In technical terms, it is always a good option to pick a sturdy dreadnought body axe with a pack of steel strings, but since the music market offers a vast array of options, there are more possibilities to be considered.
Check out our 4 picks for the best acoustic guitar for blues below.
Throughout the year, Martin Guitars have established themselves as arguably the top brand of acoustic guitars in the world, and blues is one of the genres in which they shine the most.
Although many Martin six-strings can be used, we opted for the 000-15M model (see full specs) because it has that extra pinch of grittiness, tradition, and magic to stand out above the rest. Featuring an all-mahogany body, this is one luxurious instrument, but there’s something about it that makes it very clear that the manufacturer never forgot about the raw power of the blues.
This ultimately results in an incredibly warm and powerful tone, something that can draw you to tears if properly wielded. Focusing on technicalities, the guitar has a very strong mid-range punch and just enough brightness to make the tone well-rounded.
Ultimately, this rough boy will make your fingers bleed, but just one try-out is bound to leave a permanent grin on your face. This is one of the best acoustic guitars for blues period.
In the economy department, we’d like to draw your attention towards Fender CD 60. You might find it odd that we’ve used such a well-known six-string as a representative of the budget-friendly realm, rather than going for the hidden gems, but it is what it is. The CD-60 is an amazing affordable guitar, the best one of its price range in our humble opinion, and there’s no point in hiding that.
Apart from a gorgeous design that might instantly captivate your attention, this guitar boasts a laminated mahogany body that is capable of producing a very organic sound, perfect for the original blues.
Hitting some bass-driven chords on this baby is bound to catch you by surprise, as low frequencies pack a punch worthy of two or three times more expensive instruments. The rest of the sonic range is also well covered, making this Fender a genuine budget tour de force.
But we are talking about a cheap option, and despite all the enthusiasm, this bad boy is nowhere near a classic Martin or Taylor. However, it’s still a mighty fine guitar that will get the job done.
Taylor Big Baby BBT
In the mid-range price department, Taylor’s Big Baby Taylor, or BBT is a fine option and possibly the top acoustic guitar for blues under $500. It utilizes a classic dreadnought body that resonates rich tone, but the sitka spruce and a pack of steel strings still keep the sound dry and bright enough to let the rough bit come out.
Note that this model has a surprisingly high-end ebony neck and a set of high-quality frets, which make it significantly easier to play the guitar. So if you’re a beginner blues master looking for an affordable six-string that is easy to play, BBT is a fine choice.
In terms of value for money, this guitar offers the best sound of all the instruments on the list. You can get it from some retailers for as low as $400, yet the sound it offers is worth at least $1000, if not $1500. So if a divine Martin is out of your reach, a Big Baby still has many of the high-end sonic qualities you’ve been yearning for. No one would kick this baby off any list of the best acoustic guitars for blues, that’s for sure.
Gretsch G9200 Boxcar
It’s always nice to round things up with a little something adventurous, and this time around we opted for the Gretsch G9200 Boxcar resonator guitar. Why? Because this baby just screams blues top-to-bottom! With an all-mahogany body, the Boxcar offers an entirely new sonic palette at your disposal, and it’s all about the blues.
The bright, raw sound, the metallic vibe and clingy basses—every sound aspect of this six-string brings you way back to the roots of blues, and not many guitars have that power.
It is, however, a different instrument, and its sound is far away from any other guitar on the list. Therefore, it might be best to give it a spin before buying it. Because although the sound is nothing but pure blues, it can be fairly limiting too. Some say it lacks warmth, others say it lacks bass, but there are those who say it’s like nothing else on today’s market.
But it’s our opinion that if you’re a 24/7 blues-wailer, the sound of slide played on this bad boy will make your heart tingle. A worthy contender of the ultimate acoustic guitar for blues—do consider it!
“WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A GUITAR FOR BLUES?”
You should consider the nature of the genre. Blues is not meticulous, blues is not crystal clear, blues is not perfect, and neither should be your guitar. Emotions first, technicalities later.
But if we are to focus on the technical aspect, we’d say that you should search for a body that can strongly resonate without giving too much focus on the low end. Muddy low end is not something you need that much for blues, but you do need a punchy middle section, so keep your eyes peeled for that as well.
Finally, a pinch of sonic brightness is also necessary, and to achieve this mix, we say you should opt for steel strings. Nylon strings are fine, but steel models can go above and beyond in helping you achieve the desired sound.
But ultimately, you will reach a point when you will have to stop caring about the technical aspect of the guitar, as well as your own playing technique and just focus on musical expression. Indeed, the best acoustic guitars for blues will help free you. And when you get that freedom, you will feel amazing.