Are you struggling to find the best acoustic guitar for blues? If you’re looking for a good acoustic guitar for that purpose, it can be hard to find a high-quality one as there’s just so much choice in the market and it leaves you so confused. You will find all sorts of acoustic guitars for blues and there are some good buys which all sound great, but the amount of choice is overwhelming.
To help you avoid the frustration that you may experience when looking for a good guitar for blues, I have reviewed several acoustic guitars that would be well suited to blues guitar playing as well as many other styles of music. This guitar will help you develop your guitar style form beginner to advanced and everything in between.
I’ve been a guitar player for many years and I have played dozens upon dozens of guitars and have found several that are suitable for blues guitar. This list should give you something great to play as you explore blues guitar as well as many other guitar styles.
Top 10 Best Acoustic Guitars for Blues
1. Oscar Schmidt OG2SM Acoustic Guitar
Oscar Schmidt makes several different acoustic guitars as well as electric guitars. They have several models that are perfect for playing blues guitar. This guitar is a dreadnought style guitar that is very easy to play. It has a Spalted maple top as well as Mahogany back and sides. This instrument has X bracing so the guitar resonates well. You can adjust the neck with the truss rod. You get a rosewood bridge and fingerboard as well as 20 frets with this guitar.
- Very nice wood design on the guitar top
- Sounds great
- Needs a cutaway
- Could use electronics
This guitar sounds great for playing blues. I found the neck to be nice and smooth which makes it great for blues leads as well as rhythm style playing. You’ll find that your fingers fly up and down the neck and that chord charges are easy. You get a very good tone out of this instrument and it’s great for all styles of blues guitar playing. The tuning pegs on the guitar are quite good which helps keeps the instrument in tune better than other guitars at this price point. The guitar is lower prices which makes it ideal for beginner blues players that are looking for a solid acoustic guitar so this instrument is a solid buy.
2. Regal RD-40M Studio Series Roundneck Resophonic Guitar
Regal makes a wide range of resonator guitars which are perfect for blues guitar styles such as delta blues, ragtime, and older blues styles. The guitar has a classic 1930s resonator look to it. You get a low profile mahogany neck which makes the guitar play great and it adds to the impressive sound of this guitar. The guitar as an aluminum cone which resonates and gives th instrument a lot of clarity in the notes. The resonator chamber is a power reflex which gives you amazing tone and volume for blues playing. The tuners are solid and help to stabilize the tuning. You also get a good hardshell case to protect your investment.
- Very nice looking guitar
- Easy to play
- Changing strings can be a bit difficult
This guitar is very easy to play for blues. You get access to 14 frets, but the guitar does have a full 20 frets. I like the tuning pegs on this guitar as they help keep this instrument in tune without a lot of difficulties. If you play blues on a resonator you need a guitar that stays in tune well and this one does since your using many different tunings all the time. There’s no pickup with this guitar but you can mic it up just fine if you want to play live with it. Anyone that loves traditional blues or slide guitar blues will enjoy playing this guitar as it’s the ideal choice for those types of playing.
3. Recording King Squareneck Resonator Guitar
Recording King makes an excellent blues style resonator guitar. It’s made from mahogany so it has good tone. There is a parallelogram soundwell and a 12th fret neck joint which also helps the tone of this instrument. The Continental Cone is hand-spun and it also helps gives this guitar a nice resonator tone which makes it an exceptional guitar for playing many blues styles. The instrument has a good ebony saddle and a bone nut which adds to the sustain of the guitar. To help further stabilize the tuning the guitar features solid Grover tuners. The guitar has other classic features like slotted screws and a rounded sound hole screen which add to the traditional look of this instrument.
- Class resonator look
- Easy to play
- Higher frets harder to access when compared to other blues guitars
Resonator guitars are the ideal choice for blues guitar as they have that traditional blues sound you need for delta blues, bottleneck, slide guitar, ragtime and other styles. This guitar by recording King sounds great for this type of music and it has everything you need for those styles of blues guitar music as well as many other styles of music blues guitar music. I’m also impressed by the tuner on this guitar as they help keep the tuning stable especially when you use alternate tunings which are used a lot in blues guitar playing. Another feature that a love is that the guitar is loud and all the notes ring out clean as you play. For anyone that wants to play blues guitar or similar styles that have a traditional old-time feel, Recording King offers an excellent choice at a reasonable price.
