Fingerstyle guitarists leave the pick in the case and make incredible multi-part musical compositions by picking individual strings with their fingers. Since it’s a bit more difficult to pick with your fingers than a real guitar pick, some guitars are better suited for fingerstyle than others.
If you’re ready to ditch the plastic pick and use the picks you were born with, we have a comprehensive list of the best fingerstyle guitars at each price point below. If you want to learn more about what makes a guitar ideal for fingerstyle before going through the list, check out our guide at the bottom of the page here.
|Award||Image||Name of Product||Description|
|Best Value||Yamaha LL6||Price: $570 |
Scale length: 25.5”
Shape: Original Jumbo
|Editor's Choice||Takamine GD20CE-NS|| |
|Best Design||Breedlove Premiere Concert CE||Price: $2400 |
Scale length: 25.5”
Shape: Concert w/ Single Cutaway
|Best Under $1500||Taylor 214CE Deluxe||Price: $1400 |
Scale length: 25.5”
Shape: Grand Auditorium w/ Single Cutaway
|Professional Choice||Martin 000-28E||Price: $4700 |
Scale length: 24.9”
|Best for Percussive Playing||Ibanez JGM10||Price: $4000 |
Scale length: 25.75”
Shape: Jon Gomm Signature Jumbo w/ Single Cutaway
|Most Versatile||Martin D-28E||Price: $4700 |
Scale length: 25.4”
|Best for Beginners||Seagull S6 Original||Price range: $530 |
Scale length: 25.5”
Shape: Modified Dreadnaught
|Best Alternative Material||Ovation Adamas I GT||Price: $5000 |
Scale length: 25.3”
Shape: Deep Contour Cutaway
|Best Mini||Taylor Big Baby BBTe||Price: $600 |
Scale length: 25.5”
Shape: Mini Dreadnaught
|Budget Choice||Fender CD-60S||Price: $240 |
Scale length: 25.3”
|Best 3/4 Guitar||Yamaha APXT2||Price range: $210 |
Scale length: 22.835”
Shape: APX Thinline w/ Single Cutaway
|Best Electric||Fender Stratocaster||Price: $2000 |
Scale length: 25.5”
Here are the Best Guitars For Fingerstyle
1. Yamaha LL6 (Best Value)
|Body shape||Original Jumbo|
|Tonewoods||Solid Engelmann Spruce top, Rosewood back and sides|
|Electronics||SRT Zero Impact passive pickup system|
My Review: Yamaha always seems to get a reputation for being the “cheap” guitar on the block, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In my experience, Yamaha can hold its own, if not surpass, many other guitar manufacturers in playability, tone, and affordability.
The Yamaha LL6 is a part of the legendary L-series that features high-end designs and hand-selected tonewoods. The LL6 sports a one-piece solid Engelmann spruce top for unmatched response with Rosewood back and sides to fill out the warm, rich sound. It’s all a part of Yamaha’s never-ending quest to find the perfect tone.
Between the incredible tone and responsiveness, the playability, and the price tag, the Yamaha LL6 is a worthy competitor for even the most high-end guitar brands.
Key Specs and Features: The most important feature of the LL6 is its tonewood. Yamaha takes great care selecting only the finest tonewoods for their instruments. The LL6 features a hand-selected, solid Engelmann spruce top that provides an unmatched bright tone.
As if choosing outstanding wood isn’t enough, the tonewood on the LL6 also sports Yamaha’s Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.). At the factory, they control the temperature, atmospheric pressure, and humidity to change the wood at the molecular level to match a guitar that has been played for decades. The result is a highly responsive wood that produces incredible volume and tonal balance, even when you don’t use a pick.
Because the foundation of any good fingerstyle song is a solid bassline, the non-scalloped bracing on the LL6 delivers a fuller low end without hurting the overall balance.
The 5-ply mahogany/rosewood neck on the LL6 is built for ideal playability, and the enhanced fingerboard edge ensures comfort in any position. From simple chord patterns to more complicated “jazz” fingerings, you’ll be comfortable fingerpicking the LL6 for hours and hours.
