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How To Find The Best Blues Acoustic Guitar in 2021

From neck length to construction style, guitars come in many shapes, sizes, and designs. Knowing what to look for in the small details can mean the the world when it comes to finding a Rock-ready axe.

This article is focused on getting rid of all the jargon and confusion by comparing a few options to make sure that new buyers can get the best acoustic guitar for Blues music.

Our Top 5 Best Blues Acoustic Guitars

Guitar
Gretsch G9200 Roots Boxcar Resonator
Best Value
Fender CD-60S Dreadnought
Martin 000-15M
Best Overall
Taylor Grand Auditorium 214ce Acoustic Electric
Gibson J-45 Studio Acoustic Electric
Image
Gretsch G9200 Roundneck Boxcar, Natural
Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Martin Guitar 000-15M with Gig Bag, Acoustic Guitar for the Working Musician, Mahogany Construction, Satin Finish, 000-14 Fret, and Low Oval Neck Shape
Taylor 214ce-K Grand Auditorium
Gibson J-45 Progressive Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Our Rating
4.4
4.4
4.4
4.6
4.3
Guitar
Gretsch G9200 Roots Boxcar Resonator
Image
Gretsch G9200 Roundneck Boxcar, Natural
Our Rating
4.4
Best Value
Guitar
Fender CD-60S Dreadnought
Image
Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar
Our Rating
4.4
Guitar
Martin 000-15M
Image
Martin Guitar 000-15M with Gig Bag, Acoustic Guitar for the Working Musician, Mahogany Construction, Satin Finish, 000-14 Fret, and Low Oval Neck Shape
Our Rating
4.4
Best Overall
Guitar
Taylor Grand Auditorium 214ce Acoustic Electric
Image
Taylor 214ce-K Grand Auditorium
Our Rating
4.6
Guitar
Gibson J-45 Studio Acoustic Electric
Image
Gibson J-45 Progressive Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Our Rating
4.3
Awesome looks and classic blues tones in affordable package

Neck & Body

4/5

Components

5/5

Sound

5/5

Finish

4/5

Durability

4/5

Value

4.5/5
Gretsch G9200 Boxcar Resonator Dobro
Image Credit: gretshcguitars.com
Gretsch Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.4/5

What we like

What we don't like

Gretsch G9200 Roots Boxcar Resonator Review

By far the most interesting option on the list, this Axe is a “resonator”. That large metal circle is an acoustic cone built to amplify the guitar’s volume.

This design was first used in the 30’s to make sure acoustic guitars could be heard above other band instruments before electric guitars were invented.

The combination of a Parlor-sized Mahogany body with this resonator give a classic “twang” and still maintain the deeper low-end tone.

Specs

  • Round neck
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • 25" scale length
  • Rosewood fingerboard
A professional-quality guitar at an affordable price

Neck & Body

4/5

Components

5/5

Sound

4.5/5

Finish

4/5

Durability

4/5

Value

5/5
Fender CD-60 Acoustic Guitar
Image Credit: Fender
Fender Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.4/5

What we like

What we don't like

Fender CD-60S Dreadnought Review

This Dreadnought’s all mahogany body is sure to surprise you with its warm tone. The neck is one of the best on the list and is styled to make beginners feel at home.

In addition to the great feel of the neck, it also has more frets above the body than other options which lets players reach higher notes with ease.

This guitar is the most affordable option on the list which is always good. While it doesn’t come with electronics or a case, this option is a “keeping-it-easy” solution aimed great for beginners.

Specs

  • Solid Mahogany Top with Laminated Mahogany Back and Sides
  • 25.5" scale mahogany neck w/20 fret rosewood fingerboard
  • Chrome Die-Cast Tuners
  • 12" Fingerboard Radius
  • Case Not Included
Great blues tones and Martin’s famous build quality

Neck & Body

5/5

Components

4/5

Sound

5/5

Finish

4/5

Durability

4/5

Value

4.5/5
Martin 000-15m Acoustic Guitar Review
Image Credit: martinguitar.com
Martin & Co. Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.4/5

What we like

What we don't like

Martin 000-15M Review

The Martin 000-15M is the highest-end option on this list, but that is for good reason. The design is all Mahogany, and the top is made from a solid piece of Mahogany as opposed to a split piece like other options.

It has a full-length neck with no cutaway and is an Auditorium style. Its neck is smooth and comfortable and would be perfect for the beginner to play.

However, for being the most expensive option, it still lacks an electric pickup which may a deal-breaker for some.

