If you love the blues, you know that there’s no better instrument for playing it than the acoustic guitar. The history of blues music is intertwined with the history of guitars.
This article explores the best acoustic guitars for blues music.
There are many different types of acoustic guitars on the market and it can be difficult to decide which one is best for you. Even if you only want to play blues, there are a few factors to take into account before making your decision.
Ultimately, the best acoustic guitars for blues are the ones that are well-suited for this genre.
Some guitars have a sound that is more suitable for the blues style. Other guitars just look the part!
I tested 7 products and found the Gretsch Boxcar to be the best acoustic guitar for blues.
Gretsch has been a manufacturer of quality guitars for over 120 years. The Gretsch boxcar is one of their best acoustic guitars for blues. It is the perfect guitar for the gigging musician and it sounds great.
This unique resonator-style guitar uses a wooden body with a metal resonant biscuit.
I love the sound and look of this guitar for blues. The combo of wood and metal just captures that wild west feel, like your strumming a guitar whilst riding a horse and cart around the deserts of America.
The other Gretsch resonator guitars are just as great for blues. I preferred this one over the Gretsch Honey Dipper purely for the look! It’s also a fair bit less expensive
The Honey Dipper has a more authentic blues sound, but is less versatile, and may not be suitable for beginners due to its complexity and price.
Blues was one of the first styles of music I learned to play on guitar.
The blues is the foundational building block of many subsequent styles of music.
Learning and playing the blues is a great way to improve your musicianship, and a fun way to jam with other musicians.
I’ve gone through too many guitars in my time. Whilst you can play any style of music on any type of guitar, there are definitely some models that are more suitable than others – particularly when it comes to playing the blues.
We loved the Gretsch Boxcar for several reasons.
How cool does this guitar look? It’s a super stylish acoustic guitar for blues. Look and sound the part when you’re playing blues with the Boxcar.
You can feel all the authentic inspiration in comparison to most acoustic blues guitars.
The overall quality makes this a good acoustic guitar all around, with excellent sound quality, a comfortable rosewood fingerboard, and a loud, clear tone.
There are many great acoustic guitars for blues out there, we’re here to help you find the perfect match for your needs.
The first thing to consider when buying an acoustic guitar is the price range that fits your budget. The second factor would be the sound that you want from your guitar.
The guitar is an essential part of blues music. The strings, fretboard, pickups, and body all affect the sound of an acoustic guitar. These aspects will depend on what you’re looking for in your sound.
Keep reading for our full exploration of the best acoustic guitars for blues
For other great guitars, check out this post about the best acoustic guitars.
If you want to give your guitar a new appearance, check out our guide on how to refinish an acoustic guitar.
Best Acoustic Guitars for Blues in Our Tests
- Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
- Gretsch G9201 Honey Dipper Resonator Guitar
- Gretsch Boxcar Round Neck Natural Mahogany
- Fender CD60-SCE Electric/Acoustic
- Gretsch G9520E Gin Rickey Acoustic/Electric
- Fender Tim Armstrong Hellcat Acoustic-Electric Guitar
- Epiphone Hummingbird PRO Acoustic/Electric
- Buying Guide: Factors to consider when buying acoustic guitars for blues
7 Best Acoustic Guitars for Blues Reviews in Details
The Martin LX1 acoustic guitar is an excellent choice for beginner guitarists, country music players, and blues musicians. This small guitar is one of the best acoustic blues guitars you can find.
This ¾ scale acoustic guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top and mahogany laminate that offers a rich sound that you can carry with you anywhere. The Stratabond, 23″ scale length neck is easy to play and has fantastic action.
This versatile guitar has a deep sound and a rich tone that works for blue, amongst other music. Despite its smaller size, this guitar still has great volume. Martin guitars are known to be better than most acoustic guitars.
Anyone would be happy with this guitar sitting in their guitar stand. It’s ideal for blues playing thanks to its’s ability to play raspy tones with a warm sound.
It also sounds great when you play slide guitar on this martin acoustic guitar.
Martin guitars are handmade and are built to an exceptionally high level of quality, hence the larger price tag. These are all around a great guitar and would make the perfect blues acoustic guitar for professionals.
Pros and Cons:
- Superior build and sound quality – it’s handmade.
- Versatile tone.
- Compact, portable body size.
- No electronics.
– – –
The Gretsch G9201 is a jewel for any blues lover’s collection. Starting from its body, which is made from bell brass, it makes it a unique piece.
