What does dreadnought mean for a guitar?

Just like any other musical instruments, guitars come in different types, shapes and sizes. Among a few guitar categories are the acoustic guitars which have multiple sub types such as the dreadnought guitar, which we will look at in this article.

Whether you are a new guitar player, an intermediate or a very experienced guitarist, you would need to understand how different guitar body shapes feel, sound and perform before you choose the one to use on a regular basis.

All in all you would need to find one that matches your preferred playing style and one that can seamlessly achieve the sounds that you seek to produce.

Generally, guitar body shapes differ across different manufacture brands and more often than not, these differences contribute to their overall sound performance and intonation levels.

Let us begin by understanding the dreadnought guitar shape and other acoustic shapes and evaluate how they sound, so that you can choose the best one for your music gear.

What is a dreadnought guitar?

The dreadnought is a type of acoustic guitar body that was originally developed by American guitar manufacturer known as the C.F. Martin & Company.

The dreadnought style has become the most common type of acoustic preferred by most guitarists and one that has been reproduced by most guitar brands in the music industry.

At the time when the dreadnought guitar was being created in 1916, the term ‘dreadnought’ was used to describe an all-big gun, large and modern battleship of the type that was pioneered by HMS Dreadnought in the year 1906.

The dreadnought guitar has a body which is much larger than most guitars. In addition to that, a larger body meant to have a bolder, much richer and louder tone.

To distinguish this particular guitar over other acoustic guitars, you would need to carefully look at its size and identify its square shoulders and bottom part. Its neck is well attached to its body at the 14th fret.

Most dreadnought guitars are known as ‘D-size’ guitars. Their models consist of the letter D followed by a numerical value.

The higher the numerical value on the dreadnought guitar, the more decorative ornamentation you will find on that particular guitar.

Generally, with dreadnought guitars, you should expect nothing but punch, beautifully full and extremely articulate tones.

Are dreadnought guitars good for finger picking?

Yes, they are. Dreadnoughts are perfectly fine for fingerpicking/ fingerstyle. There is always the constant assumption that its size and bulk levels may tamper with finger picking but a fact remains that the dreadnought guitars provide a lot of balance across its guitar strings.

Is a dreadnought guitar good for beginners?

Generally, when you are looking for an acoustic guitar, the first thing you would need to evaluate is your music entry level.

In addition to that, you would need to look into the body shape of your guitar. Acoustic guitars with larger body shapes produce beautifully full, rounder and more articulate tones with more pronounced bass tones.

Large body guitars are the best type of guitars for you if you are looking to fit in with a band or are a strummer.

The only problem you would experience is that they are bulky which may be a challenge if you are heavily invested in gig performances or when you have just began learning how to play the guitar.

Acoustic guitars with smaller bodies, are a lot easier to handle but you would not achieve fuller sounds like those that are produces by large body guitars.

However, they retain their high performing levels if you are playing fingerstyle.

If you are wondering whether the dreadnought guitar is an ideal pick for beginner guitarists, the answer is yes. The famous and most common dreadnought acoustic guitar type offers an incredible balance between size, volume and projection thus a great place for most novice guitarists to start. T

he distance between the strings and the frets are just right to allow for easy and comfortable playability and this comes in handy when you have barely adjusted to moving your fingers across the fretboard.

If you have smaller hands, this may not be the best pick for you.

What are the other acoustic guitar shapes that you can consider for your music gear?

Parlor Guitar

Parlor guitars are just the right balance between sound, volume and projection.

They are compact in size which allows for their portability and they feature an inventive bracing that allows for a much thinner graduated top.

This significantly allows the soundboard to move a lot more freely in such a way that it is able to provide balance, clarity and warmth with a dynamic mid-range.

You would be impressed with the amount of sound that Parlor Guitar is able to achieve despite its small and compact size.

If you are looking for a guitar that provides you with an immersive music experience alongside seamless strumming, finger pricking and aesthetics, the polar guitar may be your jackpot.

Concert Guitar

The concert guitar works quite well when you play finger style at a full strum or as vocal accompaniment.

It is slightly bigger than the parlor guitars but it produces a full and well balanced tone.

Most guitarists love this type of guitar and you will be impressed by the fact that it is compact, well-balanced and comfortable to play.

It produces a refined and delightful range of tone that woks for most music genres.

CM Guitar

The CM guitar features an asymmetrical body shape and it is described as an acoustic guitar with piano-like qualities.

It is the best guitar for alternate tunings and we can establish it as a guitar that strike a unique balance between sonic and visual boundaries.

It produces a full and defined bass alongside well-balanced and crisp treble tones.

Auditorium Guitar

The auditorium guitar is an extremely versatile musical instrument and creates a unique balance between fingerstyle, alternate tunings and bold strumming.

It features a deep and low bout combines with an upper body cutaway that produce tones similar to the Concert guitar with the depth of Jumbo guitars.

Jumbo Guitar

The jumbo guitar is technically the largest guitar in the acoustic guitar family.

It was popularized by Gibson in the 1920s and it seeks to produce alluring sound alongside aesthetics.

In as much as it is quite bulky, it ensures a powerful guitar playing experience through its sound which feels sonically propelled by the continuous movement of a lot of air inside its body.

It conveys delightful chords across all its 6 strings and serves as a great platform for 12-string guitars.

Final Thoughts

You would need to pick your acoustic guitar according to your music entry level and your guitar playing style so that you can reduce challenges associated with hand cramps and finger soreness and also so that you can successfully achieve the sounds that you seek to produce.

If you are looking for a musical instrument with a bit more versatility and one that produces an articulate traditional tone, the Dreadnought may be the best bang for the buck.

The dreadnought guitar strikes just the right balance between versatility, aesthetics, quality and affordability.


What is the easiest guitar to play?

Electric guitars seem the easiest to play.

Can I plug in my dreadnought guitar into speakers?

Unfortunately not. They do not have electric outlets to accommodate speakers.

Cooper Green

Music we must say is complex but according to Cooper Green, with the right information creating good music is a breeze. Guitars are a single aspect in the complex world of music but which play a major role, the problem however, lies in finding the right guitar for the relevant application. There are so many brands of guitars, each of which are differently configured but offer the best sounds. Cooper has been in the music industry for over 10 years, he recently started interacting with enthusiasts in the various platforms and therefore, shares his knowledge on music in general and specifically on guitars. And with the markets now flooded with knockoffs, among his missions is to help upcoming musicians get good quality music instruments or guitars.

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