Even when plugged in, the Yamaha LL6 stays true to fingerstyle guitarists. The high-end passive SRT Zero Impact pickup uses six separate elements to detect individual string vibrations, ensuring you hear every single note. If you’re looking for clarity, even when plugged in, the LL6 is built for you!
Bottom Line: Yamaha guitars shouldn’t be overlooked when searching for the perfect instrument. The LL6 offers high-end features and playability without the high-end price tag. For fingerstyle players, the A.R.E. Engelmann spruce top wood, comfort-designed neck profile, innovative electronics, and low price tag make the Yamaha LL6 one of the best fingerstyle guitars on the market.
2. Takamine GD20CE-NS (Editor’s Choice)
|Body shape||Dreadnaught w/ Single Cutaway|
|Tonewoods||Solid cedar top, Sapele (mahogany) back and sides|
|Electronics||Takamine TP-4TD Preamp w/ built-in tuner|
My Review: When it comes to building affordable, high-quality fingerstyle guitars, Takamine knocks it out of the park. They’ve been producing some of the best instruments used by world-class players for over 50 years with some of the most inspired design elements of any guitar manufacturer—split bridge and asymmetrical neck anyone!?
The Takamine GD20CE-NS is no exception. It almost seems like it’s built specifically for fingerstyle guitarists. The specially selected tonewoods are designed to give the guitar a warmer tone, while the X-bracing ensures plenty of clarity and volume, even without a pick. This guitar tops the list for many fingerstyle players of any experience level. The best part is you can get this quality for an affordable price under $500.
Key Specs and Features: Takamine is known for their creative guitar designs. They’ve become almost famous in the guitar world for their split bridges and asymmetrical c-shaped neck profiles. The GD20CE-NS includes both of these outstanding features. The split bridge gives the guitar outstanding intonation and balance, while the asymmetrical neck profile provides unmatched ergonomic comfort for the fretting hand.
For fingerstyle guitarists who like to use those higher frets, the GD20CE-NS features a rounded single cutaway. Not only does it allow you to reach the upper frets, but the rounded shape of the cutaway ensures you still get all the tone and volume the large dreadnaught body has to offer.
The only “downside” to the GD20CE-NS is its slim neck. You won’t get much string separation with this guitar, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fingerstyle powerhouse.
Bottom Line: Overall, it’s hard to beat Takamine’s quality and affordability. For beginners and advanced fingerstyle players alike, the GD20CE-NS is one of the best guitars on the market right now. It produces wonderfully dark and balanced tones with unmatched comfort and design all for under $500.
3. Breedlove Premiere Concert CE (Best Design)
|Body shape||Concert w/ Single Cutaway|
|Tonewoods||Sitka Spruce top, Indian Rosewood back and sides|
|Electronics||LR Baggs EAS VTC|
My Review: Breedlove hasn’t been around for a long time, but they’ve quickly established themselves as a top manufacturer when it comes to acoustic guitars. If you really want to see what they’re capable of, check out the Premiere Concert CE.
The Breedlove Premiere Concert CE is almost built especially for fingerstyle. It features unique high-quality, hand-picked tonewoods, a large resonant body, and a single cutaway for access to the upper frets. Unlike other acoustics with single cutaways, the Breedlove’s cutaway is flatter and doesn’t have the same “horn” profile. You can fit your whole hand up to the higher frets. You can even hold chords!
Not only does the Premiere Concert CE sound great when fingerpicked, but it looks good doing it, too. The beautiful Sitka spruce top comes with a burnt amber finish that makes the guitar look as good as it sounds. If you want a high-quality guitar for fingerstyle, you can’t go wrong with Breedlove.
Key Specs and Features: The Breedlove Premiere Concert CE features some of the most high-quality tonewoods you can find. The top is made of Sitka spruce for a powerful attack and balanced tone, while the back and sides are made with Indian Rosewood to add a warmer tone.
Much like Yamaha offers the A.R.E., Breedlove has their own Sound Optimization Process. Not only do they hand-pick the perfect tonewoods for their guitars, but they “hand voice” them to make sure they sound as good as possible. The expert builders at Breedlove meticulously tap and listen to how the wood sounds, then shave away tiny curls of wood until they find the perfect resonance. The result is the best sounding tonewood you can find.
