If you want an acoustic guitar that looks and sounds good, then trying to find the best dreadnought guitars out there is no easy feat.
The best dreadnought guitars provide rich, warm tones that are easy to hear. They are known for their long sustain and are easy to hold when playing, standing, or sitting.
Dreadnought acoustics have been around for decades. They were first designed in the 1910s by CF Martin Co. and have grown in popularity.
You will find that almost any major acoustic guitar brand offers a dreadnought in some capacity. This extends to both full-sized guitars as well as smaller variants. It can make the right choice tricky, though.
Despite the abundance of choices, we have narrowed down the list to the best models available today. So what are the best dreadnought guitars available today?
The best dreadnought guitars today revealed
The Premium Choice: Taylor Baby Taylor Koa Dreadnought
- Body Body type: Three-quarter Cutaway: Non-cutaway Top wood: Hawaiian Koa Back & sides: Koa Bracing pattern: Standard Body finish: Matte Orientation: Right handed Neck Neck shape: Standard Taylor Profile Nut width: 1.687 in. (42.8 mm) Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony Neck wood: Sapele Scale length: 22.75 in. Number of frets: 19 Neck finish: Matte Electronics Pickup/preamp: Yes Brand
- The Baby Taylor has maintained is a legitimate musical instrument that anyone can enjoy, and also a great second guitar for experienced players who want a travel guitar that sounds great and is satisfying to play
- The three-quarter-size Dreadnought helped touring musicians like Taylor Swift sketch new musical ideas on the road, and it’s been a reliable musical accomplice for travelers seeking inspiration while trekking the world
- This limited-edition version features a beautiful Hawaiian koa top
- All Baby Taylor models ship with a durable travel-worthy gig bag made by Taylor for optimal fit and protection
Fewer names resonate with guitars like Taylor, so it’s not surprising to see the Baby Taylor Koa at the top of the food chain. What makes their dreadnought model so appealing is the warm tones it delivers. This comes thanks to the koa body on all sides allowing for such rich tones. It’s topped off with a natural gloss finish that portrays a classy look and showcases the rich finish of the material itself.
The ebony fingerboard is easy to slide across, while the 19 frets make it easy for anyone to play, no matter their age. To make things more interesting, this model is an acoustic-electric hybrid, which also comes with some nifty tech features. This includes Taylor’s ES-2 pickup found on their flagship electric models, allowing you to get even louder and louder sounds. The Baby Taylor is a great instrument that does anything you want from a guitar.
- Lovely finish
- Warm tones
- Easy to play
- Slight buzz when plugged into an amp
- Some packaging issues
The Hybrid Option: Ibanez AW Artwood Guitar
- Dreadnought body with cutaway
- Solid mahogany top
- Mahogany back and sides
- Rosewood bridge and fretboard
- Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp with onboard tuner
Merging old ideas with new technology, Ibanez’s AW Artwood Guitar is an acoustic/electric instrument unlike anything else. It looks fantastic thanks to its all mahogany body left with a darker and natural finish. However, the sound of the guitar is what makes this stand out. Firstly, its natural acoustic sounds are loud with plenty of warmth, suiting it to perform any style of music. Yet, the sounds express more emotion when embracing the electric add-ons. This includes a Fishman Sonicore pickup and a 2-band control that gives you ultimate control over the end sound.
Alongside the great look and sound, this guitar is well made. This comes through to the sturdy rosewood bridge that allows for precise feel and movement up and down the frets. It also feels highly durable thanks to the inclusion of a tortoise pickguard, and the Grover tuners hold the strings in tune for longer. All this blends to form a killer combo, no matter how you play the instrument.
- 2-tone electric controls
- Holds tune well
- Great sounds in any setting
- Pickup affects lower sounds
- Glue issues can impact the pickguard
The 12-String Choice: Takamine G-Series 12 Dreadnought
- Body Finish: Gloss
- Body Shape: Dreadnought Cutaway
- Bracing: Quartersawn “X”
- Body Back: Mahogany
- Body Sides: Mahogany
For veteran players looking for a more complicated offering, the Takamine G-Series 12 is right up your alley. This 12-string acoustic-electric sounds fantastic, with each string offering precise sounds that ring out whenever they are played. Naturally amplified through its mahogany body, each note played offers soft and soothing tones that echo more classical genres. The sleek rosewood neck offers precise movements and finds the fret you want. The Pearloid inlays accentuate this, which adds to the feel when played.
The Japanese manufacturer has also loaded the G-Series 12 with several electronic features. This includes an electronic tuner to nail the perfect sound and a 3-way equalizer that controls tone and gain. What this produces are great sounds that let you show off like a true virtuoso. With the body available in both a natural and black finish, the G-Series 12 lets you evolve into an elite performer.
