Dreadnought vs. Concert: Which is Right for You?

dreadnought guitar vs concert guitar

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Picking up an acoustic guitar is an emotional and technical decision. There are two primary choices: the dreadnought and the concert. Dreadnought vs. concert is an age-old question; many beginners need help choosing one.

There might be something specific you like about both. Picking a guitar comes down to more than just the tone. You might want a particular feature in a guitar. So, this article is going to dive deep into the differences. In the end, you will know exactly which is right for you.

Dreadnought vs. Concert Guitars: A Quick Overview

Before diving into the details, I want to overview both briefly. Knowing the history of each, the story behind them, and their strengths will help make choosing easier. In addition, each has its unique identity, features, and sound.

The Dreadnought Guitars

Dreadnought Guitar

The dreadnought, for example, has a unique design. It is what many think of when they say acoustic guitar. CF Martin made the original design. And today, it is one of the most popular acoustic guitar styles.

Dreadnought guitars are on the larger side, which makes sense since it was named after a large battleship. Thanks to the size, dreadnought produces high volume and projection. Guitarists also love the sound. It is versatile and sounds very expressive. 

Famous dreadnought-style guitars like the Gibson Hummingbird are still iconic today. If you want an acoustic dreadnought guitar, you will not regret it. There are many fantastic options available. Here are some critical characteristics of dreadnought guitars:

  • Larger in size
  • Beautiful and classic design
  • High depth and high volume
  • Higher sustained notes for fabulous overtones

The Concert Guitars

Concert Guitar

On the flip side of the coin, there is the concert guitar. A concert-style guitar design is perfect for those who love to travel. If you are a musician that loves to be on the road, a concert-style guitar is for you.

It has a slim body along with a more comfortable and rounder shape. They are smaller. However, that is not a disadvantage. In contrast, the size allows you to perform fingerpicking-style music. Some key characteristics of concert guitars are:

  • Less low-end sounds
  • Smaller in size
  • Balanced tone with tighter sounds
  • Not much overtone
  • Easy to handle on a stage

Either could be a good choice, depending on your needs. The dreadnought is larger. But you get nice overtones that can make your music exquisite. However, your music style is essential. Genres like blues do not have much sustain. Therefore, you might not want a dreadnought.

Concerts are great for handling. The smaller size and focused sounds can be advantageous if you are a traveling musician. Moreover, the sound is very balanced. As a result, you can do fingerstyle with them easily. But you lose some note separation.

Dreadnought Vs. Concert: Size Comparison

Dreadnought Vs. Concert: Size Comparison

The size of an acoustic guitar is also an important consideration. Larger guitars will be harder to play for smaller musicians. Check out the chart below for a size comparison:

Body Length20”19.5”
Body Depth4.8”4.6”
Width of Upper Bout11.5”10”
Width of Lower Bout15.6”15”

Dreadnought Vs. Concert: Tone Comparison

Ultimately, the decision will come down to the tone. Both the dreadnought and concert have distinct sounds. You can make the right choice when you know how each sounds. Dreadnoughts, hands down, have the loudest volume.

And this is all due to the size. The larger body amplifies the vibrations producing notes with projection. The loud sound and tone make the dreadnought very versatile as well.

The overtones are also something to think about. They are rich with longer sustain, which can be great for specific types of music. The bass notes are powerful too.

Concert guitar designs produce tight sounds. They are particularly great for playing ensembles. If you play in a group and want to stand out, a concert acoustic guitar will help you do that. You do not get the punchy low notes like the dreadnought, though. 

But the mid and high notes are excellent. Concerts are superb for fingerpicking. The best way to get a feel for how they sound is to try both of them out. Honestly, there is no other way. 

I could write about how each sounds. Regardless, nothing beats experiencing them. And isn’t that how you should enjoy music?

You can also check : Best Acoustic Bass Guitars

Dreadnought Vs. Concert: Which One is Right for You?

Which one is right for you? Well, it all comes down to personal preference and your needs. The tricky thing is choosing one depends on more than the sound. Other factors are to consider, like size, weight, and ease.

For example, concert guitars are easier to play since they are smaller. That makes them the perfect choice if you have small hands. Additionally, the size also means they are easier to carry with you. 

Concerts are beginner friendly too. But if you want sheer volume, nothing beats the dreadnought.


Q. Is the size the main difference between a dreadnought and a concert acoustic guitar?

No. They are different in size. But there are differences in their sound, volume, and playability too.

Q. Which is better for beginners?

Both are good choices for beginners. Concert guitars are smaller. Therefore, they could be an excellent choice for beginners. However, you might also like the dreadnought and its loud volume.

Wrapping Up

There is only one correct answer to the dreadnought vs. concert question. Both guitar styles are equally capable. The vital thing to remember is which one suits you. Dreadnought guitars are large and loud with longer sustain.

Concerts are smaller and easier to carry around. They also produce a very balanced tone. However, the separation between the notes is more challenging to distinguish.

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Lucas Araujo Castro

Lucas Araujo Castro has always been a passionate musician. From a very early age, Lucas had a fascination with music. Even as a toddler, Lucas enjoyed listening to music, and it made him calm down whenever someone would play anything. Seeing this, his parents knew they had given birth to a future rockstar. So as the years went by, with ample support from their family, Lucas started practicing music. While other children were focused on toys and games, he was seen spending countless hours practicing their guitar.