Because of the incredible hand-voiced tonewood, the Premiere Concert CE provides incredible responsiveness and dynamic range. From the loudest flatpicking to the quietest fingerpicking, this guitar is designed to project every single note in immense clarity.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a guitar that looks as good as it sounds (and it sounds GOOD), the Breedlove Premiere Concert CE is hard to beat. With the unique, high-quality tonewoods, hand-voiced Sound Optimization Process, and highly accessible body shape, the Premiere Concert CE is the perfect guitar for any fingerstyle player.
If the almost $2,400 price tag is a bit too steep for your budget, the Breedlove Pursuit Companion CE has the same body shape and capabilities for just under $550. It might not sound or look quite as good as the Premiere, but it’ll give you similar playability and Breedlove quality for a fraction of the price. The Breedlove Premiere Concert CE is easily one of the best guitars for fingerstyle out there.
4. Taylor 214CE Deluxe (Best Under $1500)
|Body shape||Grand Auditorium w/ Single Cutaway|
|Tonewoods||Sitka Spruce top, Layered Rosewood back and sides|
|Electronics||Expression System 2|
My Review: If you like the feel of Breedlove’s flattened single-cutaway but want a brighter tone, Taylor has the guitar for you! The Taylor 214CE Deluxe features high-quality tonewoods along with the iconic bright Taylor tone and easy playability, making it ideal for fingerstylists of any skill level.
Key Specs and Features: Taylor is known for its high-quality acoustic guitars, and the 214CE easily lives up to that reputation. Its grand auditorium body shape is comfortable for sitting or standing and produces a huge, balanced tone that’s perfect for fingerstyle. It also helps produce more of a treble “zing,” ensuring all your fingerstyle melodies are heard loud and clear.
With the high-quality solid Sitka spruce top, you should have no problem getting all the volume you need, even without a pick. The layered Rosewood back and sides help to fill out the tone, giving you that bright sound Taylor guitars are known for.
The single cutaway (called a Graceful Venetian cutaway) ensures you can reach the upper frets with your whole hand comfortably, even if you have to hold unusually high chords—as some fingerstyle players do.
Bottom Line: The Taylor 214CE Deluxe is a solid guitar for just about any style or genre. For fingerstyle, it produces a clear, bright tone that really emphasizes the treble melodies, and the Sitka spruce top creates incredible dynamic range—even without a pick. The grand auditorium body shape is more comfortable to many players compared to dreadnaughts, without sacrificing tone. If you’re looking for a comfortable fingerstyle guitar that can give you a super bright sound, it’s hard to go wrong with the Taylor 214CE Deluxe. It’s certainly one of the best fingerpicking guitars out there.
5. Martin 000-28E (Professional Choice)
|Tonewoods||Sitka spruce top, East Indian Rosewood back and sides|
|Electronics||Fishman Aura VT Blend|
My Review: For those who absolutely, positively need the best of the best, the Martin 000-28E is for you. Martin has been making the best acoustic guitars in the world for over 180 years. Their 000 series is made almost specifically for fingerpickers.
The high-quality tonewoods are hand-picked to provide unmatched tone, resonance, and responsiveness, and the smaller body and wide neck create comfortable fingerpicking playability. While the sticker price might make you reel, you’ll forget all about it once you strum a few notes. Martin is the benchmark for acoustic guitars for a reason!
Key Specs and Features: When you look through the list of criteria that make a guitar ideal for fingerstyle, the Martin 000-28E checks all the boxes.
The 000-28E is a part of Martin’s Modern Deluxe series. They take the tried-and-true Martin models from the past and add a modern twist. This guitar features the same asymmetrical neck profile and wide fretboard as the vintage acoustics. But unlike players of the past, modern guitarists like to play more upper frets. To boost playability, Martin added a taper to the neck as it gets closer to the body. This makes it much easier to play the entire fretboard without sacrificing vintage designs—and it’s ideal for fingerpickers.
What really sets the 000-28E apart from most of the other guitars on this list is its body shape. The 000 is a Martin-made body shape that’s much smaller than the jumbos and dreadnaughts that fill this list, especially the waist, to give players unmatched comfort. For fingerstyle players, this means you can reach the strings with ease and pick in just about any position that works for your style.
