In this post, I’ll list my choices for the best acoustic guitars for fingerstyle and tell you a little about my experience playing them.

Quick Answer: Best Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

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The first time I heard the opening notes of Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I loved the playing, but I couldn’t work out how Jimmy Page was making those sounds. What was he doing?

Little did I know, I was hearing fingerpicking. Since then, I’ve come to love the style and the many great players who use it, such as James Taylor, Merle Travis, and Mark Knopfler. It’s a style that’s both complex and subtle, intricate and soothing.

Since I was first inspired by the fingerstyle opening to the classic Led Zeppelin track, my musical journey has taken me from working in a guitar shop, to giving guitar lessons, to playing in several bands. Fingerpicking is a style I return to again and again, and I’ve had the opportunity to try out many of the best acoustic guitars for fingerstyle during my more than two decades of experience as a guitarist.

I’ll tell you all about them in this guide, which will help you find a great guitar as you embark on your fingerpicking journey. There’s a wide range of guitars here for all playing levels and budgets.

As both a guitar player and a teacher, I know how hard it can be to find the right instrument. As a worker in a guitar shop, I tried out countless guitars. Some are better suited to fingerpicking than others. It was hard to choose only 10 guitars to list, but I’ve picked out the best ones to make it easier for you to find the best acoustic guitar for fingerpicking.

What Is Fingerstyle?

Fingerstyle guitar is music played with the fingers. It’s more advanced than basic strumming, and it has a wonderful sound because you can play both the bass and treble strings together.

One of the best acoustic guitars for fingerstyle

There are many different types of fingerstyle, such as classical and flamenco, which use all four fingers and the thumb, and Travis picking, which is commonly heard in country music as well as rock classics like Dust in the Wind and Landslide by Fleetwood Mac.

Most players, including myself, use just their bare thumb and fingers, also you can use banjo-style thumb and finger picks for fingerstyle. Players often use lighter strings because they’re easier to fingerpick with, but it depends on the player and their preferences.

Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

This list of the best acoustic guitars for fingerstyle should get you started. You’ll find excellent instruments for beginner, intermediate, and advanced players on this list.

I played most of these guitars during my many years working in a guitar shop, and the rest I’ve been able to try out because my musician friends or guitar students had them. As I mentioned, I currently own and love playing my Seagull Artist, which is similar to the model on this list.

Sometimes I was also able to hear one from a coffeeshop audience as a fellow guitarist fingerpicked it on stage, often during an open-mic night, where fingerstyle folk music is especially popular. As a guitar aficionado, I always enjoy checking out the guitars played by other musicians and noting both their looks and tone.

Here are my choices for the best acoustic guitars for fingerstyle.

Martin Guitar Road Series 000-13E1. Martin Road Series 000-13E

  • Scale length: 24.9″
  • Fingerboard radius: 16″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: Fishman MX-T
  • Body shape: Small dreadnought
  • Included in the box: Guitar, case, documentation
  • Material & finish: Sitka spruce, siris, rosewood, satin finish
  • Best for: Intermediate or advanced players that want a great fingerstyle guitar

The small body size of the Martin 000-13E makes it the best professional acoustic guitar for fingerstyle. The combination of tonewoods means it looks good and sounds good. From the moment I first held this guitar, I knew that it was a keeper. And it comes in at a reasonable price, too!

What I Like:
✅ Pickup
✅ Easy-to-hold body
✅ Great tone
✅ Smooth finish
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Case could be better
❌ Some may not like the size

Why it Made This List

I recommend this guitar to anyone that wants to play fingerstyle. I love the feel of the neck and the great tone you get out of the guitar. Its smaller size makes it great for road trips, and it’s a good choice from younger players or those with smaller hands.

Martin is well-known for making some of the best guitars in the business, and this guitar certainly delivers. Because it’s smaller than a regular dreadnought, it’s easier to hold when you’re standing or sitting down, making it easier to play fingerpicking passages.