4. Yamaha FG800 Natural Folk Guitar
Yamaha makes high-quality electric and acoustic guitars. Yamaha has some solid guitar designs that are perfect for playing blues guitar such as the FG800 which is folk and blues style guitar and also suitable for other styles of guitar playing. You get high-quality sound out of it and the scalloped bracing helps stabilize the guitar and it adds to the rich sound you get. The body style is a traditional dreadnaught style so its comfortable to hold and play for most. This guitar is perfect for beginner blues guitar players or intermediate players that want a guitar with an affordable price tag.
- Plays great
- Solid hardware
- Large dreadnaught size harder to play for some players
This Yamaha guitar is perfect for beginner blues guitar players. The guitar has a nice sound and it’s easy to play because of the smooth neck. You get a hardshell case to protect your guitar and there is a pick pack so you’re set to play right away. Another highlight of the guitar is a solid rosewood bridge, chrome hardware and good tuners which keep this instrument in tune as you play. Overall, this is a low-cost bargain for blues guitar and other styles of music.
5. Regal RD-52 Artist Series Squareneck Black Lightning Resophonic Guitar
Regal makes excellent resonator guitars. This is made from mahogany and it has a high gloss transparent finish. The guitar sounds very good and it has a 12th fret neck joint that recreates the sound of old-style resonator guitars. The headstock has an attractive peghead design and the inlay design has a nice deco art look. The sound hole is a trapezoid style design and this further enhances the tone of this instrument. The aluminum cone resonates the individual notes which sound great for so many blues guitar styles.
- Amazing look
- Easy to play
- Higher frets are harder to play
This guitar gives you all you need to play great blues guitar. The instrument sounds great and its very easy to play. The tuners on this guitar are good and it makes it easier to get your guitar into alternate tuning which is ideal for slide guitar and many older styles of blues guitar. You will find it easy to play all of the tunings with this instrument. For any player that’s looking for a high-quality resonator guitar for blues playing, they will enjoy playing this Regal resonator. The best part about this guitar is the high-quality sound that it produces. This is a good choice for any guitar player that wants to play some traditional blues as well as other guitar styles.
6. Yamaha APX500III Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Yamaha makes many different acoustic as well as electric guitars. For those that want to play blues guitar, they have many solid features such as the Yamaha APX500III. This guitar has a nice cutaway so you can reach the higher frets with ease. The instrument is perfect for the stage as it has a pickup system. The body has good resonance and stability as the non-scalloped scalloped bracing is designed for that purpose. The pickup has adjustable mid-range frequency control, a three band equalizer, and there is a guitar tuner built-in which makes it easy to tune your guitar without the need for a separate tuner. The top wood is made out of spruce and the body and sides are made from Nato/okume which provides full sounds from the instrument.
- Easy to play
- Great neck
- Equalizer may be confusing for some
For those that want a solid acoustic guitar that you can plug in and play. It’s got an excellent rich tone and the neck is smooth for blues lead guitar and rhythms. I found the tone on this guitar to be ideal for blues as well as many other guitar styles. The cutaway is comfortable and allows you to get your hands further up the neck to play higher notes with ease. The guitar also has a full 22 frets which many acoustic guitars lack so that is a good plus for this instrument. This is a solid deal for any guitar player looking for a good blues guitar at a lower price.
7. Martin X Series 2015 LX Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
The Little Martin by the Martin Guitar Company is an excellent guitar for playing blues guitar. This guitar is much smaller than a regular dreadnaught style acoustic so it’s very easy to hold and the neck of the guitar is smooth and responsive to your fingers. The Gotoh tuners of this instrument are very nice and they help keep the guitar in tune and has a solid bridge. The small size also makes this guitar easy to carry around with you or you can travel with it. There is Sitka spruce bracing which helps keep this guitar stable. You get a gig back with this guitar to help protect your investment.
- Nice looking guitar
- Comfortable to play
- Might be too small for some players
This guitar is a nice choice for blues as the neck is quite smooth and responsive. The guitar sits well in your lap due to the smaller size so you can play leads and rhythm lines without having to fight the guitar. I’m always impressed by the Martin guitar line and the Little Martin is an exceptional value for layers, especially blues players as it’s just so easy to play no matter your level of expertise on the instrument. This guitar is a solid buy and a good choice for blues as well as many other guitar styles.
