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The acoustic guitar goes hand in hand with fingerstyle guitar playing. The natural and organic sound that comes from the acoustic helps the articulation of fingerstyle playing to ring out in a resonance that is often unmatched with electric guitars. If you’re a fingerstyle player looking for a new acoustic to suit your playing style, but unsure of what to look for, have no fear. Here are some of the best acoustic guitars for fingerstyle on the market today.
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Taylor GS Mini Mahogany – Best Overall
Taylor is a world-renowned guitar manufacturer that is known for crafting high-quality instruments that produce a bold, bright, and resonant tone. Many of the company’s guitars can be quite expensive, however, the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany is an option that can provide the playability and great sound that Taylor is known for, without having to break the bank.
The body of the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany features an attractive Mahogany top, with the sides and the back of the guitar crafted from Sapele. The body of the guitar is constructed using X-bracing.
The neck of the guitar features a fretboard made of West African Crelicam Ebony, with the back of the neck also made of Sapele. The neck and the body of the guitar are conjoined together with a standard Taylor joint found on most of their guitar models.
This neck has a slight advantage for those who may have smaller hands or who typically play with chord shapes that have immense finger stretches. The scale of the neck measures 23.5”, which is considerably smaller than a neck found on a full-length guitar. However, despite its small size, the neck does have 20 frets for full range-playing capability.
The rest of the guitar also features high-grade components, with a Nubone nut, die-cast chrome tuners, an Ebony bridge, a Micarta saddle, and plastic bridge pins.
Aesthetically, the guitar has a dark and attractive natural color. The GS Mini Mahogany also sports a red-hued Tortoise pickguard and a 3-ring plastic rosette around the soundhole.
The GS Mini Mahogany does not have any built-in electronics, but it does offer the capability for use with an ES-Go pickup. The ES-Go is an aftermarket pickup specifically designed for this guitar and features volume control accessibility via a V-Link cable. The pickup can be easily installed inside of the guitar’s soundhole within a matter of minutes with the use of a screwdriver.
Those looking to perform with the guitar will be happy to know that the GS Mini Mahogany comes with a Taylor gig bag included with the purchase of the guitar. The gig bag is padded to provide safety to the guitar in travel.
Overall, the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany ranks as the best overall on this list due to its professional build quality and its affordable price. The overall size of the body is slightly smaller than a traditional full-size guitar, as it was crafted to be a miniature-sized version of Taylor’s Grand Symphony guitar model.
This size of a guitar can be especially ideal for finger stylists who play the guitar in a classical sitting position. Despite its small size, the guitar performs with a level of response that can make the notes of any fingerstyle guitarist have the needed resonance to stand out in the mix of a live performance.
Item Weight: 4.4 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42 x 18 x 8 inches
Martin D-28 – Best Premium
If budget is of no concern and you’re looking for the absolute best acoustic guitar for fingerstyle on the market, the Martin D-28 is for you. This dreadnought acoustic is in a league of its own and has a reputation backed by decades of critical acclaim from top-level musicians.
The D-28 is a hand-crafted guitar featuring a Sitka Spruce top, with the back and sides of the guitar made of East Indian Rosewood. The body is constructed with forward-shifted X-bracing architecture also made of Sitka Spruce and combines the body and neck of the guitar with a dovetail joint at the 14th fret.
The neck of the D-28 is crafted from select Martin hardwood, with an Ebony fretboard adorned with Mother-of-Pearl dot inlays. The neck has 20 frets, a scale length of 25.4”, and features a high-performance taper design seen with most Martin acoustics.
The Martin D-28 comes with the option of electronics, with the guitar coming stock without electronics, or the choice of several different types of pickups/preamps. The options for electronics are as follows:
- LR Baggs Anthem
- Fishman Infinity Matrix
- Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend
- Fishman Presys Plus
- Fishman Gold Plus Natural I
The guitar also features high-quality components elsewhere on the guitar, with the nut made of real bone, nickel open-gear tuning machines, an Ebony bridge, a compensated bone saddle, and plastic bridge pins. A Tortoise pickguard and a decorative multi-striped rosette also add to the guitar’s classic aesthetic.