Speaking of the body, the Martin 000-28E is made with top-of-the-line tonewoods, including a Sitka spruce top and East Indian Rosewood back and sides. The spruce top delivers the iconic Martin boom and clarity, while the rosewood adds depth and warmth to the tone.
Like some of the other manufacturers, Martin also puts their tonewoods through a special process that they call the Vintage Tone System. The VTS process involves using torrefaction to remove excess moisture from the wood to create a drier, more stable piece of wood. The result is a top that feels like it has years of playing experience to add resonance and clarity before you even pluck your first string.
New 000-28Es are set up using a state-of-the-art computer-guided process called Plek Pro. It scans and analyzes each guitar to find the ideal fret levels and neck adjustments to get the lowest possible action without fret buzz. In other words, every note will ring loud and clear with even the slightest touch, perfect for fingerstyle.
Bottom Line: At the end of the day, no other guitar can even compete with the Martin 000-28E when it comes to fingerstyle. The smaller body is perfect for reaching the strings, while the wider neck allows plenty of string separation to make plucking each string easy. The superior tonewoods allow each note to ring loud and true with that iconic Martin tone.
Of course, all those high-end features do come at a high price. The 000-28E retails for almost $4,700, putting it well out of grasp for many guitarists on a budget. If you’re a professional that needs the best of the best, this is the guitar for you.
6. Ibanez JGM10 (Best for Percussive Playing)
|Body shape||Jon Gomm Signature Jumbo w/ Single Cutaway|
|Tonewoods||Thermo Aged Solid Sitka Spruce, Pau Ferro back and sides|
|Neck||5-piece Mahogany/Pau Ferro|
My Review: Modern fingerstyle players don’t make sound just by plucking the strings with their fingers. Some are tapping, playing harmonics, using both hands on the fretboard, or even banging on the side of the guitar like a drum.
To build the ultimate percussive fingerstyle machine, Ibanez teamed up with fingerstyle master Jon Gomm to create a guitar based on his preferred specs. The result is the Ibanez JGM10.
Everything about the JGM10 is designed specifically for fingerstyle playing. Even the shape of the body is unique to give the player enough space to beat on the side of the guitar without hurting playability or resonation.
If you want to play like the fingerstyle masters complete with harmonic bends, percussive instrumentals, and two-handed tapping, this is the guitar for you.
Key Specs and Features
Everything about the Ibanez JGM10 is built specifically for fingerstyle. The unique asymmetrical jumbo body is ideal for producing larger-than-life sound with plenty of low-end while giving percussive players plenty of space to tap. The shape is even designed to provide different “drum” sounds depending on where you hit it! The flattened cutaway also provides complete access to the upper frets without compromise.
For tonewood, the JGM10 features a top-of-the-line Thermo-Aged Sitka spruce top for unmatched resonation, response, and dynamic range. The back and sides are made from solid pau ferro—a high-quality tonewood similar to rosewood—that provides a warm tone and incredible look.
While most fingerpicking guitars have a smaller scale length, the JGM features a somewhat longer scale length of 25.75”. This helps maintain proper string tension in multiple tunings, so you can tap, pull-off, and hammer-on no matter what tuning you’re in.
The 5-piece African mahogany and pau ferro neck topped with a Madagascar ebony fretboard is designed to help project crisp, clear harmonic slaps and incredibly detailed note separation.
Even when you plug into an amp, the Ibanez JGM10 maintains its out-of-this-world sound with dual-output Fishman Rare Earth Mic Blend Active Soundhole pickup coupled with the Fishman PowerTap Earth blend system. Both pickups work together to capture both string vibrations and percussive taps to pump all that incredible fingerstyle sound straight to the amp without losing balance or clarity.
Bottom Line: If you want to fingerpick, tap, and play in multiple tunings, the Ibanez JGM10 is hard to beat. It was designed by a fingerstyle master specifically for fingerstyle. Everything about the guitar including the custom body shape, scale length, and neck profile is designed to make it the ultimate fingerstyle machine.
