Dreadnought Vs Concert: 8 Beautiful Guitars, But What Are The Differences?

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This is my comparison of The Dreadnought Vs Concert Guitars

There are some distinct differences and playing qualities you may be unaware of.  

To tell them apart, I’ve analyzed 8 truly beautiful acoustic guitars to give you the best idea of what to look out for before buying. 

I’ve been playing both types of guitar throughout my 25 years of strumming. They both have very different unique uses.

I’ve got some really stunning acoustic guitars for you to look at

Let’s get straight into it…

At A Glance

Let’s start off with the main differences in appearance. Here are two classic types of Dreadnought and Concert Guitar:

Dreadnought Vs Concert

Although you may not see much between the two models, there really is a lot to consider. 

Here are the different characteristics between the Dreadnought and Concert guitars:

The Dreadnought Guitar

Guitar Body Shapes

The Dreadnought is the more common style of guitar on the market. It’s larger in size and exhibits a boxy shape. 

This is a major factor when considering the tonal values of both types of guitars.

Tone

The Dreadnought shape gives the player a nice delicate midrange scoop. You get more depth and low end. The top-end mid-tones are notably much snappier than a Concert. 

There is a great deal of difference in clarity between the guitars. The Dreadnought has a far more transparent sound due to the straighter body shape. This results in a wider proportional EQ.

A Dreadnought Guitar is suited to:

The benefits of the midrange scoop on a dreadnought are ideal for singer-songwriters or acoustic guitarists in bands. This is exactly where the vocal frequencies sit in the mix. 

As a Dreadnought can project its volume more efficiently in comparison to the Concert models. This attribute makes it perfect for the chord strummer and live musician. 

The Concert Guitar

Guitar Body Shape

The main difference you’ll notice is the size. A Concert guitar is smaller than a Dreadnought. It has a more rounded shape and a much deeper waste taper. 

The dreadnought on the other hand has a wider waist and displays a straighter longer body style.  

Tone

The Concert sized guitar is suited to more complex chords and voicings. As it’s smaller in size, it has a more controlled bottom end.  

The Concert gives you a better mixture of mids and treble tone. It’s coherent and more expressive with chords, especially higher up the fretboard. 

A Concert Guitar is suited to:  

As a Concert guitar is lighter and shorter, it instantly appeals to smaller players. In a sitting position, it is considerably more comfortable than a dreadnought. Especially for children and beginners. 

Concert guitars are suited towards a finger playing style or the articulate chord guitarist. A perfect choice for the musician looking to play alone. 

Dreadnought Vs Concert Acoustic: Pros n Cons

Dreadnought GuitarConcert Guitar
Louder Lighter & Shorter
Far More TransparentGreat For Fingerpicking Style/ Articulate Chord Playing
Ideal For Singer/Guitarist or BandsMore Expressive with Chord Sounds
More Depth and Low EndPerfect For Children & Beginners
Top-End Mid-Tones Much SnappierGentle Bottom End
Better Suited For The Chord StrummerVery Comfortable

Getting your ‘Value For Money’ is Important when considering purchasing a guitar.

Dreadnought Vs Concert Cost Chart

Our Product Review: Dreadnought vs Concert Acoustic Guitar

The Best Dreadnought Guitars

Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Best Entry Level Dreadnought Guitar

This stunning all-mahogany easy-to-play Fender acoustic guitar is a very popular choice for beginners.

Its design combines a solid mahogany top with a laminated back and sides (also mahogany). The Fender ‘easy to play’ neck offers a fingerboard with rolled edges to aid the child or complete novice. Both the fingerboard and bridge are made of Rosewood.

Few other competitors at this price can compete with the Fender CD-60s strength, dynamic range, and tonal brightness.

It is an excellent start for virtually any playing style for acoustic guitar. Including heavy strumming, fast-paced flatpicking, and sensitive fingerpicking.

The CD-60S mahogany back and sides create a balanced tone with an abundance of volume and midrange.

The Fender CD60s comes in sunburst, natural, and black. They really a beautiful style of guitar, and a friendly price range that is great for any starter player.

Absolutely my no.1 choice of starter dreadnoughts in the market today.

Key Features

  • Ideal for chord playing for novices and experts alike.
  • Without any adjustment, this guitar plays well right out of the box.
  • Has a beautiful look and sound quality.
  • Fender is a massive player in acoustic and electric instruments
  • A very popular choice for a reason.

