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From the deep south of the US back in the 19th century, Blues music has stuck around as a strong, influential type of music, even today. If you were to ask anyone on the street, they might say that the Blues is normally played with an electric guitar—which is true. However, the acoustic guitar is what started it all.
When shopping for the best blues acoustic guitar, make sure you consider its size. Depending on your needs, you’ll need to get a guitar that is either travel-sized or one that projects well in large venues. Do not overlook the top material, as it transmits and amplifies the sound of a guitar, so a spruce or red cedar should be your go-to choice. We looked at 43 different models and rounded up our 9 top picks, and the Taylor 214ce DLX turned out to be the best overall.
Morefeatures: grand auditorium body, expression system-2 pickup and preamp
The Taylor 214ce DLX is a great acoustic guitar—especially if you’re looking to play the blues. With its solid Sitka spruce top wood, you’ll definitely get that sounds you’ve been looking for.
Since it is designed with Indian rosewood on its back and on its sides, it is durable, yet affordable, delivering a rich tone with a finality to it. The neck of the Taylor 214ce DLX is a patented Taylor neck, and it allows for a very comfortable playing experience in the hands of the user. Especially if you are comparing it with other acoustic guitars on the market, the Taylor 214ce DLX is one of the most comfortable guitars to handle—even if we’ve already labeled it as our editor’s choice.
With its soft, round lines of the Venetian cutaway, this guitar has a great shape for a sloping peak and pristine sound.
The Taylor 214ce DLX also has an Expression System 2 pickup and preamp, which can really get you ready to play any type of sound and song. The natural sound of this guitar has a lot of depth and quality with its auditorium body.
Especially with its white binding, Italian acrylic Small Diamond inlays, and full-gloss body you can definitely think to look the part—even if you don’t feel like you’re much of an expert player.
The Taylor 214ce DLX comes already shipped in a deluxe hardshell case.
What we liked:
Weighing only 4 lbs—one of the lightest guitars on the market
Morefeatures: includes Gibson accessory kit, volume and tone controls, 16” fingerboard radius
If you’re looking to get your second guitar and upgrade from that beginner model, the Gibson Acoustic Parlor is a perfect choice with you. With a traditional history of carving out amazing acoustic guitar designs, Gibson has really upgraded with the Parlor.
This guitar is designed with a slim, small-body cutaway design. With an advanced response neck profile for the experienced hands and fingers with the entire thing behind carved out from Mahogany.
Even though the reputation of small-body cutaway guitars are often related to being small in sound, too, the Gibson Acoustic Parlor actually offers a very distinct, loud and giant sound.
Whether you are playing at home or in a studio, the Sitka Spruce Top echos out all 19 frets and its Nitrocellulose finish. The playability of the Gibson Acoustic Parlor is world-class, suited for even high-level professional performance.
If you’re looking for an advanced response neck profile or a unique inlay with mother-of-pearl dots, then this guitar can get you that and so much more. Coming with a case, you can also expect a black and white truss rod and for the entire guitar to be encased in an antique natural finish—classic.
What we liked:
Slim, small body cutaway design
Perfect for the next-generation beginner
Has an advanced response profile for quick fingers
What could be better:
Loud and giant sound—not very good for at-home players
Morefeatures: African mahogany neck, A.R.T. 2-way pickup/preamp system
The Yamaha NTX1200R has a great build, with a spruce top, rosewood back and rib, and a mahogany neck. The body of this guitar is perfect for someone looking for a lighter-weight model. With its thin body and thin neck, you can easily carry the guitar or sift through the notes with nimble fingers.
You can also enjoy the separate volumes for both pickups and three band graphic equalizer. If you’re looking for a smooth, velvety sound, you’ll want to look into investing in the Yamaha NTX1200R.
Especially if you’re going to be playing jazz, you’ll want the neck and finer string action to be quite small—and with the Yamaha NTX1200R, it is! You’ll also be able to utilize the acute nickel and pearl markers which are located on the edge of the handle so you can navigate while you play your music.
