As an enthusiastic guitar advisor, I’m thrilled to share my expertise on dreadnought guitars. These iconic instruments have left an indelible mark on the music world, offering a combination of power, versatility, and rich sound that captivates both players and audiences. In this article, I will delve into the history, features, benefits, buying considerations, top brands, and maintenance tips for dreadnought guitars.
We will be evaluating these dreadnought guitars in 3 classes: for beginners, for intermediate players and for advanced players. So, let’s dive in!
Top 5 Dreadnought Guitars for the Beginner
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the best beginner-friendly dreadnought guitars. With so many options available, it can be quite overwhelming to choose the perfect instrument as you embark on your musical journey. This is why we have specifically selected five top-rated models that are loved by beginners: the Seagull S6 Original, the Ibanez AW540OPN, the Epiphone DR-100, the Fender CD-60S, and the Yamaha FG800. Each of these guitars brings a unique blend of sound, playability, and affordability to the table. In the following sections, we’ll delve into a detailed review of each, helping you make an informed decision to kickstart your guitar playing adventure.
Beginners Category Summary
|Yamaha FG800||Editor’s Choice||Check Price|
|Epiphone DR-100||Best Value||Check Price|
|Ibanez AW540PN||Recommended||Check Price|
|Fender CD-60S||Recommended||Check Price|
|Seagull S6 Original||Recommended||Check Price|
The Yamaha FG800 was the standout winner for the Editor’s Choice Award due to its incredible balance of affordability, build quality, and resonant sound – a trinity rarely found in entry-level guitars. Additionally, its solid top construction, easy playability, and robust projection make it a stellar choice for beginners.
Now, the first thing you’ll notice about this guitar is how well it’s built. We’re talking about a solid spruce top with nato/okume back and sides. That’s top-notch materials right there. The body design? It’s a traditional western body, a classic shape that’s been loved by guitar players around the world for ages.
Let’s get to the fun part: the sound. You strum this guitar and, wow, it’s something else! It’s got this deep, rich tone that’s just so pleasing to the ear. But it’s not just about the bass. The Yamaha FG800 delivers a balanced sound, which means you get to hear the bright highs and mids pretty well too. It’s got a strong volume, so you won’t need to strum too hard to fill the room.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “How does it feel to play?” It’s got a smooth, slim neck that makes it super easy for your fingers to slide over the frets. So, even if you’re just starting out, you won’t get easily tired practicing on this guitar. And the best part? The Yamaha FG800 is pretty affordable.
Yamaha FG800 Dreadnought Guitar Pros & Cons
The Epiphone DR-100 was awarded the Best Value for its impressive combination of affordability and quality features. Despite its modest price tag, the guitar offers a robust, balanced tone, easy playability, and a sturdy construction typically found in more expensive models, making it an excellent investment for beginners.
Let’s chat about the Epiphone DR-100. This guitar is a real bang for your buck. We’re talking good quality and affordability rolled into one. It’s got a select spruce top and mahogany body, which is a pretty sweet deal considering its price. The body design is a traditional dreadnought, a time-tested shape that gives you a strong and well-balanced sound.
So, what about the sound itself? Well, give the DR-100 a strum, and you’ll be met with a rich, full-bodied tone that fills up the room pretty well. The bass? Nice and deep. The trebles? Clear and crisp. It’s like the guitar is telling its own musical story with every strum.
But how does it feel when you play? Good news here. The DR-100 has a slim taper neck. That means you’ll find it pretty comfy to move your fingers across the frets. This makes it a great choice, especially if you’re just starting out. Plus, it’s lighter than some other guitars, which means you can play for longer without feeling tired.
Epiphone DR-100 Dreadnought Guitar Pros & Cons
the Ibanez AW540PN is recommended for its exquisite all-mahogany body construction and open pore natural finish. This combination creates a warm, rich tone that really stands out. Additionally, its comfortable playability and robust sound projection make it an excellent choice for beginners.
