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Acoustic Guitar Buyer's Guide - Which Is Right For You?
Acoustic Guitar Buyer's Guide - Which Is Right For You?
The acoustic guitar comes in a range of shapes and sizes, but what makes each one so special? Here's our rundown of the most iconic acoustic guitar types, and what they can bring to your sound.
Whether you’re new to the guitar, or a seasoned professional – we can all relate to the magical experience of strumming away on an acoustic guitar. What seems like a straightforward instrument on the surface, actually offers a large variety of shapes and sizes - each with their own unique qualities that make them flourish in their own unique way.
Dreadnought. Jumbo. Concert – the list goes on. With so many acoustic guitar types out there, it can often prove difficult to find the best acoustic for your sound. That's why we’re breaking down each body shape, one-by-one, so you can walk away knowing which is best for you.
Often tipped as the ‘traditional’ shape, the Dreadnought is without a doubt one of the most iconic and recognised guitar shapes out there. It’s characterised by its large size. And with big size comes big sound, offering a gigantic projection in your chord-playing and a richer, fuller resonance that smaller shapes simply can’t compete with. This makes it perfect for big strumming and multiple genres, as you its bold and dynamic projection thrives in the live setting.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t do the job for fingerpickers. In fact, the Dreadnought is becoming more and more popular amongst more delicate players due to its ability to maintain volume in fingerstyle performances. It’s versatile. Which is why you’ve likely seen your favourite guitar player hold one at some point; almost everyone has experienced the power of this iconic guitar. They can come with rounder/sloped shoulders for a more mellow character, or square shoulders for that bolder impact. But ultimately, you can play any genre with a Dreadnought. And that’s why they’re an established go-to for players everywhere.
Shop now | Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars
Shop now | Dreadnought Electro Acoustic Guitars
Seen in the hands of Bob Dylan and Noel Gallagher, the Jumbo is another instantly recognisable shape. It’s slightly larger than the Dreadnought, however a nipped in waist results in a much richer sonic footprint and characterful tone. Similar to the Dreadnought, it has a big, bold sound with plenty of powerful projection. But what makes the Jumbo stand out is its deeper bass tone. This, in turn, contributes much more to a live band setup with other instruments and is therefore a hot favourite amongst rhythm guitarists.
Plus, did we mention the Jumbo looks stunning? You can spot a Jumbo in a crowd of guitars from its massive lower bout and curvaceous shape. It truly is a breathtaking instrument.
Shop now | Jumbo Acoustic Guitars
Shop now | Jumbo Electro Acoustic Guitars
An old school ‘sit on the front porch’ lap guitar, the Parlour takes a turn away from the previous body shapes with its small and comfortable size. It was originally designed as a cheaper alternative to the larger models, however soon became renowned for its signature folk twang. This makes it ideal for folk, blues, roots, and all-things alternative due to its distinctive tonal character and brighter resonance.
But where the Parlour really comes to shine is convenience. With so many modern musicians on the road, the Parlour serves as the ultimate travelling guitar, finding the perfect balance between authentic sound and a compact design. So sit comfortably, and explore the possibilities…
Shop now | Parlour Acoustic Guitars
Shop now | Parlour Electro Acoustic Guitars
Grand Auditorium/ Auditorium
A great all-rounder. The Auditorium finds the sweet spot between the bold resonance of the Dreadnought and Jumbo, and the more elegant, twinkling qualities of the Parlour. That’s why its possibly the most versatile acoustic body shape on this list. The medium-sized body carries a balanced projection that simply oozes with tone and texture. So, whether you’re picking or strumming, the Auditorium showcases the best of your playing style with its consistent response.
The standard Auditorium is all about precision and control, with its slightly smaller size taking more of the comfortable qualities from the Parlour. Whereas the Grand Auditorium is ever-so-slightly larger, achieving a richer resonance and projection more reminiscent of the Dreadnought and Jumbo models. But one thing’s guaranteed with both Auditorium shapes – balance. And it’s showcased through any genre and any playing style.
Shop now | Auditorium Acoustic Guitars
Shop now | Auditorium Electro Acoustic Guitars
More comfort, more compact, and great for picking. The brighter tone of the Concert model hosts a range of benefits to the fingerstyle players. Since its tone possesses much more high-end than the larger-sized models, fingerpickers and lead performers can cut through the mix much more easily on stage.
Each note is defined, with a greater focus on articulation rather than depth and resonance. Of course, the typical qualities of acoustic guitars entail textured chords and big sound. And so, naturally, the Concert offers that too. But if you’re someone who prefers to separate your chords with fingerpicking, or throw in an improvised lick or two – the Concert guitar is ideal for you.
Shop now | Concert Acoustic Guitars
Shop now | Concert Electro Acoustic Guitars
One thing to consider with any acoustic guitar shape is a cutaway. While not essential, cutaways open up a window of possibilities to the player. The slick design provides more freedom to your fretting hand, enabling you to reach the upper frets with ease and perform solos much higher up the fretboard than you normally would be able to. You’re essentially gifted with around 10 extra frets to utilise at your will, so it’s definitely something to consider if you frequently explore those restricted frets.
You will most likely come across two types of cutaways: Venetian and Florentine. The Venetian boasts a smooth, rounded curve whereas the Florentine shape features a much sharper point. Both of which provide the exact same benefits, the only difference being aesthetics. So the decision comes entirely down to preference. It’s one of the rare occasions as a guitarist where you can justify your choice solely on how it looks, so be sure to take advantage. Trust us, they’re few and far between!
Find out more
Now you're clued up, there's a lot of acoustic guitars to explore! If you're looking at an electro acoustic guitar, you may also want an acoustic guitar amplifier.
Shop now | Acoustic guitars
Shop now | Electro Acoustic guitars
Shop now | Acoustic guitar amplifiers
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