Monday, August 31, 2015

Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars

Blueridge Dreadnaught Guitar

Dreadnought Acoustic Guitars

A Guest Post by Charles Pogue

While there are different theories about the wood, and different patterns of bracing and such like, the dreadnaught acoustic guitar has an unmistakable, usually described as elongated, shape. How ever one describes them, they are famous for their attractiveness as well as their sound.

When I read different reviews on this or that brand or model of dreadnaught guitar, the reviewers use words like tinny or balanced, or whatever. One even said a guitar had a buttery-smooth setup. It made me want to look up at the top of the page and see if I had somehow mistakenly landed on Redenbacher’s popcorn website.

All I know is I like the deep rich sound of the bass notes and the beautiful ring of the high ones produced by just about any dreadnaught style guitar that sells for a hundred and fifty bucks and up. The volume produced by a dreadnaught acoustic is amazing, too.

Named for Dreadnaught WW1 Battleships of Great Britain

The dreadnought guitar was named for the dreadnaught battleships of Great Britain during the World War I era. Most people probably know that the C.F. Martin Company first designed and introduced the dreadnaught guitar, but may not know that the first dreadnaughts did not carry the Martin name. Martin manufactured the first ones for the Oliver Ditson Company, a publishing firm out of Boston. That happened way back in 1916.

Martin Standard Series D-35
Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
The Martin Company began producing dreadnought guitars that carried its own name in 1931, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now, as the old saying goes, everybody and his dog makes a dreadnought guitar.

While the dreadnought guitar can be found in about every type of acoustic music, and they really caught on with Country artists, they are really well suited for Bluegrass music.

When I listen to bluegrass, I usually sit patiently through a fiddle or mandolin break, waiting and hoping that the guy in the back with the guitar, who has been holding the whole song together with his rhythm playing, gets to take a lead. When he does, it sounds like all the bells in the world are ringing at once.

While most of us, myself included, patiently wait in hope the day comes when we can step up to a Martin D-28 or D-35, there are a lot of dreadnoughts available that sound really good.

Here are just a few videos of different dreadnoughts. It doesn’t take an expert to pick out the more from the lesser expensive ones by the sounds, but they all sound pretty good, and besides, one cannot expect an entry level or mid -priced guitar to sound like the more expensive ones.

The Yamaha FG700s is a nice sounding guitar for around $200.00. Yamaha makes some of the best sounding Dreadnoughts in the lower price range.


The Hohner is an incredible sounding guitar in the $85.00-$300.00 range. A man I knew who has passed on now, found a Hohner in the city of Houston that was beat up, broken, and had apparently been treated like a sledge hammer. He bought it for a little of nothing, had it repaired and it sounded great!

The audio quality on the video for the Fender CD100 is not the best, but it too is a good sounding guitar for a lower priced one. It is the one I own, that is why I know the audio on the video doesn’t quite do it justice.

And who wouldn’t want the great Martin D-35? Here is the Martin D-35 Johnny Cash Signature model.

I once found a review of one of the $200.00 dreadnought guitars, and the guy doing the review said it was a nice sounding guitar, but it just didn’t have the feel of a higher end instrument. Well, do tell! Needless to say, that kind of review is not very helpful.

As we mentioned before, there are many brands and models of dreadnought style guitars on the market. You can pay $50.00 for a beginning model or several thousands if your skill level and budget warrant it, and there’s a ton of price ranges in between. Whatever your skill level and budget, there’s just not anything in my way of thinking that stacks up against the sound of a dreadnought.

Do you play a dreadnaught?

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