8. Blueridge BR-343 Contemporary Series Gospel 000 Guitar
Blueridge is an excellent acoustic guitar maker and they have many amazing models which are perfect for many styles of music. One of their better guitars for blues as well as other styles if the BR-343 guitar. This guitar has a solid Sitka spruce top and it also has scalloped braces. The braces on the guitar gives the guitar a vibrant and a crisp tone. The instrument has a slim mahogany neck so the guitar is nice and smooth to play. There is a chalice and cross peghead inlay which looks attractive. The position markers are done is abalone and pearl. The guitar stays in tune well do to the gold-plated tuners so you don’t have to worry about your tuning. The sound hole features a nice rosette which further adds to the attractiveness of the guitar. The 000 body style is smaller than normal so it adds to the comfort of the player.
- Attractive looking guitar
- Good neck
- Some may find the body a bit too small
The Blueridge BR-343 guitar is a nice guitar for blues as well as many other guitar styles. The smaller body is a highlight of the guitar so it’s easier on your hands as you play blues guitar. Like most Blueridge guitars the guitar is easy to play and it sounds great. You can a keep the neck in alignment as it features a truss rod which adds to the guitars stability. This guitar has a lot of added features and nice design touches which adds to the style of this instrument. For any guitar player including blues player, this guitar is a solid buy at a moderate price.
9. Yamaha A-Series A3R Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Yamaha has some fine electric as well as acoustic guitars that you should try. They have a great acoustic guitar for blues as well as other styles called the A-Series A3R. This guitar has scalloped bracing which adds to the stability to this guitar and it also features a rosewood fingerboard which is hand rolled. This guitar features a SRT2 pickup system so you can use it with an acoustic guitar. This guitar is ready for you to use it on the stage. This guitar features a cutaway which makes it easier for you to hit the higher frets. On the side of the guitar, you’ll find the controls for the pickups which are easy to access. You can get both a rosewood or mahogany model. He rosewood models have more well-balanced tone and the mahogany has a warmer tone. The tuners and the bridge on this instrument are all solid and help stabilize the tuning of the guitar.
- Sounds great
- Easy to play
- May be a bit big for some players
This guitar is perfect for beginners or intermediate players that want to play blues. I love th sound of this guitar and how responsive the neck is. You’ll be able to play rhythms as well as blues leads on the guitar with ease. The top features ARE or Acoustic Resonance Enhancement which gives it an amazing tone. The instrument has nice styling and it’s built well. If you want a guitar at a moderate price, you can rest assured that this one provides everything that you need to take your blues guitar playing to another level.
10. Martin D-16RGT
Martin makes some of the best acoustic guitars on the market. They have several acoustic guitars which are perfect for blues and other types of acoustic guitar music such as the D-16RGT. This guitar has great classic tones and a classic look that you’ll love. It’s a traditional dreadnaught style body, so it’s comfortable to play. This guitar is perfect for using in the studio, stage or at home. The instrument has a solid Sitka Spruce. The sides and back are made from rosewood which provides a robust and smooth tone. The neck is made from Spanish cedar and it has a Richlite fingerboard with 20 frets. Other added touches are the tortoise colored pickguard and a gloss finish.
- Easy to play
- Nice comfortable neck
- Larger dreadnaught size is hard to hold for some
This Martin is a solid choice for any blues player or any player in general. The guitar sounds amazing and it’s a decent price for the amazing sound that you get. If you want a professional sounding acoustic guitar that is stage or studio ready, this is a good choice for blues guitar as well as other styles. This instrument is well put together and ready to go for any professional player.
Things to Consider
There are several things you need to consider before you buy an acoustic guitar for blues. Here’s what you need to keep in mind before you make that final purchase.
What Style of Guitar?
A resonator or “dobro” style guitar is a traditional guitar used for playing blues and similar styles. They have a very clear and loud tone and are often used with thumb picks. These guitars are also well suited for slide guitar or “lap steel.” For anyone that wants to play traditional blues guitar and needs an authentic sound, the resonator is one of the best choices for you. Just note that you’ll need a pickup if you plan to buy one for recording or live music as they traditionally don’t come with one.
The dreadnaught is a full-sized acoustic guitar. This type of guitar is used in all styles of acoustic music including blues. The advantage of a dreadnaught is that it has a full and rich sound because of the sheer size of the guitar. Many players rely on the dreadnaught due to its amazing tone and sound. The downside is that it can be harder to play blues leads on it as there’s no cutaway and less room for your fingers, but it's well suited to rhythm guitar as well as some lead work.
These guitars are well suited for blues players that want to plug into an amplifier right away. They are common acoustic guitars because players like the versatility they provide with an amplifier. They come with equalizers, preamps, and other controls to adjust the sound of the instrument and usually require a 9-volt battery for the electrics. Acoustic electric guitars tend to cost a bit more than other guitars due to the electronics. If you want to record acoustic blues guitar, this is a good choice to buy.
