What Is A Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

  1. What Is The Difference Between Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
  2. Dreadnought Vs Concert Guitar
  3. What Is A Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars

Acoustic Guitars – Dreadnought vs Concert vs Auditorium

Not all Acoustics are created equal

Most acoustic guitars are what are called “dreadnought” style. Here is a photo of both a classical guitar (on the left) and a dreadnought style acoustic (on the right). Also please note that the guitars in all the photos in this article, being my guitars, are left-handed models since I play left-handed. Buying an acoustic guitar can be like adding an exciting new member to your family. It has the ability to brighten a room, bring people together, and spark joy with the strum of a single chord. The Martin D45 dreadnought acoustic guitar is an expensive guitar, own a Martin D45 is many people’s dream, but it is expensive! All in all, the Martin D-10E is a great introduction to the world of Martin dreadnought acoustic-electric guitars. Pros: All-solid construction; Auto-mute tuner; Performance taper neck; Yamaha FG830. The Yamaha FG830 acoustic guitar is part of Yamaha’s FG series – the best-selling acoustic guitar series in the world.

by Chris Loeffler

Acoustic guitars come in many shapes and sizes, but most manufacturers tend to delineate them into families based on the size, design, and intention of the acoustic guitar. The exact sizes and specs of each acoustic guitar vary (even within theoretically similar styles) among manufacturers, so there are few hard rules to lean on when looking at the differing types of acoustic guitars. As a result, a recurring question we see throughout the Harmony Central forums is, “What is the difference between Dreadnought acoustic guitars vs Concert acoustic guitars vs Auditorium acoustic guitars?” Fortunately, guitar players can have a good idea of what to expect from an instrument based on its style.

While there are many other styles of acoustic guitars, including Parlor acoustic guitars, Jumbo acoustic guitars, and “Grand” acoustic guitars - each built for a targeted sound and playing style - this overview will focus on the three variations of acoustic guitars mentioned above.

Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar – The Original Classic

The Dreadnought acoustic guitar style was originally designed by C.F. Martin & Company in 1916 to be bigger, bolder, and louder-sounding than the smaller acoustic guitars being played at the time. This robustness is reflected in the name, which is a reference to the HMS Dreadnought - a massive, modern gunship launched in 1906. The Dreadnought acoustic guitar quickly became a “go-to” style for acoustic guitar players. Garmin mapsource full version downloads. The Dreadnought acoustic guitar is still the most popular and commonly used acoustic guitar, proliferating in bluegrass, country, rock, and blues.

Loud and powerful, the Dreadnought guitar is that rare acoustic guitar capable of standing up to an electric band without significant help. The aesthetic of a dreadnought acoustic guitar is a bit boxier (Gibson’s Hummingbird even squares off the shoulders) to achieve the desired projection, and the body of the dreadnought is a bit deeper. In addition to power and punch, a Dreadnought acoustic guitar typically produces strong lows and strong mids for a full sound that forms massive chords and kick to bluegrass runs.

Auditorium Acoustic Guitar – A Modern Balancing Act

The Auditorium acoustic guitar style is a newer shape to emerge in the acoustic guitar world. This acoustic guitar style was also an original C.F. Martin & Company design, and was intended to bridge the gap between the corpulent Dreadnought acoustic guitar and the petite, nuanced Parlor acoustic guitar. This “in-between” status gave the Auditorium acoustic guitar style a leg-up with fingerstyle guitarist and folk guitar players who sought the ability to jump between intricate picking and still keep up the low end when digging into chords.

What Is The Difference Between Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

The Auditorium acoustic guitar has a markedly more pronounced waist, which some guitarist, especially smaller-framed ones, prefer over the Dreadnought acoustic guitar. There's a deeper cut against the knee to lower the guitar, and a deep cut on top for easier, more accessible arm clearance. On an end-to-end or side-to-side measurement, Auditorium acoustic guitars tend to be near or the same as a Dreadnought acoustic guitar. The Auditorium’s slightly more subdued bass and balance make it ideal for solo performers who have the sonic space for the more gentle and intricate playing to stand out. Balance is the name of the game with the Auditorium acoustic guitar vs Dreadnaught acoustic guitar.

Concert Acoustic Guitar – A Bigger Parlor

What Is A Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Unlike the Auditorium acoustic guitar’s middle-ground stance, the Concert acoustic guitar is very much an enlarged Parlor guitar, with a more shallow body, deeper waist, and shoulders smaller than its hips. Another relatively new body style, the Concert acoustic guitar was designed to make a bigger, richer Parlor acoustic guitar without abandoning its unique sounds or adopting the darker tones of larger-sized acoustic guitars. The Concert acoustic guitar’s smaller size and compact dimensions make it ideal for fingerstyle playing.

The Concert acoustic guitar has an even more pronounced waist than the Auditorium acoustic guitar, which serves to keep overtones in check for a crisper, less harmonically dense delivery. While producing more bass than a Parlor guitar, the Concert acoustic guitar favors crisper highs and mids, but has a significantly reduced bass presence when compared to an Auditorium acoustic guitar or Dreadnought guitar. The Concert acoustic guitar is aimed at taking the unique but relatively low-volume Parlor acoustic guitar sound to performance volume levels for guitarist who rarely intend to strum out chords.

