What is a Concert Guitar and Who Is Most Suited to This Type of Guitar

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what is a concert guitar

This post will set out what a concert guitar is and what kind of guitarist this type of guitar is most suited to.

Table of Contents

What is a Concert Guitar?

To the musical newcomer, the world of guitars can be an overwhelming one. I’m here to help.

Electrics and Acoustics

In the broadest scope, there are electric and acoustic guitars. Both of these types of guitars are, more or less, played the same way, but produce very different sounds and a very different experience for the player.

The world of electric guitars is limitless, with the types of electronics they use varying as widely as the music they produce.

Acoustic and Classical Guitars

There are many varieties within the world of acoustic guitars too. But again we can break them down into another binary: steel string and nylon string instruments.

Steel string guitars are popular within pop, country, folk and even rock music. They are easy to identify as they typically have a larger body and narrower neck than a nylon string guitar. Upon playing both types of guitars, you will notice that the feel of the strings varies greatly between the two varieties. Steel string guitars are somewhat easier to play, with a feel similar to that of an electric guitar.

Pick up a nylon string guitar and you will find it to be very different from either steel string acoustic or electric guitars. The soft nylon strings are spaced out upon a wider neck and produce a softer, less “twangy” tone.

Nylon string guitars are usually referred to as classical guitars.

The Concert Guitar

Within the category of acoustic guitars, we still have further subcategories that differentiate size, shape, and even the type of woods used in the construction of the guitar.

One very popular choice of steel string acoustic guitar is the “Concert” guitar. Concert guitars are distinct from other acoustics in both tone and functionality, making them sound very pleasing overall as well as being very playable.

Who is the Concert Guitar Most Suited to?

concert next to dreadnought
Dreadnought (left) next to Concert (right)

Who should play a concert guitar depends upon what specific qualities they desire from their instrument.

These traits come from the fact that concert guitars are slightly smaller overall, as compared to something like a more robust dreadnaught style guitar. A dreadnaught, for instance, is somewhat louder with a more full tone than a concert guitar.

What concert guitars lack in volume however, they make up for with a very articulate tone that is strong in the middle and upper ranges.

The Size and Shape

The size and shape of the guitar do not merely affect how it sounds, but also how it plays as well. A concert guitar’s body is slightly thinner than other acoustic guitars, which makes it more comfortable for smaller people to play.

Along with this, the length of the neck is -3/4 of an inch shorter. This makes fretting easier, partially because the shorter neck decreases tension on the strings, giving them a “softer” feel.

So Who Plays these Guitars?

With consideration to all of these characteristics, concert guitars are a popular choice for a variety of players.

Guitarists who prefer to play fingerstyle appreciate concert guitars for the advantages of lower string tension and articulate tone.

Beginners or smaller musicians may simply appreciate the more manageable size of the concert guitar, with it being a little easier for them to manipulate.

There is no set of hard and fast rules as to who should play a concert guitar, however. Any guitarist who picks one up will appreciate the many positive qualities of these instruments.

What Is A Concert Acoustic Guitar?

If you’re a smaller guitarist, a concert acoustic guitar is usually a good choice.

These guitars are usually relatively small – much smaller than the dreadnought. They tend to have deep waist tapers and rounded contours. They’re a good choice if you have a fingerpicker play style thanks to the rich, defined tone. They’re usually rather comfortable to hold when you’re sitting down.

They mainly differ from your standard acoustic guitar in regards to the tone they produce, as well as how functional they are. They are a little bit quieter than concert guitars, and they produce a particularly strong sound in their upper and middle registers.

Concert guitars feature a neck that’s around 1/2-3/4ths of an inch shorter than your average acoustic guitar. This can make it much easier to play for smaller musicians.

It’s a great choice for a wide variety of musicians though, so why not give it a try?

What is a Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar?

Grand concert guitars are smaller than dreadnoughts and other “grand” style guitars. They have a thinner waist and amour bulbous lower body.

This kind of guitar is ideal for younger players or people with smaller hands and arms. 

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What is the Difference Between a Concert and Dreadnought Guitar?

To the untrained eye, a dreadnought and concert guitar may seem interchangeable, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, there is very little parity between them at all. They differ in shape, size, tone, and application.

What Does a Dreadnought Guitar Mean?

Initially, the term, “Dreadnought”, was a proprietary model name for a style of guitar developed by Martin, one of the most revered acoustic guitar manufacturers in the world.

Identifiable by their rich, full-bodied tone, squared shoulders that typically join the neck of the guitar at the 14th fret, and expansive dimensions.

Dreadnoughts were first produced in 1916 as an ill-fated small-scale run for the Oliver Ditson Company. Though short-lived due to poor sales, Martin made some revisions and in 1931 began producing them under the Martin name. Finding particular notoriety amongst folk musicians of the mid-20th century, the Dreadnought sound grew to define the entire genre.

Fast forward to present day and the Dreadnought, having been reproduced by almost every notable acoustic guitar company, is one of the most common and commercially successful guitars of all time. In the modern musical landscape, the Dreadnought has been welcomed as the de facto standard for Bluegrass stylings.

Due to its position as the largest universal acoustic guitar model, it was named after the revolutionary battleship, the HMS Dreadnought.

