Bluegrass music has a really distinct sound, and also the make and look of the instruments in the band is crucial that will get the proper tone and feel more so than with a lot of additional types of music. The bluegrass tradition calls for acoustic instruments; get a six string acoustic guitar with steel instead of nylon strings to ensure you get sufficient volume and give the sound of yours that distinctive twang.
Beyond that, you will find no rules about the guitar’s characteristics, but there are many traditions. Most bluegrass guitarists play a flattop guitar with a dreadnought body shape with a spruce top. Classic Martin brand guitars are the standard for the style, but one can find loads of other choices in the contemporary guitar market which will provide the fingerpicking and power you need for a bluegrass band.
Below are, in the humble opinion of ours, the five best bluegrass guitars on the market.
The Martin D 28 is the gold standard for bluegrass guitars, with a sound that’s been called quintessentially American. It was the guitar of choice for such players as Joni Mitchell, Hank Williams, and Bob Dylan, and today’s versions are designed with similar precision craftsmanship as they were when they debuted in 1931. The top is solid Sitka spruce with sides and back of East Indian rosewood, making use of genuine ebony for the fingerboard and bridge. This particular combination of tonewoods is what causes it to be very well-liked by bluegrass musicians, giving the sound of yours a great deal of power and punch that make it ideal for rhythmic strumming, with a sweet, resonant tone on the sustain. In case you are ready to shell out the dough, very well, this just may be likely the greatest bluegrass guitar period.
Taylor 214ce DLX
The 214ce from Taylor uses a slightly different body shape than the Dreadnought style seen in most bluegrass guitars. The Grand Auditorium is somewhat narrower at the waist than a Dreadnought and also tends to make use of a cutaway for easier access to the top frets. This can make it a particularly great guitar for smaller players, since it is going to be simpler and much more comfortable to match the increased tempo of most bluegrass music. You are able to also change the action much less than on many acoustic guitars, making it a great choice for guitarists who also play electric, giving them an similar feel. The layered rosewood on the back and sides adds sweetness to the tone, while the Sitka spruce top ensures your sound cuts through the ensemble.
Blueridge BR 180A Historic Craftsman Series Dreadnought Guitar
The tonewoods of an acoustic guitar would be the foremost variable when it involves the tone of the instrument. The Adirondack spruce used in the top part of this Blueridge model is a highly-valued and rare tonewood, used in the building of the vintage bluegrass guitars from the first twentieth century. The sides and back, meanwhile, are built of East Indian rosewood, handcrafted to the most perfect thickness. Combined with the scalloped, forward X top bracing, it provides you with the ideal combination of power and excess weight for an important tone and clear attack. With the BR 180A, you find the very best of modern construction and vintage sound techniques. This should be on anyone’s list of the very best bluegrass guitars.
Blueridge BR 180A at The Fellowship of Acoustics
Blueridge BR 140 Historic Series Dreadnought Guitar with Deluxe Hardshell Case Price:
They are significantly less famous as Martin or perhaps Gibson, but this San Francisco based company specializes in vintage styled guitars that strike a balance between traditional sound and modern construction quality. Their Dreadnought acoustic uses an Adirondack spruce top and mahogany back as well as sides, resulting in a good mid range that is responsive to fingerpicking dynamics. The exquisite craftsmanship includes a dovetail neck joint and hand carved parabolic braces that use a traditional forward X pattern. At the budget of its, this guitar is an outstanding value, sharing tonal qualities with traditional bluegrass models like the Martin D 18 but costing a fraction of the cost.
Yamaha FG840 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar, Flamed Maple
Bluegrass guitars are able to be rather costly, but with this Yamaha FG840 guitar you are able to buy an excellent bluegrass sound for the correct price. This design offers an option of tonewoods: either mahogany or perhaps Sitka spruce on the top along with a back and sides of maple, mahogany, and rosewood. Most bluegrass players are going to choose the spruce top with the mahogany body, even so you are able to pick yummy combination to find the perfect sound of yours. The scalloped X bracing and dreadnought body shape provide you with the power and punchy articulation you have to cut through the ensemble.
The 2 most important qualities for a great bluegrass sound are clarity and power. Power lets your acoustic sound cut through the ensemble, while a sharp and punch attack is important for the high speed fingerpicking the genre calls for.
The tonewoods and bracing used in the construction are going to get the largest effect on these characteristics of the sound of yours. The most popular tonewoods seen in bluegrass guitars are mahogany and rosewood. Lots of bluegrass players prefer rosewood, and that is very resonant and gives your sound deeper bass and a darker overall sound profile. Mahogany has a warmer tone that is excellent in top of the register with much less pronounced overtones.
When it involves the best wood, the great majority of bluegrass guitars use spruce since it improves the clarity of the tone; Adirondack or perhaps Red Spruce is especially coveted due to just how clearly it articulates at all dynamic levels. A mahogany top, on another hand, is going to give you a richer sustain and a far more nuanced attack.
The bracing used on the interior of the top has a huge effect on the sound and response of the instrument. Most steel string dreadnoughts use a X pattern bracing, but the wood type and thickness and also the positioning of the bracing relative to the sound hole will alter the sonic profile of the top. Many bluegrass guitarists prefer a scalloped bracing in the instruments of theirs. Scalloped bracings make the instrument louder and improve the responsiveness of the best wood, ideal for the quick rhythmic lines common to the genre.
What strings type you use is likewise essential to getting the perfect bluegrass sound. The standard for a bluegrass guitar is usually to make use of medium gauge strings which are wound with either phosphor bronze or perhaps 80/20 brass. The differences between the 2 materials will be subtle. An 80/20 bronze string is going to have brighter tone, one that is usually referred to as a real brass brilliance. Phosphor bronze strings, on another hand, give you a warmer, richer tone.
Ultimately, it is a matter of individual choice. Both these materials are going to give you the bright steel string sound you want when you are playing in a bluegrass style, but think about the tonal characteristics of the guitar of yours and whatever you wish to highlight in the sound of yours. If you’ve an all mahogany guitar, you may not have the additional warmth of a phosphor bronze string, and could discover that the better edge of an 80/20 brass string is exactly what you have to round out the tone. When you find an instrument that has the entire sound you are searching for (i.e., the greatest bluegrass guitar according to your very own personal needs), experimenting with many different strings are able to make you make final tweaks to perfect the tone of yours.