The cutaway provides a groove in the body which allows you clearer access to the higher frets. The cutaway is ideal if you want to play blues guitar lead lines and need to access the higher frets. These guitars are very comfortable to play and are the ideal choice for players that are more lead-oriented than rhythm. The bodies also tend to be lightweight so they are great to play on the stage as it reduces the fatigue you get with larger acoustic guitars such as the dreadnaught.
A nylon string is a guitar that uses nylon strings and not regular steel. These guitars are sometimes used for some types of blues guitar, but they will lack the tone needed for more advanced styles of blues. The plus side is that the nylon strings are much easier on your fingers than a regular acoustic guitar.
Setup and Maintenance
Acoustic guitars setup is a bit different than electric guitars. The action on the acoustic is usually adjusted by the truss rod or by the bridge. The bone in the bride either needs to be sanded to lower the action or a small shim needs to be added under the bridge to raise the action. These adjustments should be done by a qualified professional as they can be hard to do on your own. The main maintenance you’ll have to do on the guitar is to polish and clean it. You should use a small amount of guitar polish and guitar cloth to clean your guitar. If your guitar receives dings or dents, these can be cleaned up by a guitar technician. If the fretboard gets dirty, you can remove this with a soft cloth. For rosewood fingerboards which tends to dry out over time, add a bit of linseed oil on the fretboard once a year to bring it back to normal.
Now that I have the Best Acoustic Guitar for Blues, Now What?
Once you buy an acoustic guitar there are a few things that you need to think about. Here’s what to do once you get your guitar.
Acoustic guitars use bronze, brass and similar guitar strings. Never put electric guitar strings on an acoustic as they can ruin the guitar and the tension just isn’t the same. Acoustic guitars must always be strung with acoustic guitar strings. The best strings are light, extra light or medium light for beginners as they won’t be as rough on your fingers. Medium guitar strings give you a fuller tone, but the heavier strong isn’t ideal for beginners. As you play, try several different sets to determine the best brand and string gauge that works for you. There are know strings that coated and these will last longer than regular strings. The downside to these that the strings will cost more, but you can get 3-5 months life out of just one set so the added cost can be worth it. Some acoustic guitars use nylon strings and are referred to as “classical “guitars. Never put regular acoustic strings on classical as the bridge can’t take the tension. These guitars must be strung with nylon strings.
You don’t need an amplifier with an acoustic guitar unless you play to record or play live. You will need a pickup installed in your acoustic guitar or you will have to mic it up to the amplifier for recording. You will need an amplifier that is specifically designed for acoustic guitar as they just don’t sound good through a regular electric guitar amplifier and may destroy the speaker of an electric guitar amplifier. The most common amplifier that is used with an acoustic guitar is a solid state amp. These provided good tones for your guitar and have plenty of sound options. The other common option is the older style tube amplifier which still used regular transistor tubes. The tube amplifier is often preferred by professionals as they have a clean and classic tone that may prefer over solid state, especially for recording, but they tend to cost way more.
The other type of amplifier is called an amp modeler. This amp recreates the sounds of all the classic amplifier and effects from the past and can be a real bargain. The downside is you lose some authentic sound as these amps are all digital and more designed for computer recording.
Effects and Pedals
You can use effects and pedals with your acoustic guitar as long as they are specifically designed for acoustic guitar. These pedals can round out your sound and give you more options with your amplifier. Common effects include chorus, reverb, volume pedal, and preamps. You can also get guitar tuners as a pedal which can be ideal if you plan to play in stage.
There are many great lessons for blues guitar online through sites such as YouTube and many others. If you’re new to the guitar style, I would suggest that you take some guitar lessons as this will help you learn all the basis of blues guitar that you need to advance in the style. You can also use books, DVD and other learning tools to practice your blues playing. Make sure you listen to all the old blues records to understand the style.
How To Play The Blues On Acoustic Guitar
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This guide to the best blues acoustic guitar should get you playing right away with a solid guitar for blues. There are many different guitars to choose from and it’s a personal choice as to what you end up playing. Blues guitar is a fun style to learn as it’s the foundation for many of today’s guitar style such as jazz, rock, metal, and much more. Never be afraid to keep learning the blues and be sure to listen to blues music all the time to discover everything you can about the blues. Now get out there and start jamming!