The Electro-Acoustic version of this popular guitar was also reviewed by us. Take a peek The Fender CD 60SCE.

Spec

Body WoodLaminated Mahogany
TopSolid Mahogany
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss
Neck TypeSet Neck
Neck WoodMahogany
Neck ShapeFender® ‘Easy-to-Play’
Neck FinishGloss Urethane
Scale Length25.5″
FingerboardRosewood
Fingerboard Radius12″
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1.69″
Bridge TypeRosewood
Nut & SaddleCrème Plastic Nut
Tuning MachinesChrome Die-Cast
ElectronicsNone

Guild USA D-20 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar (Vintage Sunburst)

Best Standard Dreadnought Guitar

The best bang for buck dreadnought guitar you’ll find around this price tag.

With Martin leading the way, it’s difficult to fit in any other brand of guitar. With the famous Martin D-15 coming in at a similar price point, why did I add the Guild USA D-20 in its place?

Sometimes brand reputation succeeds the quality. Not always, but in this case, the Guild D-20 has a hand-fitted dovetail neck joint, which is why I preferred it.

It’s in line with the traditional American building process. There’s so much more care that goes into a guitar that’s been hand-built. Amazingly, I don’t know how Guild managed to still keep the cost down.

Everything on this model is made from mahogany, bar the rosewood fretboard/bridge, and spruce bracing. This in itself is superior to the Martin D-15.

A beautiful light satin finish really adds to the magnificent look of this vintage classic acoustic guitar.

As the build is of high quality, you’ll get a huge tone and fuller bass resonance. This is a thoroughbred dreadnought. It packs substantial power in comparison to its close competitors.

An extremely playable instrument with has a rich history. What more can you need at this price?

Key Features

  • Built way better than its price tag suggests
  • Big dark tones
  • Versatile and practical
  • Loud and balanced
  • Vintage appearance

Warning! Press play at your own risk. Beautiful tones await.

Spec

Body WoodSolid Mahogany
TopSolid Mahogany
BracingScalloped X
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishSatin Varnish
Neck WoodMahogany
Neck ShapeC
Scale Length25-5/8″
FingerboardRosewood
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-11/16″
Bridge TypeRosewood
Nut & SaddleBone
Tuning MachinesVintage Style Open-Gear w/ 20:1 Ratio
ElectronicsNone
Other FeaturesMade in California

Martin D-28 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Best Pro Dreadnought Guitar

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Martin company acoustic guitars have been the crown jewels for over eight decades. It’s difficult to say otherwise with owners ranging from The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Johhny Cash, Neil Young, just to name a few.

They’ve remained faithful to their stunning playability tone and versatility. This should give buyers confidence when considering parting with their hard-earned money. You’re assured of a well-built, traditional-sounding style acoustic guitar.

The Martin D-28 is an enhanced version of the old classics. They still seem to restore their innovation and heritage perfectly.

The new neck design comes after player demand called for it. A new slimmer oval design of neck. Wider nut width and string spacing. This makes for a much more pleasurable playing experience for the simple reason, players want more space.

You get the complete spectrum of a true Martin guitar tone. Crystal clear sustain, booming low end, high mids, and trebles that ring true.

This would make a great studio acoustic as you won’t get let down in any department of tone or projection.

Key Features

  • The classic historical acoustic guitar brand
  • Lightweight
  • Full-spectrum of sound
  • Clarity and Balance
  • Modified Low Oval Neck with High Performance Taper

Heres a helpful video, go on, you know you want to hear it!

Spec

Body Size/ShapeD-14 Fret (Dreadnought)
Body WoodSolid East Indian Rosewood
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
BracingNon-Scalloped Forward Shifted X with 5/16″ Sitka Spruce Braces
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss with Aging Toner Top
Neck TypeDovetail Joint
Neck WoodSelect Hardwood
Neck ShapeModified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length25.4″
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-11/16″
Bridge TypeEbony Modern Belly with Drop-In Saddle
Nut & SaddleBone Nut/Compensated Bone Saddle
Tuning MachinesNickel Open-Geared w/ Butterbean Knobs

Martin D-41 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

Best High End Dreadnought Guitar

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The Martin D-41 dreadnought is both elegant and traditional. Featuring breathtaking curves, using only the finest East Indian Rosewood and Sitka spruce top. Hand-carved scalloped deep bracings for guitarists who crave powerful and deep-bodied tones.