Specs

  • PROFESSIONAL SOUND & APPEARANCE: Martin's 000-15M acoustic guitar has a mahogany construction that delivers a lively sound with rich tonal complexity while the auditorium body style adds volume. This auditorium guitar is ideal for strumming with your fingers. It has open nickel tuners and a satin finish, making it look as captivating as it sounds.
  • GEARED FOR GIGS: This Martin Acoustic Guitar is made for working musicians. The 000-15M is completed with a simple dovetail neck joint, non-scalloped X-brace, and standard taper neck. It’s designed with an auditorium body for excellent playability and superior sound. Plus, it comes with a hard-shell matte case for easy carrying.
  • PREMIUM HANDMADE GUITARS: Handmade from the highest-quality mahogany, Martin's 15 Series guitars are built to stand up to late-night jams, long studio sessions, and plenty of strumming or picking. These solid-wood acoustic guitars deliver classic designs, professional sounds, and enjoyable playing.
  • PLAYABILITY ENHANCED: In addition to Martin's iconic tone known worldwide, our guitars deliver enhanced playability that makes playing a pleasure, no matter your experience or skill level. Whether you're playing rock, country, folk, bluegrass, or jazz, these guitars deliver a natural playing experience that you will love.
  • MARTIN 15 SERIES: Martin's superior guitar and string products remain the choice for musicians around the world for their unrivaled quality, craftsmanship, and tone. Still handmade. Still the standard. Martin guitars are the real deal—not an imitation.
High-end cutaway with slim neck, ideal for blues

Neck & Body

4.5/5

Components

4/5

Sound

5/5

Finish

4.5/5

Durability

5/5

Value

4.5/5
Taylor 214ce Acoustic Electric Blues Guitar
Image Credit: taylorguitars.com
Taylor Guitars Logo

Our Score:

4.6/5

What we like

What we don't like

Taylor Grand Auditorium 214ce Acoustic Electric Review

Made with Koa wood sides and back (similar to Mahogany) and a Spruce top, this guitar is a beautiful option.

The Auditorium style is a desirable form factor, and the cutaway near the body allows for playing all the way up the scale. The included electric pickup is a great bonus for those looking to plug into amplifiers or sound systems.

My only gripe about this guitar is the neck. It is smooth, but the shape is very different than the large rounded style most beginners prefer.

Specs

  • Shape: Grand Auditorium Number of Strings: 6 Back/Side Wood: Layered Koa Scale length: 25-1/2" Top Wood: Sitka Spruce Body Length: 20" Electronics: Expression System Body Width:16" Cutaway: Venetian Body Depth: 4-5/8" Nut and Saddle: Nubone Nut/Tusq Saddle Neck Width:1-11/16" Neck/Heel: Sapele Bracing: Forward Shifted Pattern Fretboard Wood: Ebony Fretboard Inlay: Small Diamonds Headstock Overlay: Indian Rosewood Binding: Cream<
More affordable version of the classic J-45 Standard

Neck & Body

4/5

Components

4/5

Sound

4/5

Finish

4/5

Durability

4/5

Value

5/5
Gibson J45 Studio Acoustic-Electric Guitar Review
Image Credit: gibson.com
Gibson Guitar Logo

Our Score:

4.3/5

What we like

What we don't like

Gibson J-45 Studio Acoustic Electric Review

A vintage designed option, the Gibson J-45 is a great choice for beginners. Its Dreadnought design gives this guitar a fantastic low-end sound while keeping the beautiful upper register clear due to the Walnut build.

The neck is rounded and is the most comfortable option on the list. Additionally, the automatic tuning system makes it easy for beginners to stay in tune.

While some may prefer the wonderful sound this Dreadnought produces, it is the largest option on the list and may be a struggle to handle for younger players.

Specs

  • The Gibson G Force Tuning System gives you quick access to standard and alternate tunings. The Titanium saddles allow easy string height adjustments and superior acoustic guitar intonation.
  • Active PZM Bridge plate pickup provides excellent acoustic sound reproduction and perfect for percussive acoustic playing styles. Along with a new Autumn Burst finish and an engraved truss rod cover.
  • Fingerboard edge is softened to comfortably fit the contour of the player's hand and finer grit sand paper and polishing compounds are used for a high gloss finish.

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Choosing the Best Acoustic Guitar for Blues

A Quick History of the Blues

Blues is one of the oldest genres of American music. The origins of the Blues lie in the Southern music tradition. Gospel, Jazz, Blues, and more are all branches coming from traditional Slave music. During the Reconstruction era of the late 1800’s, freed slaves started to develop old songs of captivity into the earliest forms of Blues.

While Blues legends like Howling Wolf, B.B. King, and Buddy Guy didn’t appear until the 1930s or later, there are early recordings of Blues going back to the turn of the century.