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2. Taylor 214CE Grand Auditorium

  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard radius: 15″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: ES2 electronics
  • Body shape: Dreadnought auditorium
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation, gig bag
  • Material & finish: Spruce, rosewood, mahogany, satin finish
  • Best for: Intermediate players that want a great fingerstyle guitar with a pickup

I love the pickup system on the Tayor 214CE guitar and its bold yet elegant design. The Venetian cutaway makes it easy to fingerpick higher up the neck. The solid wood construction provides a great tone and volume that can easily be heard over other instruments, whether the guitar is amplified or not.

What I Like:
✅ Great pickup
✅ Cutaway body
✅ Easy to hold
✅ Superior tone
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Controls a bit hard to access
❌ No hardshell case

Why it Made This List

I recently played one of these at my local music store and was impressed at how powerful it sounded. This guitar is ideal for many different guitar styles, such as blues, country, or bluegrass.

I recommend the Tayor 214CE because of the body shape that’s comfortable to hold. In addition, the cutaway facilitates playing complex passages higher up the neck when fingerpicking. I also like the great electronics system on this model.

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3. Seagull Performer CW Flame

  • Scale length: 24.84″
  • Fingerboard radius: 20″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: Quantum I
  • Body shape: Dreadnought cutaway
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation, gig bag
  • Material & finish: Spruce, rosewood, flame maple, satin finish
  • Best for: Intermediate or advanced players that want an easy-to-play fingerpicking guitar

The Seagull Performer CW Flame guitar has a side-mounted electronic system for easy adjustments. The solid wood construction provides a stable and resonant tone. The tapered headstock allows for precision tuning.

What I Like:
✅ Great side-mounted electronics
✅ Easy to play
✅ Superior tone
✅ Cutaway
What I Don’t Like:
❌ No extras
❌ No hardshell case

Why it Made This List

This Seagull guitar is similar to mine, and I love the tone of these guitars. I feel like I can play anything when I pick up a Seagull guitar. The tone has the delicacy necessary for fingerpicking, but can also handle the louder and more aggressive passages you’d play with a pick.

On top of all that, the guitar looks great too. I’ve been a fan of these guitars for many years and plan to buy another one soon. Whether you’re chording or fingerpicking, this guitar can do it all.

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4. Yamaha NTX1 NT

  • Scale length: 25″
  • Fingerboard radius: 23.6″
  • Frets: 19
  • Pickup type: Under saddle
  • Body shape: Dreadnought cutaway
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation,
  • Material & finish: Spruce, nato, satin finish
  • Best for: Beginners or intermediate fingerstyle guitar players

Because of its robust construction and affordable price, the Yamaha NTX1 NT is the best intermediate acoustic guitar for fingerstyle players.

Furthermore, it’s a nylon-string guitar with a steel-string guitar’s shape and design. This means that the strings will go easy on your fingers as you fingerpick, and the sound will be loud enough to be heard over other players or the sounds of the waves as you jam on the beach.

What I Like:
✅ Great electronics
✅ Solid bridge
✅ Nice cutaway
✅ Good tone
What I Don’t Like:
❌ No case
❌ A bit expensive

Why it Made This List

One of my former guitar students had a Yamaha classical guitar like this model. Yamaha guitars are extremely well constructed, and the cutaway on this one makes it easy to play higher up the neck. I also like the high quality electronics system on the side.

The nylon strings are easier to play fingerstyle than steel strings, so this is the ideal choice for the student just getting into fingerpicking or anyone more comfortable playing classical guitars. It’s an excellent choice for both aspiring and experienced fingerstyle guitarists.

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5. Fender Newporter

  • Scale length: 25.6″
  • Fingerboard radius: 15.75″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: Fishman
  • Body shape: Dreadnought cutaway
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation
  • Material & finish: Mahogany, Sitka spruce, gloss finish
  • Best for: Beginners that need an easy to play guitar for fingerstyle

The Fender Newporter stands out for its acoustic body and electric-guitar-style neck. But the beauty of this guitar is much more than skin deep. Its excellent tone, electronics system, and deep cutaway make it the best beginner acoustic guitar for fingerstyle.

