Dreadnought vs Concert: Which is a Better Acoustic Guitar Variant?

By Jodie Chiffey | Acoustic Guitars

Last Updated on

When you search for top-rated acoustics guitars online, the Dreadnought vs. Concert comparison is something you’ll undoubtedly find. Both Dreadnought and Concert are best-selling acoustic guitars, and the competition is neck and neck. In fact, the Dreadnought vs. Concert debate has been going on for years now. So, if you’re an acoustic guitar enthusiast who isn’t familiar with either of them, you’ll probably have a lot of questions.

Many acoustic guitar beginners often pick Dreadnought because it’s a more common size on the market available at different prices. That’s just because Dreadnought is a little louder than a small guitar in a majority of the cases. And, because of this, a budget-friendly Dreadnought with an all-laminate body can sound great to the guitar newbies. So, if the volume is your only concern, a Dreadnought can be a good option. On the other hand, the volume of Concert is lower, but it is more comfortable to hold and play.

Over the past few months, we’ve received several queries about the difference between Dreadnought and Concert. Before we move to the in-depth comparison, we would like to applaud those of you who asked this question as it means you’re doing some excellent research on different types of guitars based on their sizes.

To help you select the best acoustic guitar out of the two options, our guitar experts performed thorough hands-on testing of both the products and read through thousands of reviews from existing customers to understand their experiences with both the guitar. Read on to know more about Dreadnought and Concert.

Dreadnought vs Concert – All you need to know

acoustic guitar

Acoustic guitars are available in a variety of shapes and sizes; however, almost all manufacturers tend to categorize them into types based on design, size, and usage. Exact specifications and sizes can vary from manufacturer to manufacture, so there are no rules you can rely on.

While there are several other acoustic guitar styles such as Jumbo and Parlor, this comparison will focus on Dreadnought and Concert variations.

Dreadnought and Concert – An overview

Dreadnought

The Dreadnought variant was proposed and designed by C.F. Martin and Company in 1916. It is larger, bolder, and louder than small acoustic guitars that were played back then. You can sense the sturdiness in the name, which has been taken from HMS Dreadnought – a giant, contemporary gunship launched in 1906. The Dreadnought quickly gained popularity among acoustic guitar players and is one of the most sought-after acoustic guitar variants on the market. It is commonly used for playing rock, country, blues, and bluegrass.

The Dreadnought is so loud and powerful that it is capable of competing with an electric band without any additional support. The appearance is a bit bigger to achieve sufficient projection. Along with punch and power, a Dreadnought usually produces sharp lows and mids for a comprehensive sound that forms gigantic chords and highs to bluegrass runs.

Classic examples of Dreadnought guitars

Concert

The Concert comes with a narrower body, deeper waste, and shoulders that are smaller than the lower body. Concert’s body style is completely different from that of Dreadnought. The compact size of Concert makes it ideal for fingerstyle acoustic guitar playing.

The waist of Concert is more pronounced, which leads to crisp overtones and a harmonically lighter delivery. When compared to Dreadnought, the bass presence of Concert is reduced, and it favors crispier highs and mids.

Classic examples of Concert guitars

Body style

Here’s a quick overview of the basic dimensions of Dreadnought and Concert:

Dreadnought

Concert

Body length (approx.)

20 inches

19.5 inches

Width of lower bout (approx.)

15.6 inches

15 inches

Width of upper bout (approx.)

11.5 inches

10 inches

Body depth (approx.)

4.8 inches

4.6 inches

As already mentioned above, Dreadnought has a deep body, broader waist, and a relatively narrower upper bout. It is typically marked by squarish shoulders and bottom. Therefore, it can be a little challenging for smaller people to hold a Dreadnought guitar comfortably. All in all, the body style of Dreadnought is iconic as it is larger and broader than all other types of acoustic guitars on the market.

The Concert is marked by a smaller body and is more comfortable to play due to its compact size. The shape of Concert resembles the shape of classical guitars, with well-defined curves.

Tone

The Dreadnought guitars are designed in a way that maximizes projection and volume. The curves are subtler, and it comes with a bold, complete, and deep tone that makes it perfect for finger playing as well as strumming.

The size and curves of Concert provide acoustic guitar players with a properly balanced mid-range tone with excellent clarity that makes Concert more versatile than all other types of acoustic guitars on the market.

Usage

Dreadnought guitars are suitable for singers and songwriters, or anyone who’s specifically looking for a complete sound with a powerful lower end.