If you want to hear this guitar in action, check out this video of Jon Gomm himself showing off his skills on this incredible instrument.
7. Martin D-28E (Most Versatile)
|Tonewoods||Sitka Spruce top, East Indian Rosewood back and sides|
|Electronics||Fishman Aura VT Blend|
My Review: Any list of great acoustic guitars isn’t complete without mentioning the legendary Martin D-28. It doesn’t matter what genre or style you want to play; this guitar can do it all. It has become known as the benchmark against which all other acoustic guitars are measured.
Because of its incredible build quality, design, and materials, the Martin D-28 is perfect for any style of playing, including fingerpicking. Michael Hedges—who was one of the original fingerstyle masters—played a Martin D-28 he named “Barbara” almost exclusively throughout his career.
Hedges isn’t the only guitarist who preferred the D-28. Here are just a few of the legendary guitarists who play a Martin D-28:
- Hank Williams
- John Lennon and Paul McCartney
- Chris Cornell
- Neil Young
- Elvis Presley
- Joni Mitchell
- Dan Tyminski
As you can see, the D-28 fits into just about every musical style and genre, making it the most versatile acoustic guitar you can find. If you’re interested in fingerstyle but want to play other styles as well, the D-28 is the perfect versatile guitar that can do it all!
Key Specs and Features: The Martin D-28 has become a legend for a reason. It features the highest quality build materials available, including a solid Sitka spruce top for incredible note definition and projection and solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides for a completely balanced tone.
As if top-of-the-line tonewood isn’t enough, Martin’s Vintage Tone System (VTS) ages the wood to make the guitar sound like it has been played for years, even before you pluck the first note. It adds more projection and an even greater depth to the tone.
The Vintage Deluxe neck is based on the iconic Martins of the past. It’s wider at the top and tapers toward the body for unmatched comfort and playability over the entire neck—perfect for fingerpicking.
One of the modern enhancements to the D-28 is the addition of a carbon fiber bridge plate. The lighter material allows more vibrations to boost volume. You don’t need a hard pick to make plenty of noise!
While you can find Martin D-28 models that don’t have electronics, the D-28E comes with a Fishman Aura VT Blend pickup system that actually blends the tone of the guitar with iconic vintage Martin models to create an incredible plugged-in acoustic sound.
Bottom Line: In my experience, no guitar can match the versatility of the Martin D-28. It’s my go-to acoustic to play any style of music from country and blues to rock and fingerstyle. There’s nothing that doesn’t sound good on a Martin D-28. When you strum the first chord and feel that boomy Martin tone rattle your chest, you’ll forget any other guitar.
However, if you want a guitar purely for fingerstyle, the D-28 does have a few downsides. The large dreadnaught body can feel a bit cumbersome to wrap your arms around comfortably, and the lack of a cutaway hinders your ability to reach the upper frets. But if you want to buy one guitar that can do it all, the Martin D-28 is a perfect choice. This is hands down one of the best fingerstyle guitars out there if you can afford it.
8. Seagull S6 Original (Best for Beginners)
|Body shape||Modified Dreadnaught|
|Tonewoods||Solid Cedar top, Laminated Wild Cherry back and sides|
|Neck||Silver Leaf Maple|
My Review: The Seagull S6 Original might not be the most expensive or high-quality guitar on this list, but it features plenty of premium features at an affordable price. The unique choice of tonewoods provides a bright, clean tone with plenty of projection, while the wider nut width is ideal for helping beginners (or people with large hands) pick individual strings.
Key Specs and Features: Although the Seagull S6 falls into the lower price point, it’s still chock-full of premium and unique features. The most important fingerpicking feature on the S6 is its top. The solid cedar tonewood provides super-bright tone with tons of resonance and projection.
Unlike most other acoustics, the Seagull S6 features a compound curved top and integrated set neck. Not only does this help boost projection, but it also maintains tuning stability. You won’t have to worry about re-tuning all the time.
The body shape is a modified dreadnaught. It has all the tone and depth of a regular dreadnaught, but the thinner shoulders help decrease unwanted boominess. It also makes the guitar more comfortable to hold, especially for fingerstyle.