Although it’s not as powerful as a Jumbo, it still has a pretty good level of harmonics. It performs professional sound at an affordable price!
Weighing in at 14 lbs., you’ll be able to definitely play standing up, but with its round body, you can feel more comfortable sitting down and playing, as well.
What we liked:
Fine strings and small neck, perfect for fiddling the blues
Morefeatures: deluxe hardshell case included, natural high-gloss finish
The Blueridge BR-371 is a very classic parlor guitar that is designed with solid Indian rosewood. The material of the guitar, solid Sitka spruce, covers the top of the guitar, with stunning, hand-inlaid strips of abalone shell. These strips outline and define the circle of the sound hole and the outline of the top.
With all this type of build, you’ll get a clean articulation and crisp tone when you’re playing. The Blueridge BR-371 also comes with a case that has a hardshell, to help you carry it along with you wherever your next gig may be—especially since it’s small-sized in nature, it’s relatively easy to bring along with you.
The guitar also has grained ivoroid buttons that are stationed on the tuning machines so that it actually matches the design of the body and the neck. An epitome of luxury, the fingerboard and bridge are made from dense, black ebony.
The Blueridge BR-371 has Abalone purfling, diamond volute behind the headstock, and it has snowflake position markers along the entire guitar, giving it a perfect vintage touch. So, if you’re looking for that old, rustic style with modern sound, the Blueridge BR-371 is a perfect choice.
The Guild F-1512E has a large sound in only 18 lbs. Being a jumbo guitar, the Guild F-1512E has a large, round body and is designed with 12 strings for nimble playing.
Built with solid Sitka spruce, and topped with solid Indian Rosewood for its back and sides, the design embodies the sound—speaking volumes in your Blues music. With the Fishman Sonitone pickup, the powerful addition can give even more of a boost to the already amplified Guild classic.
The fingerboard and bridge on the Guild F-1512E is made of Indian Rosewood, completing the modern-looking finish. Also included on this guitar is the nut made of bone, along with the saddle, and the mother-of pearl rosette.
Designed with a guild neck shape, this guitar will bring you back to the 1960s, and although it wasn’t exactly the blues era, it still has an iconic period. The vintage-shaped Guild neck, the iconic Chesterfield headstock, and the period-correct tortoiseshell pickguard, the complete look is finalized with a natural gloss finish.
The Guild F-1512E also comes with a lightweight case made of poly foam, making it easy to carry around to your lessons or to your next gig.
What we liked:
12 strings for nimble playing and large, round body
More features: gloss body finish, 3-band EQ preamp
The Breedlove Solo Concert is hand-crafted to be one of the best acoustic guitars out there on the market. With a 3-band EQ preamp, you’ll have a concert-style sound. With the concert, Breedlove shape with soft cutaway, the body of the Breedlove Solo Concert is one to be envied.
Especially designed that players can hear themselves while playing, the well-balanced outlet is compact and comfortable.
If you’re looking to play the blues, this 6-string guitar is a great add to any band or one-man sound. It performs with a large, articulate range of tone and gives ample amount of sound for that low end music. You can definitely reach deep into the emotion while playing this guitar of your listeners since it doesn’t emit a booming sound—although it does carry!
Perfect for playing finger-style and even better-sounding when paired with vocal accompaniment, the Breedlove Solo Concert guitar offers a full strum sound. The top of the guitar is made with Western red cedar, and since it is much softer than spruce, it is a much gentler sound and touch.
The entire guitar is then finished with a Blacktop of solid full gloss bridge. You can only expect the best from the Rosewood Breedlove pin less design.
What we liked:
Concert-style sound with a soft cutaway
You’ll be able to hear yourself playing with the balanced design
Morefeatures: polyfoam case included, mahogany neck
The Cordoba C10, enveloped in a top wood of solid European or Canadian spruce, weighs only 18 lbs and is emblazoned with rich, original design. Since it has been one of the forefathers of the Cordoba’s Luthier series models, it has all the quality and design of the rest of the guitars.
