Common Types of Acoustic Guitars


The most popular body style – the dreadnought – is big and bold, with a solid response throughout its range. It's popular in bluegrass flat-picking, folk, jazz, and more.



Parlor models are small-scale, ideal for smaller players or those who want to transport their instruments easily. Generally, they don't produce as much sound but can make sweet beautiful tones.



If you're playing straight acoustic (no electronics) and want the absolute most sound, the jumbo is the way to go. The trade-off is that this guitar is, well, jumbo – uncomfortably large for some players. Gibson, better known for its electrics, is a leading producer of jumbo body styles.


Similar but more refined than the dreadnought, the auditorium body style smooths out the frequency response, producing something much more even – perfect for the concert hall or auditorium stage. The shape of the auditorium is a deeper curve inward that also helps the instrument sit closer to the leg when seated.

Grand Auditorium

This body style is similar to the auditorium but more prominent. It looks closer to a dreadnought but with a "fat bottom." You'll get a ton of balanced volume, but this is a big guitar. Also, both sizes of auditorium body styles tend to be reserved for higher price points.


The classical body style has numerous distinctions, from the tuning mechanism to the body shape to the strings themselves (nylon rather than steel). This body style won't be your primary instrument unless you study classical techniques.

What Should you Consider When Choosing an Acoustic Guitar?

While considering the different types of acoustic guitars, there are three elements that are the most important. First, you need to determine what stage of player you are and what market you're in. The best acoustic guitar for beginners and the best high-end acoustic guitars will differ in price, feature set, and more.

Beyond determining what kind of player you are, you must be aware of two primary factors as you make your decision – body style and tonewood.


Body Style

Are you playing unamplified and looking for the loudest, most present sound? Or are you a smaller player looking for something easier to wrap your arms around?


The most affordable starter guitars are dreadnought body styles. A good quality dreadnought produces a beefy and beautiful tone.



The tonewood of a guitar has a definite effect on the sound. Acoustic guitars can be made from mahogany, spruce tops, rosewood backs, and more. Some unique acoustic guitars and many custom acoustic guitars also incorporate more exotic woods.


Sitka spruce is the most common tonewood for acoustic guitars and tends to have a more substantial fundamental presence. Classical guitars tend to favor cedar, which you can also find in some steel-string acoustic guitars.


The tonal differences between tonewoods can be hard to describe verbally, and numerous other aspects of every guitar will also affect the sound. Tonewood variations are best experienced in person.

Which is the Best Acoustic Guitar for Beginners?

At Brian's Guitars, we offer a wide range of collections, including some acoustic guitars that would be excellent instruments for a beginner who's serious about studying the instrument. You won't find any bargain-basement guitars here – every acoustic guitar we sell, new or used, is a high-quality acoustic guitar.


For beginners or even early intermediate players looking to upgrade from their Amazon model, we recommend the Paul Reed Smith SE P20E or one of several lower-end Taylors that we carry.

How Much Do Acoustic Guitars Cost?

Acoustic guitars range widely in price. You can find bargain-basement cheap guitars for $100-$200, but these will universally disappoint. A decent starter acoustic guitar might run you between $300 and $650, while professional acoustic guitars and custom acoustic guitars can sell well north of $10,000. Specific vintage acoustic guitar models that are highly sought after can sell for more than $10,000.


Most players looking for a quality instrument can find one in the $1,000-$2,000 range. That might be more than a beginner would pay, but it's appropriate for a good-quality acoustic guitar.

See what's new at Brian's Guitars, or browse our selection of used high-quality acoustic guitars.

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