What makes the Seagull S6 the best guitar for fingerpicking beginners is its nut. The S6 features a wide-set 1.8” nut width for tons of string separation. If you’re a beginner, or just have large hands, there will be plenty of space between strings. You’ll be able to pluck each string individually without much trouble.
Bottom Line: If you’re a beginner looking for the perfect balance of cost and playability, the Seagull S6 Original is the perfect guitar for you. The cedar top provides tons of responsiveness and a bright, clean tone, while the wide-set nut ensures even fingerstyle newbies can pluck individual strings with ease. Plus, the affordable price tag won’t give you any sticker shock.
9. Ovation Adamas I GT (Best Alternative Material)
|Body shape||Deep Contour Cutaway|
|Tonewoods||Ultra-Thin Carbon Fiber top, Hand-Laid Advanced Composite back and sides|
|Neck||American Black Walnut|
|Electronics||OP Pro Studio|
My Review: If you’re looking for a fingerstyle guitar that’s as unique as you are, the Ovation Adamas I GT might be the guitar for you. Frankly, there’s nothing else like it! From the tone “wood” to the body shape, almost every single feature on this guitar is unique and perfectly suited for fingerpicking.
Key Specs and Features: Instead of wood, the Ovation Adamas I GT body is actually made of lightweight carbon fiber and composite materials. The ultra-thin and ultra-light carbon fiber top allows unmatched vibration for uncompromised tone, resonance, and projection.
The back is a one-piece, hand-laid, deep contour bowl made of advanced composite material. It’s super light, just like the top, and the deep bowl shape ensures maximum resonation and projection. The rounded shape is also ergonomically designed to make playing comfortable, whether you’re sitting or standing.
Unlike most acoustic guitars, the Ovation Adamas features a multi-soundhole design with holes on the upper shoulder of the guitar. The shape of the body and the deep contoured back pushes the sound up and out of the guitar’s multiple soundholes for plenty of acoustic projection, even if you’re not using a pick.
If you want to play through an amp, the Adamas features top-of-the-line OP-Pro Studio electronics with a built-in preamp, EQ, compression, and tuner. The electronics were actually developed in collaboration with acoustic rocker Melissa Etheridge and jazz guitarist Al Di Meola to ensure it works for any genre or style.
For fingerstylists who like to use the entire neck, the Adamas features a single cutaway that allows complete access to the upper frets. The angled fretboard also provides a few additional frets on the high strings for even more range.
Bottom Line: With the carbon fiber and composite body materials and unique body design, the Ovation Adamas I GT is likely the most comfortable and lightweight fingerstyle guitar you can find. It’s designed to offer the most projection and resonance, even without a pick. Plus, it’s easy on the eyes, too!
10. Taylor Big Baby BBTe (Best Mini)
|Body shape||Mini Dreadnaught|
|Tonewoods||Sitka Spruce top, Layered Walnut back and sides|
|Neck||Hard Rock Maple|
My Review: Looking for a smaller guitar you can maneuver more easily but still want that full-sized sound? The Taylor Big Baby is the guitar for you!
The Taylor Big Baby BBTe has the same dreadnaught shape as some of the most powerful and popular fingerstyle guitars, but it’s just a bit smaller. Officially, it’s 15/16ths the size of a standard dreadnaught. The cool part is that the neck has the same scale and length as larger guitars. Essentially, you get a small body guitar that’s more comfortable to play with the same feel and sound of a full-sized acoustic. Win, win!
Because of its smaller size, the Taylor Big Baby is a go-to for many fingerstyle players. It’s easy and comfortable to reach around and play in any position. As a bonus, it’s also super easy to travel with.
Key Specs and Features: Taylor has built quite the reputation for creating some of the best-sounding acoustic guitars on the market. The Big Baby takes all that iconic Taylor brightness and playability and puts it into a slightly more compact package.
Although the Big Baby is short on size, it’s not short on premium features. It uses the same high-quality tonewoods as its premiere counterparts, including a Sitka spruce top for incredible response and layered walnut back and sides to create a warm, mellow tone.
