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Talking Guitar: The Dreadnought

Since its humble beginnings in 1916, built by C.F. Martin under the Oliver Ditson store brand and championed by bandstand players looking to compete with a full and rich mix of fiddles and banjos, the Dreadnought has risen to the forefront of the Acoustic guitar world and become one of the most instantly recognisable shapes in the six stringed world.

Martin really hit their stride with this iconic powerhouse in the early 1930s, but around the same period Gibson came in with their own take in the J-35, named after it's $35 price tag, really helping cement the impact of the form in a diverse range of genres.

The real game changer was the introduction of the J-45 in 1942, with this no-frills, slope-shouldered workhorse finding its way into the hands of a whole host of contemporary artists hands and making it's mark on recorded music ever since.

These days the level of variation in style and sound within the bounds of this hallowed silhouette, from large sound-holes through to body wedges and cutaways each and every luthier has made their mark and push the longevity of this perpetually relevant and versatile behemoth.

Take a look at some of our favourite iterations of the Dreadnought below!

This elegant Santa Cruz D Law Model in Mahogany and Italian Spruce is a powerful and assertive Dreadnought with all the versatility and playability you could ask for, and the exceptional workmanship one would expect from Richard Hoover and his team out in Santa Cruz, California. 

With simple, iconic lines and a gorgeous sunburst finish, this guitar captures a very classic and traditional aesthetic, with the benefits of the unbelievable attention to detail and care that a dedicated high end workshop can invest. 

  • Body Wood Type: Mahogany
  • Back Stripe: Tortoise
  • Body Binding: Backlit Tortoise
  • Top Wood Type: Italian Spruce
  • Rosette: Ivoroid
  • Purfling: Violin Purfle
  • Bracing/Voicing: Special Hybrid Bracing Pattern, Adriondack bracing with hot hide glue
  • Soundhole: 4″
  • Neck Peghead: Solid Square
  • Peghead Binding: Backlit Tortoise
  • Overlay Material: Ebony
  • Headstock Inlay: SCGC
  • Scale Length: 25.25″
  • Fingerboard Side Dots: White
  • Inlay: D & S Long Pattern
  • Width at Nut: 1-11/16″
  • Width at 14th Fret: 2-3/16″
  • Binding: Backlit Tortoise
  • Finish Type: Clear
  • Type-Top Vintage Tobacco Sunburst
  • Pickguard: Tortoise D Shape
  • Gears: Waverly 4060
  • Bridge Spacing Through Saddle: 2-3/16″
  • Pick-Up: None

 

This extraordinary Large Soundhole Dreadnought was built by Dana Bourgeois and his team in Lewiston, Maine and features an Aged Tone Adirondack Spruce top paired with a truly jaw dropping set of Multi-Figured, Blister Quilt Mahogany for the back and sides.
The Large Soundhole Dreadnought may well be the holy grail for flat pickers of all varieties with a huge, wide open voice and detailed response that affords a certain clarity and quality to even the heaviest of right hands. This particular example is far from an exception, with thunderous lows, sparkling trebles a great deal of punch in-between that blend with the guitars substantial dynamic range. 
  • Top - Aged Tone Adirondack Spruce
  • Back & sides - Multi-Figured Blister Quilt Mahogany
  • Neck - Mahogany
  • Fretboard - Ebony
  • Finish - Clear Lacquer
  • Bracing - Aged Tone Adirondack 
  • Construction - All Hide Glue
  • Bridge - Ebony
  • Binding - Cocobolo
  • Purfling - Vintage Wood Herringbone
  • Rosette - Special Abalone Rosette
  • Frets to the body - 14
  • Nut width - 1 23/32

Froggy Bottom SJ Deluxe Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany & Adirondack Spruce - Pre-Owned - £5,550 

A powerful slope shoulder dread from the heart of Vermont! The Mahogany and Adi together make for a magical combination. Built-in 2017 and in excellent condition.

  • Sound Board - Adirondack Spruce
  • Back - Mahogany
  • Sides - Mahogany
  • Neck - Mahogany
  • Nut Width - 1.75"
  • Headstock Veneer - Rosewood
  • Rosette - Concentric circles with Abalone
  • Scale length - 25.25
  • Fretboard - Ebony
  • Nut - Buffalo bone
  • Saddle - Buffalo bone
  • Bridge - Ebony
  • Bindings - Figured maple
  • Tuners - Waverly Nickel
  • Inlay - Split Diamonds
  • Case - Custom TKL

Andy Mason Dove I Acoustic Guitar, Brazilian Rosewood & Engelmann Spruce - Pre-Owned - £6,250

This gorgeous Pre-Owned Dove I from esteemed luthier Andy Manson is a truly inspiring Dreadnought, that sounds equally as captivating as it looks. 
Built out of Brazilian Rosewood for the back and sides with an Engelmann Spruce top, this delightfully balanced instrument is all about getting the most out of what you put in. With a magnificent dynamic range and huge tonal response it really is a well rounded and full bodied guitar. 
  • Back and sides: Brazilian Rosewood
  • Top: Engelmann Spruce
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Ebony
  • Bridge: Brazillian Rosewood
  • Nut & Saddle: Bone
  • Tuners: Schaller
  • Body Depth at Lower bout: 140mm
  • Body Depth at Upper bout: 97mm
  • Body Width at Lower bout: 396mm
  • Body Width at Upper bout: 295mm

Santa Cruz Custom D Acoustic Guitar, Brazilian Rosewood & German Spruce - Pre-Owned - £12,995

This is a Santa Cruz Custom D-1339 built in 1995, featuring a beautiful set of Brazilian Rosewood back and sides and a German Spruce top.