The D-28 is given individual treatment on a Plek machine to ensure that the quality and build of the guitar meet specified parameters. A molded hardshell Martin case comes included with the guitar.
The Martin D-28 is a true performer’s guitar and has a long history of being highly sought after for its warm tone and premium build quality. The D-28 is so iconic that it is often the guitar many initially think of when it comes to dreadnought guitars, with many guitars being modeled after it due to its perfect balance of design and performance.
Item Weight: 17.6 pounds
Package Dimensions: 48 x 21 x 10 inches
Fender CD-60SCE – Best Budget
If you’re on a tighter budget but still in search of a well-playing guitar suited for fingerstyle and live performances, the Fender CD-60SCE is a great option. While it is relatively affordable, the guitar doesn’t compromise on accessibility for even the most intensive fingerstyle guitarist.
The body of the Fender CD-60SCE is completely built from Mahogany, with the option of a Spruce top. Quartersawn X-bracing architecture is used in the construction of the body to provide a great resonant tone. The body also features a cutaway design for easy access to the upper registers of the guitar.
The CD-60SCE also features a Mahogany neck with a Walnut fretboard. The scale length of the neck measures 25.3”, and has 20 frets and Pearloid dot inlays. A glossy urethane finish on the neck provides a sleek playing experience.
The headstock of the guitar features tuning machines made of die-cast chrome and a plastic nut. The body of the guitar utilizes a Walnut bridge, a plastic saddle, and plastic bridge pins.
A Fishman piezo pickup and preamp system are built into the guitar for easy plug-and-play acoustic-electric performances. The preamp features controls for tonal EQ and volume, as well as a built-in tuner for convenient tuning no matter the situation.
The Fender CD-60SCE is a wonderful budget option for the fingerstyle guitarist that has aspirations to play live on the stage. The guitar is well built and relatively affordable for most budgets, while still being crafted from quality components. The cutaway design is crucial for fingerstyle players who need access to the upper frets.
Item Weight: 8 pounds
Package Dimensions: 42.8 x 18.9 x 6.5 inches
Takamine GF30CE FXC
Another excellent acoustic guitar option for fingerstyle players is the Takamine GF30CE FXC. This guitar has a compact body with a cutaway design that makes it ideal for those who play in the classical sitting position.
The body of the Takamine GF30CE FXC has a Spruce top, with the back and sides made of Mahogany, giving the guitar a sweet and resonant tone. The guitar body comes in the option of a natural finish, black, and sunburst.
The neck of the guitar is also crafted from Mahogany and features a fretboard made of Ovangkol. The 25.3” scaled neck is crafted with a slim design to provide for fast-playing accessibility, and has a radius of 12”. With 20 frets and the cutaway design, the higher frets of the guitar are easily within reach.
This offering from Takamine also features an Ovangkol bridge, a synthetic bone split-saddle, synthetic bone nut, plastic bridge pins, and die-cast chrome tuners. Adding to the beautiful aesthetics of the GF30CE FXC are a black pickguard, a Pearloid rosette, as well as Pearloid dot inlays on the neck.
The guitar has acoustic-electric capabilities, having a Takamine TP-4TD pickup and preamp system built into the body of the guitar. The preamp has controls for volume, a 3-band tonal EQ, as well as a built-in tuner for convenient tuning.
The Takamine GF30CE FXC is ideal for fingerstyle players due to the comfortability of its size and form factor, as well as the accessibility offered with its cutaway body style. Having electronics built into the guitar allows the guitar to be utilized for performances. The guitar is also reasonably priced and can likely fit most budgets, providing a capable guitar that is accessible to a wide range of players.
