Acoustic Guitar Types:
This is the guitar that comes to mind when most people think “guitar”. Sometimes called a Western guitar, the Dreadnought is a big instrument with a full sound and a lot of bass! Dreadnoughts are loud guitars designed to accompany singers or fit into a wide range of musical styles, so this is the “right” guitar for the average player.
The 12-String Dreadnought is similar in construction and styling to the six-string guitar. Although it has twice as many strings, they just work in pairs tuned to the same notes. This is not recommended for a beginner guitarist, but it makes for a great second guitar and even for a nice change up when mixed into performances occasionally. Getting an inexpensive 12-string is not advised, as there is not much tension that the bridges normally pull up, especially here in Connecticut due to our low winter temperatures and lack of humidity – our 12-strings absolutely need humidifiers in New England to get through the season!
The term “parlor guitar” dates back to the days before recorded music, when entertainment was conducted live and often in the parlors of those lucky enough to have one. Today the term describes a size and style of guitar that have smaller bodies than dreadnoughts and, often, even smaller than classical guitars. Contrary to popular assumption, the reduced size isn’t intended to accommodate smaller players, but instead to provide for a more even-frequency response – so the bass, treble and all frequencies in-between are all the same volume, and this style of guitar doesn’t get overwhelmed with too much bass to its sound.
Classical guitars are characterized by the use of nylon strings (in the old days, it was cat gut!) Typically these instruments have a wide neck and a very flat fingerboard. This style is best suited for classical pieces of music, and it’s best to stick to steel strings for most popular styles – but if someone prefers the sound they should feel free to go for it!
Jumbo guitars are designed to be loud and full of bass, in contrast to a parlor style guitar in particular. It’s basically similar in function and use to the dreadnought – they’re great guitars if well made, but in some situations the mid-frequencies get lost and overpowered by the bass.
See you next time!