Acoustic Guitar Expert Guide

At first glance it may seem that all acoustic guitars are the same. Some wood, a hole, strings. Done. Right?

Wrong.

Take a closer look and you’ll see that acoustic guitars come in all shapes and sizes. From dreadnoughts through to classical, there is a bewildering array of guitars to choose from. And they not only look different, they sound different. Let’s take a look.

Types of Acoustic Guitar

THE DREADNOUGHT GUITAR

When someone says “acoustic guitar”, it’s likely that a dreadnought comes to mind first. The dreadnought was first developed and sold in 1916 by the guitar company Martin. They are known for their size, good bass response, excellent projection and rich tone. These contributing factors make them a great all rounder.
 

THE CONCERT GUITAR

Concerts are smaller and therefore, much easier to wield than the larger dreadnoughts, as previously mentioned. This difference in size creates a guitar that has a brighter tone, with less bass and more midrange. Concerts are the second oldest on this list as they can be dated as far back as 1854!
 

THE AUDITORIUM GUITAR

These beauties are great for picking styles as they have more balanced midrange, with less bass. Perfect for picking out those intricate and delicate passage within in a song. Again these are smaller than the dreadnought, making them more comfortable to play as the hour glass body shape fits perfectly on the leg. Auditoriums are the relative newbies on the block. As with the one pictured, it was first created by Taylor in 1994.
 

THE PARLOUR GUITAR

Another creation from Martin, these guitars were popular during the late 19th century through to the 1950’s. Having a smaller body the volume and dynamic range is reduced. That is not a bad thing though as it all depends on context. If your style is less brash and you want your voice to be the focal point, and not the guitar, then a parlour would be perfect for you. Having a smaller frame also has obvious benefits in terms of comfort, and playability. Don’t let size fool you with these little gems though.
 
Further reading: Best Blues Guitar
 

THE JUMBO GUITAR

From the smallest on our list to the largest. Meet the jumbo. The original jumbo acoustic was the Gibson J2000 which was released in 1937.These beasts, as the name suggest, are big. Even more-so than the dreadnought.The size may understandably be off putting for players of a smaller stature. Whether or not this is the case for you, all comes down to personal preference.These guitars offer the most volume and bass response than any of the other guitar on this list. Perfect for being heard, in even the nosiest of environments.
 
Further reading: Best Fingerstyle Guitar 
 

THE CLASSICAL GUITAR

As the names suggest, this is by far the oldest axe on our list – dating as far back as the early 16th century. Two of the primary difference of a classical guitar is the nylon strings and wide necks. This creates a guitar with a mellow tone that is comfortable to play. A classical guitar may also be a great starting guitar for young children as the nylon strings are more forgiving on the fingers. That is not to say that a classical guitar is strictly for beginners. With their subtly in tonal colour a classical guitar is one the most joyous instruments to hear when in the hands of master.
 

GYPSY JAZZ GUITAR

The final guitar on our list is by no means the runner-up. In fact, the gypsy jazz guitar is one of the best kept secrets in the world of guitars. First produced and made famous by Selmer-Maccaferri in the early 1900’s (and famously played by Django Reinhardt), gypsy jazz guitars are a sort of hybrid steel / classical guitar. The strings are steel, yet the body (especially the headstock) pertains to a classical guitar. Lots of fun to play, with massive projection.
 

The 12 String Guitar

Further reading: Best 12 String Guitars
 

The Travel Guitar

Further reading: Best Travel Guitars