Shape and Size

Measuring 20″, Dreadnoughts are the largest bodied guitar. They have squared shoulders and wide waists. Concert guitars have a thinner body overall (19.5″) and a deeper more sinuous waist.

Let’s take a look at the physical dimensions.

 DreadnoughtConcert
Depth4.8 inches4.6 inches
Length20 inches19.5 inches
Upper bout width11.5 inches10 inches
Lower bout width15.6 inches15 inches

Tone

Dreadnoughts are famous for their booming baritone voice. Their tonal pallet sacrifices a certain amount of treble for punchy middle and bass frequencies. Concert guitars are much more geared towards mids and trebles, the depth of their waist facilitating lighter harmonic overtones than the dreadnought.

Application

Due to sheer volume and deep note and chord voicings, dreadnoughts are more suited to backing up a full band or busking. Anything that involves lots of strumming and maximum amplitude will suit a dreadnought. Concert guitars, much more articulate than dreadnoughts, are particularly suited to fingerpicking and lead playing.

What Acoustic Guitar Accessories Do I Need?

If you’re learning to play the acoustic guitar, it’s important to have not only the guitar, but also the right accessories.

Here’s everything that you will need to have along with your guitar:

  • A guitar capo for changing key
  • A guitar tuner
  • Extra guitar strings
  • Guitar Straps
  • Guitar bag for gigs
  • Guitar case
  • Guitar picks or plectrums
  • Music and guitar stand
  • Guitar humidifier
  • Wire snips for cutting the strings
  • Pliers for cutting the strings
  • Guitar cleaner and polish for cleaning the guitar
  • Metronome for keeping in rhythm
  • Strap locks to hold the guitar strap in place
  • Guitar footstool for keeping you comfortable while you play
  • Guitar pick holder
  • Guitar string lubricant

Can I Plug In My Concert Guitar To Speakers?

Yes, the majority of concert guitars do allow you to plug the instrument into speakers.

There are a few different ways in which you can do this, and you will need to ensure that the guitar has the suitable connections to do this.

The speakers that you typically plug your concert guitar into are called amps. These are what you will use to amplify the sound of your guitar on stage. However, if you do not want to use an amp, you can use the guitar with headphones or regular speakers too.

If you already have a good speaker system, this can sometimes be as good as an amp. All you will need to do is use an aux cord and plug in the guitar to the speakers and you are good to go.

Alternatively, you can plug your guitar into a PC or MAC too, this is great if you want to record your sessions.

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More About the Dreadnought

Is A Dreadnought Guitar Good For Beginners?

Absolutely!

Dreadnoughts are one of the best kinds of guitars to start learning on. The body is balanced and suitable for most adults. Smaller women might find it a bit too large, however.

One of the great things about a dreadnought is that you have plenty of room on the fretboard to wrap your fingers around chords. it’s also nice and open for fretwork.

Another great thing about dreadnoughts is that they tend to have more sustain. This means the note or chord sounds for longer. This is helpful for beginners who are still trying to add speed to their transitions.

Is A Dreadnought Guitar Too Big For Me?

There’s no getting around the fact that dreadnoughts are big instruments. While most adults should be able to handle the larger size, some smaller men and women might struggle.

The best way to check if a dreadnought is the right size for you is to actually hold one. If you don’t know anyone with a dreadnought, head down to your local music shop and try out some guitars.

you’ll want to make sure that you can easily access all the strings on the fretboard. If you’re struggling to reach the top string, you’ll need a smaller guitar or a guitar with a flatter neck.

The next thing to think about is the body of the guitar. Dreadnoughts have deep bodies and thick waists. If you have smaller arms, you might find it uncomfortable to strum and pick.

There isn’t a cut-off in terms of size. Some people can adapt to larger guitars while others can’t. you’ll need to try some on for size and see what you’re comfortable with.

What Is The Difference Between Jumbo And Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar?

The main difference between a dreadnought and a jumbo guitar is the shape of the body.

A dreadnought has a fairly boxy shape. It doesn’t tuck in at the waist which is what gives it so much volume. It also helps bring out the low tones.

A jumbo guitar has a much narrower waist. The body looks and feels rounder. It still has a lot of air inside and can create a lot of energetic sounds, but you need to put a bit more into it.

The dreadnought is an all-rounder. it’s favored by singer-songwriters and performs equally well alone or in a band.

Jumbo guitars are more suitable for heavy strumming. They are at home in country, folk, and pop bands. They tend to be favored by rhythm guitarists.

FAQs

What is meant by concert guitar?

A concert guitar, also known as a concert-sized guitar or a classical guitar, refers to a specific type of acoustic guitar with a smaller body size and a distinctive sound. Concert guitars are primarily associated with classical music but are also used in other genres. It’s important to note that the term “concert guitar” can sometimes refer specifically to a higher-end, professional-grade classical guitar.

What is the difference between classical and concert guitar?

In essence, the terms “classical guitar” and “concert guitar” generally refer to the same type of guitar—a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar with a smaller body size and a focus on classical or fingerstyle playing. However, “classical guitar” is the more commonly used and recognized term, while “concert guitar” can have a broader connotation referring to any guitar used in a concert setting.

How big is a concert guitar?

The size of a concert guitar, also known as a classical guitar, can vary slightly depending on the manufacturer and individual model.

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