Your Instrumental Corner

Different Shapes of Acoustic Guitars

Can you imagine the world without acoustic guitars? I, personally, cannot, since they are such an integral part of any kind of music. They have been around for quite a while now and have changed a lot since the development of their first representatives. With this changes came the versatility, nowadays you can purchase all sorts of bodies, sizes and shapes. This article will discuss different types of acoustic guitars that vary according the sound they produce (For specific model reviews click here). Knowing what is what is crucially important, since it determines which one will be best suitable for your music and playing techniques. Let’s dig deep and find out what the world of acoustic guitars has stored for us.

Classical Guitar

Classical guitar is a sort of an acoustic guitar. It is often referred as Spanish guitar, concert guitar or nylon-string guitar. The latter is due to the nature of this instrument: typically, it is used with nylon strings and is designed for such kind of utilization. It has twelve frats and is played in a sitting position, which is represented in all the cuts and curves. Classical guitars can be used with any musical style and genre. They are very useful for finger picking and can be employed for strumming as well.


Dreadnought is the most ubiquitous out of all the shapes. What defines this type of guitar is its square, straight shoulders and the body that does not have deep curves. It was first developed by C.F. Martin in 1916. Dreadnought is huge in size and produces louder, more defined sound compared to others. This shape is particularly suitable for Bluegrass and Country players, however, it can be used in any way imaginable. Dreadnought requires more aggressive approach due to its bulky design. It needs to be strummed harder because of the massive soundboard. Dreadnought is the chosen one for many guitarists since it emphasizes bass frequencies, lets the mids shine and offers tremendous highs.


Parlor guitars catching on more and more these days. They have unique sound properties that make them stand out in the crowd. Due to smaller body and more compact design, Parlor guitars are very popular among those musicians, who are always on the road. This type of guitar is good for fingerpicking and will be a lifesaver for solo artists. However, with the right skills, Parlor guitars will shine even with the band.


At first glance, this bad boy might seem identical to Dreadnought, but the truth is they are far cry from each other. Auditorium has square shoulders Auditoriumjust like the aforementioned fella, but it has deeper curves that accentuate its hourglass shape. This shape of acoustic guitars offers high volume along with perfectly balanced sound. Unlike Dreadnought, that must be strummed hard as hell, Auditorium can be played lightly with the same results. If you want to grasp fully what I am talking about, just listen to Eric Clapton or hold this baby and check it out yourself!


Jumbo was developed in 1937 by Gibson. This shape of the guitar is particularly useful for those who like playing in the sitting positions. It has rounder shoulders than Dreadnought and deeper curves that will hug your laps. What makes Jumbo so special is its volume. It is among the loudest guitars, has the largest sound cavity among all the shapes and will make your ears bleed (in a good way). Jumbo is great for both strumming and fingerpicking and produces sound with defined bass, as well as deep bottom end. If you are looking for something that will smash your windows, you should definitely check this one out.

Steel Guitar

Steel guitar is a Hawaiian acoustic guitar developed by Joseph Kekuku sometime between 19th and 20th centuries. In my book, it has the strangest shape among the acoustic guitars we have mentioned.  Steel guitars are typically played horizontally by plucking the strings with one hand and changing the pitch with the other (using a slide or a metal bar). If you are adventurous and are looking for something unique and different, you should get your hands on this shape.

This article covers some of the acoustic guitar shapes existing on the market. There are a lot more, but I tried to discuss the ones that are the most common. These shapes have an impact on the overall sound and will change the way you perceive your performance. Contemplate on your playing style, the message you want to deliver and the goal you want to achieve. Pick out your preferred shape after. I would recommend trying out all of them, because who knows which one will speak to you the most (it might even be the one you would not think about)! Good luck on your journey to the world of acoustic heaven!

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