What Is A Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

This affordable model from guitar giant Yamaha is a typically classy, clean acoustic build with a matt finish that gives a lived-in working guitar appearance. There's little ornamentation, the fingerboard dots are small and lack contrast but the white side dots are clear and bright – great for beginners. 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. 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. 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. 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.

How does it compare to other guitars?

What does dreadnought guitar mean
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7 Answers


It’s a style of acoustic body made popular by Martin. I have a low end one. I like it for what I do which is mostly bluegrass.

This is a larger bodied acoustic guitar with a fuller sound where both the bass and treble notes are louder and more resonant than standard size guitars. It originated with C.F. Martin guitars but I have a I high end Guild from 1972 that is a dreadnought. I love it!

I got to see one of these played live in a quaint little living room acoustic show last week. These guitars have a great full, loud sound. Really leaves an impact after hearing a lot of standard acoustic guitars.


Also dreadnought is such an awesome word!

A dreadnought guitar has wider hips compared to its shoulders, like this:

It tends to have a powerful lower end. It tends to be more expensive to get a well made dreadnought, because the lower end can be too boomy.

An alternative is the folk bodied guitar, which has more rounded shoulders and hips and is less broad: http://musicianscentre.com/images/P/126426423653139.png

These not only give a more powerful midrange to high notes but are also easier to fit your arm round if you are petite.

If the guitar has a CE in the name, that means it’s got a cutaway—that’s where the body dips near the fretboard to let you get finger higher up the neck.

I hope this is helpful!

@ScurvyChamp “It tends to be more expensive to get a well made dreadnought, because the lower end can be too boomy.”

That’s exactly right. Mine is a Dreadnaught DM which is lowest end, but it’s older, I got it for a really good price used at a vendor booth during a bluegrass festival, and has mellowed with time so it sounds better. But if you compare it to my band mate’s D-28, it’s night and day. Also, I really have no talent with the guitar (my primary instrument is banjo, a Gibson RB-3) so I can’t justify getting a D-28. Allow me to rephrase: My wife would kill me.

The term “dreadnought” comes from a reference to warships (specifically the sailing type) which were so large and well armed that they would fear nothing (thus they would dread nought).

Dreadnought vs concert guitar

My no-name 12-string has a body that seems to be styled after the D-28. It was given to me by a fellow busker many many years ago.

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When it comes to acoustic guitars, Martin has been at the front of the line for many, many years.

Not only is Martin craftsmanship one-of-kind, but they also use a variety of high-quality materials to make a versatile range of guitars. There is truly nothing like the sweet sound and intonation of a Martin guitar.

That is why their guitars have become industry standard with consumers and professionals alike. Their reliability is unmatched, and they genuinely have models for every player.

Let’s take a look at some of our favorites.

Martin Standard Series D-28

Best Martin “Acoustic” Guitar

The Martin D-28 is easily one of the top guitars in the long line Martin acoustics. While it may look like your standard dreadnought guitar right off the bat, it sounds unlike anything you’ve ever heard.

What Is The Size Of A Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Microsoft office 2011 for mac 14.2.3. When you play it for the first time, the sound resonates like magic.

It is made with a Sitka spruce top, a hardwood neck, and Indian Rosewood back and sides, for a unique tone.

Hardwood necks are some of the best, as they feel like nothing else in the hands, which makes it very easy to play. Beyond the tone, having serious playability is of the utmost importance.

In terms of tone, the D-28 has this gorgeous, vintage tone that sounds a lot like the acoustic guitars that you hear on acoustic rock records of the 1970s. That is because this guitar was played by some of the greats, including Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Jimmy Paige, Elvis Presley, and more.

The high-quality construction means that it is durable and ages nicely. The more you play your D-28, the better it will sound.

Bottom Line: If you have the dough to spend and want the best possible sound from your acoustic guitar, there is no reason to look further than the Martin Standard Series D-28

This little Martin guitar is one of the best portable guitars in Martin’s line, though even with its small size, provides a clear, powerful sound. You’d be surprised as to how dynamic this thing plays the first time you strum it.

Of course, there is a regular LX1 model, though the added “E” gives it those handy electronics to take your live performance to the next level.

The guitar has a solid Sitka Spruce top, which delivers a rich, high-quality tone. Pair that with the Mahogany on the back and sides, and you get an unreal sound.

Yes, it does have a laminate top, but it doesn’t take away from the tone. In fact, it only adds to the overall durability, perfect for those who live in more extreme climates or like to travel.

The beauty of this guitar is that it is incredibly lightweight and perfect for young kids or those with small hands. It’s great for those who like to travel too, as it takes up almost no space on the plane or in the trunk.

Bottom Line: It can be difficult to find the right guitar if you have small hands. When it comes to Martin LX1E, you get an easy-to-play design that doesn’t sacrifice tone or projection.

Dreadnought Guitar Dimensions

When it comes to playing fingerstyle, you need a guitar that has an even tone throughout the full range. One of the best fingerstyle guitars in the Martin line is the GPX1AE.

