The fingerstyle technique is characterized by the use of fingernails or fingertips to pluck the strings individually. This allows guitarists to play a richer guitar melody than would otherwise be possible. They can hit several notes at the same time such that one instrument can do what a full band usually tackles together. However, it is harder to strike the strings with fingers compared to a pick. You get softer sounds and lower volumes. As such, you need to get the right gear to compensate for the difficulties while helping you play in comfort. In this article, we list down some of the best acoustic guitar for fingerstyle.
- Our Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar Recommendations:
- What To Look For When Choosing An Acoustic Guitar For Fingerstyle
- Acoustics For Fingerstyle Conclusion
Our Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar Recommendations:
Fender PM-3 Triple-0 All-Mahogany Natural
Fender is another respected name in the guitar world. Although it is more famous for its electric guitars, the company makes compelling acoustic guitars as well. This particular model has a Triple-0 body type which is large enough to support delicate fingerstyle with good volume. It also has enhanced dynamic range that suits guitarists who want every nuance to reach their audience. The mahogany wood for the back and body gives a satisfying warm tone while giving the instrument a rigidity to make it last for many years. Meanwhile, the scalloped X-brace have been engineered for adequate sustain and precise note definition.
The simple styling and natural color provides this model with an earthy vibe. It will surely look great on the stage and sound even better. The neck has a C-shape that makes it easier to play. Whereas cheaper guitars use plastics, this one has compensated bone saddle on a sturdy rosewood bridge to help with the tone while making it look more stylish. You will see interesting touches such as ebony bridge pins, white binding, and edging patterns. Fender went for an open-pore finish that they claim to help with resonance. The package include a humidifier and a hard shell case.
- Aesthetically pleasing guitar.
- All mahogany body and neck.
- Excellent projection.
- Not ideal for heavy strumming or hard picking.
Takamine is a premium Japanese guitar maker known for their impeccable craftsmanship and quality materials. The GD20-NS is a reliable acoustic guitar with solid cedar wood as the top material. Compared to the more common spruce wood, cedar has a slightly darker brown color. Cedar can also produce a fuller sound and faster response because of its higher porousness. It also creates a warmer and louder sound. Cedar is a bit lighter as well. The back and sides are made of mahogany, just like the neck that has a satin finish. The fretboard is rosewood while the strings are nylon which is suited to fingerstyle with its softer feel.
The pin-less rosewood bridge has a split saddle design that improve tone for both single notes and chords. The nuts are made of bone instead of the cheap plastic found in other guitars. The die-cast tuners look good in chrome. There’s also pearloid dot inlays and rosewood headcap. The slim neck enhances playability which is important for fingerstyle. The GD20 is has a dreadnought body that enables good volume. This is available with a bundle that includes accessories like a strap, capo, picks, tuner, and polishing cloth.
- The sound is clear and crisp, even on the bass strings.
- The acoustic guitar is lightweight.
- Slightly expensive.
Here is another dreadnought, this time from American brand Epiphone. The company has been around since 1873 when it was founded in Greece. It was Gibson’s main rival in the 1950s so they bought it out and built it up. Aside from acoustics, the brand also sells electric, archtop, and resonator guitars. They even have pedals, amps, ukes, basses, banjos, and mandolins. As for the DR-500MCE, it’s an acoustic-electric hybrid with a solid sitka spruce wood top and mahogany body. The mahogany neck can have a slim taper or a D profile. At the end of the strings is a hardtail bridge system.
Unlike cheap guitars, this one features all-solid tone woods instead of laminates. The result is the presence of rich lows and bright highs while keeping the mids under control. No detail was neglected in an effort to provide the best sound and build quality. Even the dovetail neck joint and curves are handcrafted. The fretboard features split diamond pearl inlays. The guitar works great unplugged but you will truly appreciate its abilities once you plug it in. The eSonic preamp has a built-in tuner, master volume, stereo blend, low battery indicator, NanoFlex Tone, NanoMag Tone, and phase switch to reducing feedback.
- Excellent value.
- Nice clear highs and lows
- Solid tonewoods
- Plastic bridge pins may be prone to breaking if you’re not careful.
The Yamaha LL6 rides on the manufacturer’s impressive track record for making quality guitars and selling them at low prices. You will not find premium materials throughout but they provide decent options where it matters. For example, the LL6 cannot compete with the Epiphone above in terms of having an all-solid wood construction. The neck is a 5-ply build combining mahogany and rosewood with a traditional profile. However, the top features premium solid spruce. It is even treated with Acoustic Resonance Enhancement for a better tone. The back and the sides have rosewood, a material that is usually seen only on the bridge and the fretboard.
