounds
  • Neck Width: 1.675”
  • Top wood: Spruce
  • Body wood: Meranti
  • Neck wood: Nato 
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Fret Count: 19
  • String Type: Nylon

Advantages & Disadvantages:

  • Superb playability
  • Inspiring tone
  • High level of craftsmanship
  • Relatively quiet
Check the Price on Amazon

5. Gretsch Gin Rickey

Gretsch Gin Rickey

Inspired by the Gretsch Rex parlor guitars of yesteryear, the Gin Rickey is a no-holds-barred Barnhouse burner. 

This is a pro-quality full-sized acoustic guitar model with a built-in pickup to plug into amplifiers and recording gear. 

This could be the best finger-picking guitar for the blues and jazz guitarists. It sounds as cool and slick as it looks! Strap on this fingerstyle guitar and get ready to ride. Yee-haw!

The Gretsch Gin Rickey is a swingin’ bluesy electric acoustic guitar. With a retro look and sound, this is a great guitar for fingerstyle playing. The electric soundhole pickup makes this great for blues guitar, as it can be plugged into any amplifier or effects pedals. 

The silky nato guitar neck with an unusual walnut fretboard was a delight to play. The rolled fingerboard edges felt very high quality.

 The basswood body has a full warm resonance with a balanced tone. Even without being plugged into an amp the sound projection of this instrument was huge, definitely a professional sound. The treble strings can produce a very bright sound which is nice for folk and blues music. 

The tone of the pickup was retro, raspy, and distinct. There are no volume or tone controls, so those settings would need to be tweaked on the amplifier.

We recommend this guitar for fingerpicking blues guitarists.

For classical, folk, and Spanish music genres, a different style may be more suitable! The big baby Taylor guitar by Taylor Guitars would be a similarly priced option

Product Specifications:

  • Size: Full, 38”.
  • Weight: 7.4 pounds
  • Neck Width: 1.6875”
  • Top wood: Basswood
  • Body wood: Basswood
  • Neck wood: Nato
  • Fretboard: Walnut
  • Fret Count: 18
  • String Type: Steek

Advantages & Disadvantages:

  • Electric Pickups.
  • Iconic bluesy tone.
  • No pickup controls.
  • Too bright for some.
Check the Price on Amazon

6. Takamine G Series

Takamine G Series

A luxury fingerstyle acoustic guitar, this Takamine G Series is a serious instrument for the professional guitar player. Elegant, hand made and refined, this is one of the best fingerstyle guitars we tried!

This is the most expensive guitar on this list but also the best quality. The hand-selected tonewoods are chosen by Takamines finest luthiers for a complementary sound and feel.

The slim mahogany neck and bound rosewood fingerboard felt incredible. This guitar oozes quality and finesse. The solid spruce top felt very sturdy and resonated well with the notes. The dynamic range on this instrument shows its professionality, allowing great control over loudness, from a whisper to a roar.

The electric pickup sounded decent and had a bunch of controls for tweaking the sound. Including a 3 band EQ and notch filter.

 It wasn’t fantastic or particularly characterful but was clean and transparent. There is a tuner built into the electronics panel which is a lifesaving utility. 

This guitar has a Fantastic low-end bass response, the bass notes were warm and full with a broad dynamic range. 

Product Specifications:

  • Size: 4/4 Full.
  • Weight: 6.4 pounds
  • Neck Width: 1.68”
  • Top wood: Solid Spruce
  • Body wood: Rosewood
  • Neck wood: Mahogany
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Fret Count: 21
  • String Type: Steel

Advantages & Disadvantages:

  • Stunning Quality
  • Fantastic Construction Quality
  • Pickups (TK-40D Pre with tuner) built-in filters
  • Expensive
  • May need setup adjustment before playing 

Buying Guide

What to look for when buying this type of product

Before you buy a guitar, there are a few things you should check.

Check the sizes and specifications will be comfortable for you. You should play the guitar you own and look up the measurements and dimensions online. This way you can compare the sizes to a guitar you know. You don’t want to buy an instrument that is too big or small.

With acoustic guitars, you should also think about pickups and electronics. If you ever want to use the guitar for a live concert, the guitar may need a pickup to be amplified. 

Some of these guitars have pickups. 

Otherwise, you can buy insertable acoustic guitar pickups or use a microphone. Although a microphone won’t work for louder gigs as it may be prone to feedback.

FAQs

  1. What makes a guitar good for finger style?

    Certain designs of guitar feel better for playing fingerstyle on. Generally, these guitars have smaller bodies, wider necks, and fretboards. The differences are a subtle nuance. But the combination of certain design choices makes certain models better for fingerstyle guitars.
    The key elements are:
    1. Easy and comfortable to play with fingers (instead of strumming).
    2. Gives a good amount of space between strings.
    3. High-Quality Sound Response. The guitar should be sensitive and have a broad dynamic range.
    4. Distinct individual notes. There should be clarity of each individual note, they should not blur.
    5. High – Low-frequency balance. Should be warm with the option of brighter picking.
    Wood Choice. 
    Typically fingerstyle guitars tend to be made from a pairing of Cedar top with Rosewood sides, a Spruce top with Mahogany sides, or Mahogany top and sides. 
    If you play a percussive style, choosing a harder soundboard wood is advised to prevent damage and marks to the surface.

  2. Is fingerstyle guitar the hardest?

    Fingerstyle guitar takes more coordination than strumming.
    It is harder, but maybe not the hardest. Left-handed picking the guitar might be harder.
    Fingerstyle guitar is fairly difficult because it requires greater concentration and finer motor control of the fingers. 
    Fingerstyle guitar is a lot more fiddle than strumming. The right-hand finger patterns can take a fair amount of practice to master.
    Getting your playing technique to sound fluid, controlled, and expressive is not easy!
    Playing a double-necked guitar is probably the hardest!

  3. Are dreadnought guitars good for fingerpicking?

    Dreadnought guitars can be great for fingerstyle guitars. Dreadnaughts tend to have wider gaps between the strings. This makes it easier for fingerpicking by giving the hand more space. 
    Smaller guitars are harder for fingerpicking as they are narrower, which is fiddly and more claustrophobic.
    The necks of dreadnought guitars tend to be pretty good for fingerpicking. Although sometimes their bodies may be too large for smaller players. 
    A dreadnought shape with a cutaway can be better for players who like to play higher up the fretboard. The cutaway opens up access to these higher notes, making them better for soloing or lead guitar.

Conclusion

We had two favorite picks for fingerstyle guitar choices!

Our number one fingerstyle guitar for professionals would be the Takamine G Series. These are fantastic pieces of craftsmanship. You can be assured that any G series will sing and resonate beautifully. The wood selection is warm and bold. The electronics make it great for the gigging musician. The design and feel make this a good fingerstyle guitar. If you have the cash, you can’t go wrong here! The Takamine factories undergo rigorous procedures to ensure the highest quality, and they use dedicated luthiers, some of who have been building guitars for Takamine for over 40 years! Takamines are made by guitar-obsessed carpenters!

Our second choice is the Yamaha C40II. We included this as a more budget-friendly instrument. This full-size guitar is a classical design, which has the sound and feels needed to play fingerstyle. The nylon strings paired with an exotic Meranti wood body produce a very authentic tone with a sound quality rivaling more expensive instruments. This is a reliable, solid, well-built, and decent-sounding classical guitar that is a joy to play fingerstyle on.

Check out the Takamine G Series and the Yamaha C40II on amazon now!