5 Best Electric Guitars for Fingerstyle (2021 List)

The answer to the question "What is the best electric guitar for fingerstyle?" is a super subjective answer that depends upon what you are looking for.  

What sound are you looking for?  Fingerstyle can be played in a jazz style, a country style, an R&B style, or any style you choose.  

When trying to figure out the best electric guitar for fingerstyle let the sound guide you.  

What are the Best Electric Guitar Strings for Fingerstyle?

There is no best set of strings for fingerstyle.  Whatever strings feel the best to you are the best electric guitar strings for fingerstyle.

Because of the emphasis on sound and personal style we are going to break down these guitars by telling you exactly what genres they shine in, and what genres are not the best for them.  We will also reference some famous players who have been seen using these guitars, so you can go listen to what they sound like in action.

Here are The Best Electric Guitar(s) for Fingerstyle

Best Electric Guitar for Country Fingerstyle

This guitar is synonymous with country music now-a-days.  If you take a trip down to Nashville you will see one of these guitars in the hands of almost every performer.   It, of course, is the...

#1 Pick: Fender Telecaster

Fender Tele

The Tele is the best electric for fingerstyle, and the absolute best choice for country music.  It creates such a great classic country sound.  The bridge pickup of a Telecaster is really where you really find the country magic.  In Nashville you'll see everyone's Telecaster switched to 1st position to get that classic bridge pickup twang.  

A technique that is often times used on a Telecaster in the country style is chicken pickin.  Chicken pickin is a technique found in country music a lot that involves picking with both a pick and your fingers.  This is also known as hybrid picking, but chicken pickin has a special sound to it that makes it what it is.  Hybrid picking can be found in all genres, but chicken pickin almost exclusive to country music.  

This guitar is great for fingerstyle because it is a super easy guitar to play.  There is not much weird about it.  It is a fast ball right down the middle in terms of how it feels in your hands.  No surprises or tricks.  Exactly what you would expect.  Because of all of this it is super easy for any guitarist to pick up and begin to play.  

If you listen to any country music made within the past 30 years, odds are that they is a Telecaster somewhere within that mix.  It is the quintessential country guitar for both finger style and any other play style.  

If you are trying to find the best Telecaster for fingerstyle, just know it's whatever Telecaster best fits your price range.

Some notable Telecaster players include: Keith Richards, Keith Urban, Albert Collins, and Muddy Waters.

Best Electric Guitar for Rock Fingerstyle

Within rock and roll you won't find a lot of pure fingerstyle music, but you absolutely can hear tonnes of fingerstyle picking parts in the background of songs.  In rock music fingerstyle is often used as a way to create another layer within the song.  Rather than just simply strumming the chords, finger picking them brings a new texture and feel along to the song. 

For a rock guitar you need a few things.  You need a solid body, humbucker pickups, and 22 or 24 frets.  This guitar has all of those and it also looks super cool.  (Which shouldn't be important, but we all know it is).  

PRS Custom SE 22/24
PRS Se 22 best electric guitar for rock fingerstyle

We have a review of the Custom SE 24 right here: PRS Custom SE 24 Review.  PRS Custom SE's come in both 22 and 24 fret varieties.  Both come with great humbucking pickups that can be switched to single coils by pulling out the tone knob.  (For those of you who don't know, Humbucker pickups are heard in music like rock and metal.  They have a darker and richer tone.  Single coil pickups are heard in genres like funk and souls more often, and have a brighter and lighter sound that humbuckers).

These guitars are great for rock and roll because they are exactly what you need for the genre.  The PRS Custom SE's come with powerful pickups that give you an absolutely classic sound while having a modern design that is easy to play.  Not only that, but the SE models are super affordable.  They sit at the price range of most other intermediate guitars.  

PRS is known for their incredibly build quality at any price point, and these guitars are no exception.  For their price point they are absolutely top of the line.  

Why we chose this guitar for the best electric guitar for fingerstyle list is because, similarly to the Telecaster,  this guitar is super easy to pick up.  It is another guitar that is just a fastball down the middle.  It plays just like every other guitar.  Nothing weird to throw you off.  It is exactly what you would expect. 

Notable players of similar PRS guitars include: Carlos Santana, Mark Holcomb, and Zach Myers

Best Electric Guitar for Jazz Fingerstyle

Similarly to how rock guitars have certain prerequisites, so do jazz guitars.  Typically the two biggest things required for a jazz guitar include the guitar being a hollowbody, and having humbucking pickups.  

Because a lot of jazz guitars go up to the $10,000 range I am going to pick my favorite reasonably priced jazz guitar because although the Gibson L-5 may be the best jazz guitar, almost no one has the money for it.

D'Angelico Excel EXL-1
D'angelico excel

The D'Angelico Excel EX-1 is a jazz machine.  It is almost the perfect jazz guitar for my preferences.  It creates that classic fully hollowbody tone, and not much else.  It is another guitar that is just exactly what you would expect.  It comes with one pickup, a tone knob, and a volume knob.  That is it.  Super simple.  It is certainly not a jack of all trades, but a master of one.

This guitar is of high enough quality to last someone a lifetime, but still is super affordable for a jazz guitar.  

This is another guitar that just feels good to play.  Nothing is too weird about it, or super different than your normal electric guitar.  The position of the strings on your picking hand might be a little strange at first, but it would be that way with any fully hollowbody guitar. 

I have created many jazz reharmonization and chord melodies on this guitar, and it always creates the exact sound I am looking for.  For jazz guitar I think this is the best electric guitar for fingerstyle.  It also isn't as crazy expensive as all the other jazz guitars out there.  I think all of this is what makes the D'Angelico Excel EXL-1 the best fingerstyle electric guitar for jazz.