Since the body of Concert is smaller and easier to handle than Dreadnought, it’s much more convenient to hold while playing, especially for guitar players who are younger and smaller. Due to its convenient body shape and versatility, concert guitars are popular for new beginner acoustic guitar players.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Dreadnought

More volume

More resonance

Available in different price-ranges

Maximum projection

Deeper tone

Suitable for finger playing and strumming

Can be difficult to hold and play for smaller people

Finger-style playing can sometimes lead to a more noticeable, sometimes crushing bass

Concert

Comfortable to hold and play

Best for beginners

Provides smooth response from low to high strings

Used by several skilled finger players

Less volume

Does not provide enough amplification for keeping up with the other instruments in a band

Fewer models on the market

Popular models

Now that you’ve understood the basic difference between Dreadnought and Concert acoustic guitars, let’s look at some top models belonging to each category.

Dreadnought

Fender FA-100 Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar

General specifications:

Product dimensions

43 x 7 x 17 inches

Body material

Laminated wood

Back material

Agathis

Fretboard material

Rosewood

Number of strings

6

Top material

Spruce

Model no.

0971110406

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Price

$179.99

Product overview:

If you’re looking for a Dreadnought acoustic guitar with great value and powerful sound, Fender FA-100 can be a good option. It is a rich-sounding Dreadnought guitar with ample resonance and a unique Fender headstock outline. The 20-fret fingerboard made of hardwood allows you to play the guitar smoothly with your fingers.

The full-size Dreadnought avatar provides a complete, vibrant tone that is suitable for all types of music. Other striking features of Fender FA-100 include a rosewood bridge with synthetic bone saddle, chrome hardware, and a frontward strap control with internal block support. The spruce wood construction is solid and can support hard strumming.

Fender FA-100 is suitable for both left-handed and right-handed guitar players.

Pros and cons: 

Pros

Cons

Value for money

Occasional buzzing

High-quality body material

Some customers have mentioned that the sound is inconsistent

Perfect for beginners

Oscar Schmidt OG2

General specifications:

Product dimensions

47 x 22 x 6 inches

Body material

Laminated wood

Back material

Catalpa

Fretboard material

Rosewood

Number of strings

6

Top material

Spruce

Model no.

OG2WH

Rating

3.9 out of 5 stars

Price

$129.99

Product overview

The OG2 is one of the finest acoustic guitar manufactured by Oscar Schmidt. It’s not an average acoustic guitar, it’s backed by experience and thorough testing before launching the product into the market.

The deep shape of the guitar provides excellent acoustic resonance and a variety of tones for experimentation. The body comes with a remarkable glossy finish adding life to the white body. The neck is made of high-quality mahogany. The fingerboard made of rosewood is equipped with 20 frets and inlays made of white dots. OG2’s headstock comprises the manufacturer’s logo and 6 diecast turners with a chrome finish holding 6 strings.

When it comes to sound, OG2 is a marvel for its price. We compared it to different dreadnought acoustic guitars in the same range and did not notice any change in the results. OG2 can be a great pick for beginners. The instrument can be your best companion to get your acoustic guitar journey started.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Affordable

Does not provide a very crispy sound

Looks stunning

Missing top scrap screw on the neck of the guitar to play while standing

Great resonance

Consistent sound

Stays tuned

Martin D-16GT

General specifications

Product dimensions

47.24 x 20.47 x 9.25 inches

Body material

Spruce

Back material

Mahogany

Fretboard material

Rosewood

Number of strings

6

Top material

Spruce

Model no.

D-16GT

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Price

$1499

Product review

Martin D-16GT is a high-end Dreadnought guitar under $1500. It is a part of the Martin 16 Series. The guitar is designed in a way that makes it unique from its competitors in a similar price range. The classic Dreadnought shape defines elegance. Unlike the other high-end Dreadnought guitars by Martin, D-16GT comes with minimal detailing such as a beautiful polished gloss finish, black Boltaron binding all over the body, and the lined herringbone emblem. The neck looks beautiful with a satin finish and slightly oval shape.

Martin has used environmental-friendly materials to manufacture D-16GT. The product is highly durable and sturdy. The fretboard made of Richlite comprises 20 frets with plain dot inlays. D-16GT’s sound is impressive and it delivers a booming low-end while strumming. Even with such emphasized bass, the product remains articulate and warm throughout. All in all, Martin D-16GT features bold projection and is versatile.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Consistent sound and resonance

Very expensive

Clear audio

Classy and elegant look

Stays tuned

Suitable for expert acoustic guitar players

Versatile

Concert

Breedlove SOLO Concert

General specifications

Product dimensions

45.98 x 19.01 x 7.99 inches

Body material

Laminated Wood

Back material

Mahogany

Fretboard material

Rosewood

Number of strings

6

Top material

Solid Red Cedar

Model no.

