It can be difficult to find the best fingerstyle guitar. There are many different models on the market that you can choose from. To make it easier for you, I have created this guide to help you find the best guitars for fingerstyle. There are several things you need to know before you buy one of these guitars.
In a Hurry? Here Are the Best Fingerstyle Guitars
What is Fingerstyle Guitar?
You may be wondering what fingerstyle guitar is. When we refer to fingerstyle guitar, we mean guitar played only with the fingers. In some cases, a pick is used, but it’s generally the fingers used to pick the notes. Fingerstyle guitar gives a nice warm tone when you are playing. It also allows you to play more bass notes.
Why Play Fingerstyle?
The main reason players use this style is that it can get boring with just a pick. While strummed chords sound great, they can become a chore to play. Fingerstyle opens up a lot of playing options. A lot of classic songs are played fingerstyle. Think of Blackbird by the Beatles or Dust in the Wind by Kansas. These are examples of songs played with the fingers. By playing fingerstyle, you’ll open up your playing ability in many new ways.
It’s almost like you are playing two guitars in one. Your fingers play the treble strings while your thumb is playing the bass strings. This gives your guitar playing a lot of variety. It sounds more complex and interesting than regular strummed guitar chords. Many different styles can be played with fingerstyle guitar. In fact, you can take famous songs and turn them into a fingerstyle piece. To play fingerstyle, you need the right guitar.
What is the Best Guitar for Fingerstyle?
You may be wondering what the best fingerstyle guitar is. This all comes down to your own preferences, but there are several things you should consider. Here is what you need to know about these guitars.
Nylon String Guitar
Many fingerstyle players rely on the nylon string guitar. The reason for this is that the nylon strings are much easier to play. Regular acoustic guitar strings will dig into your fingers more. If you are new to fingerstyle guitar, you might want to try a nylon string first. These strings produce a warm and natural tone. This type of guitar is often referred to as a classical guitar. Many classical guitar pieces which are finger-picked, are played with this instrument.
Steel String Acoustic
Another guitar that is perfect for fingerstyle guitar is the steel-string acoustic guitar. These strings ring out more than nylon strings do. They are a little harder to play than regular nylon strings. To make it easier, use a light gauge guitar string. You won’t be strumming a lot of chords when playing fingerstyle. The lighter strings make it easier for you to pluck the strings as you play. the downside to the steel-string acoustic is that it takes more finger strength. You need to toughen up your fingers to become proficient in fingerstyle guitar on a regular acoustic.
The acoustic-electric is also another choice for fingerstyle guitar. This guitar is easy to plug into an amplifier because it already has a built-in pickup. If you plan to play fingerstyle guitar on stage, this guitar is the ideal choice. You will spend a little bit more for one of these instruments, but it can be worth it in the long run.
A cutaway is a guitar that has a scoop in it by the neck. This allows you better access to the higher frets. You may want this for certain fingerstyle songs. On a regular dreadnought, you can’t reach the higher frets. A cutaway gives you easy access to those frets. This can open up a lot of experimentation in your fingerstyle playing.
How Long Does it take to Learn Fingerstyle Guitar?
Fingerstyle guitar is a complex style of guitar playing. It is harder to play than simple chord strumming. You need to learn the independence of both hands. One hand has to pick the individual notes, and the other hand has to change chords. There is usually more movement of the fingers. Fingerstyle guitar will require more practice. You can learn the basics in short order, like other guitar styles. It will take you a long time to become proficient with fingerstyle guitar.
Do I Need a Pick for Fingerstyle Guitar?
Most fingerstyle guitar players don’t use a pick. There are several styles that do incorporate a pic. For example, hybrid picking uses a combination of the pick and the fingers. You can experiment with both the pick and the fingers. As you get proficient at fingerstyle guitar, you’ll find a style that works for you.
Is Fingerpicking Harder Than Strumming?
Yes, finger-picking is harder than strumming. When you fingerpick, you play broken chords, which we call arpeggios, which takes more skill. Regular strummed guitar chords are easier to play.
What is the Difference Between Fingerstyle and Fingerpicking?
There is no real difference between fingerstyle and finger-picking. This is the same style. It’s where you use a combination of your thumb and fingers to play notes on the guitar. Some players will incorporate a pick along with the fingers. Other players will put finger picks on each individual finger and play that way.
Are Dreadnought Guitars Good for Fingerpicking?
Almost any steel-string acoustic or nylon string guitar is suitable for fingerpicking. The dreadnought guitar would be fine. Another type of guitar you might want to consider is one that has a cutaway. This will make it easier for you to reach the higher frets. Younger players should go with a student size guitar which is easier to hold. A lot of finger-picking is done in the first few positions, so most guitars are suitable.
What Strings Should I Use for Fingerpicking Guitar?
If you don’t have a lot of experience with finger-picking, try a nylon string guitar. These strings are a lot easier to play. If you have been acoustic playing for a while and want to try finger-picking, use a light gauge acoustic guitar string. These won’t dig into your hands as much or tire out your fingers. You may also want to go with coated guitar strings. These tend to last longer than non-coated strings. Your fingers may sweat more while you’re learning how to play fingerstyle.
Should I Buy a Nylon String for Fingerpicking?
This will depend upon what you want. Nylon strings are easier on your hands. If you have never played guitar before, these guitars are ideal. The downside is that they are not as loud and harder to strum. You can always try a nylon string and then get a regular acoustic.
What Wood is Best for Fingerstyle?
The tonewood used for fingerstyle guitar is important. Since you’re not strumming, you need the wood to resonate with a nice clean sound. Here is a short guide to tonewood for fingerpicking.