The Cordoba C10 was hand-picked to be built with solid cedar and lined on the back and sides with solid Indian rosewood. With its mahogany neck, the center of the soundboard has a fan-bracing pattern, making it the perfect surface to vibrate and respond to your touch. That means that the Cordoba C10 has a very loud and quality sound.
Even though the C10 is more geared to a classical sound, using it to play the Blues is a perfect way to put it to use. The blue of the design is based off of Spanish heel construction. This is where the order of the construction goes from the top to the neck to the side and then to the back and body. The order is very important because it makes the guitar vibrate in its entirety.
You can also enjoy the lightweight, poly foam case that the Cordoba C10 comes with. As well as some of the more aesthetic touches, like the mother-of-pearl weave rosette, its ebony fingerboard, rosewood bridge, high gloss finish, and Savarez Cristal Corum strings.
Morefeatures: Fishman Sonicore under-saddle pickup and Isys+ preamp system
The Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 is the perfect, lightweight guitar if you’re looking for quality on a budget. In its design, the Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 is made with a top of solid spruce and a laminated finish of maple at the back and on the sides.
Since its also designed with a Jumbo cutaway, its round shape makes it possible for the sound emitting from your fingertips into the guitar will be heard from far off—perfect for in-hall concerts or playing with friends. You’ll also have amazing playability and navigation through the higher notes.
Using a Fishman preamp, you’ll also be able to feel around and fiddle with its full 12-string tone. The Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 also offers a very unique, Gretsch Falcon style, when you‘re talking about aesthetic appeal and an onboard electronics amplified tone.
The finish of the body is then topped in gloss white. To top it all off, if you’re a guitar player looking for a bit of flourish, the dazzling gold-sparkle binding on the top, back, soundhole, fingerboard and headstock, will definitely set your guitar easily apart from all the others.
The Gretsch G5022CWFE-12 is also designed with a mahogany neck and a 21-fret rosewood fingerboard. Unfortunately, the case is sold separately.
What we liked:
Stylish details to really nail the appearance to make it look antique
Made of the finest materials for an increase in sound quality
More features: balladeer’s op-pro preamp and ocp-1k pickup
The Ovation Standard Balladeer is a 12-string guitar that has a solid-spruce top build that comes along with scalloped bracing. This innovative design sets it apart from all the other guitars on the market.
One of the greatest things about this guitar is that it really is portable! Weighing only 8 lbs, the Ovation Standard Balladeer is the perfect size for someone who is looking to travel with their guitar or at least be able to hold it easily while playing. Although most smaller guitars sometimes lack in strings or frets, the Ovation Standard Balladeer has 12 strings and is a standard balladeer.
The design of the guitar is finalized with an ovation’s contour bowl, which is not only perfect for amplification but also for maximizing acoustic output and optimizing comfort while youre playing it. The cutaway of the Ovation Standard Balladeer also allows you to be able to fiddle with the satin-finished, 5-piece mahogany/maple neck as much as you please—with ease. To even set the design apart from others on the market, the Ovation Standard Balladeer comes with an inlay of an oak-leaf rosette and adorned with mother-of-pearl.
What we liked:
Perfect for the traveler because of its size
Has 12 strings and is a standard balladeer
Innovative design with scalloped bracing
What could be better:
The finish needs to be accustomed to
Things to Consider
For our buying guide, we’ve laid out all the features you’ll need to consider before choosing your perfect blues acoustic guitar. To match that soul-sey sound you’ve been looking for, here is some information that can help you before you make that final purchase.
Blues yourself all the way
Since its conception around the 19th century by slaves, the Blues has come a long way. However, on its way to what it is today, it’s branched out into various types and styles. Even though one can argue that the guitar was never even involved upon its conception (they were all sung with a majority of just voices), the guitar is definitely a go-to element that can help bring that Southern twang to the sound.
These songs are sung about hardships and are meant to be written from the depths of the soul, which is why the sound is so important to get just right. Since Jazz was also developed around the same time, they did have influence over one another. However, the traditional blues definitely had its own characteristics.
There are various types of blues. Here are some:
This is an all kind of different blues music. It has more up-tempo and has a huge Jazz influence in its sound. Normally, you’ll hear this type accompanied by a full brass band.