Traditionally, Blues follows the “12 Bar” structure which gives Blues its identifiable style. The guitar has always been the most popular instrument for Blues, and because electric instruments were not available during the formative years, acoustic guitars have always been the heart and soul of the Blues.

What Makes the Best Acoustic Guitars for Blues?

I should state here that there really is no such thing as a “Blues guitar” in the same way there is no “Metal guitar”. The sounds of different guitars were popularized by the artists that played them. For many, the greatest Blues player is B.B. King whose guitar, Lucille, was a series of different Gibson guitars like the ES-345-355.

In reality, Blues has been shaped by a variety of different tones and guitar styles. Thankfully, there are many options available for a great Blues tone. Any guitar that is not too bright or chime-y with good mid-range will produce the tone we are looking for.

For electric guitars, the sound they make comes mainly from the pickups and the amplifier being used. Acoustics get most of their tone from the shape of the body and the construction materials. Since many of the old Blues players played exclusively on acoustics, the warm sound they produce is a nice fit for Blues.

How do I Know Which Guitar Works for Me?

Finding the right acoustic guitar for blues comes down to two things: size and purpose.

Acoustic Guitar Sizes
Image Credit: Larry Jacobsen

Guitars do come in a variety of sizes that make a big difference in how they sound and how they feel. A full-size guitar is considered a 1:1 model. This is the size most adult players prefer. The sound they produce will usually project farther, have more low-end tone, and have the largest neck and frets.

Most of the acoustic guitars on this list are full-size, but there are other options. For younger players or those with smaller hands, a 15:16 model may be better. Often called “Parlor” guitars, this version is slightly smaller than a full-size but still maintains the same shape and characteristics. The differences compared to a full-size model only lie in the low-end tone.

Smaller still is a 3:4 model guitar. These are usually marketed as children’s guitars but are playable for adults. Smaller frets and body make this style quieter and easier to play.

The next thing to consider is your purpose when you play. Different guitars have different specs like electric pickups that plug into amplifiers, built-in tuners, and other small differences. You will know best what you intend to do with your guitar. For those wanting a guitar to learn on, it is good to focus on a large, rounded neck; this style is usually the most comfortable.

Players looking to take their skills to the local open mic or record may want an acoustic guitar that features built-in pickups. These can be installed in any guitar if they do not come stock. I don’t recommend butchering your prized acoustic guitar but it may be an option to consider.

Important Features to Consider in an Acoustic Blues Guitar

When picking an acoustic blues guitar, it is important to look at the body shape and construction materials.

Body Shape

Body shapes for guitars vary greatly, but acoustics come in four main styles: Dreadnought, Parlor, Auditorium, and Concert.

Dreadnought

Dreadnought is the most common and features a large body with gentle curves. This design has the most low-end tone and is the loudest.

Auditorium

Auditorium-style guitars are similar but have sharper curves on the sides of the body. This preserves the low-end tone while making for a smaller, more manageable guitar.

Concert

Concert guitars are the same shape as Auditorium but with a smaller overall body.

Parlor

Last is the Parlor guitar which has the smallest body. While it lacks the low-end of other styles, it still maintains a warm and present tone which is essential for the blues.

You will also want to consider whether the guitar has a cutaway. This is small removal of the body near the connection to the neck. Without it, playing songs that use frets beyond the body can be difficult.

Tone wood and other Materials

Aside from the shape, the construction materials give acoustic guitars their sound. Common woods are Spruce, Maple, Rosewood, and Mahogany. Knowing what a guitar is made of will give you a picture of its tone without ever picking it up.

Rosewood and Spruce offer a higher-end shimmer to a guitar’s tone while Maple and Mahogany absorb more of the tone and bring a mid-range flair to your playing. Most guitars are made with a combination of woods, but the top and sides of the body will have the largest effect on how the guitar sounds.

Our Top-rated Acoustic Blues Guitars

Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Our pick for the best acoustic guitar for blues

Top Rated

After comparing these blues guitar options, you will have to choose what is right for you based on your needs. For my money, the top-rated Taylor Grand Auditorium 214ce is the best acoustic blues option from this list.

First off, this guitar’s construction gives it unusual qualities. Koa wood is not as common as other types, but it does offer the same warm sound of Mahogany. The Spruce top is really what makes the difference. The feeling of notes reverberating flows off the wood and into your fingers as you play. While the neck took a little break-in time, I soon found myself adjusting just fine to the different style.

With its included case and electronics, this guitar is a good value. Being able to take this guitar out of the bedroom and down to the open mic is a great option you may want down the road (or now)!

So, there you have it. All five guitars are great options for acoustic blues guitarists. that offer that traditional Blues tone, but the Taylor is the best blues acoustic guitar.