What I Like:
✅ Easy-to-play neck
✅ Attractive color
✅ Good tone
✅ Solid machine heads
What I Don’t Like:
❌ No case
❌ Some may not like the look

Why it Made This List

I like the Fender Newporter because the neck feels like a regular Stratocaster, making fingerstyle work easy. In addition, it has a well-balanced feel, making it a good choice for beginners or intermediate players.

If you struggle with a regular dreadnought when acoustic fingerpicking, give the Newporter a try. That Strat-style headstock makes this instrument quite comfortable, especially if you’re an electric player trying acoustic work.

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6. Jasmine S34C

  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard radius: 12″
  • Frets: 20″
  • Pickup type: N/A
  • Body shape: Dreadnought cutaway
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation
  • Material & finish: Rosewood, sapele, spruce
  • Best for: Beginners looking for a cheap guitar for fingerstyle

The Jasmine S34C is an easy-to-play, low-cost guitar for beginners. It has a nice cutaway, solid tuners, and all-wood construction. It’s the ideal choice for fingerstyle for newcomers to this style of music.

What I Like:
✅ Good tone
✅ Cutaway
✅ Low price
✅ Solid tuners
What I Don’t Like:
❌ No case
❌ May need some setup

Why it Made This List

It’s not often you can find a good acoustic cutaway guitar for cheap, and this guitar has a lot for the price. I love the streamlined body and that it has a rosewood fingerboard. This is the best cheap acoustic guitar for fingerstyle.

The thinner orchestra-style body makes it easier to hold the guitar whether you’re standing up or sitting. Beginners will have a lot of fun with the guitar as they learn their first fingerpicking passages.

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7. Martin D-10E

  • Scale length: 25.4″
  • Fingerboard radius: 16″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: Fishman
  • Body shape: Dreadnought
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation, gig bag
  • Material & finish: Spruce, Sitka, satin finish
  • Best for: Intermediate or advanced fingerstyle players

The Martin D-10E is a great choice for fingerstyle. Martin is a classic choice for all kinds of music, and indeed some of the earliest players of Martin guitars were fingerpickers. This guitar has a couple extras too, with a quality pickup and a tuner installed.

What I Like:
✅ Full tone
✅ Easy to play
✅ Pickup
✅ Softshell case
What I Don’t Like:
❌ No cutaway
❌ A bit expensive

Why it Made This List

Martin is my go-to guitar because of the tone and easy playability. The D-10E model is an outstanding guitar and, at this price, a great choice for any intermediate fingerpicking fan. I love that it comes with a pickup and a built-in tuner.

Martin has made some nice guitars at lower price points recently. I’m glad to see models that you can now buy for under $1,000. The D-10E would make the ideal guitar for any beginner or intermediate player.

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8. Seagull Artist Mosaic

  • Scale length: 25.5″
  • Fingerboard radius: 16″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: L.R. Baggs
  • Body shape: Dreadnought cutaway
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation, case
  • Material & finish: Spruce, mahogany, high gloss finish
  • Best for: Advanced players that want an easy-to-play guitar for fingerpicking

The Seagull Artist Mosaic has a striking, ergonomic look that showcases the spruce and mahogany wood. It features quality tuners, two strap buttons, and a high gloss finish. The cutaway means you can get easily get higher up the neck while fingerpicking.

What I Like:
✅ Great tuners
✅ Balanced tone
✅ Case included
✅ Easy playing neck
What I Don’t Like:
❌ A bit expensive
❌ Controls hard to access

Why it Made This List

I love the warm tone of the Seagull Artist Mosaic thanks to the solid spruce top, which makes it an ideal choice for fingerpicking. The lighter shade of natural wood on the guitar’s top will make it always stand out in a crowd of more traditional, somewhat yellow guitars.

I have a guitar from the Artist lineup, and they’re high-quality instruments. They’re perfect for multiple guitar styles and sound great for chords, solos, and fingerpicking. This guitar is definitely a top choice.