First things first, this guitar is a looker. It’s made with an all-mahogany body, and with the open pore natural finish, it’s got this warm, rustic charm that’s easy to fall in love with. But the great thing about the mahogany body isn’t just about the looks; it gives the guitar a rich and warm sound that’s truly hard to beat.
And speaking of sound, let’s talk about the tone. When you strum this guitar, it has a smooth, mellow sound that’s really pleasing to the ear. The bass? It’s deep and full, but it doesn’t overpower the bright, clear trebles. This balance makes it great for various music styles, from rock to blues to folk.
Now, what about playability? The Ibanez AW540OPN is pretty comfortable to play. It’s got a soft “V” shape neck which fits nicely in the hand, so it’s easier to move up and down the fretboard. Plus, its grand dreadnought body gives it a powerful projection.
Ibanez AW540OPN Dreadnought Guitar Pros & Cons
We highly recommend the Fender CD-60S for its combination of beginner-friendly features and renowned Fender craftsmanship. The solid spruce top, coupled with the “Easy-to-Play” neck shape and rolled fingerboard edges, delivers a comfortably playable instrument with a bright and resonant tone, making it an ideal choice for those starting their musical journey.
Now, if you’re just starting out, this guitar has a bunch of features that’ll make your learning journey a whole lot smoother. The first thing that you’ll notice is the solid spruce top. That’s a high-quality material that’s known for its bright, vibrant sound. And the back and sides? They’re made of mahogany, which adds a warm touch to the sound.
Now, let’s talk about the sound itself. The CD-60S has this clear, full tone that’s really nice to listen to. Whether you’re playing some slow, soft melodies or jamming out to some faster tunes, this guitar can handle it all. It’s got a good balance of lows, mids, and highs, making it versatile for different music styles.
But sound isn’t everything, right? How does the guitar feel? The Fender CD-60S is designed with beginners in mind. It has an “Easy-to-Play” neck shape and rolled fingerboard edges. These features make it super comfortable to hold and play, even for extended periods. So, your fingers won’t tire out too quickly.
Fender CD-60s Dreadnought Guitar Pros & Cons
We recommend the Seagull S6 Original due to its superior sound quality and unique construction. The blend of a solid cedar top with wild cherry back and sides delivers a warm, vibrant tone with great sustain, while the Silver Leaf maple neck and tapered headstock allow for stable tuning and precise intonation, making it a standout choice.
This guitar is a real showstopper. It’s got a solid cedar top with wild cherry back and sides. That’s not something you see every day! This unique combo gives the S6 a warm, rich sound that’s really distinctive. It’s like every note you play has its own character.
So, let’s dive into the sound a bit more. You’ll find that the S6 has this full-bodied, vibrant tone that just fills up the room. The sustain – that’s how long the notes ring out – is also pretty impressive. Whether you’re strumming some simple chords or picking out a melody, this guitar has got your back.
But what about playability? How does the guitar feel in your hands? The S6 has a Silver Leaf maple neck that’s really comfortable to hold. It’s also got a tapered headstock, which is a big help with tuning stability. That means your guitar will stay in tune for longer.
Seagull S6 Original Pros & Cons
Top 5 Dreadnought Guitars for Intermediate Guitar Players
Great, you’ve made it through the beginner section! Now that we’ve explored the best dreadnought acoustic guitars for those just dipping their toes into the world of music, let’s shift gears and dive into the next echelon – the intermediate level. In the following section, we’ll scrutinize the top 5 dreadnought guitars that have just the right mix of features to help you elevate your guitar skills. These guitars offer a balance of sound quality, playability, and advanced features that make them a perfect stepping stone for those ready to take their guitar journey to the next level. Stay tuned as we delve into detailed reviews, highlighting the unique strengths and weaknesses of each model. You will notice that some of the guitar in this price point are electrified.