What is even better is that this high-quality guitar won’t break the bank. It comes with a top-tier, Sitka Spruce top that provides you with a bright and even sound that is great for soft fingerpicking.

The wood resonates really nicely too, so if you want to add a little bit of fist drumming to your playing, you’ll be happy to get a deep, Cajon-like boom.

Like many of the Martin acoustic-electric guitars, this one comes with Fishman Sonitone electronics, giving you total control over your volume and tone. It even comes with a cool USB feature that allows you to plug and play on your computer.

Bottom Line: No Martin guitar is better at picking up the delicacies of fingerstyle playing quite like the Martin GPX1AE. For folk and jazz players alike, this may be one of the best Martin guitars for you!

Martins aren’t known for being cheap, though if your aim is to get a budget acoustic guitar with the Martin name, the LXM is one of the best. The laminate spruce design gives it a brilliant tone and tons of projection, perfect for playing without a microphone or amplifier. If you’re someone who goes on the road a lot with your guitar, you won’t feel as guilty bringing this little guy with you.

The Micarta fretboard holds the strings together really nicely and connects with a strong, Indian Rosewood bridge. Like a lot of the small Martin guitars, it comes with a small, easy-to-play neck that contains Martin-standard Mortise for added durability.

Even in this budget guitar, you get high-quality Gotoh tuners that keep the instrument sounding well-intonated no matter how much you are playing.

Thanks to the 23″ scale length, this little guitar is also perfect for players with smaller hands. While you may consider a D-28 Martin to be a high-quality, once-in-a-lifetime guitar, the LXM is a daily driver that can be played just about anywhere, anytime.

Bottom Line: Budget and Martin are two words that don’t really go together, though the Martin LXM does a relatively good job at providing those who can’t afford a top-notch guitar with a low barrier to entry.

The Martin D Jr 10 is a junior-sized guitar that is perfect for beginner players or even veteran players who are looking for something that is more portable.

The D Jr 10 comes with a Sitka Spruce Top and Sapele back and sides, which delivers a rich, warm tone across the entire range of frequencies. The hardwood neck provides a pristine feel while the high-quality Richlite fingerboard gives you comfortable chording for any style of playing.

One of our favorite parts about this guitar is the shape. The small, dreadnought style makes it easy to hold and play, especially for those with small hands. Even with the small size, it projects well with a sharp focus. The final tone is balanced and bright, perfect for recording pop-style acoustic guitar too.

If you’re just starting out, having something that feels and sounds good is incredibly important, as it will help to keep you motivated throughout the process.

Bottom Line: If you’re just starting out, you’re going to need a guitar that’s easy to play and relatively cheap. The Martin D Jr 10 provides those two things without compromise.

The Martin D-16E is interesting, as Martin doesn’t make very many cutaway acoustic guitars. The best part about cutaway guitars is that they have a tighter sound overall with a better treble response and less bass. This makes it the perfect guitar for recording.

The DC-16E uses a variety of high-quality tonewoods, including a Sitka Spruce top, sycamore back and sides, and a solid, black ebony fingerboard.

The guitar projects nicely for a cutaway guitar with only five inches of space. If you’re looking to play live, you’ll be happy to know that it uses Fishman Matrix VT Enhance electronics, providing you with a crisp and clear sound.


Even when you play the guitar with a strong force, the tone retains itself very nicely. The forward-shifted X Scalloped bracing is incredibly durable too, making it perfect for taking on tour or to your next gig.

In terms of playability, the low oval neck shape provides a smooth feel that you can play for hours without feeling worn out. Overall, it’s one of our favorites in the 16-series, providing players with an innovative tone and feel.

Bottom Line: Cutaway style is extremely popular, though not many Martin guitars are made that way. If you want the feel of a cutaway guitar and the tone of a classic Martin, we recommend the wonderful Martin DC-16E.

The Martin D-15 is a classic that is very reminiscent of the guitars Martin made in the first half of the 20th century. It has solid wood construction with a high-quality mahogany top, back, and sides. The neck is also made of durable Mahogany that pairs well with the Indian rosewood fingerboard.

In terms of tone, the Martin D-15 provides you with a warm low-frequency range and a beautiful balance of mids and highs. Thanks to the Mahogany materials, this guitar is one of the most unique sounding on our list.

Dreadnought Guitar Vs Standard

When it comes to aesthetics, the D-15 keeps it pretty simple, great for the classic player. It has a smooth satin finish that makes it very comfortable to play too. You can strum on this thing for hours without feeling fatigued.

It’s not often that you come across a dreadnought guitar like this. It is what makes the D-15 such an instantly recognizable guitar for players worldwide.

Bottom Line: There is nothing quite like the vintage sound of a dreadnought. If you’re looking to capture that vintage tone with Martin reliability, we can’t recommend anything better than the Martin D-15.

The Beauty of Martin

We hope that our Martin article has painted a portrait of the versatile line of Martin acoustic guitars.

With durability, craftsmanship, and tone, there is truly nothing like the sound and feel of a Martin.

With beauty, simplicity, and reliability that excels far beyond most other acoustic guitar manufacturers on the market, a Martin guitar is a guitar that you will cherish forever.