You are currently viewing 5 Best Bluegrass Guitars for 2024 – Chosen by EXPERT

Last Updated on March 2, 2024 by Teemu Suomala

Author: DL Shepherd

Darren has been playing guitar for over 23 years. He fronted the metal band Suddenly Silence in the early 2000’s, and also achieved recognition as an award-winning bluegrass guitarist.

A native of southwestern Virginia, and has shared the stage with many big-name acts from various genres. When he is not playing one of his many guitars, he can be found riding his Harley through the mountains of Virginia.

photo reveals owner of

Editing & Research: Teemu Suomala

I first grabbed the guitar in 2009. I started this website in January 2020 because I couldn’t do window installation anymore due to my health problems. I love guitars and have played dozens and dozens of different guitars through different amps and pedals over the years, and also, building a website interested me, so I decided to just go for it! I got lucky and managed to get awesome people to help me with my website.

I also got lucky because I have you visiting my website right now. Thank you. I do all this for you guys. If you have any recommendations, tips, or feedback, just leave a comment, I would love to chat with you. I have also been fortunate to produce content for several large guitar websites, such as SongsterrMusicnotesGuitarGuitar, and Ultimate Guitar.

I spend my spare time exercising and hanging out with my wife and crazy dog (I guess that went the right way…).

We can proudly say that Darren Shepherd has played every guitar featured in this article. These acoustic guitars are here based on extensive research and decades of combined guitar experience of Darren and Teemu- The first version of this article was published on April 2021, but the piks are still relevant.

“The picks themselves do not need any updating at the moment. I would still recommend those guitars today.”- DL Shepherd. November 8 2023.

Best Overall – Martin D-28 Standard Series

Reviewer: DL Shepherd

Overall Quality
Value for Money


This is the bluegrass standard, the very guitar that shaped and defined the iconic bluegrass sound.

Blending a mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, and Martin’s unwavering commitment to quality craftsmanship results in the ultimate bluegrass guitar (apologies for the salesy tone, but it’s simply the truth).

-Meticulously handcrafted in the U.S.A., aligning with the unique roots of the bluegrass genre and allowing Martin to maintain exceptional quality control.
-Solid wood construction throughout ensures a richer tone and heightened natural volume.
-Tone matures over time, gaining depth and resonance as the guitar ages and becomes lighter.

-Priced at a premium, making it less accessible for budget-conscious players.
-Action might be considered a touch high for some players.
-While visually pleasing, the appearance may come across as somewhat ordinary.

It reigns as the king, it stands as the legend—the Martin D-28, undeniably the greatest bluegrass axe.


How Martin D-28 sounds:

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Best Value – Blueridge BR-140

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Our Overall Rating



  • Encompasses features sought by many professionals in a quality guitar
  • Striking and aesthetically pleasing appearance
  • Incorporates higher-quality woods compared to the majority of Chinese-manufactured guitars


  • nsistent quality.
  • Priced a little high for a Chinese-made guitar
  • Inconsistent factory setup right out of the box (may need adjusting).

If one were to commission a professional luthier to handcraft a guitar with comparable features, the cost would likely soar into the thousands. Fortunately, this guitar doesn’t even come close to that price range.

Best for Electric Guitarists – Takamine GD30CE

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Our Overall Rating



  • Seamless transition for electric players moving to an acoustic instrument
  • Versatility enhanced by onboard electronics
  • Compact size ideal for players with smaller hands
  • Offers a variety with three color options


  • Cutaway body design sacrifices some natural volume
  • Smaller size might limit its ability to stand out in a mix compared to a dreadnought
  • The neck size may be too thin for players with larger hands

The standout feature is its affordability, making it an excellent choice for budget-conscious guitarists aiming to venture into the bluegrass scene without breaking the bank.

Best Budget – Alvarez AD60

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Our Overall Rating



  • Exceptional quality at a remarkably affordable price point
  • Unique bracing design enhances both tonal richness and structural durability
  • Strikingly beautiful with an appearance that reflects meticulous craftsmanship
  • Professional-grade features like real bone saddles contribute to an enhanced tone


  • Semi-gloss neck finish can impart a sensation of lower quality
  • Absence of fretboard inlays might pose challenges for certain beginners
  • Although the neck is relatively thin, it may still feel too wide for some players

It might seem too good to be true, but the Alvarez AD60 stands out for its incredible affordability, especially considering the array of professional features it brings to the table.

Best Beginner – Fender CD-60S Bundle

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Our Overall Rating



  • Exceptionally budget-friendly, especially considering the included accessories
  • Boasts Fender’s renowned construction quality and sound
  • Comprehensive package equips beginners with everything needed to start playing right away


  • The finish on some models is overly thick, potentially impacting volume
  • Prone to a slight buzzing sound when played with force
  • The body size may not suit the preferences of some beginners

The Fender CD-60S bundle presents an outstanding opportunity, available at a steal of a price. Beyond its remarkable value, this guitar holds its own as a worthy addition to any collection.

