Our Top 5 Best Fingerstyle Guitars
What Is Fingerpicking?
Fingerpicking, or fingerstyle guitar, involves playing your guitar by plucking the guitar strings using your fingertips or your fingernails as opposed to using a plectrum, also known as a pick, to pluck the strings. The latter technique is known as flatpicking. However, if you use a pick attached to your fingers, that is still fingerpicking.
How To Play
The fingerstyle technique involves using each of the fingers of the right hand independently to play different parts of an arrangement of music that would, otherwise, be played by different band members. This means that you can play with fingerpicking what a group of guitarists can play with flatpicking.
When fingerpicking, you can play deep bass notes, melody, percussion, and harmonic accompaniment or chord progression at the same time. If you play often, you might need to have acrylic nails or a thumb pick to enhance the quality of tine produced, and to protect your nails from chipping or breaking. There are many top guitarists who favor fingerpicking, including Ani DiFranco, Don Ross, Doyle Dykes, and Richard Smith.
You do not have to carry a plectrum around when you need to play. However, this also means that you need to maintain your fingernails at the right length if you prefer to use your fingers and not your skin.
You can pluck multiple non-adjacent strings simultaneously. This way, you can play a high treble note and a low bass note at the same time. You can also play double stops, including octave, fifth, sixth, or different other intervals to suit the harmony.
You can play more than one music notes simultaneously with independent musical lines or playing the melody, harmony, and bass parts at the same time. If you are playing as you sing, fingerstyle might be the best technique. It is also great for duos where a guitar accompanies a singer.
Fingerstyle guitar is the style played by Tommy Emmanuel, Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Paul Simon, Joan Baez, and Dave Van Ronk among thousands of other really good folk artists when singing folk songs. Fingerstyle guitar is a style passed down from generation to generation. Besides folk, fingerstyle guitar can be used for pop, country, jazz, and slow rock music. It can, however, be used for all music genres, especially when you are playing alone and you have to hit different chords.
How To Choose A Finger-Style Guitar
There are several considerations to make when shopping for the best fingerpicking guitar. For starters, you need to consider resonance. Is the guitar able to produce a full ringing sound when you pluck the strings with your fingers? A guitar that makes the most out of the slightest vibrations is the best for fingerstyle. It is possible to find a guitar that makes great sounds with a pick, but the sounds are dull when you play with your fingers.
You also need to consider the string material. Nylon is the perfect material for fingerstyle, but you can also use light-gauge steel strings. Nylon strings are easy on your fingers and you only need a little pressure to create a melody. Steel and bronze strings are ideal when you need the heavy ringing and resonance of a classic guitar.
The bodies of fingerstyle guitars are wider. This is what gives the guitar the resonance you need when you play, the neck of the guitar sports a slimmer profile, allowing you to play with so much comfort.
Neck And Body
Your guitar needs to have just enough neck relief to vibrate freely, but without a buzz. Neck relief refers to that small bow. You can achieve the bow, either increase it or reduce it, by adjusting the bow. Adding relief increases the distance between the strings and the fret while reducing relief reduces the distance between the strings and the fret.
When the strings are too far from the neck, the guitar feels uncomfortable to play and the intonation feels off. If the strings are too close to the neck, the strings do not vibrate freely and this affects the sound produced too and makes playing challenging.
Neck bow is a fundamental characteristic of every guitar neck and easily adjusted to suit your preferences by adjusting the truss rod, which is part of every guitar neck.
As a guide, cheaper guitars tend to have lower quality finishes (frets not rounded, and the neck/action may need adjusting a little straight out of the box), and more expensive guitars will tend to come with a better quality finish. This is a general rule of thumb, ensure that the guitar you choose has a decent finish. Most guitars have a satin finish that gives the guitar a smooth and shiny appearance. This finish feels smooth on your hands.
If a guitar suffers from these 2 problems, you can take it to a professional guitar tech / luthier who can easily fix them. It’s very rare to find a guitar that is fundamentally flawed in its construction unless you buy really cheap.
Check The Size
The full-size guitar is the largest guitar size. However, different types of guitars have different sizes considered standard. Again, different brands might produce full-size guitars of different sizes. Typically, a full size guitar measures 38 inches long with a scale length of about 25.5 inches; the scale length is the distance between the nut and the bridge. The length varies from one guitar brand, and type, to the next.
You can tell the guitar is full size if it has a scale length of at least 25 inches. Even when the overall length is more or less than 38 inches, a scale length of 25 inches or more indicates the guitar is full size.
If the scale length is less than 25 inches, say 20 inches, this might be a scaled down guitar. A scaled down guitar such as a 3/4 guitar is an ideal travel guitar. Some scaled down guitars are ideal for children. Note that a full size guitar might be scaled down to reduce the overall length, but still maintain a full-size scale length.
Acoustic guitars come in four sizes; a full-size acoustic, a 3/4, a 1/2, and a 1/4. A 3/4 guitar is about 7/8 of the full size guitar. A half and quarter size guitars are not literally half and quarter of the full size guitar. A 1/4 guitar has a scale length of about 19 inches while a half-size guitar has a scale of about 21 inches.
When shopping for a guitar, a full size guitar is the most ideal for anyone 10 years or older, unless you need a guitar you can travel with. Children of up to five years can only play a 1/4 guitar or ukulele. A half and three-quarter sized guitars are ideal for 5-7 year- and 7-10 year-olds respectively.
The scale length of a guitar determines how the guitar sounds and also enhances the playability of the, guitar. It is, therefore, important that you choose the right size of the guitar.
Your budget determines the guitar you go for. As with any other musical instrument, high-quality materials mean a higher price. Again, if the design you need is complex, the price will be higher. Even as you consider the price, do not compromise on sound. There is no money worth spending in a guitar that does not produce the sound you need.
Last update on 2021-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API