Intermediate Player Category Summary
|Taylor 210CE||Editor’s Choice||Check Price|
|Guild D-120CE||Best Value||Check Price|
|Eastman E10D||Recommended||Check Price|
|Blueridge BR-160A||Recommended||Check Price|
|Martin D10E||Recommended||Check Price|
The Taylor 210ce is a dreadnought acoustic-electric guitar recognized for its rich, full-bodied sound and exceptional versatility. Crafted with a solid Sitka spruce top and layered rosewood back and sides, it incorporates Taylor’s acclaimed ES2 electronics, making it an ideal choice for both stage and studio performances.
So, let’s talk about the Taylor 210ce dreadnought acoustic guitar. This bad boy has some amazing features that make it a standout. It’s not just another guitar, it’s a Taylor. What does that mean, you ask? Well, it means you’re getting a top-notch instrument crafted with precision and attention to detail.
First off, the sound it produces is impressive. The guitar is built with a solid Sitka spruce top and layered rosewood back and sides. This combination offers a wide range of tonal possibilities. Whether you’re into strumming hard or picking softly, the Taylor 210ce delivers a rich, balanced tone. It’s versatile enough to handle various music styles from rock to blues to country, which is a huge plus.
The guitar also features a cutaway design. This is more than just a cool look. It allows easy access to the upper frets, making it perfect for those who love soloing or playing complex chords. The neck, made of tropical mahogany, feels smooth and comfortable, making playing a breeze.
Another standout feature is the ES2 electronics system. Now, this is where the Taylor 210ce shines. If you need to plug in for a gig or recording session, the ES2 provides a clear, natural amplified sound. It captures the true voice of the guitar, preserving its acoustic qualities even when amplified.
Taylor 210CE Pros & Cons
The Guild D-120CE guitar wins our Mid-Priced Best Value award for its exceptional blend of high-quality craftsmanship, superior tonal richness, and accessible price point. Its full-bodied and powerful sound, combined with the inclusion of Guild’s Fishman-designed AP-1 electronics, offers incredible value for mid-range guitars, making it an excellent choice for both budding and seasoned players.
This is a fantastic mid-priced guitar that’s really got a lot going for it. It’s no surprise it bagged our Best Value award, and let’s chat about why.
So first, let’s talk about the sound. The D-120CE is an all-mahogany dreadnought acoustic guitar, and we all know what that means – warm and rich tones all the way. It’s like a hot chocolate for your ears! Whether you’re strumming or fingerpicking, the sound is full-bodied and resonant. This guitar just sings, no matter what music style you’re playing.
And then there’s the built-in Fishman-designed AP-1 electronics. What a treat! This means you can easily plug in and play for larger crowds or recording sessions. The cool thing is, the electronics are designed to amplify the guitar’s natural acoustic sound, so you still get that beautiful warm tone even when you’re plugged in.
The D-120CE also gets brownie points for its playability. The slim neck and the cutaway design make it really easy to play, even for those tricky high-fret notes. So whether you’re a newbie learning your first chords or an experienced player, this guitar’s got you covered.
Guild D-120CE Pros & Cons
The Eastman E10D secures a spot on our mid-priced recommended list for its superior craftsmanship and stunning tonal qualities, rare in its price range. With a construction mirroring high-end classic models, and a robust, rich sound that appeals to a variety of players, this instrument is a true testament to Eastman’s commitment to quality and value.
This guitar is a total star, making it to our mid-priced recommended list, and for good reason.
First, let’s chat about what makes it stand out. It’s built like those high-end vintage guitars everyone loves, but for a fraction of the price. We’re talking solid Adirondack spruce top and solid mahogany back and sides. What does this mean for the sound? Well, it gives the E10D a rich, warm, and balanced tone that can make any song sound pretty amazing.
But it’s not just the sound that’s impressive. The E10D has a bit of an old-school vibe to it, which a lot of folks dig. The build quality is top-notch, with attention to detail that Eastman is famous for. It feels sturdy, it looks classy, and it plays smoothly. This is thanks to a comfortable neck shape that fits nicely in your hand, making it easy to navigate those frets.