Compare The Key Specs

ModelPrice Range ($-$$$$)Body StyleNeckFingerboardTop WoodBack & SidesNut WidthNut MaterialScale-LengthElectronicsOur Rating
Best Overall – Martin D-28 Standard Series$$$$$DreadnoughtSelect HardwoodEbony fingerboard. 20 frets. 16″ radius.Solid Sitka SpruceEas Indian Rosewood1.75″ (44.5mm)Bone25.4″No4.9
Best Value – Blueridge BR-140$$$DreadnoughtMahoganyEast Indian rosewood fingerboard. 20 frets.Solid Sitka SpruceSolid Mahogany1.69″ (43mm)Bone25.6″No4.6
Best for Electric Guitarists – Takamine GD30CE$$DreadnoughtMahoganyOvangkol. fingerboard. 20 frets.
12″ radius.
Solid Sitka SpruceMahogany1.69″ (43mm)Synthetic bone25.315″Takamine TP-4TD Preamp with Built-In Tuner4.5
Best Budget – Alvarez AD60$DreadnoughtMahoganyIndian Laurel fingerboard. 20 frets.Solid Sitka SpruceMahogany1.69″ (43mm)Bone25.5″No4.3
Best Beginner – Fender CD-60S Bundle$DreadnoughtNatoWalnut fingerboard. 20 frets. 12″ radius.Solid Sitka SpruceMahogany1.69″ (43mm)Plastic25.3″No3.8

If you have been thinking about jumping into the wonderful world of bluegrass guitar, then you are in the right place.

It surely can be overwhelming to pick the right axe from the hundreds of guitars on the market today and the idea of investing in the wrong instrument can give you the creeps(at least for me it does). I get that.

But no worries!

I can assure you that this article will give you all you need to know about getting a great bluegrass guitar. How can I be so sure…? Well, I don’t want to toot my own horn but…

I have spent my entire life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, so I’m pretty familiar with bluegrass.

I was born in Galax, Virginia, which is the self-proclaimed “World Capital of Old-Time Mountain Music”. Bluegrass and old-time music were simply a part of daily life here. And also, I love bluegrass!

I’m so grateful that I’ve had the amazing opportunity to share the stage with the likes of Doc Watson, Brain Sutton, and Wayne Henderson. Now I want to reveal to you what I have learned over my lifetime about what makes a great bluegrass guitar.

Let’s first look at these fine guitars, and at the end of the post, you can find the FAQ/Buyer’s Guide section that helps you to make the best choice possible.

Check the article DL Shepherd wrote about Best Bluegrass Guitar Strings, it helps to choose the right set for you!

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Our Reviews of The Top 5

Best Overall – Martin D-28 Standard Series

Body StyleDreadnought
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
Back & SidesSolid East Indian Rosewood
NeckSelect Hardwood
FretboardEbony, 20 frets
Nut MaterialBone
Nut Width1.75″
SaddleCompensated Bone

When you play a Martin D-28, you’re literally playing an American legend. This is the standard by which all other bluegrass guitars aspire to live up to, and it has defined how a bluegrass guitar is supposed to sound.

The Martin D-28’s sound is all in the design.

The size, shape, and all solid wood construction make it a force to be reckoned with when it comes to cutting through the mix to play a blazing lead.

It is a standard dreadnought-size guitar (Martin invented this size). Dreadnoughts are what we would call “regular” size guitars today, but whenever they were first released, they were significantly larger than other guitars. The size allows it to have much more volume while maintaining the natural tone.

In other words, it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to play it loud — it is just loud by design!

This volume allows players to really accentuate

  • individual notes,
  • chord phrases,
  • and scales

without becoming lost in the mix of other instruments.

The rich, full, beautiful tone is a result of the solid Sitka spruce top and East Indian rosewood back and sides.

  • The Sitka spruce top gives it a natural brightness and well-balanced mid-range.
  • The rosewood provides richness and an overall balanced mid-range tone without causing the bass notes to sound too muddy.

Combine these qualities with a mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, and Martin’s keen eye for quality, and you get the perfect bluegrass guitar. It’s the king. It’s the legend. It’s the Martin D-28. These kinds of premium, made in the USA guitars come with a premium price tho… Although the price tag may throw off most budding guitarists, it is certainly acceptable for all experience levels.

If you’re a beginner or intermediate acoustic player, then you can look at it as the equivalent of getting a brand-new Corvette as your first car.

If you’re dead serious about getting into the bluegrass, the Martin D-28 is the way to go.

Hear how this Marin sounds:


  • This is the bluegrass “standard”. It is the guitar that defined the bluegrass sound.
  • Handcrafted in the U.S.A. – Bluegrass is a genre that is unique to the U.S.A., and the hand-made construction allows Martin to tightly control their amazing quality.
  • All solid wood construction allows for a fuller tone and increased natural volume.
  • Tone improves as it ages because as it gets older, it becomes lighter and more resonate.


  • Priced a bit high for budget-minded players
  • Some players may find the action a bit too high.
  • Although beautiful, they do look a bit too ordinary.

Find more excellent Martin guitars here.