One of the coolest features of the Big Baby is the arched back. Like the Ovation, the arched back helps with resonance and adds even more projection from the small guitar. It might not be as arched as the Ovation’s deep contour, but it’s enough to add a little oomph to your fingerpicking dynamics.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a comfortable, compact guitar, the Taylor Big Baby BBTe is a solid choice. You’ll definitely feel the difference between the Big Baby and a full-size dreadnaught when you pick it up, but you probably won’t hear the difference. This little guitar really packs a punch and is perfect for fingerpickers looking for a smaller guitar without sacrificing full-size playability or feel.
The BBTe is the acoustic-electric version of the Taylor Big Baby. If you want to save a few dollars, you can get the standard Big Baby BBT without electronics for about $100 less.
11. Fender CD-60S (Budget Choice)
|Tonewoods||Solid Spruce top, Laminated Mahogany back and sides|
My Review: Fender might be more well-known for their electric guitars, but they also make some pretty good budget-level acoustic guitars. The Fender CD-60S specifically is a great fingerstyle guitar for players who want to save some cash.
The Fender CD-60S is built for beginners. It features some surprisingly high-quality features like a solid spruce top, walnut back and sides, and a custom beginner-friendly neck profile without costing an arm and a leg. For fingerpickers, the wider nut width encourages more string separation, making it easier to pluck individual strings.
It might not knock your socks off with its sound, but at under $250, the Fender CD-60S is a solid budget choice for fingerstyle players looking to save a few dollars.
Key Specs and Features: You might expect a budget guitar to feature cheap materials, but the Fender CD-60S uses the same tonewoods as some of the higher-end guitars. It has a solid spruce top for great resonance and response and a walnut back and sides to add warmth to the tone.
The neck was designed specifically for beginners. It uses Fender’s “easy-to-play” profile and rolled edge fingerboard to make playing comfortable. It also increases responsiveness, making it easy to hit hammer-ons and pull-offs, especially while playing fingerstyle.
The CD-60S also features a wider nut width at 1.69”. While the wider nut is designed to make it easy for beginners to fret chords, it’s also a great feature for fingerstyle. Since the strings are more separated, you can easily pluck individual strings without worrying about accidentally hitting other strings.
Bottom Line: For the price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better fingerstyle guitar than the Fender CD-60S. Premium features like the comfortable easy-to-play neck profile and solid spruce top give this guitar a great tone and response at a fraction of the cost of some of the other guitars on this list. It even comes with a gig bag, strap, picks, extra strings, and a three-month Fender Play subscription!
For less than $250, you can get a decent fingerstyle guitar and all the accessories to get started.
Popular Related Article: Our Favorite Easy Fingerpicking Songs
12. Yamaha APXT2 (Best 3/4 Guitar)
|Body shape||APX Thinline w/ Single Cutaway|
|Tonewoods||Spruce top, Meranti back and sides|
|Neck||Nato or Mahogany|
|Electronics||ART-based preamp with System 68 contact pickup|
My Review: Sometimes for fingerstyle, you want a smaller guitar that feels comfortable in your hands, no matter the position. The Yamaha APXT2 is modeled after Yamaha’s highly popular APX600, except it’s 3/4 of the size!
With a shorter, narrower frame and thinner construction, the Yamaha APXT2 is smaller all the way around compared to standard acoustic guitars. It features the same resonant and responsive spruce top as the full-sized models, just a bit smaller. For fingerpickers looking for a smaller guitar for traveling or just picking on the front porch, this 3/4-sized acoustic is perfect.
Key Specs and Features: The Yamaha APXT2 is a thinline 3/4 acoustic guitar. Not only is the body and neck smaller, but the thinline means that it’s thinner as well. What that means for fingerstyle players is that the guitar is super comfortable to play, even for people with smaller hands, fingers, and arms.
This little guitar also features the same tonewoods as its highly popular counterpart. It has a spruce top for resonation and responsiveness with meranti back and sides to give the tone balance.
Despite its smaller size, the APXT2 has a full-size nut width of 1.6875”. It might be a small guitar, but the strings are still separated enough to make fingerpicking easy.