Just remember that your ear is going to matter more. What sounds good to someone else may not sound good to you. As the guitar ages, the wood can improve in tone. Your main aim should be to purchase a decent instrument for fingerstyle guitar.
Spruce is a well-rounded tonewood. It is perfect for many different styles of guitar playing, including finger-picking. It stands up well to both strumming as well as single notes. Many guitar manufacturers used spruce wood in the construction of their acoustic guitars.
Cedar is another word that sounds great and is suitable for finger-picking styles of music. You will find it often on classical style nylon string guitars. It tends to have less bass response than spruce does but is an all-around good choice.
Koa and Mahogany
Both of these woods are suitable for finger-picking style guitar work. They are often used for constructing guitar backs and sides. These woods have a nice punch and a good mid-range.
- Use a nylon-stringed guitar or light acoustic guitar strings as a beginner
- Have patience. It’s a harder style to play than simple strumming
- Concentrate on making the notes as clear as possible
- Play slowly
- Use a metronome to keep time
Best Fingerstyle Guitars Reviews
1. Yamaha L-Series LL6 Acoustic-Electric Guitar – Best Beginner Fingerpicking Guitar
Yamaha is known worldwide for its solid and dependable products. This company also makes acoustic guitars. The Yamaha L-Series LL6 Acoustic-Electric Guitar is an excellent choice for any beginner finger picker. It’s made with Engelmann spruce, which has been hand-selected.
It has an acoustic resonance enhancement or A.R.E developed by Yamaha, which improves the tone. the tone is further enhanced with a rosewood back and sides. The neck itself is a traditional profile that is comfortable in your hand. It features a passive pickup so you can plug it into an amplifier if you prefer. It has a non-scalloped bracing design that has been modified. This modification enhances the low end and gives the guitar a bright tone. You will get years of enjoyment out of this Yamaha acoustic. For any beginner that is just getting into finger-picking, the Yamaha LL6 is the right option.
2. Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium – Best for Experienced Fingerpickers
For those looking for a top-quality instrument for fingerpicking, you can’t go wrong with a Taylor. The Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium is an excellent option for any finger picker. It even comes with a hard shell bag, so you don’t have to buy an additional case. I like this instrument because it has a cutaway. This makes it easier to hit the higher frets and to play nice arpeggio lines higher up the neck. The top of the guitar is made with solid Sitka spruce. The sides and back feature layered Koa wood. These tonewoods give this instrument good resonance as well as playability.
To enhance the dynamics and volume of what you’re playing and it has an updated bracing system. The instrument also has a built-in pickup system so you can plug it into an amplifier. Controls for the pickup are located near the neck, so they are easy to access. I also like the smooth ebony fingerboard. This makes it easy to move from chord to chord while you are finger-picking. The fretboard is responsive to your fingers and quite comfortable. For those with some finger-picking experience behind them, this Taylor Guitar is one you want to own.
3. Cordoba C3M Classical Guitar – Best Classical Guitar for Fingerpicking
If you want to play fingerstyle, a nylon string is an excellent option. As the strings are easier on your fingers, This makes the guitar ideal for a fingerstyle beginner. It has a solid Cedar top, which improves the tone of the guitar. It has both a rosewood fingerboard and bridge. It has great sustain and resonance thanks to the wood choice.
The instrument is full-sized and handcrafted. The back and sides are made out of mahogany wood. Inside you will find traditional Spanish style fan bracing. It has a nice wooden rosette that is hand laid. The tuning machines are nickel-plated, and they have traditional pearl buttons. It’s a nice-sounding a guitar which is easy to play. For those that want to play some classical style finger-picking, it is the right choice for you.
4. Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar – Best for those on a Budget
Fender produces excellent guitars, and this dreadnaught is no exception. For those with a budget, the Fender CD-60s Dreadnaught is priced right. The instrument has a solid mahogany top and laminated mahogany on the sides and back. It’s an excellent choice for the first time player as well as those with limited income.
You get a 20 fret rosewood fingerboard which is easy to play. It has solid die-cast tuners that help to stabilize the tuning. The instrument has a nice mid-range sound, which is punchy. It’s perfect for finger-picking as well as other guitar styles. You do have to purchase a case with this guitar, as it’s not included. This is one of the best fingerstyle guitars for the money and a quality Fender product you can rely on.
5. Seagull S6 Original Acoustic Guitar – Best Dreadnaught Style Guitar
For those looking for a solid dreadnought for fingerpicking, the Seagull S6 is a good choice. It’s made in North America to a high standard. The top is pressure tested for added durability. The neck is kept stable with a double-action truss rod. The sides and back are made with wild cherry wood to improve the tone.
Other woods used in the construction include maple for the neck and a rosewood fingerboard. The neck is smooth and responsive for easy playing. The tuning is kept stable with specially aligned machine heads. The guitar has good intonation with a compensated saddle. It comes with an attractive semi-gloss finish.
This guide to the best fingerstyle guitar looked at five models. My recommendation is the Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium. The reason for this is that the guitar has a bit of everything. It has a nice cutaway so you can reach those higher frets. It also has an EQ system for recording or live playing with an amp. It also comes with a good gig back for storage.
Beginners will love the Yamaha L-Series LL6 Acoustic-Electric Guitar, and budget-minded players will like the Fender CD-60S Dreadnought. The Cordoba C3M Classical Guitar is perfect for nylon string lovers. For those that want a solid dreadnaught, look at the Seagull S6. Whatever your style of playing level, you’ll find a top-quality guitar to meet those demands.