Best Fingerstyle Guitars – 2019 Ultimate Review

You have decided to start playing guitar and that's great. It is a wonderful instrument you can have a lot of fun with.

Within just a few months of actively playing, you will become the focal point of any social gathering, as people will begin to request songs of various music genres. You have surely heard of picking as a playing style, but if you haven’t, it involves using a pick and guitar strings. But, what is a fingerstyle guitar and what type of playing is it good for?

Well, it is basically the same as your normal guitar, only more adapted to playing with nothing but your fingers. There are a variety of different models on the market and we did our best to come up with a list of the best fingerstyle guitar offers today. Let’s take a look.

Comparison Chart of the Best Fingerstyle Guitars

Product

Rating

Price

Fender CD-60SCE

Fender CD-60SCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar-Dreadnaught Body Style - Natural Finish

Best Overall

Yamaha FSX820C

Yamaha FSX820C Small Body Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural

Runner-up

Takamine GD20-NS

Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, Natural

Best for the Money

Taylor Guitars Big Baby Taylor

Best Beginner Fingerstyle Guitar

Epiphone DR-500MCE

Epiphone DR-500MCE Acoustic/Electric (Dreadnought), Vintage Sunburst

Best Fingerstyle Electric Guitar

Washburn WD7S

Washburn WD7S Harvest Series Solid Sitka Spruce/Mahogany Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Gloss

Best Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar

What is a Fingerstyle Guitar? 

The fingerstyle guitar has the same major components as your regular guitar, the only difference is that the strings are under lower tensions and therefore, are more adapted to playing with your fingers instead of using a pick. A fingerstyle guitar is comprised of the top, neck, body, bridge and saddle, fretboard and frets, and, of course, the nut at the bottom.

While this style of playing is mostly present in classical and Latin music genres, this doesn’t mean that you can’t buy an electric fingerstyle guitar. On the contrary, these are quite popular and seem to be taking over the relevant market.

What Size of Fingerstyle Guitar Do I Need?

This all depends on whether you are an adult or a kid learning to play guitar. If you are an adult and have average-sized hands, you will be fine with a regular-sized fingerstyle guitar whether it is electric, classic, or acoustic.

Fender CD-60SCE

On the other hand, if you are buying a guitar for your kid, or someone that has smaller hands, we recommend proportions of 3/4 of a normal-sized guitar. This way, you will have time to adapt and get comfortable with the body of your new instrument.

Why Are These The Best Models of The Year?

Much like with any other product, buying a high-quality fingerstyle guitar depends on a number of features, including the price and brand name. 

Mid-Scooped Tone

The first important feature is the so-called mid-scooped tone. If you are not familiar with this term, it basically determines if the mid, bass, and treble combine or not. This all depends on whether you like it to have a scooping effect or not, and that depends on the kind of music genre are playing. For metal and rock, the more scooping, the better. On the other hand, if you are going to play classical songs, it is recommended to stay away from this effect.

Action

As you might know, when it comes to fingerstyle playing, the less action there is, the better. But what is guitar action? It is determined by the space between the string and fretboard at the 12th fret, which is just before the fretboard attaches to the body of your guitar. While more action is good if you are using the picking method, for fingerstyle, the less there is, the better.

Phase Control

If you have decided to invest in an acoustic or an electric guitar, the phase control is among the most important features on the list. As long as you have the ability to put your amp in phase, you will be good to go and can expect optimal sound quality.

Cutaway

Fingerstyle is all about how strong your fingers are and your ability to hit those clean notes, even after the 12th fret. This is an area where more cutaway could be of great help.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Here are the best fingerstyle guitars:

  1. Fender CD-60SCE
  2. Yamaha FSX820C
  3. Takamine GD20-NS

Review of the Best Fingerstyle Guitars

There are a number of different types of fingerstyle guitars including classical, acoustic, and electric. Depending on what your preference is, and what music genre you enjoy playing, you need to choose the right guitar. Your budget has its role in the process, too.

We did some research and came up with six of the best models suitable for both beginners and those that are more experienced with fingerstyle playing. 

Best Overall:
Fender CD-60SCE

Fender CD-60SCE Acoustic-Electric Guitar-Dreadnaught Body Style - Natural Finish

PROS

  • Solid Spruce Construction
  • Stays in Tune
  • Reliable Truss Rod
  • Compact Dreadnought Body
  • Price is Great for Those Looking for a Cheaper Option

CONS

  • Buzzy Frets
  • A Bit Smaller in Size
  • Customer Service is Slow to Respond

If you are looking to buy from a trusted brand and want a guitar you will not have to tune every couple of hours, this Fender CD-60SCE model is an excellent choice. Featuring a dreadnought cutaway body and an ideal neck for beginners, it is a choice you shouldn’t miss out on.