The Eastman E10D doesn’t come with built-in electronics, which might be a downside for some. But for others, it’s all about that pure, acoustic sound. And trust me, this guitar sounds great just as it is.
Eastman E10D Pros & Cons
The Blueridge BR-160 earns its spot on our mid-priced recommended list due to its blend of vintage aesthetics, robust sound, and premium materials reminiscent of pricier, traditional models. It delivers a rich, full-bodied tone and remarkable playability, offering an exceptional value proposition that makes it a compelling choice in the mid-price range.
This is one sweet piece of gear that’s found its way onto our mid-priced recommended list. Let’s dive into why this guitar is making some noise in the music world.
The first thing you should know about the Blueridge BR-160 is that it’s got a real vintage vibe to it. It’s inspired by the classic dreadnoughts of the past, but don’t let that fool you – it’s got all the features you’d want in a modern guitar. Made with a solid Sitka spruce top and solid Indian rosewood back and sides, it has a build that you’d usually find in much more expensive guitars. And the sound? Oh boy, it’s good. It delivers a rich, full tone that’s perfect for everything from bluegrass to rock.
But it’s not just about the sound. Playing the BR-160 is a dream. It has a slim mahogany neck and a comfortable rosewood fingerboard which makes moving up and down the frets a breeze. Plus, the quality craftsmanship Blueridge is known for means this guitar isn’t just going to sound good, it’s going to last.
Blueridge BR-160 Dreadnought Guitar
The Martin D10E confidently earns a spot in our recommended category for its impressive blend of affordability, high-quality craftsmanship, and superior sound that Martin guitars are renowned for. With its solid Sitka spruce top, Sapele back and sides, and the inclusion of Fishman MX-T electronics, this guitar offers incredible value.
The Martin D10E snagged a spot on our recommended list and let’s dig into why it’s such a standout.
The great thing about the D10E is that it’s a more affordable Martin, so you’re getting that great Martin quality without having to empty your savings. It’s part of Martin’s Road Series, which is all about delivering great sound and quality at a price that won’t make your wallet cry.
So, what’s the D10E like? Well, it’s got a solid Sitka spruce top and Sapele back and sides. What this means for you is a warm, balanced sound that’s perfect for any style of music you want to play. Plus, it’s a dreadnought, so you’re getting that classic, full-bodied sound that dreadnoughts are known for.
And here’s the cool thing: the D10E comes with a Fishman MX-T electronics system. This means you can plug in and play for a crowd, or even just for yourself if you want to amp up your sound. And the MX-T system comes with a built-in tuner, so you can always be sure you’re in tune, whether you’re at home or on stage.
Martin D10E Dreadnought Guitar
What is a Dreadnought Guitar?
The Dreadnought guitar type of acoustic guitar is renowned for its large, bold body shape and powerful sound. They were introduced by the renowned guitar manufacturer Martin in the early 20th century, revolutionizing the guitar industry. These guitars derive their name from the British battleship HMS Dreadnought, symbolizing the massive size and strength they possess.
History of the Dreadnought Guitar
The birth of dreadnought guitars can be attributed to the collaboration between Martin and musician Gene Autry. Seeking a guitar that could match the volume of a brass section, Martin developed the dreadnought model in 1916. This innovative design featured a larger body size, wider waist, and shallower depth, which allowed for increased resonance and sound projection. The dreadnought quickly gained popularity among guitarists and became a staple in various genres, including folk, country, and bluegrass.
Features and Design of the Dreadnought Guitar
Dreadnought guitars boast several distinctive features and design elements that contribute to their exceptional sound and playability. Let’s explore these aspects in detail:
Body Shape and Size
The dreadnought’s body is characterized by a wide upper bout, square shoulders, and a deep lower bout. This design provides a balanced tone with a strong bass response and clear trebles. Additionally, it offers a comfortable playing experience for both strumming and fingerpicking.
