What Is A Dreadnought Guitar (And Other Things You Need To Know)

By Monica | News

Aug 14
what is a dreadnought guitar

If you have been into guitar lately, you might have realized that it has different variants. Most of the time, the variations are commonly found on acoustic guitars. For example, we have the classical instruments and the Flamenco. Moreover, you might have at least hear the term dreadnought while you are casually browsing on your local guitar stores.

What is a dreadnought guitar? It is a question that can baffle even those that have been playing the guitar for quite a time already. You wouldn't encounter this terminology unless you immersed yourself in the world of guitars. Fortunately, it is not a difficult thing to understand. In fact, this guitar jargon is actually a basic concept that every player should know.

In this article, we will elaborate the meaning of a dreadnought. Trust us. It is not as dreary as what you think.


What is a Dreadnought Guitar

Dreadnought Guitar

In layman's definition, a dreadnought is actually a type of guitar shape or size. Specifically, this body type is convincingly large. Moreover, the waist that it has is seemingly indistinct and unconventional. Unlike the other types of acoustic guitars, the lower and upper bouts of a dreadnought guitar shares almost similar width.

For now, we can say that the dreadnought is one of the largest guitar models. The only variant that exceeds its body size is the jumbo acoustic guitar. But despite this, the waist of a jumbo guitar is inexplicably narrow.

Why it is Called Dreadnought

Technically speaking, the term dreadnought has been derived from an iconic battleship. For history and naval geeks out there, you probably have guessed the name of the ship. But for those that are still oblivious, the name of the battleship is HMS Dreadnought. But why would they take its name and attach to a guitar shape?

This particular battleship is famous due its large cannons and guns. Its possession of heavy-gauged arsenals made it unique during its time. No other naval ships were able to match its design and firing power.

When dreadnought guitars were first released on the market, people immediately remembered the HMS Dreadnought. Of course, it is pretty natural, as the body size of this guitar is way different than its typical acoustic counterparts.

The Dreadnought Guitar Today

By all means, the dreadnought guitar is still new to the industry. But its popularity has constantly been growing, as the need for musical innovation is consistently growing. Specifically, this type of guitar is used by those who love to create deep and low frequencies. It is also good for a variety of picking styles. Despite this, a dreadnought still displays an excellent performance in balancing the overall tonal quality. You can still guarantee that the low frequencies will never get muddy.

At some point, we could say that the dreadnought guitar has reached its pinnacle. But sooner, it was replaced by the guitars Grand Performance and Grand Auditorium. They are slightly smaller than the dreadnought, but their waist is more defined than the latter. This particular nuance might make these Grand guitars a preferable choice for many guitar players.

Of course, dreadnought guitars are still widely manufactured today. Many guitar manufacturers are still fond of creating them due to their unique quality. You can even see some famous players who are using this type of acoustic guitar.

The Sound of a Dreadnought

Because of its large body, a dreadnought guitar can create strong and loud sounds. It has a huge soundboard which results in the production of sound vibrations. The greater the guitar's vibration, the higher its volume can get.

This boomy characteristic of dreadnought guitars makes it as an ideal choice for genres like country, pop, and rock. You will certainly improve the presence in the mix if you are using a large-sounding guitar like a dreadnought!

Is a Dreadnought Guitar Playable

However, there are some issues when it comes to its playability. Considering its huge size, many players are having a hard time on playing time. It might become uncomfortable on your part to play this instrument, especially when you are sitting. This is due to its undefined waist. But of course, you can still adapt to this minor setback.

On the other hand, guitar players with small hands will certainly struggle on them. If you are among them, we recommend that you should invest on guitars intended for players with small hands and body frame.

It is also notable that dreadnought guitars have a narrow neck. In the market today, the common neck size of dreadnought guitars are around 43mm. Meanwhile, their Grand counterparts have a neck size of 44mm. That's only a 1-mm of difference.

This particular design will allow you to do flatpicking easily. Meanwhile, those guitars that have wide necks are ideal for fingerpicking. If your aim is to master the art of fingerpicking, a dreadnought guitar is not the best choice for you. In practice, guitars with narrow necks are the appropriate choice for players with small hands.

Well, we have seen dreadnought guitars that have slightly wide necks. If you are really interested in trying out this instrument, you better get those units. They might be the most comfortable options for you.

Check out this video on how to choose Dreadnought Guitar tips:


A dreadnought guitar is actually a good instrument to invest, especially if you want to improve your versatility in playing. Since this guitar has a different design and sounding compared to conventional acoustic guitars, it is really a unique choice.

There are a lot of sounds that you can explore with the use of a dreadnought guitar. As long as you have mastered the basics of the guitar, playing the dreadnought would not be that difficult on your part. But of course, it will just depend on your preference and playing style. Therefore, you should think first before you will venture on this instrument.

We hope that this article has helped you understand a dreadnought acoustic guitar. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestion, just feel free to leave them in the box below!


About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!