Item Weight: 6.6 pounds
Package Dimensions: 43.2 x 19.5 x 5.8 inches
Martin LX1 Little Martin
Fingerstyle guitarists on a budget but still looking for a Martin-quality build will find a viable option with the Martin LX1 Little Martin. This instrument may be a miniature-sized guitar, but still delivers the large tone and high-quality craftsmanship that Martin is known for.
The body of the LX1 Little Martin features a Sitka Spruce top, with the back and sides crafted of high-pressure laminate (HPL) with a Mahogany pattern. HPL is one of the strongest materials used in guitars and is widely reputed for its durability. The body architecture of the guitar features Martin’s Modified X-Series X-bracing with crowned cross-bracing.
The neck of the LX1 Little Martin is made of Rust Stratabond, with an FSC Certified Richlite fretboard. Because this is a miniature-sized guitar, the scale length of the neck measures 23”, making it ideal for those who frequently play shapes that have immense finger stretches. Despite its small size, the neck does have 20 frets like a standard full-length guitar.
The guitar has quality components used elsewhere on the guitar, with an FSC Certified Richlite bridge, a compensated Tusq saddle, nickel tuning machines, a white Corian nut, and plastic bridge pins.
Aesthetically, the guitar has an inlaid Boltaron rosette with red fibers. The body and neck of the guitar have an attractive hand-rubbed finish.
A padded gig bag also comes included with the LX1 Little Martin, providing for portability right out of the box.
Item Weight: 6 pounds
Package Dimensions: 39 x 18 x 7 inches
What To Look For In A Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitar
Buying a new acoustic is an enjoyable endeavor that can quickly become overwhelming due to the number of guitars available on the market. There are a number of different things to keep in mind when you are looking to purchase a new acoustic guitar specifically tailored for fingerstyle playing. By keeping these things in mind, you will undoubtedly find the right guitar that is suitable for your sound.
Tone And Playability
Fingerstyle is a delicate playing style that requires a balanced tone and adequate resonance. You will likely want to find a guitar that will allow intricate picking patterns to ring out with enough volume to be heard. You also will want to ensure that the guitar you choose can accommodate any large intervallic chord fingerings you may use. A cutaway body style may be more fitting for you if you frequently use frets higher on the neck.
Your budget is the ultimate deciding factor when it comes to the level of guitar you choose. It is especially important to honestly assess your playing level to determine which amount of money is justifiable to spend on a guitar. Do keep in mind that a highly competent guitar doesn’t need to break the bank by any means.
Best Brands For Fingerstyle Acoustic Guitars
There are quite a few guitar manufacturers that have models available in the market, which can be a bit overwhelming when deciding which guitar is right for you. Fortunately, there are a few brands that have a great reputation for building high-quality instruments that are ideal for fingerstyle guitar.
Taylor Guitars was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug and is one of the most well-known American manufacturers of acoustic guitars. These guitars are notorious for their high-quality builds as well as their iconic and distinct tone.
Martin is another very famous and well-known American manufacturer of acoustic guitars. The company was founded in 1833 and is one of the oldest American guitar companies still in existence. Martin holds market dominance in terms of acoustic guitars being purchased, and for good reason, as their handcrafted guitars are backed by decades of high acclaim from musicians all over the world.
Fender is a very famous American manufacturer of stringed instruments and amplifiers. Founded in 1946, Fender’s products have played an influential role in over 7 decades of the most important music ever created.
Takamine is a Japanese company that was officially founded in 1962 and has been crafting guitars since 1959. Takamine is known for creating quality instruments and catering to all skill levels by providing value for every budget.
Top Acoustic Guitars For Fingerstyle, Final Thoughts
Fingerstyle guitar is used in many different genres of music, and this style of playing is often bolstered by having an acoustic guitar that can provide a comfortable playing experience as well as a balanced and organic tone. Take some time to try some of these guitars out to see which one fits your playing style and sounds best to your ears.