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9. Fender CD-140SCE

  • Scale length: 25.3″
  • Fingerboard radius: 12″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: Fishman
  • Body shape: Dreadnought cutaway
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation, case
  • Material & finish: Spruce, ovangkol, walnut
  • Best For Beginners or intermediate players with a moderate budget

The Fender CD-140SCE is an attractive guitar that sounds as good as it looks. The side-mounted electronics are simple to use, and it has a classic, well-balanced shape, making it suitable for any beginner or intermediate fingerpicker.

What I Like:
✅ Pickup
✅ Cutaway
✅ Nice neck
✅ Balanced tone
What I Don’t Like:
❌ No extras
❌ May need slight adjustments

Why it Made This List

It can be hard to find a good guitar under $500, but the Fender CD-140SCE is a good choice. I love the tone and easy-playing neck. This guitar also has a pickup system, making it the best acoustic guitar for fingerstyle under $500.

Fender always makes quality products. For any beginner looking for a decent fingerstyle guitar, this model will not only sound great, but will also be easy on the fingers and give you the confidence you need to stick with it.

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10. Taylor GS Mini-e

  • Scale length: 23.5″
  • Fingerboard radius: 15″
  • Frets: 20
  • Pickup type: ES-B e
  • Body shape: Dreadnought
  • Included in the box: Guitar, documentation, gig bag
  • Material & finish: Koa, sapele, ebony, satin finish
  • Best for: Intermediate players that want an easy to play guitar for fingerpicking.

The Taylor Mini-e is a unique guitar in several respects. The shine of the quality koa wood really jumps out at you, and its small size and short scale length make it ideal for travelers or people with smaller hands. This model also has a pickup, so it’s ready for the stage or studio.

What I Like:
✅ Solid wood
✅ Pickup
✅ Short scale
✅ Good tuners
What I Don’t Like:
❌ Some may not like the smaller size
❌ The case could be a bit better

Why it Made This List

I like this Taylor because of the shorter scale length, making it easy to play for any fingerstyle guitarist. It has a wonderful tone due to the koa wood, which is another plus in my view. The controls are easy to access on the side.

Larger dreadnoughts can be a problem for new players, which is why I added this guitar to my list. I’ve been a fan of Taylor for many years, and their smaller scale guitars have a fuller and warmer sound than similar brands.

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How We Test & Compare Fingerstyle Guitars

I’ve been playing guitar for over 40 years and for much of that time, I’ve been teaching guitar as well. This has given me a unique perspective on fingerstyle acoustic guitars for all different skill levels.

Over the years, I’ve also worked in a few musical instrument stores where I’ve had the opportunity to pick up countless guitars. There’s nothing I love more than picking up the newest Taylor or Martin and playing a few riffs.

For this particular list, I compared over 50 different fingerstyle acoustic guitars and narrowed them down to this list of 10 based on the following criteria:

  • Action: The space between the strings and the fretboard is important for playing fingerstyle riffs. I compared this on each guitar and chose guitars that I felt gave enough action to ring true tones when playing fingerstyle songs.
  • Tone Clarity: I compared each guitar and how it played the notes I was plucking both in small rooms and in larger areas to ensure that the tone rings out true in a variety of environments.
  • Body Size: The size of the guitar’s body can have a massive effect on the sound, especially when playing fingerstyle. Generally smaller-body guitars play clearer notes when compared to large-body guitars which typically produce a fuller sound when strummed.
  • Wood: The wood that a guitar is built with is its blood, and how it’s crafted is extremely important to its sound. I compared different guitars made from a variety of wood and ensured the quality was high before adding any to this list.
  • Overall Value For Money: Of course, not all of us can afford to spend $3000 on an acoustic guitar, so value for money came into play when choosing the guitars for this list.

About Fingerstyle Music

Many players use this style of music. For example, Paul McCartney played fingerstyle on the famous Beatles song Blackbird. Jimmy Page used fingerstyle on many Led Zeppelin songs, such as Black Mountain Side and the aforementioned Stairway to Heaven. And who can forget timeless classics like Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton, Fast Car by Tracy Chapman, and The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel.