SOLO CONCERT

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Price

$789

Product review

Breedlove is popular among acoustic guitar players for producing some of the most powerful acoustic guitars at affordable prices. The Solo Concert is an avant-garde acoustic guitar with some incredible power-enhancing features.

Breedlove Solo comes with a unique design that comprises a second sound hole added to provide guitarist an opportunity to hear what they’re audiences are hearing. In no way does the additional hole hamper the resonance or distort the sound. The overall set-up is excellent, and the craftsmanship is ace level.

Since Breedlove has used solid cedar and rosewood in the body, you’ll observe a darker tone with a woody and warm delivery. However, it’s properly defined across the highs and lows. Being a Concert guitar, it’s less powerful than Dreadnought acoustic guitars. So, if you want a more powerful sound, you’ll have to add an amp as and when you need.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Solid build

The sound is not as powerful as Dreadnought

Clean appearance with pleasing aesthetics

Comfortable to handle

Nice tones

Good resonance

Value for money

Oscar Schmidt OU5

General specifications

Product dimensions

Body material

Laminated Hawaiian Koa

Back material

Mahogany

Fretboard material

Rosewood

Number of strings

6

Top material

Laminated Hawaiian Koa

Model no.

OU5

Rating

5 out of 5 stars

Price

$169.95

Product review

OU5 is another budget-friendly, high-quality Concert acoustic guitar with a sturdy build. It is a popular 4-string or ukulele model under $200.

OU5’s design is eye-catching and comprises elegant detailing with minimal distractions. The cream borders of the guitar add protection and provide it with a classy look. The Concert-sized body is made of laminated Hawaiian Koa and glossy touch. The rosewood fretboard comprises 16 frets. Overall, in terms of design and build, the guitar is solid.

When it comes to sound, OU5 offers a bright yet balanced tone, with enough crispiness and the symbolic ukulele jingle. It’s not the loudest Concert guitar you’ll come across, but the projection is pretty decent. So, whether you’re an acoustic newbie, an intermediate, or expert, you’ll find OU5 extremely useful and comfortable to hold and play.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Well-placed frets

Tone sustenance is low

Clear sound in the low-sound range

Needs regular re-tuning

Plays like a solid wood instrument

Some minor flaws in the inlays and finishing have been reported

Easy to tune

Sounds better than several expensive ukuleles on the market

Comes with a pleasant and soft mellow tone

Great projection

Martin LX1 Little Martin

General specifications

Product dimensions

39 x 18 x 7 inches

Body material

Spruce, Mahogany

Back material

Mahogany

Fretboard material

Rosewood

Number of strings

6

Top material

Sitka Spruce

Model no.

LX1

Rating

4.2 out of 5 stars

Price

$349

Product review

Whether you’re an ace level guitar player with smaller hands or a parent looking for a good-quality Concert-sized acoustic guitar for your kid, the Little Martin is all you need. It is one of the best Concert guitars in terms of sound, quality, and feel. Moreover, it’s affordable.

As the name suggests, it is the smallest Martin guitar with a sturdy build and non-cutaway body. All in all, the Little Martin sounds great, looks good, and stays in tune. Due to its compact size, the tone and projection do not match with the bold projection and great tone provided by Martin Dreadnought. Nevertheless, for small performances and practice sessions, Martin LX1 can be a suitable choice. It comes with a satisfying warmth and a balanced tone.

Pros and cons

Pros

Cons

Value for money

Some existing customers have mentioned that the product is a little austere

Suitable for players with small hands and kids

Can be conveniently carried and stored

Solid build

Good sound

Warm tones

Decent projection

Dreadnought vs. Concert – Which is Right for You?

Now that you know the differences between Dreadnought and Concert, you can pick the best option based on your requirement and usage. However, if you get into more details, you’ll also have choices between the solid top or laminate top, 6 or 4 strings, finishes, colors, cutaways, and no cutaways, and a lot more.

Hopefully, the products we’ve listed in the last section of the comparison guide will provide you with some ammunition to decide on the best Dreadnought or Concert guitar for your performance or practice sessions. Our personal favorites are Fender FA-100 and Oscar Schmidt OU5. Both products are value for money and versatile in their respective categories.

We hope you found our Dreadnought vs. Concert guide useful. If there are any more products that you would like us to compare, please let us know, and we’ll help you.

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