Back in the 40s and the 50s, this type also relies on brass instruments but is normally accompanied by horns, more than anything else.
With its central focus on the piano, cool blues are very relaxing, lower beat and calm.
West Coast blues
Actually perfected by musicians from Texas who moved out west to Cali, this type of blues has a heavy influence from swing.
This type of blues is heavily influenced by Slide music, which was founded in Hawaii.
St. Louis Blues
If you’re looking for a mixture of the entire thing, this type of blues is the perfect balance between ragtime, piano blues, and jump blues.
How to distinct an acoustic blues guitar from the others
If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between the acoustic blues guitar and the other types of guitars, there are a few distinct features.
Normally, a blues acoustic guitar will have a very distinct sound. It will have a cheerful and lead-friendly tone.
When it comes to the physical features, it normally has a much slimmer neck and a much tinier string gauge. If you’re looking at the body of the guitar, it has a cutaway body, that is a bit smaller and more concert-shaped. We’ll get into more details about the shape and physical features of the blues guitar later on in this guide.
How to choose the guitar that is perfect for you
Especially as a musician, you are defined and differ from other musicians out there by the sound you play and the way you approach your art. So, finding the “perfect” guitar for you relies a lot on personal preference.
However, it’s important for everyone that they ask themselves a very important question before choosing the “perfect” guitar – ‘’What is your purpose behind your purchase?’’ You need to know where you see yourself going with this guitar. If you’re planning on just playing a bit at home or if you want to be a real blue player in concerts, you’ll need to know your personal motive. If you’re planning on playing in concerts, for example, you’ll need your guitar to be compatible with an amp. If you are worried about the price being too high, there many acoustic-electric guitar models that fall into a budget category.
Features to consider while in search for a blues acoustic guitar
Before you go out and choose “the one”, you need to make sure that your ideal acoustic guitar matches up with the one you’re considering purchasing. Here are a few features to help make it the perfect blues guitar:
Especially if you aren’t aware of all the different sizes of acoustic guitars, you might actually end up with the wrong one! It will definitely make a difference if you buy the wrong size—not only might it be a wrong fit for you physically, it might sound extremely wrong.
When you’re taking a look at the different sizes, you’ll realize that they are very impacting on the playability—if you’re able to hold it—and the quality of the sound—bigger ones mean bigger sounds.
Depending on if you’re planning on traveling with the guitar or if you want to play it in a huge room where you plan on wanting to make it heard, you’ll need to get the corresponding size guitar for your goal.
From small to big, here are the sizes of acoustic guitars:
Parlor Concert Guitar (0)
Grand Concert (00)
Auditorium (000/Grand Performance)
Grand Auditorium (0000/M)
Grand Symphony, Dreadnought
Especially if you’re smaller in the frame—as a person—you’ll need a guitar to match your size! Whether you’re jumbo size and would look funny with a tiny, mini-guitar or if you’re gifting an acoustic guitar to your child who wants to take up playing, you’ll need to get a size that is congruent with the size of the player, as well as the sound you want to produce.
An acoustic blues style can be deeper than other acoustic guitars out there. Getting the style you want is important and directly relevant to the sound you want to create.
In general, if you have a larger soundboard—which is the top part of the guitar—the sound will be deeper and louder.
To familiarize yourself with different acoustic guitars, here are some of the styles available:
Concert and Grand Concert
Auditorium and Grand Auditorium
Travel and Mini-Acoustics
For the body, you will come to find that there are a lot of different woods that are used in acoustic guitars. Not only that, but actually, in the different parts of the guitar, there is different wood used.
Normally, you’ll find that most acoustic blues guitars are made with these woods:
The top is the most important part of the guitar. It is the part where the sound is transmitted and amplified. The bigger the soundboard is, the louder the sound will actually be.
Normally, these acoustic guitars will be made with single-ply wood pieces and then possibly laminated. If the guitar is laminated, it won’t be that rich of a sound as it would be if it was pure wood—however, it is normally much more affordable.