This is a unique resonator acoustic guitar, that sounds as interesting as it looks. The Gretsch G9201 is a time machine for playing blues like the legends of the past.
This beautiful bell brass body resonator guitar has a biscuit cone shape and home-spun acoustic sound, which is perfect for blues players. The sound is ideal for traditional country blues, being twangy and full of sustain.
Also proving to be a great instrument for many styles of music, the body of this guitar is made mostly from metal and has a uniquely bright, resonant sound. The sound is totally perfect for blues, but I think it also sounds great for folk music.
You’ll love the full metal body and the 19 frets Padiak fretboard, which provides maximum comfort while you’re playing. This enchanting instrument is sure to put a smile on any blues fans’ faces.
The body is made from custom instrument-grade bell brass and uses a unique biscuit cone shape resonator to enhance the tone and projection.
This enchanting resonator guitar captures the nostalgic sound of blues acoustic guitars. This guitar looks and sounds adventurous, and captures the look of classic west coast blues guitars. This style of guitar is also known to be favored by Texas musicians.
Pros and Cons:
- Bright, distinctive tone.
- Exceptional build quality.
- Ideal for blues guitar and fingerpicking.
– – –
Gretsch guitars are known for their attention to detail and quality, and the Boxcar carries on that tradition. This is a classic all-around resonator. Whether you’re playing bluegrass, country, folk, jump blues, or rock ‘n’ roll, the Gretsch Boxcar has the tone to suit your needs.
The Boxcar is lightweight, resonant, and remarkably versatile. Its small dreadnaught body design provides easy access to the entire rosewood fretboard, which is dressed with medium jumbo frets for easy playing.
The mahogany body with steel biscuit provides a balanced tone with a respectable volume. The 25” scale length makes gives a comfortable feeling, while also shortening the string distance for easy chord changes.
These stylistically vintage guitars use die-cast tuners for excellent tuning stability. The action was a little high but is easily corrected thanks to the adjustable truss rod. The rosewood fingerboard felt smooth and works well for blues slide music.
The Boxcar acoustic blues guitar creates a warm, pronounced tone which is perfect for blues, fingerstyle, and slide guitar. It has a faithful vintage look and sound, with modern build quality and stability.
This is would make for an exciting beginner’s acoustic guitar and is equally as suitable for professionals.
This guitar just has that authentic blues style, both in look and sound. If you’re a blues guitarist that needs a cool blues guitar, this could be the next instrument for you!
Pros and Cons:
- Warm tone with a resonator.
- Comfortable neck with great intonation.
- No built-in pickups.
– – –
Fender is a guitar brand with a legacy spanning decades. For many players, the Fender name symbolizes the beginning of high-quality guitar manufacturing. The CD60 range puts Fender quality in players’ hands at a fantastically affordable price.
If you’re looking for a beautiful guitar for playing some classic blues jams, this Fender CD60-SCE is the guitar you want. It’s comfortable, easy to play, and looks great.
The Mahogany back and sides give it a good sound while the Fishman Classic Pickups let you plug into any amp or PA system. You can’t go wrong with this guitar!
The pictured version has a cutaway, that makes accessing the upper frets even easier. This guitar is also available in a dreadnought version (without a cutaway). This makes the frets a little harder to reach, but increases the volume, and stability of the low frequencies.
An electrified version of the popular Fender CD60 acoustic guitar. This affordable model is a great all-rounder guitar and works great for blues.
This comes in either a standard acoustic or acoustic/electric version. The included pickup gives the option to amplify their guitar’s sound.
Having the option for amplification is great, as it lets you play blues guitar with a sound closer to electric guitars. Not a lot of the other guitars on this list have electric features, so this could be one of the best blues guitar varieties so far.
Overall, this is a great acoustic guitar. It has all the features you need to give a great performance and has a great tone for blues. If you’re playing guitar in the style of Chicago blues, Memphis blues, or even playing along to some piano blues, the Fender CD-60 will make the grade.
Pros and Cons:
- Great quality at an affordable price.
- Good all-around guitar.
- Comes in electrified versions.
- Needs some setup to feel good.
– – –
The Gretsch G9520E Gin Rickey Guitar combines classic Gretsch circuitry and design with modern features. This Acoustic-Electric Guitar has a Basswood top and Walnut fingerboard and is Faithful to the blues tone and style. It’s perfect for players who want the look, sound, and feel of a vintage guitar with added versatility.
