I guess to start this page, I'm going to list some of the artists who have make fingerstyle guitar great. Hopefully I'll fill in information on when I have time. These guys are the greats and are definitely worth checking out. If anyone is thinking of learning more about fingerstyle guitar, or just hearing incredible music performed by virtuosos, check these guys out... This will definitely help your playing! I'm sure that I've left some musicians out, but I will try to update this list as I discover omissions.



  • Segovia - The first real classical guitarist. He was the person who gave legitimacy to the guitar as a concert instrument. His recordings from the 20's and 30's are some of the most vital, essential works ever.

  • John Fahey - It's not often that a musician can make the claim to have single handedly started an entire field of music but John Fahey is one of the few who can accurately do so. Until Fahey came along there really were no solo steel string guitarists. He was an innovator in a time when noone had taken advantage of Travis picking for individual uses. And there were very few guitarists who had so profound an influence on others or source of influences. A music historian, he influences ranged from ragtime to popular to Hindu chants.

  • Stephen Grossman - The quintessential guitarist/historian/teacher. In addition to being a wonderful guitarist, Grossman has dedicated himself to the preserving and promoting information about the guitar. He has been responsible for much of the guitar literature that is available concerning fingerstyle, blues, folk and other guitar methods.

  • Bert Jansch - Back in the late 50's, early 60's, Jansch was at the forefront of the movement of English folk guitarists that came out of that era. His duets with John Renbourn and solo albums with traditional tunes like Black Waterside and Reynardine dealt less with social concerns than their american counterparts but were often far superior musically. Jansch did tackle social issues occasionally, as in his groundbreaking "Needle of Death", one of the first songs to deal with drug use. The group Pentangle ( also with John Renbourn) later became one of the foremost "folk fusion" groups.

  • John Renbourn - Renbourns duets with Bert Jansch formed his initial contribution to the music world. Indeed, later, with Pentangle, Jansch and Renbourn would team up again to make amazing music, but in my mind it is his work as a solo artist that has been the most gratifying. Renbourn has made a wonderful trait as a musical historian that has led him to unearth quite a number of gems from the classical legacy of the lute and transfer them to the guitar. Despite this, my favorite work of his is his experimentation with rock/folk tunes in the "Lost Sessions" album from the mid-70's.

  • Leo Kottke - If Segovia gave the guitar legitimacy as a serious instrument, and Fahey began the movement of solo steel string fingerstyle guitarists, Leo Kottke took the form to it's pinnacle with his first widely released album "6 & 12 string guitar" in 1969. This album should be required listening for any aspiring guitarist. While he has never had another album which has equaled that first effort ( though some of his live albums are very close!), Kottke is a top-notch performer and his efforts are never short of breathtaking ( with the exception of some of his late 80's early 90's remakes of his early works where he lapses into pop oriented lackadaisical music making).

  • Michael Hedges - What happens when you have a classically trained musician who plays guitar, loves experimentation and is kind of a flake? You get Michael Hedges who is one of my favorite guitarists of all time. Not only are his compositions immaculate and vital, but he is one of the greatest innovators the guitar has seen, having pioneered the method of using each hand to tap a different guitar part at the same time. His several albums where he tried to remake himself as a sappy, emotional singer were greeted in a lukewarm fashion but then he returned to making incredible guitar music. The music world lost one of it's brightest stars when he died in a car crash at the end of 1997.

  • Pierre Bensusan - One of the best folk guitarists ever, Bensusan has more recently experimented with Jazz combos and new age styles. His first album "Pres De Paris" is a must have!

  • Preston Reed - Wow! Preston Reed's two handed over the top tapping/slapping style is just incredible. He acheives the sound of an entire percussion and rythm section by himself by using each hand to slap different sections of the guitar string and body! It's amazing what this guy can do.

  • Billy McLaughlin - One of the most interesting artists to use the two handed method, McLaughlin taps a lead with one hand and slaps a bass line with the other. While I personally always think the bass is always mixed too low in his recordings, it's undeniably very cool!

  • Christopher Parkening - The successor to Segovia as the world's foremost classical guitar maestro, Parkening is considered by many to be the premiere classical guitarist in the world.

  • The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (LAGQ) - This group is awe inspiring. You have to hear what four classical guitarists can do before you'll believe it.

  • Paul Galbraith - A wonderful classical guitarist. He plays a unique 8 string guitar holding it like a cello supported with a metal endpin that rests on a wooden resonance box. His interpretations of Bach's sonatas and partitas for the unaccompanied violin have recieved a lot of critical acclaim.

  • Chris Proctor - Perhaps one of the strongest composers/arrangers for the modern guitar that I have ever heard. His playing is impeccable but I feel his real strength lies in the beauty of his original compositions. He has used a number of modern innovations such as the Ebow and partial capos with wonderful results. His "Travelogue" CD is a must have!

  • Ed Gerhard - You have never heard tone until you have heard Ed play. He elicits a sound from the guitar so unbelievable, you'll wonder why more people don't steal his rig. His interpretations and compositions are practically instructional courses in dynamics. His Live album is unreal.

  • Martin Simpson - Martin is an immaculate player and interpreter of traditional music and music of various cultures such as Celtic, Blues and even Malagasy.

  • Stanley Jordan - What can I say about Stanley? His two handed tapping technique is awe inspiring and he makes some of the most incredible music I've ever heard. He is one of the most incredible performers to see live. No one can believe their ears when they see him play.

  • Doyle Dykes
  • Laurence Juber
  • Peppino D'Agostino
  • Erick Turnbull
  • Don Ross