Dreadnought vs Auditorium vs Concert Acoustic Guitar – Which is Right for Me?

There’s a reason and a use for all styles of acoustic guitar and of course, there’s a lot of overlap and a few “can’t do that’s” between the Dreadnought vs Auditorium acoustic guitars. The booming ballast of the Dreadnought acoustic guitar is an iconic part of modern music and truly the best fitted, out of the box, to stand up to electric instruments and the most cutting with rhythm guitar. In the bluegrass world, the Dreadnought acoustic guitar is practically the first and last word in instrument options due to its drive and focus. On the other hand, the Auditorium acoustic guitar stands out in live solo performances and offers a unique tone that modern recording techniques are well equipped to capture. And for a brighter sound than an Auditorium or Dreadnought, but more bass than a Parlor acoustic guitar, there's always the Concert acoustic guitar.

Shop current models of Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars at Sweetwater.

Shop current models of Auditorium Acoustic Guitars at Sweetwater.

Shop current models of Concert Acoustic Guitars at Sweetwater.



Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer.

Whether you are a very experienced, intermediate or new guitar player – understanding how different guitar body shapes perform, feel and sound is important when deciding on which guitar to purchase. Do you want to have a guitar that suits your playing style and desired sound? Any musician who wants to play well will say “yes”, which means, knowing about your acoustic guitar shapes is essential. Guitar body shapes are crafted differently with specific differences in sound and tone. If you know the sound you want to produce, then perhaps, you can start your search with the shape that produces that sound. If you are still trying to determine your sound, then start by leaning about the different guitar body shapes and how they sound, so can choose the sound you want to create!

(Image: the image on the left shows examples of various acoustic guitar body shapes from the Pursuit Series of instruments.)

Different Body Shapes of the Acoustic Guitar:

Dreadnought guitar

The dreadnought guitar is one of the most common shapes in acoustic guitars and a little additional trivia, the guitar body shape is named after a British battleship. This shape of the acoustic guitar accompanies and supports vocal accompaniment very well. The Breedlove Dreadnought is slightly more rounded than traditional dreadnoughts, producing beautifully full, punchy, and articulate tones. The Dreadnought appeals to players inspired by the familiarity of a dreadnought, who are looking for nuance and richness from their instrument. The Breedlove Dreadnought projects well, so it excels in an ensemble, and yet retains the refinement needed for vocal accompaniment. Watch a video about this body shape.

Parlor Guitar

Breedlove Parlors are incredibly balanced with an abundance of sound, volume, and projection. Don’t be fooled by the Parlor’s compact size: It’s a serious musician’s instrument. Inventive bracing allows for a thinner graduated top, allowing the soundboard to move more freely, providing warmth, clarity, and balance with dynamic midrange. You’ll be amazed at the amount of sound provided by such a small body. Whether you’re at home or in the studio, the Breedlove Parlor is an intimate experience that connects you to your music in a visceral, inspiring way. If you're only looking for a guitar which is great for finger picking, strumming and an all around great body shape – then the parlor guitar is the right choice for you. It is small in body size make it easier to travel with than some of the larger body shapes. Watch a video about this body shape.

Concert Guitar

Dreadnought Vs Concert Guitar

Also compared and similar to the model “O” guitar, the concert guitar is larger in size as compared to the parlor guitar but gives a similarly balanced tone. The Concert is our most popular body shape, favored by players because it is well-balanced, compact, comfortable to play, and offers all the qualities of a great sounding guitar. It generates a wonderfully articulate range of tone with an ample low end that is never boomy, but always felt. The Concert works well when played fingerstyle, as vocal accompaniment, or at a full strum. Watch a video about this body shape.

CM Guitar

The CM is an award-winning, asymmetrical body shape. One of Breedlove’s most well-known shapes – no other guitar looks or sounds quite like it. The sonic imprint of the CM is uniquely full spectrum and immensely gratifying; the lower bout rewards the player with a generous, defined bass while the abbreviated upper bout generates beautifully balanced and clear treble tones. The CM has been described as having piano-like qualities. Excellent for alternate tunings, the CM is an adventurous design that will appeal to players who wish to expand their sonic and visual boundaries. Watch a video about this body shape.

Auditorium Guitar

The Breedlove Auditorium is the sonic mid-point between our Concert and Jumbo body shapes. Its depth and lower bout combined with its upper body cutaway produce the articulation of the Concert, with tonal depth reminiscent of the larger-bodied Jumbo. An extremely versatile instrument, the Auditorium casts a nod into dreadnought territory while also accommodating alternate tunings, fingerstyle and bold strumming. These characteristics make the Auditorium an outstanding platform for Breedlove 12-string guitars as well. Watch a video about this body shape.

Jumbo Guitar

The Breedlove Jumbo is our largest body shape by volume. Playing the Jumbo is a powerful experience: Sound feels sonically propelled by the movement of so much air inside the body. It’s the perfect shape for conveying big, beautiful chords across all six strings – a strummer’s paradise. The Breedlove Jumbo is also an excellent platform for 12-string guitars. Watch a video about this body shape.

Overview Video

What Is A Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars

This short video overview explains and shows the different acoustic guitar body shapes and sizes.