Another famous song that used fingerstyle guitar is Shape of My Heart by Sting, which was sampled to great effect in The Message by Nas. Yes, fingerstyle guitar can even appear prominently in rap music.

Popular fingerstyle guitarists include Paul Simon, Merle Travis, Adrian Legg, Lindsey Buckingham, James Taylor, Chet Atkins, and Tommy Emmanuel. At one point or another, most players try at least some fingerstyle guitar.

See Also: Best Acoustic Guitars 2022 Buyer’s Guide

Types of Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

You can use any acoustic guitar for fingerstyle and fingerpicking, but some are a bit better than others. Here’s a rundown of the main types of guitars you’ll want to use for this style.

Acoustic Dreadnought Guitar

The acoustic dreadnought is a regular full-sized acoustic guitar. Any dreadnought can be used for fingerstyle work. Some players prefer a cutaway version, because they can reach into the higher frets more easily, but a regular dreadnought is fine.

Nylon String Guitar

A nylon string is ideal for fingerstyle, as the nylon strings are easier to play. Most classical music is fingerstyle, so this type of guitar is one of the top choices for fingerpicking music because the strings are softer sounding. That’s why nylon string guitars are also known as classical guitar.

Dreadnought Cutaway Guitar

The dreadnought cutaway is a regular acoustic guitar with a scoop out at the top of the body. This makes it easy to access the higher frets for solos and easier to fingerpick higher up the neck. This is the guitar I use for fingerpicking, precisely for that reason. For instance, you can play first-position passages (such as open chords) up at the 12th fret to add some variety to your music.

Acoustic-Electric Guitar

An acoustic-electric is a regular acoustic guitar, but it has a pickup so that you can record or go live without using a microphone. Plugging into an amp doesn’t only give you more volume, but allows you to change your tone, either by using pedals or by turning up the gain on your amp to distort the sound. Fingerpicking can get quite interesting when combined with heavy reverb, delay, or a wah-wah pedal.

Student Sized Guitar

A student-sized fingerstyle guitar is a good choice for both children and beginners because they’re smaller, meaning they’re easier to hold and fret. They’re also a good choice for travelers, as they take up less space and can be carried more easily on a beach vacation or camping trip.

See Also: Best Takamine Acoustic Guitars Buyer’s Guide

Best Acoustic Guitar Brands for Fingerstyle

In general, you want to go with well-established guitar brands. These tried-and-true companies have the best guitars for acoustic fingerstyle work. Here’s a rundown of the top companies you want to purchase from.

A custom graphic showing the logos of the best brands for fingerstyle acoustic guitars on the market including martin, taylor, gibson, yamaha and seagull
Look for these guitar brand logos when shopping for fingerstyle acoustic guitars

Martin

Martin makes a wide range of top-quality fingerstyle acoustic guitars and other guitars. They’re considered the top brand for most acoustic instruments. The company has been in operation since 1833, and their guitars have been used by Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, and Chris Cornell, among many others.

See Also: Best Martin Acoustic Guitars Buyer’s Guide

Taylor

Taylor makes great acoustic guitars, especially if you want a cutaway and a pickup system. They have a broad range of instruments and have been making them since 1974. Taylor Swift is one of countless guitarists who’ve played a Taylor guitar (although not, at least to my knowledge, James Taylor).

See Also: Best Taylor Acoustic Guitars Buyer’s Guide

Gibson

Gibson is best known for their electric guitars, but they also have a wide range of acoustic instruments. Many of their guitars are well-suited for fingerstyle work, although none of them made it on my list of the ten best acoustic guitars for fingerstyle. Hopefully next year.

See Also: Best Gibson Acoustic Guitars Buyer’s Guide

Yamaha

Yamaha produces a huge range on instruments, including acoustic guitars. In particular, their inexpensive guitars are surprisingly good-quality, making Yamaha an excellent choice for beginners who don’t have much to spend on a guitar. The Yamaha NTX1 NT, number 4 on this list, is a particularly good option, and for both beginner and intermediate players alike.