The G9520E features excellent build quality that will satisfy any blues guitarist. This makes playing blues a blast, with a faithful blues tone and style. This guitar has a bold, bright tone with a vintage touch.
This guitar just creates a perfect blues vibe. It might be the look or the sound. Either way, it makes you feel as if you’re in a secret bar in prohibition-era America, drinking moonshine and listening to the blues.
It’s Acoustic-electric, so it comes with a built-in pickup to plug into amplifiers and recording gear. The included electronics are styled in a faithful way to the original vintage guitars of the blues era.
Plug this thing into an old amp, and use an old glass bottle to play it in slide style! You’ll feel like Robert Johnson in no time.
This is a ¾ sized parlor-style guitar, so it looks and sounds like guitars from the 1930s. It’s slightly smaller than most guitars, which makes it easier to hold and transport. The smaller scale length neck also makes it easier for holding chords and use blues thinger and thumb techniques.
This is close to a perfect acoustic guitar for blues, although you may need to tweak neck tension to get perfect action (like many acoustic guitars). This is a much more faithful style of an instrument than most blues guitars, and I don’t think any other guitars look as blues like this one!
Pros and Cons:
- Built-in pickup.
- Authentic blues look.
- Compact body size.
- No controls on the guitar.
– – –
Fender Armstrong Hellcat was designed as a tribute to the roots of Fender’s history. Tim Armstrong, best known as the frontman of punk group Rancid and founder of the record label Hellcat Records, created a strong bond with Fender in his youth.
He admired fender acoustic guitars and bought his first guitar from a pawn shop at age 12. Tim loved the guitar, but it was stolen from him.
With a history of making some of the finest guitars in the world, Fender created a guitar that was not only for the pros but also for the people who just love to play.
The Hellcat is a top-of-the-line guitar that embodies everything that made Fender great to begin with. With its mahogany body and scalloped X bracing, it’s built to last. Powered by an Isys
The Fender Hellcat 11th anniversary Tim Armstrong guitar is a solid electric-acoustic guitar for rhythm playing. The guitar is presented with a wood top and a scalloped brace, mahogany back and sides, and a walnut fretboard.
A Fishman Presys III pickup system with an active preamp with tuner/volume and tone controls is there to help you boost the tone and play with amplifiers.
With a smooth black finish, gold hardware, and double scoop Inlays, this guitar has a unique and appealing aesthetic, with a bluesy look.
The Hellcats sound is clear and balanced, It’s also very powerful, creating a loud volume.
This guitar has a great sound for blues or other punk-folk styles of music. It may look a bit more modern than some authentic blues guitar, but it still has a great sound for the genre. If you want to play guitar with a great tone, this could be the best guitar for you.
Pros and Cons:
- Cool look.
- Deep, full sound with a medium rasp.
- High quality in-built electronics.
– – –
The Epiphone Hummingbird Pro is a classic model based on the legendary 60’s Gibson Hummingbird. This quintessential blues-style guitar has been used by famous blues artists since its birth.
The origins Gibson acoustic guitar cut its teeth on the blues battlefield. The Epiphone is its keen understudy, learning from its mistakes, and creating an improved guitar.
This Epiphone model updates the classic guitar with a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides. It also brings the price down a lot, so this guitar can find its way to the hands of a beginner.
It has a large dreadnaught body with a SlimTape D shape neck. The neck itself feels great to play with, it’s very comfortable and easy to maneuver around. The overall wood build is decent too, it isn’t quite as high quality as the original Gibson but comes fairly close.
This guitar has a large, full sound thanks to dreadnought shape. The low frequencies are well balanced, with a pleasing resonance. This guitar also has noticeably strong tuning stability, thanks to the high-quality tuning pegs.
The Ephophone Hummingbird pro also Includes a fantastic Fishman Sonitone pickup system, with controls and tuner. This electronic system is super useful. Not only can you plug it into a pickup or recording gear, but you also won’t have to worry about keeping an external tuner close at hand all the time.
The look of this guitar is also second to none. It has a famous design, and this Epiphone version retains the Iconic etched hummingbird pickguard.
The hummingbird style is known to be one of the best acoustic guitars for blues. If you’re interested in playing blues and you need an authentic guitar, the Epiphone Hummingbird is a perfect choice.
Pros and Cons:
- Comes set up well, low action, tuned intonation.
- Easy, comfortable neck, fun to play.
- Bright, vibrant sound, ideal for blues.
- Authentic vintage appearance, it has the blues look.