Sound Projection and Volume
One of the standout qualities of a dreadnought guitar is its incredible sound projection. The larger body size and air volume create a powerful and resonant sound that easily fills a room or stage. As a result, dreadnoughts are an excellent choice for live performances and group settings.
The choice of tonewoods significantly influences the sound of a dreadnought guitar. Commonly used tonewoods include spruce for the top, providing clarity and responsiveness, and mahogany or rosewood for the back and sides, contributing warmth and depth to the overall tone. Different tonewood combinations can result in varying characteristics, allowing players to find their preferred sound.
Neck and Fingerboard
Dreadnought guitars typically feature a sturdy and comfortable neck, often made of mahogany or maple. The fingerboard, usually constructed from rosewood or ebony, offers a smooth surface for effortless fretting and precise note articulation.
Bridge and Hardware
The bridge of a dreadnought guitar is typically made of rosewood or ebony and serves as an anchor for the strings. It transfers the vibrations from the strings to the soundboard, contributing to the guitar’s resonance. High-quality hardware, such as tuners and a robust truss rod system, ensures stable tuning and facilitates adjustments for optimal playability.
Dreadnought Guitar Playing Benefits
Investing in a dreadnought guitar brings forth numerous benefits that enhance your playing experience and musical expression. Let’s explore some of these advantages:
Dreadnought guitars are highly versatile instruments, capable of adapting to various playing styles and genres. Whether you’re strumming chords, flatpicking melodies, or fingerpicking intricate patterns with precision and clarity, a dreadnought guitar can accommodate your musical preferences.
Rich and Powerful Sound
The robust construction and larger body size of dreadnought guitars result in a rich and powerful sound. The deep bass notes resonate with authority, while the balanced trebles provide clarity and definition. This tonal balance allows your playing to shine, whether you’re performing solo or in a band setting.
Ideal for Strumming and Flatpicking
Dreadnought guitars excel in strumming and flatpicking techniques due to their strong projection and volume. Whether you’re strumming energetic chord progressions or executing intricate flatpicking runs, a dreadnought guitar’s sound will cut through the mix and command attention.
Durability and Resonance
Built to withstand the rigors of regular playing and touring, dreadnought guitars are known for their durability. The combination of high-quality materials and expert craftsmanship ensures that your instrument will stand the test of time. Additionally, as you continue to play your dreadnought guitar, its sound will mature and improve, offering a richer and more resonant tonal character.
Things to Consider When Buying a Dreadnought Guitar
When it comes to purchasing a dreadnought guitar, several factors should guide your decision-making process. Consider the following aspects to find the perfect instrument for your needs:
Determine your budget range and explore options within that range. Keep in mind that dreadnought guitars are available at various price points, so finding one that fits your budget is feasible.
Each dreadnought guitar has its unique sound characteristics. Consider the tonewoods used in the construction and how they contribute to the overall tone. Experiment with different models to find the sound that resonates with you.
Pay attention to the neck profile and the overall feel of the guitar. Ensure that it is comfortable to play and suits your playing style. Factors such as string action and body size can significantly impact playability.
Research and choose reputable guitar brands known for their consistent quality and craftsmanship. Established brands often have a wide range of dreadnought guitars to choose from, providing you with more options.
New vs. Used
Decide whether you prefer a brand-new guitar or are open to purchasing a used instrument. Used guitars can offer excellent value for money if they have been well-maintained. However, be sure to thoroughly inspect and play-test any used guitar before making a purchase.
Dreadnought Guitar Top Brands
Several top guitar brands have gained recognition for their exceptional dreadnought guitars. Here are some noteworthy brands to consider:
Martin dreadnoughts have set the standard for the design and craftsmanship of these guitars. They are known for their rich heritage, meticulous attention to detail, and exceptional tonal balance.
Taylor offers a diverse range of dreadnought models that combine modern aesthetics with superb playability and tonal versatility. Their guitars often feature innovative design elements and high-quality materials.