This guitar has come to us in almost as-new condition, showing no wear from its 22 years. The slender V-shaped Mahogany neck makes this guitar smooth and easy to play while the advanced X bracing gives it a powerful and instantly recognisable sound. Commissioning this guitar from Santa Cruz today would cost at least $21,100.

  • Santa Cruz
  • Serial No. 1339
  • Body Wood: Brazilian Rosewood
  • Top Wood: German Spruce
  • Neck Wood: Mahogany  
  • Fingerboard Wood: Ebony
  • Head Cap: Brazilian Rosewood 
  • Neck Shape: V with volute
  • Bracing: Advanced X
  • Finger Board Inlay: 45 Style
  • Body Inlay: 45 Style
  • Tuners: Gold Waverly 
  • Nut Width: 1 3/4" 
  • Case: Original Santa Cruz hardshell case

Martin Custom Shop D-18 Acoustic Guitar, Sinker Mahogany & Adirondack Spruce - Pre-Owned - £3,450

The Martin D18 is an understated classic, a true workhorse and the quintessential Dreadnought in every way. This example from Martin's Custom Shop takes that tried and tested foundation and builds upon it with superb craftsmanship and inspired tone woods. 
The construction of the instrument is set around a gorgeous set of Sinker Mahogany for the back and sides paired with an Adirondack Spruce top. While retaining the humble visuals of the iconic format, the Old Growth, nuanced qualities of the Mahogany lend a real depth and clarity to the sound, with the Adirondack providing a a driving and responsive feel to interact with. 
  • Adirondack Spruce Top
  • Sinker Mahogany Back and Sides
  • Sinker Mahogany Neck
  • Ebony Fretboard
  • Golden Era Bracing
  • Dot Inlays
  • Tortoise Style Pickguard
  • Bone Nut and Saddle
  • Vintage Style Tuners
  • 1 1/4" Nut Width
  • Fishman Matrix Pickup
  • Original Hardcase
This spectacular Dreadnought from Bourgeois is the signature model of Bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, sporting a host of features to make up his ideal iteration of this much-loved country icon.
With a Mahogany back and sides, and a Spruce top with a truly stunning warm patina to it, this is one versatile dreadnought. The key characteristics of this guitars dynamic voice are those of warmth and clarity, with remarkable note separation and a real sense of dry vintage tone this guitar captures a deeply classic feeling paired with all of Danas signature innovations. 
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Spruce top
  • Tortoise binding on the body
  • No binding on the neck and peghead
  • Mahogany neck
  • 1-3/4" nut width
  • Bone nut
  • Ebony fretboard with mini pearl dot inlay
  • Tortoise color pickguard
  • Rosewood peghead overlay
  • Nickel Kluson tuning machines with butter bean buttons
  • Ebony bridge
  • Compensated saddle
  • Strap button installed on the underside of the neck heel

Merrill C-28 Acoustic Guitar, Cocobolo & Adirondack Spruce - Pre-Owned - £6,500

Made for Bill Kaman by Jim Merrill in 2009, this gorgeous dreadnought boasts the aesthetic and tonal response that makes Jim's guitars so sought after and inspiring to play. 
Built in a jaw-dropping Cocobolo set for the back and sides paired with an Adirondack Spruce top, there's heaps of character to this vintage inspired powerhouse, with huge lows and a certain sparkling clarity to the decay of each note thanks to the choice combination in the back and sides. 
The playability is stellar, with great articulation and separation all the way through to the dusty end of the fretboard and no loss of body to each note as you climb further up. 
  • Top: Adirondack Spruce 
  • Back and Sides: Cocobolo 
  • Rosette: 28-style Ivoroid 
  • Neck: Mahogany with diamond volute 
  • Fretboard: Ebony 
  • Headstock Veneer: Brazilian
  • Tuners: Nickel Waverlys 
  • Bridge: Ebony belly 
  • Pins: Bone width black dots 
  • Saddle: Bone cut-through 
  • Nut: Bone 
  • Pickguard: Tortoise color 
  • Nut Width: 1-3/4" 
  • Scale Length: 25.4

Froggy Bottom S-Deluxe 12-String Acoustic Guitar, Mahogany & Adirondack Red Spruce - Pre-Owned - £7,995

This stunning Froggy Bottom S Deluxe 12 String in Mahogany & Adirondack Red Spruce has just arrived!

  • MODEL S Deluxe
  • Twelve string option
  • Mahogany back and sides
  • Adirondack Red Spruce top
  • 25.25 in. scale length
  • 1 7/8 in. bone nut and saddle
  • Solid peg head
  • Gabon ebony fingerboard with 20 frets
  • 14 frets to body join
  • #5 pattern (diamonds) green abalone fingerboard position markers Abalone frog logo headstock inlay
  • DLX grade purple East Indian rosewood headstock overlay
  • Bound headstock
  • Abalone rosette and backstripe
  • Chrome Schaller mini tuners 6 x 6 for solid headstock
  • Maple bindings and grafts
  • Maple heel cap
  • Ebony bridge pins and end pins with Paua abalone dots
  • Clear high gloss finish
  • Belly bridge with 1/8" saddle slot
  • Imitation tortoise pick guard
  • GHS BB100 bright bronze .052 - .012 strings
  • Black American Vintage Series TKL case

For more information on any of these stunning dreadnoughts, please don't hesitate to get in touch via email at hello@thenorthamericanguitar.com or by phone on +44 (0) 207 835 5597.

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