Martin dreadnought acoustics have become a standard tool for professional musicians. With players like Elvis Presley, Joni Mitchell, and Michael Hedges gracing these iconic guitars back in the day.

The neck gives the player ample room for accurate silky fingering with its 2-inch string spacing (saddle end).

This body style has sometimes been criticized for being too boomy, but not the D-41. The treble sparkles over the deep full bass. The first thing that grabs you is the richness and perfect balance in tone.

A real treat if your love is acoustic guitars. Nobody does it quite like Martin.

Key Features

  • Updated High Performance Neck Taper
  • Rich & powerful voice with exceptional clarity
  • exceptionally comfortable
  • High Build Quality

Just listen to that tone!

Spec

Body Size/ShapeD-14 Fret (Dreadnought)
Body WoodEast Indian Rosewood
TopSitka Spruce
BracingScalloped Forward Shifted X Bracing with 5/16″ Sitka Spruce Braces
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss with Aging Toner Top
Neck TypeDovetail Joint
Neck WoodGenuine Mahogany
Neck ShapeModified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length25.4″
FingerboardEbony
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-3/4″
Bridge TypeEbony Modern Belly with Drop-In Saddle
Nut & SaddleBone Nut/Compensated Bone Saddle
Tuning MachinesGold Open-Geared w/Butterbean Knobs
ElectronicsNone

The Best Concert Guitars

Yamaha AC1M Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best Entry Level Concert Acoustic

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Yamaha is a very well-known brand for manufacturing excellent affordable acoustic guitars.

The reliable Yamaha AC1M is a perfect guitar for someone looking for an entry route into playing.

A well-built, sturdy, user-friendly acoustic guitar. It boasts a warm, all-around tone that follows in the footsteps of the old school Yamaha tradition.

The neck is fashioned from African mahogany. This is a dense wood that gives off a warm superior sound. This feature alone surpasses any guitar within this price category for sure.

Rolled fingerboard edges on the tapered neck ensure total player comfort when moving up and down the fretboard.

The guitar top is made from Sitka spruce. This is the wood that’s selected on guitars on the higher end of the cost scale.

Built with the Yamaha custom-made scalloped bracing pattern. Giving the guitar a powerful yet expressive tone. Perfect for wanna-be fingerstyle players.

The Electrics consist of a three-band analog preamp. SRT Piezo pickups give you the studio-quality sound, great if you’re considering hitting the live stage.

Yamaha has a fantastic reputation for building easy-to-play friendly concert guitars. The AC1M is priced with the beginner or lower-budget guitarist in mind. A very popular choice that won’t be letting you down.

Key Features

  • Very Popular
  • Fantastic value
  • Sturdy
  • Great sounding Piezo Pickups
  • Powerful Sounding

Spec

Body Size/ShapeYamaha Concert (AC Type)
Body WoodMahogany
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
BracingScalloped
CutawayYes
Top/Body FinishGloss
Neck Wood3-Ply African Mahogany
Neck ShapeHigh Comfort Profile
Neck FinishMatte (Satin)
Scale Length25-9/16″
FingerboardRosewood
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-11/16″
Bridge TypeRosewood
Nut & SaddleUrea
Tuning MachinesDie-Cast Chrome (TM29T)
ElectronicsSYSTEM72 + SRT Piezo Pickup

Yamaha FS Red Label FS5 Concert Acoustic Guitar

Best Standard Concert Guitar

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The eye-catching FS Red Label Concert acoustic guitar captures the true aspects of the Gakki Red Label guitars from the 60s.

It features the classic V-Shaped headstock and tuning fork logo. Built from solid Sitka spruce top and solid mahogany back and side gives the player a vibrant tone and excellent projection.

The silky and comforting Concert body style offers a newcomer or lower-budgeted player a reliable guitar. The Solid mahogany side accommodates you with noteworthy bass and powerful punch tones.

Yamaha boasts the Acoustic Resonance Enhancement (A.R.E.). This feature manages heat, humidity, and atmospheric pressure to speed up the aging of the wood. This procedure delivers a rich vintage quality tone as if you’ve been playing it for decades.

The dynamic Yamaha FS Red Label FS5 provides a home player or gigging guitarist a safe versatile option that can be relied on.

Growing up, I always remember there being a Yamaha acoustic around the house. They seem to last forever, as they’re built to such a high standard. This is a real quality feature I’ve always liked.

You’ll be getting your moneys worth with The FS Red Label Yamaha.