See Also: Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Buyer’s Guide

Seagull

I own a Seagull Artist, and I love using it for fingerstyle work. It’s been my companion for more than a decade, in settings as diverse as the lesson rooms in the guitar shop, around a campfire, and on coffee-shop stages. Seagull has a diverse lineup of instruments, and many of them have cutaways and pickups. They’ve been making guitars since 1982.

See Also: Best Yamaha Acoustic Guitars Buyer’s Guide

Acoustic Guitar Parts & Accessories

Fingerstyle acoustic guitars have several main parts, although not every instrument has every part. For example, not all guitars have installed electronics like a pickup or tuner, so check the model and manufacturer.

A custom diagram showing the different parts of an acoustic guitar
This diagram shows all of the different parts of an acoustic guitar

Headstock/Neck

The headstock holds the tuning pegs or machine heads. The neck of the guitar contains the frets. The neck is attached via a glue joint, or sometimes it’s through the body and is one piece of wood.

Body

The body of a fingerstyle guitar has a soundhole in the middle of the body, and the bridge is located near the bottom of the guitar’s top.

The body may be a cutaway, meaning that there’s a space below the higher frets allowing you to reach them more easily. This is especially useful for fingerpicking, as you can play whatever you would normally play in the open position a full octave up without much difficulty.

Bridge

The bridge holds the bridge pins, which secure the strings to the guitar. The bridge holds the saddle, which the strings rest against. The bridge is held in place with a glue joint.

Electronics

Some fingerstyle guitars have electronics installed. These guitars have the electronics system in the side of the body, near the neck, or sometimes in the soundhole. The pickup is usually located under the bridge saddle. Some models come with built-in tuners.

Strap Buttons/Pickguard

Some guitars have one strap button, while other models ship with two. You’ll need to install the additional strap button yourself. Most have a pickguard to protect the finish from scratches, although this isn’t necessary for fingerstyle guitarists, who don’t use a pick.

Things to Consider When Choosing an Acoustic Guitar for Fingerstyle

Here are a few things to consider before you buy a fingerstyle guitar:

  • Budget: Have an idea of your budget. You’ll need to spend at least several hundred dollars on a high-quality guitar.
  • Wood: You want a guitar made with good wood. Spruce, mahogany, koa, sapele, and rosewood are the standard woods.
  • Playing level: Buy a guitar to match your playing level. For example, as a beginner, you may want a nylon string as they’re easier to play. On the other hand, advanced players may want an electronics system for easy recording.
  • Guitar type: A cutaway is generally better if you want easy access to the higher frets for solos, but not always, as some prefer the standard dreadnought. The guitar type is up to you.
  • Strings: Lower gauge strings are easier to play for fingerstyle, but they may not have as good a tone. You may want a trade-off in terms of the strings you use.

Level of Experience

There are three main levels of experience when it comes to fingerstyle guitar. There are great guitars out there whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced player.

Beginner Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

A beginner guitar has a decent tone and playability. They don’t use the best wood, which makes the sound less full and bright. They’re fine to learn on for a couple of years before you need to upgrade.

Intermediate Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

An intermediate guitar for fingerpicking has better wood, tone, sound, and more extras. You’ll have a guitar capable of a lot more, and it’s ready for performances or recording your music.

Pro Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

A professional fingerstyle guitar has everything that you need to sound great. These are made with the best quality wood. They have a superior tone and easy playability. You can spend as much as you want to get what you prefer.

Size

There are several sizes for fingerstyle guitars. Most will want a full-sized dreadnought guitar. There are also 3/4 and 1/2 sized guitars, which are ideal for a younger fingerpickers because they’re easier to hold.