– – –
Buying Guide: Factors to consider when buying acoustic guitars for blues
This guide is designed to help you find the best acoustic guitar for blues. There are a few factors we will take into account such as type of sound, comfort, strings, and size.
The first thing to consider when buying acoustic guitars for blues is your budget. If you’re on a tight budget, it might not be possible to buy the guitar that you want. There are many guitars out there that are well suited for blues music, even if they’re not high-end instruments.
Sound: The tone that comes out of the guitar is one of the most important factors to consider when buying acoustic guitars for blues. Acoustic guitars with a bright, crisp sound are best for playing country, jazz, and other genres that require more intricate melodies.
For folk and roots-type music, a warmer sound is preferable because it leaves space in the mix for vocalists to sing over the top of the instrumentation.
Size: Acoustic guitars come in various sizes depending on preference and style of playing. A smaller body is easier to travel with but can’t produce as much volume or sustain as much bass response as full-size models.
Full-size models are better suited for large venues where you want your guitar to be heard.
Think about the size and shape of the acoustic guitar’s neck. A smaller neck will make it easier for your hands to move around it and play quickly, but may not offer as much fret space as a larger neck would provide.
Finally, think about whether or not you need electronics in the guitar or if you prefer an all-acoustic instrument instead. Not all acoustic guitars have built-in pickups, although not all players would want them either. If you want to use your guitar with amplifiers, recording gear, or a PA, then you should consider choosing one that has a built-in pickup and preamp.
If you don’t think you’ll need it, choose a standard acoustic guitar, it will be cheaper than the electronic-acoustic models.
What is the most effective way to learn to play blues on a guitar?
The best way to learn how to play the blues is to play with other musicians. This is will be the most engaging, realistic, and practical way to learn.
Blues guitar books are also a great way to learn. These will show you all the scales, and chord progressions associated with the genre. Extending your blues vocabulary is the key to becoming a great blues player.
Another way is to watch videos on YouTube or other sources. Watching videos could be easier than trying to figure out the instructions in a book. The most effective way to learn blues guitar is through an online course. There are plenty of free courses on YouTube.
Fortunately, the blues is a relatively easy style of music to learn. You should also listen to as many blues recordings as possible to get a good perception of how the music should sound.
What acoustic guitar strings are the best for blues?
There are a few types of guitar strings that are great for blues acoustic guitars.
Generally, people prefer them in thinner gauges (9 or 10 gauge), as this creates a more twangy, brighter sound.
Here are some popular string choices for blues acoustic guitars.
– Ernie Ball 3451 Acoustic Guitar String, Rock/Blues 3-pack
– D’Addario EXP115 Coated Electric Guitar Strings, Medium/Blues/Jazz
– Dean Markley Blue Steel Electric Guitar Strings, 10-46
When should I change strings on my blues acoustic guitar?
This is really a matter of personal taste. Some blues guitarists keep the old strings on their guitar for as long as possible. They like the rough, raw sound it creates.
There isn’t an objective answer to this question. It depends on how you like your guitar to sound.
Although, if the strings are rusty and worn, they may hurt your fingers more, so should be replaced. If you’re more into clean tones, then change the strings whenever they feel worn and dull.
My rule of thumb is just to change them when it feels right. If the sound of the guitar starts to degrade beyond the level it sounds nice to you, then it might be time to change the strings.
Overall, we thought the best acoustic guitars for blues was the Gretsch Boxcar.
This guitar just captures a perfect blues vibe. It looks and feels authentic.
It’s a resonator guitar, so it’s built a bit differently from your typical acoustic guitar. This style of guitar was designed with blues in mind.
The resonator increases the sustain, volume, and concentration of high frequencies. All factors give the guitar a sound that is heard on thousands of blues records throughout history.
The Boxcar has a sound that works well for all styles of blues music. It works really well with extended blues techniques, like playing with a slide. There’s a bright twang to the sound that sounds like the vintage guitar tones of the day.
If you0re looking for a blues acoustic guitar, you won’t find anything much more authentic than the Boxcar. For a full metal resonator, check out the Gretsch Honey Dipper, which is a little more expensive, but a more interesting-looking guitar.
The only downside to this is that neither guitar has built-in electronics, so you’ll have to use a microphone to amplify it, or use a clip-on pickup.
You can find the Gretsch Boxcar online today.
If you’re still looking for a great acoustic guitar for blues, check out our lineup of the best Seagull acoustic guitar, which are also ideal for this genre.