Key Features

  • Striking semi-gloss finish
  • V-Shaped headstock
  • bass and powerful punch tones.
  • Yamaha’s Acoustic Resonance Enhancement
  • vibrant tone and excellent projection

Spec

Body Size/ShapeConcert
Body WoodSolid Mahogany
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
BracingScalloped
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishSemi-Gloss
Neck WoodAfrican Mahogany
Neck FinishMatte
Scale Length25″
FingerboardEbony
Fingerboard Radius15.75″
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width44mm
Bridge TypeEbony
Nut & SaddleBone
Tuning MachinesOpen Gear Chrome
ElectronicsNone

Martin 00-28 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar

Best Pro Standard Concert Guitar

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The Martin 00-28 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar is yet another accomplished masterpiece.

Once again, Martin shows off their legendary luthiery skill in a Concert sized guitar. A perfect combination of classic and modern manufacturing.

East Indian/Sitka spruce construction will have you dribbling at the mouth. The fretboard has a beautiful silky feel to it as you whizz up and down the neck.

An extremely comfortable small-sized concert guitar that doesn’t skip on the rich compact tones. This Martin model really characterizes the word ‘chime’.

I was surprised how this type of body shape can provide you with such rich deep lows which you should be getting from a dreadnought. If you close your eyes, you really start to question what guitar you’re playing.

The top-end shimmering tone is a joy to the ears. You cannot get this kind of attribute from any other guitar around this price. Scalloped bracing provides a nice resonance and superb projection.

The 00-28 Grand Concert is on another level. Beautifully built and sings like a bird. You wouldn’t expect anything less from the heavyweight manufacturer in acoustic guitars.

Is it time for you to shop for a Martin?

Key Features

  • East Indian/Sitka spruce construction
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Nice resonance and superb projection
  • Rich, deep lows that you should be getting from a dreadnought
  • The King of chime

Spec

Body Size/Shape00-14 Fret
Body WoodEast Indian Rosewood
TopSitka Spruce
BracingScalloped X Bracing with 1/4″ Sitka Spruce Braces
CutawayNone
Top/Body FinishGloss with Aging Toner Top
Neck TypeDovetail Joint
Neck WoodSelect Hardwood
Neck ShapeModified Low Oval with High Performance Taper
Neck FinishSatin
Scale Length24.9″
FingerboardEbony
Number Of Frets20
Nut Width1-3/4″
Bridge TypeEbony Modern Belly with Drop-In Saddle
Nut & SaddleBone Nut/Compensated Bone Saddle
Tuning MachinesNickel Open-Geared w/ Butterbean Knobs
ElectronicsNone

Taylor Guitars Builder’s Edition 912ce Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Best High End Concert Guitar

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Incomparable playability and master luthiery set this guitar apart from any other on the list.

The stunning ‘Taylor Builders Edition’ is Royalty of the Concert acoustic guitar world. For players with exquisite taste. A real treat for the guitarist looking for a first-class ride.

Crafted from top-notch rosewood and spruce. The frets are a shorter 24-7/8″ scale length. This gives you a smooth and slinky way of moving around the fretboard without having to try very hard.

Incredibly responsive to touch, while offering a surprising sustain and midrange warmth.

Handles like a true champion, exceptional and luxurious. The Taylor has a super-fast response which puts me in mind of playing an electric guitar.

An absolute joy to play due to the skill and mastery of Luthier Andy Powers.

The Taylor 912ce makes a great guitar in most genres, from rock to jazz to fingerstyle acoustic. The tonal response also translates into an easily shapeable amplified sound with the onboard ES2 electronics.

An absolute must if this beaut is in your budget range. You’ll never need another style of acoustic!

Key Features

  • Frets are a shorter
  • Incredibly responsive
  • Built from top-shelf materials
  • Exceptional and luxurious tone
  • Prime midrange warmth

Spec

Nut Width: 1 3/4”

Neck: Tropical mahogany

Fretboard: West African ebony, 24 7/8” scale

Frets: 20 (14 frets clear of body)

Tuners: Gotoh

Body: Grand Concert shape. Indian rosewood back and sides, Lutz spruce top

Bridge: West African ebony with micarta saddle

Electronics: Expression System 2

Controls: Volume, bass, treble

Weight 4.72 lbs.

Built In USA


Carefully Consider Build/Tonewood 

The quality of construction all depends on the cost of the guitar and the manufacturer behind the build. The tonewoods used in the assembly become better quality the more money you spend on the wood type.