Even at its super-low price, the Yamaha APXT2 comes with onboard electronics, just in case you ever want to plug it in. It has an ART-based preamp and a System 68 contact pickup to give a solid acoustic tone even through amps. As a bonus, it also has a built-in tuner!
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a cheap, decent-sounding fingerstyle guitar to bring along on your travels, the Yamaha APXT2 is a perfect candidate. Its quality tonewoods and smaller size make it ideal for fingerpickers on the go. Plus, at just over $200, it’s affordable on just about any budget.
13. Fender Stratocaster (Best Electric Guitar for Fingerstyle)
|Tonewoods||Alder or Ash|
|Neck||Maple or Rosewood|
|Electronics||3 single-coil pickups or 1 humbucker and 2 single-coils|
My Review: Fingerstyle players don’t always play acoustic guitars. When they’re looking for a plugged-in, bluesy, finger-driven tone, most guitarists turn to the Fender Stratocaster. Its three-pickup versatility, comfort, and playability make it a go-to for legendary fingerstyle players like Mark Knopfler and John Mayer, to name a few.
No matter what style you like to play, the Fender Stratocaster will take your fingerpicking to the next level.
Key Specs and Features: The iconic Fender Stratocaster hardly needs an introduction. It has been at the forefront of guitar-driven music since 1954 and continues to be one of the primary guitars seen on stages today.
Fingerstyle players love the Strat because of its comfort and playability. The thin, lightweight body fits comfortably whether you’re sitting or standing, and the double cutaway design makes it easy to reach even the highest frets.
When it comes to tone, the Strat can create any kind of sound you want. With three pickups standard—either three single coils or two single coils and one humbucker, depending on the model—you can adjust the tone to suit any style or genre. Plus, since it’s a bonafide electric guitar, you can also use pedals and amps to create the perfect sound.
There are dozens of Fender Stratocaster models available for every style, skill level, and budget. It doesn’t matter how you like to fingerpick, there’s a Strat out there for you!
Bottom Line: Fender Stratocasters have been the go-to for electric fingerstyle for decades. Their comfort, playability, and tonal variations are perfect for players of any level. If you want to fingerpick an electric guitar, this is the instrument for you.
What Makes a Good Fingerstyle Guitar?
Guitars come in all shapes and sizes, so what makes one better for fingerstyle than another. Basically, it all comes down to playability and projection.
Since you’re not using a pick, guitars made for fingerstyle are designed to be more easily played with potentially big, fat, stubby fingers and a much lighter touch. After all, your fingertips are much wider and can’t get the same “pluck” as a hard plastic pick.
Here are some of the criteria that make a good fingerstyle guitar:
Smaller size – The easier it is to reach around the guitar and position your fingers, the easier it’ll be for fingerpicking.
Wide fingerboard – Wider fingerboards and nuts separate the strings more. That way, it’s easier to pick single strings with your fingertips.
Highly responsive – Your fingers won’t produce as much sound as a plastic pick. A good fingerstyle guitar will be highly responsive and project a lot of volume without a hard pick.
Balanced tone – While chords might sound cool with a dominant bass sound, you don’t want that unbalanced tone when playing fingerstyle. You’re not playing chords, so you want every note to come out clear and balanced.
Clarity with individual notes – Similar to the balanced tone, you also want each string to ring with great clarity. That way, your notes will all ring clearly and independently, instead of as one big, muddled mess.
Choosing the best fingerstyle guitar for you will come down to your budget and preferences. The list above has something for everyone, but if you are still struggling to find the perfect guitar or have any questions, feel free to let us know in the comments below.
My name is Chris and I’ve had a passion for music and guitars for as long as I can remember. I started this website with some of my friends who are musicians, music teachers, gear heads, and music enthusiasts so we could provide high-quality guitar and music-related content.
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 13 years old and am an avid collector. Amps, pedals, guitars, bass, drums, microphones, studio, and recording gear, I love it all.
I was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. My background is in Electrical Engineering, earning a Bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. With my engineering experience, I’ve developed as a designer of guitar amplifiers and effects. A true passion of mine, I’ve designed, built, and repaired a wide range of guitar amps and electronics. Here at the Guitar Lobby, our aim is to share our passion for Music and gear with the rest of the music community.