One famous player I have seen using this guitar is Tomo Fujita.  Berkley college of music guitar professor.

Best Acoustic Electric Guitar for Fingerstyle

Acoustic guitars are the most popular style of guitar for fingerstyle playing.  Everyone from Dave Matthews Band to the Foo Fighters can be heard using fingerstyle acoustic guitar.  

Acoustic guitar just has a special comfort and feel to it that electric guitars cannot often times replicate.  

For acoustic guitars to be ideal for fingerstyle they need to have enough bass to create a full sound, but not too much that it is overbearing on the rest of the sound.  

Taylor 214CE
Taylor 214ce

The Taylor 214CE is the perfect acoustic electric guitar for fingerstyle.  The first reason is because it is super comfortable to play.  These guitars feel amazing in the hand, and seem to play effortlessly.  Playing one of these is what turned me into a Taylor fan boy.  I don't think they make many "bad guitars".  

The second reason they are perfect for fingerstyle is that the sound they create is very balanced.  There is enough bass for solo fingerstyle, but yet not too much that it is overbearing, and bogging down the rest of the music. You can play light and skippy feeling lead lines, or really dig in for a big sound.  The reason this guitar can do that is because of its body shape.  The bigger the body, the more bass you will have.  This guitar has a nice medium sized body, and can really do it all for an acoustic guitar.  The Balance it creates is a trademark thing to look for when choosing a fingerstyle guitar.  This unique balance makes it the best Taylor for fingerstyle.  

As mentioned before, I am a big Taylor fan boy.  Part of that is because of their build quality.  Everything from their bottom of the line guitars to the super expensive higher end guitars all play super well, and sound great too.  This guitar is right around their middle price range.  It is a quality guitar that can last a lifetime.  

Notable players of the Taylor 214CE include Myself and my old guitar teacher Rick  🙂   Rick is an absolute animal.  Probably the best player I've ever played with.  Do not doubt him.

Most Versatile Guitar for Fingerstyle

Having a trusted guitar that you can play almost anything on is a super valuable tool that cannot be underestimated.  Unfortunately guitars are often times super specified for exactly what a specific player wants.  So not many guitars are made to do it all.  

There is one classic guitar model that has done it all over the years, and it cannot be excluded when speaking about the best guitar models for a specific purpose.  It is just that great and versatile that it is in the conversation for so many different genres and playing styles.  

That guitar of course is the...

Fender Stratocaster
Fender strat  Best electric guitar for fingerstyle

The Fender Stratocaster is the king of versatility.  It has been used it almost every genre and style effectively.  They can do it all. 

It isn't just the sound of a strat that makes it so versatile, but also its customization potential.  You can get a Stratocaster with humbuckers in all three, only two, or only one pickup position.  

My favorite of all these are the HSS Stratocaster that comes with a humbucker in the bridge position.  I leave the bridge pickup exclusively for higher gain genres like rock and metal.  Everyone knows that a humbucker is just kinda what you need for most rock and roll/metal sounds.  

So you can have that humbucker for heavier tones, while keeping the middle and bridge pickup single coils for John Mayer style blues, and Cory Wong funk.  The best of both worlds.

Stratocaster are a great pick for anyone because they have a price range from $180 all the way up to north of $5,000.  Every player can find a Stratocaster within their price range.  That is why we have mentioned them on so many other lists.  Like our Best Guitar Under 300 list, and our Best Guitar Under 1000 list.

This is another guitar that is great for fingerstyle guitar because it is just so easy to play.  Really all that you need for a fingerstyle guitar is a comfortable guitar.  A Stratocaster should feel good in the hands of any guitarist because they pretty much set the standard for how a guitar should feel.  In the realm of versatility this is the best electric guitar for fingerstyle.

The final word on the Strat is that it is a legendary guitar that can almost do it all.  It's versatility makes it one of the best electric guitars for fingerpicking.

Notable Stratocaster players include: Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, and Cory Wong.

Why Should I Play Fingerstyle?

Fingerstyle guitar is a special way of playing the guitar that transforms the instrument, and brings it into a whole new realm.  Playing fingerstyle arrangements is probably the quickest way to up your guitar playing with your fingers.  

Fingerstyle arrangements can get incredibly complex and can teach you a ton of new techniques that you never knew existed.  They best way to advance your playing is to push yourself to do new things, and techniques.  You're not gonna get any better playing the same things over and over again.  We explain this in deeper depth in our How to Get Better at Guitar Article.

The bottom line is that learning new and challenging styles is a good thing that can greatly aid in your development as a guitar player.  

Conclusion

A "fingerstyle guitar" is really just any guitar that fits the genre and is comfortable to play.  That is why you see a ton of classic models of guitar on this list.  There is no need to mention lesser known guitar models because the classics get the job done.  

As we always end up saying.  There is no right or wrong answer.  If you really dig a guitar, but you don't see it on the "Best Electric Guitar for Fingerstyle" list.  That's okay.  If you really dig it, you should get it.

You know you, and no one else does.  

I hope you can get the chance to go out and get your hands on some of these guitars though.  Currently the Covid-19 pandemic is still going strong, and many guitar stores have made it more difficult than it used to be to come in and play their guitars.  Especially in certain states.  

Most of the guitars on this list wont absolutely break anyones bank, so you could most likely feel comfortable buying them online, and receiving a bitchin guitar in the mail.  

Have fun and good luck!

Let us know what you think about this article in the comments! Did it help answer your questions?




Best Electric Guitar for Fingerstyle - Colin J

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