Tonewoods all have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Authority Guitar has a helpful in-depth guide to all tonewoods here: The Ultimate Guide to Acoustic Tonewoods and How it Affects Your Tone

There are two types of wood construction that you may need to take note of:

Laminate

Laminated parts of a guitar are various layers of wood glued together. This type of construction is more affordable but doesn’t give the player the resonance and tone a solid wood body has to offer. 

A laminate build gives the guitar a tougher physique. But what you make up for in lastability, you lose in a higher caliber of sound.   

That’s not to say by any means laminate is not a good choice of soundboard material. It has the ability to stand up to various climates much better than a solid wood build. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about personal taste

Solid Wood

A ‘solid’ wood guitar is made with single cuts of wood. Some solid woods (spruce) will improve over time, giving you a better vintage tone. When the wood dries out, the resonance then becomes even better. 

In comparison, laminate wood does deteriorate over time (a long time!).

Solidly constructed guitars hold their price and may sound better. One thing to remember is; if you run into trouble and require a repair to the body. Luthiers may find solid wood harder to work with. This will obviously cost you more if it takes them longer to fix. 

If you’re going to put the money into a beautiful solid wood acoustic, it needs to be looked after with your life. 

Questions Answered

Is a Dreadnought too big?

It all depends on your arm length and hand size.

A dreadnought is the most popular size in the acoustic guitar world. My advice would be to go to your local music shop and sit with a dreadnought. See how you find the length of the fretboard and how the body sits into your middle position.

Children generally work their way up from 1/2 size. A dreadnought guitar is seen as a Full-Size guitar. Children from 10 years old start using full-sized guitars. Click our size guide here: ‘Find The Right Guitar For Kids’

Here is an approximation of Dreadnought guitar size:

Body Length: 20″

Body Depth: 4.8″

Standard Neck Size: 11/16″

Waist Width: 10-3/4″

Lower Bout Width: 15-5/8″

Are Dreadnought acoustic guitars good for beginners?

Absolutely! Dreadnoughts possess ultimate acoustic power and focus of tone due to their unique build.

If you’re looking to get into strumming chords, a dreadnought is a perfect guitar for you.

Dreadnoughts are used by singer/songwriters and live band musicians. As they carry their sound better than any other style of acoustic. The mid-range scoop is also where a vocal sits. So this fits nicely into the mix with solo artists who like to play and sing.

What does Dreadnought mean in guitars?

The Dreadnought body shape was initially presented in 1916 by Martin Guitars

The name dreadnought alludes to the shape and size of the acoustic guitar body style. A dreadnought guitar is one of the largest body shapes available.

It’s distinctive simply because it’s so popular, yet it has relatively indistinct features.

Other acoustic guitar shapes, like the grand auditorium and classical guitar, have additionally striking features, thanks to their narrow waist.

The upper and lower episodes of a dreadnought guitar are similar in size because the waist doesn’t get excessively meager

What is a Concert size guitar?

A concert guitar is slightly smaller than a dreadnought guitar. This gives the smaller hands musicians and children a chance to learn how to play the guitar without having to overstretch.

Here are some approximate concert guitar measurements:

Body length: 19.5″

Lower Bout Width: 15″

Upper Bout Width: 10″

Body Depth: 4.6″

The upper bout is the part of the guitar body that is nearest the neck.

The lower bout is the largest part of the guitar that is nearest to the string termination at the bridge.

What is the difference between a Dreadnought and Grand Auditorium body shape?

In general, a Grand Auditorium guitar has a similar body style to a dreadnought, yet the auditorium has a tighter waist.

Playability is very similar. In many ways, dreadnoughts are designed to be used with medium gauge strings and grand auditoriums, light gauge strings.

A Grand Auditorium can be ideal for a fingerstyle guitarist. If you’re looking to play lead or rhythm parts in a duo, again, the auditorium is suited better to you rather than a Dreadnought.

The dreadnought is the workhorse and backbone

Auditorium Size:

Body Length:19-3/8″

Body Depth: @ End Pin4-1/8″

Upper Bout Width: 11-1/4″

Waist Width: 9-3/16″

Lower Bout Width: 15″

 

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Through my 25 years of playing experience, I am keen to assist you in any way I can. Over the years I've spent thousands of hours messing around with gear and guitars. I still play guitar almost every day and couldn't be without it. Lee-Authority Guitar