Blues yourself all the way
Since its conception around the 19th century by slaves, the Blues has come a long way. However, on its way to what it is today, it’s branched out into various types and styles. Even though one can argue that the guitar was never even involved upon its conception (they were all sung with a majority of just voices), the guitar is definitely a go-to element that can help bring that Southern twang to the sound.
These songs are sung about hardships and are meant to be written from the depths of the soul, which is why the sound is so important to get just right. Since Jazz was also developed around the same time, they did have influence over one another. However, the traditional blues definitely had its own characteristics.
There are various types of blues. Here are some:
This is an all kind of different blues music. It has more up-tempo and has a huge Jazz influence in its sound. Normally, you’ll hear this type accompanied by a full brass band.
Back in the 40s and the 50s, this type also relies on brass instruments but is normally accompanied by horns, more than anything else.
With its central focus on the piano, cool blues are very relaxing, lower beat and calm.
West Coast blues
Actually perfected by musicians from Texas who moved out west to Cali, this type of blues has a heavy influence from swing.
This type of blues is heavily influenced by Slide music, which was founded in Hawaii.
St. Louis Blues
If you’re looking for a mixture of the entire thing, this type of blues is the perfect balance between ragtime, piano blues, and jump blues.
How to distinct an acoustic blues guitar from the others
If you’re wondering how to tell the difference between the acoustic blues guitar and the other types of guitars, there are a few distinct features.
Normally, a blues acoustic guitar will have a very distinct sound. It will have a cheerful and lead-friendly tone.
When it comes to the physical features, it normally has a much slimmer neck and a much tinier string gauge. If you’re looking at the body of the guitar, it has a cutaway body, that is a bit smaller and more concert-shaped. We’ll get into more details about the shape and physical features of the blues guitar later on in this guide.
How to choose the guitar that is perfect for you
Especially as a musician, you are defined and differ from other musicians out there by the sound you play and the way you approach your art. So, finding the “perfect” guitar for you relies a lot on personal preference.
However, it’s important for everyone that they ask themselves a very important question before choosing the “perfect” guitar – ‘’What is your purpose behind your purchase?’’ You need to know where you see yourself going with this guitar. If you’re planning on just playing a bit at home or if you want to be a real blue player in concerts, you’ll need to know your personal motive. If you’re planning on playing in concerts, for example, you’ll need your guitar to be compatible with an amp. If you are worried about the price being too high, there many acoustic-electric guitar models that fall into a budget category.
Features to consider while in search for a blues acoustic guitar
Before you go out and choose “the one”, you need to make sure that your ideal acoustic guitar matches up with the one you’re considering purchasing. Here are a few features to help make it the perfect blues guitar:
Especially if you aren’t aware of all the different sizes of acoustic guitars, you might actually end up with the wrong one! It will definitely make a difference if you buy the wrong size—not only might it be a wrong fit for you physically, it might sound extremely wrong.
When you’re taking a look at the different sizes, you’ll realize that they are very impacting on the playability—if you’re able to hold it—and the quality of the sound—bigger ones mean bigger sounds.
Depending on if you’re planning on traveling with the guitar or if you want to play it in a huge room where you plan on wanting to make it heard, you’ll need to get the corresponding size guitar for your goal.
From small to big, here are the sizes of acoustic guitars:
- Mini Guitars
- Travel Guitars
- Classical Guitar
- Parlor Concert Guitar (0)
- Grand Concert (00)
- Auditorium (000/Grand Performance)
- Grand Auditorium (0000/M)
- Grand Symphony, Dreadnought
- Grand Orchestra
Especially if you’re smaller in the frame—as a person—you’ll need a guitar to match your size! Whether you’re jumbo size and would look funny with a tiny, mini-guitar or if you’re gifting an acoustic guitar to your child who wants to take up playing, you’ll need to get a size that is congruent with the size of the player, as well as the sound you want to produce.
An acoustic blues style can be deeper than other acoustic guitars out there. Getting the style you want is important and directly relevant to the sound you want to create.
In general, if you have a larger soundboard—which is the top part of the guitar—the sound will be deeper and louder.
To familiarize yourself with different acoustic guitars, here are some of the styles available:
- Concert and Grand Concert
- Auditorium and Grand Auditorium
- Travel and Mini-Acoustics
For the body, you will come to find that there are a lot of different woods that are used in acoustic guitars. Not only that, but actually, in the different parts of the guitar, there is different wood used.
Normally, you’ll find that most acoustic blues guitars are made with these woods:
The top is the most important part of the guitar. It is the part where the sound is transmitted and amplified. The bigger the soundboard is, the louder the sound will actually be.
Normally, these acoustic guitars will be made with single-ply wood pieces and then possibly laminated. If the guitar is laminated, it won’t be that rich of a sound as it would be if it was pure wood—however, it is normally much more affordable.
For a better sounding example you might want to buy the Taylor 214ce DLX which has a solid spruce top or the Breedlove Solo Concert with a richer solid red cedar.
Back and sides
The soundboard we just talked about is surrounded by the sides and the back, which make that hollow chamber where the sound reverberates. The way the back and sides are shaped can easily impact the sound. Not only does it have to match the sound you want to hear but physically has to be the right shape and size for you to hold and play with ease.
The finish of the wood or the guitar also has a huge impact on the sound. The finish, whether its laminated or wood will affect how the sound vertebrates off the material.
When you’re looking at acoustic guitars, you’ll run into different size thickness and widths with the necks. Even though the neck doesn’t have an impact on the sound, it does have one on your comfort while holding and playing. Normally, you will choose between 12- or 14-fret necks. If you have smaller hands, you’ll want a smaller-fret guitar.
Especially if you’re looking at getting a smaller guitar—whether if it’s for a child or if you’re looking for a traveling companion, you’ll need to see if the scale length changes with the size. Normally, a smaller-sized guitar will have shorter fret scales, making it possible for smaller hands to hold and play.
For the guitar, the nut is the part of the guitar that is purposed to guide the string right onto the fretboard. Normally, it will be made of plastic, however, it can also be made from graphite or even bone.
Normally, as a beginner, they’ll most likely tell you to get nylon strings because they are easier to play. However, depending on the guitar you purchase, it actually might not be compatible with nylon strings, and you’ll have to go with steel strings.
Nylon strings have a softer sound while steel strings are normally used to create a louder and brighter sound.
You can either have a tuning machine right on your guitar or need to get a tuner. If you have a guitar with an enclosed machine head, you’ll be able to hold pitch much longer since it resists a lot of rust and other corrosives. Open tuning machines will require much more maintenance.
Depending on if your guitar comes with a case or not, you’ll want to think about how you want to hold, carry, and protect your guitar.
In general—if your guitar doesn’t already come with a case—you’ll be able to choose from a:
- soft case
- hard case
- hybrid case
- flight bags
- specialty guitar cases
Be on the lookout to see if your purchase comes with extra accessories. They might save you money in the long run. Some additional accessories will include:
- String Cutter/Winder
- Picks/Pick Holder
If you’re looking for an acoustic preamp, it should also come with these controls:
- Gain (volume)
- Three-band EQ
You can also benefit from feedback control, a blend knob, and pickup system.