Traveling back to the origins can be an interesting journey. When it was first created, blues was considered race music – a genre that was hummed by African slaves in the cotton fields. As it grew stronger, more and more people started enjoying it, until it lost the racial boundaries and turned into popular music.
This new and unique genre required a specific instrument that would express its character fully. We should all agree that not every other guitar is capable of that. Blues isn’t an easy genre; neither is it typical. To capture every aspect of such music, you do need to learn specific techniques and you also need the best blues acoustic guitar. Whether you’re a beginner or a skilled musician, we have you covered. We’ve combined a shortlist for you so that you can look through it quickly and select the one that speaks to you the most. Let’s get started and see where we end up!
What’s the Best Acoustic Guitar For Blues
Though it might look like its rivals in terms of appearance, it’s definitely not like anything else that you’ve ever experienced (unless you’ve played a Martin before). There are brands out there that create distinctive guitars. Their unique sound feels as if it’s flowing through every pore of the wood. That’s what you’re going to experience if you get your hands on Martin Standard Series 000-18. This premium piece has an auditorium size, meaning that it’s smaller than a dreadnought. The scale length is shorter and measures 24.9 inches. Though it might be an inconvenience for some, I think the majority of you will find its shorter scale really comfortable. This bad boy has a Sitka spruce top and genuine mahogany back and sides. These woods will age really well, a.k.a. this guitar will sound even better as it gets older. 000-18 is definitely an expensive guitar, but you shouldn’t forget that it’s worth every penny. High-quality construction means that it will be by your side till death do you part, and you’ll have the chance to enjoy its mesmerizing performance every day of your life. This thing is flawless!
- Premium quality
- Impeccable performance
- Stunning design
- Not as loud as a dreadnought
Moving down the price lane, we encounter another jaw-dropping piece. Not that we expected anything less from Saga Musical instruments, but that doesn’t mean we can’t feel impressed. Blueridge BR-140A is a member of the Historic Craftsman Series. It recreates the feel of pre-war guitars but it doesn’t cease to cater to the modern world. It looks really interesting – the design itself is what we call traditional, but the pickguard is what attracted me the most. Dalmatian tortoise pattern works really well for the finish and adds a touch of style to the guitar. More importantly, BR-140A has a premium solid Adirondack spruce top and select solid mahogany back and sides. The neck is made from mahogany as well, while the fretboard is built with Santos rosewood. This powerful dreadnought has a scale length of 25.6”, which is a tad bit longer than usual. You’re actually paying for quality and tradition here. This model incorporates pre-war style forward-shifted X-bracing, which enhances its tonal capabilities even more. And one last thing, this fella comes with a gig bag!
- Exceptional build quality
- Rich and saturated sound
- Comes with the gig bag
- Has strong vintage feel
The best acoustic guitar for blues is made by those people who are professional players themselves. Do you know why? – because they understand the needs of a guitarist really well. That way they design every detail to help us perform better and master various techniques easily. Zager EZ-Play ZAD20 is built by Denny Zager, who has a lot of experience playing the guitar. If you look at the constituents of this fella, you’ll see his expertise flowing through its body. It has solid wood construction that is paired with a smooth neck. The latter enables you to move your fingers freely and quickly, which is vital for many genres, especially for blues. Soft-touch frets make that process even more enjoyable. The bracing is hand-carved, meaning that it will have all the components in the perfect place. ZAD20 comes equipped with genuine Grover tuners that do an amazing job at keeping your guitar in tune all the time. In other words, this puppy will let you taste the quality of luthier craftsmanship without emptying your wallet. Also, it’s a great acoustic guitar for country music.