Wood

There are several different kinds of wood used to make a fingerstyle guitar. Here are the typical wood choices:

  • Spruce: This wood is a top choice for acoustic guitars. It has a good tone and resonance. You’ll find it often on guitar tops.
  • Mahogany: Mahogany is another wood with a good tone. This is often used for the back and sides of acoustic guitars.
  • Sapele: Another common wood is sapele. It has a good tone and is often used for guitar tops.
  • Rosewood: This wood is often used for guitar fingerboards as it’s slick and easy to play. One alternative to it is ebony.
  • Koa: This wood has a great tone and is sometimes used in higher-end acoustic guitars.

Finish

Acoustic guitars have several different finishes that you need to be aware of. Here are the basic ones below.

  • Oil and wax: These are basic finishes that bring out the natural look of the wood grain. They aren’t as protective as some other finishes.
  • Shellac: This is a common finish that offers great protection and shine.
  • Nitrocellulose lacquer: This is a common finish that’s tough and long-lasting with a good shine. There are other lacquer types, but nitrocellulose is the most common.
  • Polyester: Another common finish with good shine and durability

Color

Most acoustic guitars are a natural wood color, and most players prefer this, including me. Some acoustics are black, red, white, or other colors, but this isn’t as common.

The Overall Tone & Sound

The tone is important for fingerstyle guitar. Tone comes from a variety of factors, most importantly from your fingers. But of course the guitar itself has a lot to do with tone as well, mostly due to the wood that’s used and the way the pieces are attached. In general, higher quality wood and construction makes for a fuller, richer tone.

Furthermore, you want a guitar that will be loud enough to hear while you’re fingerpicking it. A pickup is also nice, as you can amplify your sound.

Price

Fingerstyle guitars come in various price ranges. Here’s what you need to know in terms of the price range before you buy.

Budget Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

A budget guitar is made with lower-quality wood. Often this wood is laminate, so the tone may be a little stale. You can expect to pay around $150 to $300 for a budget fingerstyle guitar.

Midrange Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

At the midrange, you have better wood choices, a good tone, and more options like pickups installed. You can expect to pay around $300-1,000+ for an intermediate guitar for fingerstyle.

Top-End Acoustic Guitars for Fingerstyle

A top-end acoustic guitar has the best in terms of wood, sound, and options. These range from $1,500 and up.

Buying New vs. Used

It’s probably a good idea to buy your guitar new, as a warranty will cover it. However, if you have experience with guitars, you can always buy a used instrument because you know what to look for.

What’s in an Acoustic Guitar Box?

When you buy your guitar, you can expect to see several things included in the box. Of course, this will depend on the guitar that you bought.

a custom graphic showing what's typically in the box when you buy an acoustic guitar including the guitar, guitar case, documents, accessories, and an extra allen key
A diagram showing what you might expect to find in the box when you order an acoustic guitar

Manual/Documents

You may get a manual and some documents with your guitar.

Checked-by Tag

Your guitars may have a checked-by tag that shows who checked the guitar and where. This may have been at the factory or the store where you bought it from.

Allen Wrenches

You may get Allen wrenches to adjust your truss rod included in the box.

Accessories

If you bought a guitar kit, you might get several accessories such as picks, a strap, strings, and so on.

Case

If your guitar comes with a case or a gig bag, this will be in the box. Your guitar will be in this case or bag.

Extras

There are a few extras that you may want to pick up when you buy a fingerpicking guitar, such as:

  • Extra strings
  • Finger and thumb picks
  • Capo
  • Amplifier
  • Music books and papers
  • Music stand/chair/footstool
  • Peg winder
  • Polish cloth and polish

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about fingerstyle guitars that you need to know about.

What’s The Difference Between Fingerstyle And Fingerpicking?

Fingerstyle and fingerpicking are essentially the same. However, fingerstyle refers to the actual musical “style” of playing, while fingerpicking refers to the actual “skill” of fingerpicking the strings with fingers and not a pick.

How Much Do Acoustic Guitars For Fingerstyle Cost?

Expect to spend $150 to $300 on an acoustic guitar for fingerstyle as a beginner. For intermediates, an acoustic guitar for fingerstyle is around $300 to $1,000. There are various price ranges for beginner, intermediate, and advanced fingerstyle guitars. You’re sure to find something that matches your needs no matter what level you’re at now.

