Let me guess:
You’ve read my articles on topics such as buying your first acoustic guitar and choosing different types, sizes, and shapes.
But now, you want a guitar for a certain genre of music: Bluegrass.
While you could just go online and pick a random model, there are some important factors you should consider.
As you finish reading this article, you will be able to find just the right acoustic guitar that’s suitable for playing bluegrass and similar genres.
From size and shape, to tonewood choice and other features, we will go over the basics together!
So, let’s get right into it!
Top 5 Guitars That Bluegrass Players Should Consider
1.Rogue RA-0902.Martin LXK2 Little Martin3.Ibanez AW54CEOPN4.Yamaha FG8205.Blueridge BR-140
What Exactly Is Bluegrass?
In order to really understand the genre, and to be able to know what you’re looking for, let’s take a closer look at Bluegrass itself.
Bluegrass is a musical genre, or form, closely related to country music, that is heavily influenced by the music of Appalachia.
This musical genre combines numerous different types of music and has various roots, such as English, Irish and Scottish.
Most Bluegrass bands use instruments such as a fiddle, banjo, mandolin, an acoustic guitar and double bass.
In order to fully grasp this genre, you should definitely check out some of the many bluegrass artists you can find on YouTube.
The bottom line is this:
Bluegrass sounds relatively similar to country music. Sometimes, musicians in a bluegrass band take turns playing a certain melody, each having time to improvise around it and showing off their skill.
What Makes a Certain Model of Guitar Good for Bluegrass?
So, you now have at least a rough idea of what Bluegrass is, and how it sounds.
But what does an acoustic guitar need for this genre?
While you could play pretty much any genre with a suitable instrument, there still are a couple of things that can make you stand out, and generally speaking, make the whole deal much easier.
Being able to bring that unique tone and feel to the songs you’re playing is sometimes crucial for genres like Bluegrass, which rely slightly more on the details than the actual technique.
- Body Shape And Size – Comfort Is Your Priority
As we’ve already discussed in detail, whenever you’re picking a new instrument for yourself, comfort and playability are your priority.
Depending on the size of your hands and your overall build, certain body shapes and sizes just feel better and more playable.
In terms of Bluegrass, you’re looking for a couple of crucial things:
Most Bluegrass guitarists prefer a Dreadnought design.
Unless you are on the smaller side, getting a Dreadnought is a great idea.
This body shape makes for great volume, as well as the sharp sound, rich in “twang”.
Don’t go out of your way if this size doesn’t feel comfortable however, as learning to play will be much harder, and you don’t want to get frustrated before you’ve even started playing!
Besides the actual size and shape, there is one more thing to have in mind when buying a bluegrass guitar, in terms of the body.
Flattop means that the top surface, where the strings are, is flat.
Unlike archtop guitars, which have a, you guessed it, arched top, a flattop guitar is more comfortable for this genre, and provides a more friendly environment, especially for newbie guitarists.
- Go With Steel Strings For That Special “Twang”!
Probably the first thing you notice when you play a country or bluegrass song is the sharp tone of the guitar.
In order to achieve that retro and unique sound, you should only look for acoustic guitars with steel strings.
You’ve learned by now that steel and nylon string guitars only support that one type of strings, so choose carefully!
- Tonewood Choice – Spruce Is Your Safest Bet!
So, we’re looking for that treble- rich, bright sound. What type of tonewood do we choose for that?
Mahogany is very common amongst the models many bluegrass guitarists go for.
It offers a warm sound, while still providing very clear and bright highs. With less bass, it’s great for this type of music.
Rosewood, on the other hand, offers more in terms of the low end. Some guitarists prefer this sound over the one that Mahogany has.
However, Spruce is my personal favorite, and I think that the traits it brings to the tone are perfect for beginner guitarists. It offers loads of sustain and resonance, while still having that natural and balanced sound.
So, if you don’t feel like experimenting much, Spruce is definitely a great choice!
My Reviews Of The Best Guitars For Bluegrass!