Gibson dreadnought guitars embody vintage charm and timeless appeal. Renowned for their exceptional craftsmanship and warm, woody tones, Gibson dreadnoughts have been favored by countless legendary guitarists.
Guild is celebrated for its well-crafted dreadnought guitars that deliver a powerful, full-bodied sound. With a blend of classic and contemporary design elements, Guild guitars offer both aesthetic beauty and exceptional performance.
Yamaha provides a wide selection of dreadnought guitars suitable for players of all levels. Known for their reliability, playability, and affordability, Yamaha dreadnoughts are a popular choice among beginners and experienced musicians alike.
Dreadnought Guitar Maintenance and Care Tips
Proper maintenance and care are essential for keeping your dreadnought guitar in optimal condition and ensuring its longevity. Here are some valuable tips to help you preserve the beauty and performance of your instrument:
Keep it Clean
Regularly clean your guitar to remove dust, oils, and debris. Use a soft cloth or microfiber cloth to gently wipe the body, neck, and strings. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the finish.
Replace your strings regularly to maintain a fresh and vibrant tone. Before and after playing, wipe down the strings with a clean cloth to remove dirt and sweat, which can cause corrosion and affect the sound quality.
Dreadnought guitars are susceptible to changes in humidity, which can cause the wood to expand or contract. Invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier to maintain a stable humidity level between 40-50%. Store your guitar in a hard case or gig bag with a humidifier during dry seasons, and keep it away from humid areas.
Protect from Extreme Temperatures
Avoid exposing your guitar to extreme temperatures, as they can damage the wood and affect its playability. Keep it away from direct sunlight, heaters, or air conditioning units. When transporting your guitar, make sure to protect it from temperature fluctuations.
Adjustments and Setup
Regularly check the neck relief, action height, and intonation of your dreadnought acoustic guitar. If you notice any issues or discomfort while playing, consult a professional luthier or guitar technician for adjustments and setup. They can ensure proper alignment, string height, and overall playability.
When not in use, store your dreadnought acoustic guitar in a suitable case or gig bag. This protects it from physical damage, dust, and potential accidents. Ensure that the storage area is dry and free from extreme temperature changes.
Dreadnought guitars have rightfully earned their place as the powerhouses of acoustic music. Their large body size, powerful sound projection, and versatility make them a favorite among guitarists worldwide. Whether you’re strumming chords around a campfire or performing on a grand stage, a dreadnought guitar will provide you with a captivating playing experience and a rich, resonant sound. Remember to consider your budget, sound preferences, playability, and brand reputation when selecting your dream dreadnought guitar. With proper care and maintenance, your dreadnought guitar will continue to be a trusted companion, inspiring your musical journey for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can beginners play a dreadnought guitar?
Absolutely! Dreadnought guitars are suitable for players of all levels, including beginners. Just ensure you find one that feels comfortable and suits your playing style.
How is a dreadnought guitar different from other acoustic guitars?
Dreadnought guitars stand out with their larger body size, which contributes to their powerful sound and enhanced volume projection compared to other acoustic guitar types.
Are dreadnought guitars only suitable for strumming?
While dreadnought guitars excel in strumming due to their volume and projection, they are versatile instruments that can handle various playing styles, including fingerpicking and flatpicking.
How often should I change the strings on my dreadnought guitar?
It depends on your playing frequency and preference. You should change your strings every 3 to 6 months or when they start to lose their tone. However, if you play frequently or notice a significant decline in the sound quality, you may need to change them more often.
Can I use a dreadnought guitar for recording in a studio?
Absolutely! Dreadnought guitars are often used in recording studios due to their balanced tone and excellent projection. They can capture a wide range of frequencies and provide a strong presence in recordings.
Are there smaller-sized versions of the dreadnought guitar available?
While the standard dreadnought size is known for its larger body, many manufacturers offer variations, such as concert or parlor-sized dreadnought guitars. These guitars maintain the dreadnought shape but with a more compact body size, making them comfortable for players who prefer a smaller instrument.