- Excellent feel while playing
- Loaded with electronic features
- Customizable finish
- Some finish issues
- Electronic features may be faulty
The Alternative Choice: Gretsch Rancher Dreadnought
- Body Material: Solid Spruce Top with Laminated Mahogany Back and Sides
- Body Shape: Dreadnought
- Body Back: Arched Laminated Mahogany
- Body Sides: Laminated Mahogany
Gretsch is known for their alternative take on traditional shapes, and the Ranger Dreadnought is no different. Right away, you can see this in the shape of the guitar with the sharper-than-normal curves within the body. But it looks the part. With a sunburst finish on the spruce/mahogany body, this instrument looks like it belongs in the hands of a rock’n’roll king. It’s sturdy too, and the rosewood 21-fret neck has a great feel that benefits both new and experienced players.
Where Gretsch has also excelled is with all the little details. They made this guitar with the utmost care, from the gold-plated tuners to bound design patterns. Several electronic features are loaded into the instrument, with individual controls for tone, volume, and phases, making it perfect for use on any modern stage. It all ties into a great bundle that will elevate any user who gets ahold of it.
- Fantastic design
- Individual electronic controls
- Detailed designs on the body
- Quiet sounds in acoustic mode
- Default strings are relatively brittle
The All-Acoustic Option: Guild DS-240 Acoustic
- Here to help you write your own story—the Memoir DS-240
- This retro-looking slope shoulder dreadnought is built with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides with a sleek, gloss finish
- The vintage-inspired mother of pearl rosette and Guild Script Logo pay homage to the classic styling of instruments from the 1920s
- The DS-240’s sound is instantly warm, clear and inviting—almost as if its tone has been perfected over years of fireside strumming and family jamming
- Natural wood has unique spirit and varies greatly in color richness and wood grain; Product shipped may appear lighter or darker in color than the product shown here.
If you want a dreadnought that shuns electronics, then the Guild Guitars DS-240 could be just what you are looking for. With a gloss sunburst finish, the Ds-240 looks fantastic, with the shape accentuated by a white binding on its edge. The spruce/mahogany body gives off some warm vibes as it plays and can fill any room you play it in. It also comes pre-loaded with D’Addario EXP16 bronze strings that add to the rich sound and are built to last over multiple shows.
It’s also easy to play too. The pearl-rosette inlays on the neck are natural guides to moving up the fretboard and finding your groove as you strum along. To make the guitar more personal, the guitar body can also be interchanged between the default sunburst gloss finish or a natural look, depending on your style. The Guild DS-240 is the perfect acoustic throwback for those looking for a more traditional option.
- Strong strings
- Excellent sound
- Customizable look
- Weak tuners
- No electric features
The Dreadnought Bundle: Yamaha FGX800C Bundle
Yamaha is known for producing excellent instruments, and the FGX800C further proves this. This dreadnought acoustic-electric is a top guitar because it has no real weaknesses. Firstly, the guitar produces warm and rich tones naturally accentuated by the spruce body. Its large hollow and wide body makes it easy to play and naturally amplifies the sound. The rosewood neck with scalloped inlays helps guide you while playing, making it suited for all users.
Of course, the bundle is what makes this offering unique. For example, it comes with a hard-shell case that perfectly protects the instrument from damage as it is transported. Shaped perfectly for the curves of a dreadnought guitar, it holds the FGX800 in place without any unnecessary movements. Add in an electronic tuner too, and this bundle gives keen players everything they need to find their footsteps while they play.
- Protective case
- Great sounds
- Natural finish
- Brittle strings,
- Small inlays
The Cutaway Look: Fender CD-60SCE
- Single-cutaway dreadnought body style
- Fishman Classic Design pickup/preamp
- Solid spruce top with scalloped “X”-bracing
- Mahogany back and sides
- Easy-to-play neck with rolled fingerboard edges
Fender has covered it if you want a slightly different take on the dreadnought style. The Fender CD-60SCE alters the dreadnought style thanks to a cutaway look near the bridge/body joining. It’s a look that works and retains the classic Fender traits you’d want to find. That includes a spruce top to generate smooth and warm tones with a naturally-authentic gloss finish.
When playing the CD-60SCE, it welcomes players of all abilities. Fender has a slightly rolled neck on the guitar for easy gripping, and the well-spaced frets and inlays make it easy to feel where you are moving up and down the fingerboard. With this acoustic-electric model, you will also find a Fishman pickup and pre-amp to boost your sound and credentials if you want to crank the volume up. It is a Fender model perfectly suited to any guitarist – new or experienced.
- Naturally loud sounds
- Easy to play
- Unique look
- Inlays are small for some users
- Some issues with the packaging
The Introductory Instrument: Jasmine S35 Acoustic
- Features a Spruce Top
- Laminated Nato back & sides.