This is an acoustic-electric guitar with an SRT Zero Impact pickup. This is a new passive system from Yamaha that lowers the effects of the impact on the tone. There are individual piezo electric elements for every string such that the sounds produced can be detailed and dynamic. It also means that this is perfect for the fingerstyle since there will be clear note separation with each movement. This guitar is a great choice for stage performance when you want your nuanced playing style to reach the audience. The LL6 is a dreadnought but you can also find this in concert and medium jumbo body shapes.
- It is hand-crafted from select species of tone woods.
- Provides a rich and balanced sound.
- Flawless craftsmanship and outstanding appearance.
- It lacks a cutaway design.
Martin X Series D-X1E
The Martin D-X1E is an acoustic electric in the brand’s budget range. If you really want a guitar from this brand at a low price, then this is worth a look. Just keep your expectations in check since they cannot deliver solid wood at this level. Instead, you will see high pressure laminates or HPL everywhere from the top to the back. HPL is slightly better than regular laminates. It’s not easy to spot the difference between this and solid wood since HPL has a decorative layer that can take on any pattern. The top looks like spruce while the back looks like mahogany. The neck is also laminated with birch. The fretboard is made from Richlite.
For the hardware, you do have the excellent Fishman MX electronics. This onboard preamp can pick up even the softest sounds and amplify the volume for the world to hear. That is exactly what you need for delicate fingerstyle performances. Fishman is a respected name in guitar pickups, amps, pedals, bridges, and related gear. They have been around since the early 1980s. You can find their creations in popular guitars like Gibson, Fender and Martin. Get your hands on the D-X1E to hear the tone and feel the strings. It may just be the one that you are looking for.
- Excellent quality acoustics.
- Excellent sound.
- Great for fingerstyle guitarists and for strumming (chords).
Fender CD-60 Dreadnought
The Fender CD-60 is a another interesting model from this well-known brand. You can get it in a bundle that contains a hard case, a strap, strings, picks, tuner, DVD, and instructional book. It’s a nice gift for a novice that has everything they might need. You might think that it’s expensive given the name recognition and the included accessories but they have managed to keep the price reasonable at under $300. Yamaha can provide entry-level models for half the price but perhaps you are partial to the Fender brand and this model’s specific attributes. It’s not a bad deal at all.
The materials are filled with laminates as you would expect from a base model but these still sound good for what they are. The top is laminated spruce while the back and sides are laminated mahogany. The neck is C-shaped mahogany which is great for playability. The head has chrome die cast tuners for easy adjustments. Use the included fender tuner to make sure that every string works as it should. Left-hand players can specify their preferred configuration. These are full size acoustic guitars with impressive volume, low action, and rich sound.
- Great, well-rounded sound.
- The guitar is lightweight which makes playing easier.
- Guitar provides a good mellow tone and is great for most styles of music.
- Some users have reported there are problems with the tuning pegs, strings, bridge pins or other parts of the guitar. This can result in an unreliable instrument.
Martin Road Series GPC-13E
C.F. Martin envisioned their Road Series guitars to be the ideal companions of musicians on the go. The GPC-13E is one of the more premium models in the line-up with a price to match. The looks, sound, and feel of this instrument will make it worth every penny. Martin calls the shape a Grand Performance which seems to be defined by a smaller waist and a thinner body. This makes it easier to hug it close and play for a long time. The waist will also encourage better mid tone response.
For those who are missing the cutaway design of most electric guitars, this acoustic model has it. You can reach the lower frets with ease and rock out as much as you like. The top material is solid sitka spruce wood for excellent resonance and tone production. The same material is used in the body. The back and siding material is mutenye which is a native West African hardwood. Mutenye is a durable wood that is also used in flooring and furniture. You can also see white binding, multiple stripe rosette border, and a mother of pearl pattern on the fingerboard. It includes Fishman MX-T electronics as well.
- It has a solid Sitka-spruce top and mahogany back and sides.
- It has a great tone, not too bright but not dull either.
- The Martin Road Series GPC-13E is affordable for most people’s budgets.
- It doesn’t come with an electric feature.
The Martin 000-15M has an auditorium shape which is smaller than dreadnoughts but bigger than concert guitars. It also has a slimmer waist that makes it look less daunting. If you want a guitar that isn’t too massive while still providing good projection, then this model is a good option to take. It enhances the mid and high frequencies without being too sharp. This makes it a versatile guitar that you can use in various music genres and playing styles. Martin’s choice of wood is high quality mahogany for the body, top, back, and neck. Expect a beautiful tone from this fine instrument.