What Recent Buyers Report

As one of the best-selling fingerstyle guitars on the market, there are a number of positive reviews about this model. Apart from saying that it is a well-made guitar with a dreadnought body and an easy-to-play neck, customers love the fact that it features a smooth fretboard. On the other hand, some are not too pleased with the smaller scale of this guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Apart from the compact and sturdy design, we love that it has a low-profile pickup and a dreadnought cutaway body that ensure perfect, powerful tones when it comes to fingerstyle playing.

Who Will Use This Most

It is a product suitable for anyone who is interested in playing fingerstyle. Apart from the smaller scale, this particular model is suitable for both adults and children who want to have some fun with fingerpicking.

Bottom Line

Overall, this is an affordable and compact guitar that is going to last you years, as long as you don’t put it through any heavy use or conditions. It stays in-tune, features a proportional design, and is as such, a good choice for anyone who loves guitars!

Runner-up: 
Yamaha FSX820C

Yamaha FSX820C Small Body Solid Top Cutaway Acoustic-Electric Guitar, Natural

PROS

  • System 66
  • Adjustable Truss Rod
  • Sound is Warm and Full
  • Good for Smaller Hands

CONS

  • Flimsy Strings
  • Occasionally Buzzy Frets
  • Customer Service Could Be Faster

Another great and affordable model of acoustic guitar, on which you will be able to play anything from classical tunes to popular glam rock and pop songs!

What Recent Buyers Report

The first thing customers loved is the fact that it can stay in tune for so long. Other than that, many suggest that the dreadnought low-profile, under-saddle pickups are what allow this guitar to sound so great right from the start.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are a number of unique features that make this guitar one of our products of choice. Along with the compact and concert-like design, this Yamaha model features an adjustable truss rod and a smooth fretboard that is perfect for beginners.

Who Will Use This Most

As we have mentioned above, this fingerstyle guitar is perfect for anyone who is interested in trying out fingerstyle in any genre they want to play. Looking for an affordable and easy-to-learn guitar? The Yamaha FSX820C is just the right choice!

Bottom Line

This versatile guitar comes in a number of different colors, including turquoise and sunburst, and is a long-term investment and a fingerstyle instrument that will give you years of active playing.

Best for the Money:
Takamine GD20-NS

Takamine GD20-NS Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar, Natural

PROS

  • Solid Cedar Top
  • Split-Saddle Design
  • 12-Inch Fingerboard
  • Stays In-Tune for a Long Time

CONS

  • No Cutaway
  • A Bit of Fret Buzz

Are you on a tight budget but still don’t want to give up the idea of learning how to play fingerstyle? Well, you are lucky, as this Takamine GD20-NS is both affordable and easy-to-play, making it the best budget choice for beginners out there.

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers love the fact that this high-quality guitar comes at such a low price. Apart from the sturdy construction, it features a split-saddle design and a 12-inch radius fingerboard that both contribute to the playing experience for someone just starting out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There is no cutaway, which is a disadvantage considering that this is fingerstyle guitar. However, the rosewood bridge saddle and overall design of this guitar provide good playability for both someone who is experienced and those that are just starting out.

Who Will Use This Most

As we have mentioned above, this particular model is the best budget pick there is. If you don’t have a lot of money to spare, but want to practice on a high-quality fingerstyle guitar, this Takamine model is the right choice for you!

Bottom Line

You will have a hard time finding a guitar with better quality and asking price. While the Takamine brand is not as famous as Yamaha and Fender, this particular guitar is made to last and is suitable for both picking and fingerstyle playing.

Best Beginner Fingerstyle Guitar:
Taylor Guitars' Big Baby Taylor

PROS

  • Good for Small Hands
  • Attractive Sturdy Design
  • Great for Beginners to Learn
  • Proportional and Comfortable Body

CONS

  • A Bit Smaller Size
  • Customer Service Lacks Knowledge

If your kid has expressed interest in guitars, this model is just the right choice. While it features a smaller size, the components are proportional to that of a normal guitar. The Taylor Guitars' Big Baby Taylor model is the most affordable and best choice there is for youngsters starting out!

What Recent Buyers Report

As recent buyers have said, this is one of the best fingerstyle guitar models if your kid is just starting and you want to get them a guitar that is almost the same size as a regular one. Featuring a sturdy design, an under saddle, and a rosewood bridge, it is a guitar that can be used for both fingerstyle and picking.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We were quite fascinated by the fact that this guitar comes at an affordable price and still sounds almost as good as your regular acoustic Yamaha model. The best thing about it? The proportions are spot-on!