What’s The Best Acoustic Guitar Body Type For Fingerstyle Playing?

In my opinion, the best guitar body type for fingerstyle guitar is the dreadnought cutaway. This is because it’s easier to access all of the higher frets you may want to play for some fingerstyle work. A guitar with a pickup can also be beneficial, and dreadnought cutaway guitars often come with a pickup.

What Are The Best Acoustic Guitars For Fingerstyle?

The Martin Road Series 000-13E, the Fender Newporter, and the Jasmine S34C all make excellent choices for a fingerstyle guitar. I’ve jammed on these three guitars many times in my long guitar-playing and teaching career, and they’ve impressed me time and time again.

Martin Road Series 000-13E Best for Advanced Guitar Players

The Martin Road Series 000-13E is a nice dreadnought that’s easy to play and ideal for fingerpicking. It has a warm and resonant tone. It’s got a smaller body, so it’s comfortable to hold.

I love Martin guitars because they probably provide the best value out of all the acoustics on the market. This model is affordable at under $1,500. The spruce top gives it a warm and relaxed tone.

Fender Newporter: Best for Intermediate Players

The Fender Newporter has a Strat-like neck, making it fun to play. The guitar sounds great and has a deep cutaway for easy access to the higher frets.
I recommend this guitar to electric guitar players that want to try some acoustic fingerpicking, as the model feels like an electric but plays like an acoustic. This is a superior intermediate guitar.

Jasmine S34C: Best for Beginning Players

The Jasmine S34C is a nice beginner guitar with a solid wood construction and a great cutaway for easy access to the higher frets. I’ve recommended this guitar to many of my students, and to this day not one has been disappointed. The best part is the low price, which is great for even the smallest budgets.

At under $150, you get a lot of value compared to similar models. For a starter guitar for the first-time fingerpicker, you’re not going to find much better at this price.

Where Are The Best Acoustic Guitars For Fingerstyle Made?

The best fingerstyle guitars are made in the USA. American companies such as Fender, Gibson, and Taylor make the best guitars. Seagull is a company located in Canada that makes great fingerstyle guitars.

What Is The Best Sounding Acoustic Guitar For Fingerstyle?

After trying out these and many more acoustic guitars, I can confidently say that the Taylor 214CE is the best-sounding guitar for fingerstyle. It’s made with solid wood, and it has a deep cutaway and an amazing-sounding pickup system.

The guitar is just over $1,000, so it’s a good deal for modest budgets. The Grand Auditorium body style makes it easy to hold in any playing position. The tone is balanced and perfect for multiple guitar styles.

Where To Buy Acoustic Guitars For Fingerstyle?

There are several places where you can buy guitars. I like to shop online, as you don’t need to leave the house and you have a wide range of instruments to choose from. You can usually return them after trying them out, but you can also shop at your local music store.

Amazon: I like shopping on Amazon. They have a wide selection and great prices, and you can read customer reviews. They have a money-back guarantee, and they always ship fast. I’ve never had a problem ordering from them.

Online Music Retailers: Other locations online include Sweetwater and Guitar Center. Both of these retailers have a wide range of guitars to choose from. In addition, they have great guarantees, which makes them both good alternatives to Amazon.

Your Local Music Store: Another place to shop is at your local music store if you have one located nearby. Take someone that knows about fingerstyle guitars if you’ve never bought one before. Make sure you ask the staff some questions to get what you need.

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In Conclusion

There you have it, my choices for the best guitars for fingerstyle. If you’re interested in getting into this wonderful musical style, you’ll find that choosing the right guitar can provide both motivation and inspiration. I know that has been the case for myself and many of my students.

These instruments would make excellent options for beginner, intermediate, and advanced guitar players. As you continue your musical journey, you may want to update your guitar, or you may find that your first acoustic guitar will last you years, even decades. That’s how it’s been with me and my Seagull acoustic.

Please like, share, and leave your comments. I welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you. Now, pick up your guitar and start fingerpicking some chords.