The standard taper neck and the auditorium body combine to provide excellent playability. You can play with this all day and all night in comfort. You won’t even have to worry about knocks here and there given the solid construction and premium materials. You also get open nickel tuners and an impressive satin finish. You can play with fingerstyle knowing that the volume will be loud enough to emphasize your every movement. It may not be the flashiest guitar available but you can play this with ease and love the music you make. It’s also ready to go right out of the box.
- The 000-15M is a wonderful guitar for fingerstyle.
- It has a mahogany back and sides, which give it a warm and resonant sound.
- The 000-15M is not an inexpensive guitar.
Taylor Big Baby Taylor
Taylor is an American brand with a loyal following. The Big Baby model is one of their most popular products thanks to its simplicity, affordability, and playability. It’s a great acoustic guitar with an ergonomic design that lets you practice for hours while maintaining comfort. It may have a large body but it is still comfortable to hold while providing excellent resonance. The Big Baby will make even subtle movement of the fingers count by amplifying the sound in its cavernous interiors. Meanwhile, the neck is relatively slim which makes it easier to play.
The Taylor Big Baby is a full-size dreadnought that is known to produce strong mid tones for a pleasing harmony. Its body and back are made from sapele wood. This is said to be similar to mahogany but with a higher density that produces a brighter sound with extra treble. The tone is balanced and suitable for different techniques from strumming to fingerstyle. The wood comes from West Africa where it is grown as a sustainable fast-growing tree. The company also uses it on their 300 Series, Laminate 100 Series, GS Mini, and Acoustic 3 Series.
- Solid Cedar Top is attractive while providing a rich tonal range.
- Narrower nut width may not be ideal for those who wish to play chords at the ends of the fretboard.
What To Look For When Choosing An Acoustic Guitar For Fingerstyle
Are you a fingerstyle guitarist looking for a new acoustic guitar? Do you know what the main features you should look for? Read on for a detailed guide to what features are important and why!
Acoustic Guitar Body Size
One of the first things you have to consider when choosing an acoustic guitar is body size. Acoustic guitars come in three sizes: full-size, dreadnought, and concert. Full-size guitars are often used by traditional guitarists who want a louder sound and more bass response. Dreadnoughts are a great choice for fingerstyle guitarists who like the sound of the acoustic guitar but want a more flexible instrument for playing in a band. Concert guitars are what you would use when recording or performing live, and they are often used by classical, jazz, and folk players.
The full-size category is typically designed to give you deep bass with a rich sound. This is often achieved through the inclusion of deep chambers inside the body of the guitar, which gives it am overall larger sounding than dreadnought models.
The dreadnought guitar is designed with the same overall size as the full-size model, but without the deeper bass chamber. This results in a more balanced response, where the top and bottom frequencies are still very distinct but not overbearing.
What size you choose depends on your playing style and how much you want to be able to hear the sound. If you are more serious about fingerstyle then a dreadnought guitar will suit you better than a full-size.
Acoustic Guitar Body Shape
The shape of the body is another important factor to consider. The two main shapes are traditional and modern. Traditional shaped guitars have a large round back, whereas modern ones have a smaller, thinner back. Many fingerstyle players prefer the sound of the traditional shaped guitars as they are often be designed with more bass response.
Acoustic Guitar Electronics
Another important feature of the acoustic guitar is that it contains electronics. The electronics may allow you to plug it in for amplification and recording, or save battery power. They may also be useful when playing live. For example, if you don’t want to have to worry about using an amp every time you want to play, then an electronic could be the answer.
The acoustic guitar is a great instrument to perform any genre on. However, if you are going to play fingerstyle, it is important that the neck doesn’t affect your playing style. You want a neck that will allow you to move your fingers in any direction so your fingers are free and clear of any obstacles. This will ensure that you are able to play with clarity and finesse!
Acoustic Guitar Price
Finally, price is another factor to consider when choosing your perfect acoustic guitar. This doesn’t mean that you can only afford an acoustic guitar on a tight budget, but if you have the money then there are some really nice models out there! You can find acoustic guitars that range in price from about $600 to $5000 – so as long as you have the budget for it, then there is a model out there for you.
Acoustics For Fingerstyle Conclusion
The best acoustic guitar for fingerstyle is able to complement this technique. You should look into models that can produce good volume and note separation. That’s why most on these list have large bodies such as dreadnought, auditorium, and grand performance. Others are acoustic electric guitars that can use their electronics to pick up the tiniest vibrations and amplify them so that audiences can appreciate the softer nuanced music. The list has everything from budget options to premium guitars so choose according to your needs.