- Satin Finish
- Chrome covered Tuning Machines
- Rosewood Fretboard
You don’t always need a big brand for excellent results, and the Jasmine S35 is proof of that. The S35 is an all-acoustic instrument that follows traditions to the core. Alongside the classic dreadnought look, this six-stringed beauty has an authentic spruce body and a satin gloss finish that shines at any angle. This produces naturally amplified warm tones and looks like a guitar any pro would be proud to own.
There has been some great care taken too into how the instrument is played. For example, its 25″ neck is perfect for learning key fret positions on a full-sized instrument. There is also a special strap screw inserted under the body/neck for perfect weighting when playing while standing, so you won’t need strap locks. There are chrome tuners to help everything stay tuned for longer and look in line with the rest of the instrument—a great first-choice guitar for any budding musician.
- Designed with the user in mind
- Natural look
- Easy to play
- Weak stock strings
- Difficult to tune naturally
The Throwback Option: Epiphone FT-100
- Classic Epiphone Dreadnought with select spruce top
- Mahogany Neck
- 1960’s SlimTaper Neck Profile
If you want an instrument that takes you back in time, why not grab hold of the Epiphone FT-100? The complete design of this instrument is based on what iconic musicians used back in the 1960s. From the stunning sunburst finish to the warm sounds generated by the spruce body, it is something that brings back fond memories. The throwback designs can also be seen in how the neck is formed, taking on a much slimmer profile. This sleek finish requires a bit of extra precision when playing but still is suited for any level of musician.
It feels good when played, as the mahogany neck is easy to hold, and its standard 20-fret layout is simple. There’s also the choice to vary the guitar’s look, and the sunburst finish can be substituted for a natural finish should you wish. All this is included with the legendary Epiphone name making this an instrument shaped and carved by legends down the years.
- Excellent finish
- Great throwback design
- Excellent warm tones
- A and E strings produce some buzz
- Sharp frets when first played
What makes a good Dreadnought guitar?
It may be hard to see why dreadnought guitars excel over other acoustic guitars, but it’s not hard once you dig a little deeper. After all, they are perhaps the most common body shape now used by acoustic guitar makers worldwide. So why are they so popular?
One of the reasons for their popularity is their suitability to almost all genres. Thanks to their hourglass bodies, they are naturally suited to producing loud sounds. Whether you play them with a pick or use your fingers, you can generate warm and smooth sounds that fill a room.
It also carries across to any popular genre you can think of. Have a look around, and you will see country, metal, punk, and pop artists all owning a dreadnought guitar in their collection. With it naturally sounding loud and in tune, there’s no real surprise why dreadnought guitars are in every music store.
Easy to play
You will also find that many of the best dreadnought guitars today are aimed at musicians of any level. The curves in the body make them easy to hold if sitting yet mobile enough to move when standing. It also makes them easy to modify should you want to add straps or other additions to help you play.
Furthermore, the neck and bridges are often just the correct lengths for anyone to pick up and play without great difficulty. The end of the neck is easy enough to reach, and the equal spacing between each fret doesn’t feel too close or too far to play without being too precise. It’s why these are great for both novice and virtuoso guitarists.
With dreadnought guitars, you will find that there is often some flexibility in how you can set up your overall instrument. Much of this comes in the form of specially designed acoustic-electric models. What this means is that you get all the natural sounds of an acoustic guitar and include some electric components such as pickups and pre-amps to give added oomph should you want it.
Not only that, but you won’t just find them with a classic 6-string set-up. Some models will also come with a 12-string variation for greater precision in tunings. This can include fingerpicking and playing more complex chords but having that choice expands what a guitarist can do with their instrument. If you add to the fact that many finishes can be swapped out between specialist designs or a natural finish, it’s no wonder why many instruments look different but still produce great results.
Are all dreadnought guitars purely acoustic models?
No – you will find dreadnought guitars that also come in an acoustic-electric format. As the dreadnought name describes a body shape, luthiers and manufacturers can create the guitar to any configuration they like. It is why many of the best dreadnought guitars available today may fall into either category.
Do all dreadnought guitars only have six strings?
No – you will find that some manufacturers have created 12-stringed guitars with a dreadnought body shape. As they are a standard guitar body shape, you will find that the string layout will vary depending on who the guitar is aimed at.
Does any one manufacturer own dreadnought guitars?
No – you will find that the best dreadnought guitars today are produced by many different brands worldwide. While CF Martin pioneered the shape, its popularity and shape meant that others were soon replicating the design until it became one of the standards we know it has today.
When finding the best dreadnought guitars around today, you won’t be spoilt for choice. Every major brand has launched its own version, from industry giants like Fender and Epiphone to smaller brands such as Guild and Jasmine. There is a significant variation with Takamine producing 12-string beasts while Yamaha offers full bundles in their choice.
Yet, sometimes the more iconic names produce the best results. Taylor is the prime example, with their Baby Taylor Dreadnought covering everything you would want from a guitar. With a lovely koa finish to the inclusion of their premium electronic components, it is easily one of the best dreadnought guitars around that has no weaknesses in any area.
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