Who Will Use This Most

While this guitar can be played by adults, its primary purpose is to be used as a learning fingerstyle guitar by youngsters who are interested in improving their guitar-playing.

Bottom Line


Taking everything into consideration, we can say that this Taylor Guitars model is one of the best on the market. Get one and your kid will surely have loads of fun playing it!

Best Fingerstyle Electric Guitar:
Epiphone DR-500MCE

Epiphone DR-500MCE Acoustic/Electric (Dreadnought), Vintage Sunburst

PROS

  • Stereo Preamp
  • Split-Side Saddle Design
  • Attractive Sunburst Finish

CONS

  • Stiff Knobs
  • Rough Saddle
  • Flimsy Pickup

One of the best electric fingerstyle guitars for your money, this Epiphone model is a great choice no matter if you are just starting out or you already have experience in your pocket when it comes to fingerstyle playing.

What Recent Buyers Report

While there are a few cons to this guitar, customers still say that it is a great choice for the given price, considering the attractive Sunburst finish, the fact that it is full-sized, and good for both beginners and experienced players. Yes, the knob may be a bit stiff and the saddle is kind of flimsy, but if you exclude those flaws, customers consider it one of the best fingerstyle guitars for pop and rock music genres.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The thing we are fascinated about is the stereo-preamp that ensures clean and powerful sounds, whether you decide to use fingerstyle or pick to play it.

Who Will Use This Most

It is perfect to be played by adults, both those with more experience and those new to the concept of fingerstyle playing.

Bottom Line

A guitar manufactured by Epiphone, this model is a great choice for a starting guitar or your second if you are experienced and you like to switch between a few different models. A strong preamp and fine pickup are what makes this guitar great for fingerstyle playing!

Best Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar:
Washburn WD7S

Washburn WD7S Harvest Series Solid Sitka Spruce/Mahogany Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar - Natural Gloss

PROS

  • Solid and Durable
  • Low Action for Easy Playing
  • Dreadnought Cutaway Body
  • Doesn’t Need to Be Tuned Too Often

CONS

  • Stiff Tune Heads
  • Strings Could Be Better
  • Customer Service is Unresponsive

At the end of our list, we present you the best choice if you are into the sounds of acoustic guitar and want to practice your fingerstyle on a high-quality and attractive Washburn model.

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers suggest that even though there are a few concerns, like flimsy strings that can be replaced and stiff tune heads, this guitar is still great for the starter and puts out incredible performance for the given price.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While the tuning heads are stiff, this particular guitar is still quite easy to keep in check. Due to its low profile and low action saddle design, you will get to enjoy versatile and clean tones perfect for fingerstyle playing.

Who Will Use This Most

As we have mentioned above, this Washburn guitar is perfect for beginners and those who want to practice fingerstyle on a high-quality guitar.

Bottom Line:

Overall, a superb choice that comes at an affordable price and is easy to keep in check without a lot of maintenance.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

There are more than a few points you may want to check before making your final decision on your new instrument.

Top Wood

It plays a critical role in fingerstyle guitars, as the lighter the wood, the more responsive your instrument will be. If you are looking to make the right choice, go for those that feature a spruce or cedar top.

Size

While the regular-sized guitar is the most common guitar to perform with, smaller-sized (3/4) options will allow you to have better control and comfort during long fingerstyle sessions.

Nut Width

Along with a fretboard with a wide radius, you will want to look at a nut that sits at 1.75 inches wide for comfort and keeping the strings at the right tension.

Action Height

As we have mentioned above, if you are looking to achieve perfect fingerstyle sounds, you may want to look for models with lower action height (distance between strings and fretboard).

Pros and Cons of Fingerstyle Guitars

As with any other product, there are both advantages and disadvantages to making deciding on which guitar type will work for you. While the pros do outweigh the cons of choosing the fingerstyle guitar, we will still highlight both and allow you to make the final choice.

Pros

Versatility

The sound you will be producing with fingerstyle playing is going to be more versatile and have more melody than when playing with a guitar pick.

More Control 

You will have more control, especially if you are playing chords, as you will be able to put your fingers at the right place and ensure that all the strings are picked evenly. The chords do sound warmer when played fingerstyle.

Full Sound 

The full sound you will get with fingerstyle (due to rhythm, melody, bass notes all being present) is something you can’t replace with a pick.

Cons

Harder

 On the other hand, fingerstyle playing requires a lot more practice and experience if you want to achieve clean and powerful sounds.

Conclusion

If you want to try out fingerstyle playing and have yet to choose the right guitar, keep in mind these features and be sure to do proper research before making your final decision. We did our best to highlight models we consider worthy of your attention. Whatever you decide, don’t forget that practice and patience are the keys to everything. See you on the main stage!