The soundboard we just talked about is surrounded by the sides and the back, which make that hollow chamber where the sound reverberates. The way the back and sides are shaped can easily impact the sound. Not only does it have to match the sound you want to hear but physically has to be the right shape and size for you to hold and play with ease.
The finish of the wood or the guitar also has a huge impact on the sound. The finish, whether its laminated or wood will affect how the sound vertebrates off the material.
When you’re looking at acoustic guitars, you’ll run into different size thickness and widths with the necks. Even though the neck doesn’t have an impact on the sound, it does have one on your comfort while holding and playing. Normally, you will choose between 12- or 14-fret necks. If you have smaller hands, you’ll want a smaller-fret guitar.
Especially if you’re looking at getting a smaller guitar—whether if it’s for a child or if you’re looking for a traveling companion, you’ll need to see if the scale length changes with the size. Normally, a smaller-sized guitar will have shorter fret scales, making it possible for smaller hands to hold and play.
For the guitar, the nut is the part of the guitar that is purposed to guide the string right onto the fretboard. Normally, it will be made of plastic, however, it can also be made from graphite or even bone.
Normally, as a beginner, they’ll most likely tell you to get nylon strings because they are easier to play. However, depending on the guitar you purchase, it actually might not be compatible with nylon strings, and you’ll have to go with steel strings.
Nylon strings have a softer sound while steel strings are normally used to create a louder and brighter sound.
You can either have a tuning machine right on your guitar or need to get a tuner. If you have a guitar with an enclosed machine head, you’ll be able to hold pitch much longer since it resists a lot of rust and other corrosives. Open tuning machines will require much more maintenance.
Depending on if your guitar comes with a case or not, you’ll want to think about how you want to hold, carry, and protect your guitar.
In general—if your guitar doesn’t already come with a case—you’ll be able to choose from a:
specialty guitar cases
Be on the lookout to see if your purchase comes with extra accessories. They might save you money in the long run. Some additional accessories will include:
If you’re looking for an acoustic preamp, it should also come with these controls:
You can also benefit from feedback control, a blend knob, and pickup system.
If you feel like you’ve chosen your perfect guitar, there are a last, few minute things you might want to know before booking your first music jam session. Here are our last-minute, frequently asked questions, answered:
As we mentioned before, not every guitar is compatible with every type of string. If you’re looking to play a classical or Spanish guitar, you’ll want to invest in Nylon strings. They normally are for higher pitched music. If you’re looking for that deep, bluesy sound, you’ll want to stick with steel strings, which you will normally find on most acoustic guitars.
As light as you can get! You’ll want to have a really light gauge to be able to play the blues properly—especially if you’re using an acoustic guitar. Normally, right on the pack, it’ll say the word “light”. If you’re looking at measurements, the thickest string of your string packet will be measured out at .042, like Ernie Ball 2004 Earthwood Light Acoustic Guitar Strings.
Of course, you can always try and do something on your own. However, an instructor or teacher can definitely help you along the way—a person helping you will also speed up the learning curve!
To summarize our findings, here are the top three best acoustic guitars:
If you’re looking for the best, all-around guitar for the blues, the Taylor 214ce DLX is the perfect pick for a guitar with a grand auditorium body. It also has the features that make the sound amped up—with an expression system and a 2 pickup and preamp system. It also only weighs in at 4.4 lbs, making it extremely light.
The Gibson Acoustic Parlor is the perfect upgrade pick if you’re not exactly a beginner anymore and looking to take your playing to the next level. The guitar comes with a Gibson accessory kit for everything you need to play and care for your guitar and volume and tone controls so you can really adjust the way you play.
The Yamaha NTX1200R is the perfect two-way guitar that can be used with the acoustics of your voice for a great sound. You’ll also love the wood and the finish—like its African mahogany neck.
We hope that this guide has helped you pick out the best blues acoustic guitar for you and your sound! Whether you’re planning on rocking on in concert or just playing a bit on your own or with friends, we hope that you’re able to pick the perfect sound for you and your budget.