- Premium quality for affordable price
- Defined tone
- Packs a lot of punch
- Easily gets affected by the environmental changes
Now it’s time to discuss yet another beautiful piece created by Blueridge Guitars and Saga Musical Instruments. No, we’re not talking about another dreadnought – this time we’ll look at a parlor-size mode. BR-341 belongs to the Historic Series, which means they are turning to the traditions once again. It comes with a solid Sitka spruce top and select mahogany back and sides. The neck is made from mahogany as well, while the fretboard is built with ebony. Mother of pearl inlays will guide you through the playing process and make your life easier. The design of this guitar will hug your body and sit comfortably on your knee. It’s definitely one of those instruments that feel like they are the extension of your body. I can’t articulate enough how much quality and thought has been put into this model. BR-341 is a pleasure to play – it is way louder than you’d expect from its size and the tone is simply magnificent! If you still have not guessed it, this puppy is one of the best acoustic guitars for blues!
- Solid wood construction
- Premium components
- Powerful sound
- The action might be too high for some players
Do you have any idea what the word torrefaction means? I certainly did not before I discovered Recording King RO-T16. It does sound complicated but it’s not (at least for us as we don’t actually go through the whole process, duh). Let me explain – the brand takes the solid Adirondack spruce top and heats it at a low temperature without oxygen. To spare you from technical terms, I’ll just tell you the results – the wood dries out and gains the feel of an old, vintage guitar. In other words, they fast-forward through the aging process and deliver a guitar that performs like it has already been played for years. RO-T16 has a 000 shape and size, which means it has a scale length of 24.9”. This way it’s even more comfortable to play. It has a mahogany back and sides that add final touches to the instrument and steep the tone with the necessary oomph. The tortoise pickguard goes extremely well with the body and makes the looks of the guitar way fancier. I don’t know what else to say – just keep in mind that this one is probably the best bang for the buck!
- Amazing bang for the buck
- Durable construction
- Full and well-defined tone
- Doesn’t have all-solid construction (it’s understandable but I thought I’d still tell you)
How to choose an acoustic guitar for blues?
As I always like to say, no matter how good an acoustic guitar is, it won’t sound good if it doesn’t match your personality and style. That’s particularly true for blues, as it requires you to be the one with your instrument. How will you do that if you don’t feel absolutely comfortable with your axe?
The very first step you should take is not the most interesting one, but it surely is the most significant one. You should start by learning the acoustic guitar, read about different shapes, sizes, and necks, and figure out which ones work better for blues. Generally, this genre prefers slimmer necks as most action happens there. Understanding blues acoustic guitars, on the whole, will help you grasp what your needs are and which model you should go for.
You should also take some time to figure out the purpose of the guitar. Do you need it for practice in order to refine your skills? Or maybe you’re going to perform with it frequently? If the former is the case, you’ll be fine with smaller-sized models that aren’t too loud. But if you’re a gig sort of guy, then you should probably go for full-sized dreadnoughts. Of course, there are many in-betweens, but I believe you understand what I’m trying to imply, right?
What turns acoustic into a blues guitar?
As I told you in the introduction, blues has a long history, but the character hidden within the notes is even bigger. It’s the uniqueness of those tonal features that have made this genre so artful and magnificent. We should remember that the first bluesmen didn’t have fancy guitars that would immediately yield the needed tone. They relied on their own craftsmanship to express everything that makes the genre. And that’s the most important point for everyone who is just starting out. The guitar you’re playing does make a difference, yet your skills are way more significant.
What I’m trying to say is that your techniques can turn any acoustic guitar into a blues-dedicated one. If you put in the needed effort, you’ll be able to transform your instrument completely. The main thing is to go for the acoustic that has a lot of low-end and midrange. You don’t need something that is overly sparkly or shimmery, otherwise, your music will turn out as anything but blues. The list of the best acoustic guitar for blues includes the models that will get you closer to your aims and make the whole learning process easier. They will give you the tonal background that you need to play blues, but they can’t play themselves. You need to work really hard to master various techniques and take those guitars to a whole new level. You can stay assured that hard work always pays off.
Traveling through the world of blues turned out to be one of the most enjoyable paths I have taken. It reminded me of the uniqueness of cultures – we should never allow ourselves to forget about the origins no matter how popular something has become. We should always remember the people who gave birth to this genre and made it what it is. We helped you check out the best blues acoustic guitars on the market, now it’s time for you to take matters into your own hands. Take those instruments and let them reveal their fullest potential. Good luck!