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Best Value – Blueridge BR-140

Body StyleDreadnought
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
Back & SidesSolid Mahogany
FretboardEast Indian rosewood, 20 frets
Nut MaterialBone
Nut Width1.69″

Blueridge may not be a name that is as recognized as widely as Martin, but they make some amazing guitars with a middle-of-the-road price tag. You don’t have to worry about taking out a second mortgage just to get a great-sounding bluegrass machine!

The name alone sounds like it was built for bluegrass, and rightfully so.

The Blue Ridge Mountains extend from Georgia to Pennsylvania and are a place where many famous bluegrass guitarists, such as Doc Watson and Tony Rice, have called home.

If you’re wondering whether or not Blueridge guitars hold up to their namesake, the answer is a strong “Yes”.

Although they are manufactured far away from the Blue Ridge Mountains (they are made in China), the quality is absolutely remarkable.

The Blueridge BR-140 model packs a lot of valuable features that many advanced and professional bluegrass musicians prefer. They are constructed of all-solid woods and built in the familiar dreadnought body style.

The quality of the wood alone places them way above most other Chinese guitar manufacturers. The BR-140 is built with:

  • a solid Sitka spruce top to give you that resonance and bright attack that punches through the mix
  • the mahogany back, sides, and neck give you a warm, thick tone with more bass than rosewood

Instead of using a fretboard of ebony, the BR-140 has a great-looking rosewood fretboard.

The biggest benefit that this brings to the table is the enhanced low end that rosewood provides especially when it is being used as a fretboard.

Check our picks for the best acoustic guitars under $1000.

The lows are not muddy, however. They’re smooth and creamy like your favorite milkshake. The combination of smooth lows and punchy mids and highs allows you to cut through a mix to easily showcase your lead-playing skills.

When you back off the volume and play strummed rhythms or bass runs, the sound is simply tough to beat. You will still have plenty of definition and balance – both of which are necessary to fill in the tonal gaps and provide others with a smooth, consistent rhythm tone to solo over.

In addition to the amazing tonal qualities, you also get a neck that is slimmer than that of a typical dreadnought size guitar.

This makes the BR-140 a great choice for those with smaller hands. The action is set close enough to allow smooth playing and yet not create a lot of buzzing whenever you play it with some force. This guitar also looks as good as it sounds and plays.

  • The guitar is adorned with an impressive headstock design that is classic and very noticeable
  • The light-colored mock tortoiseshell pickguard sets it apart from many others that typically have a darker, less vibrant pickguard

This guitar leaves a great impression on your audience as soon as you pull it out of the case. The vintage-style tuners add to the classy appearance while being impressively functional and maintain your tuning well even when you’re playing outdoors.

If you were to have a professional luthier hand-make a guitar like this for you, then you would expect to easily spend thousands of dollars. Luckily, this guitar is not even in that ballpark.

Hear how this guitar sounds:


  • Has features that most professionals look for in a good guitar
  • Beautiful appearance
  • Higher-quality woods than most Chinese-manufactured guitars.


  • Manufacturing techniques can cause inconsistent quality.
  • Priced a little high for a Chinese-made guitar
  • Inconsistent factory setup right out of the box (may need adjusting).

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Best for Electric Guitarists – Takamine GD30CE

Body StyleDreadnought
TopSolid Spruce
Back & SidesMahogany
FretboardOvangkol, 20 frets
Nut MaterialSynthetic bone
Nut Width1.6875″
ElectronicsTakamine TP-4TD Preamp with Built-In Tuner
SaddleSynthetic bone

For the electric guitar players out there who want to break into the bluegrass scene, the Takamine GD30CE is the one to consider.

It is a guitar with a lot to offer to those who are either wanting to get an affordable acoustic to add to their arsenal…or for those who want the ability to plug in for an amplified tone.

Takamine is not one of the first manufacturers that come to mind when people think about bluegrass, but it should be.

Their reputation for making quality instruments is pretty impressive, and their lineup of professional musicians (Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, and Bruce Springsteen come to mind) who endorse them is extensive.

Since they have graced the stages of the world with some of the most famous country, rock, and pop artists, what makes them suitable for bluegrass?

First, consider the construction.

The Takamine GD30CE sports a solid spruce top and mahogany back and sides – a tried and true combination for amazing tone and volume.

According to Takamine, the fretboard, bridge, and headstock overlay are all made of ovangkol. Ovangkol is a very close relative of rosewood and provides more mid-range fullness and great bass articulation. Now that we’ve established that the wood quality is more than adequate, let’s look at some of the other benefits that this guitar offers.

The first thing is the size factor.

This guitar’s size is smaller than a dreadnought, and that’s a huge factor for many guitarists who feel that the dreadnoughts are too large and cumbersome to play comfortably.

The GD30CE’s size is more like a “concert” sized guitar (Takamine refers to it as their FXC body style). The smaller size makes it perfect for players with smaller hands as well as for players that want a guitar that is much easier to handle and transport.

Additionally, the size comes in handy on crowded stages, and it sits very comfortably in the lap while playing in a sitting position.

For those who like to take their lead work on the higher part of the fretboard, the GD30CE comes with a cutaway body that allows easy access to those upper frets.

Electric players will love this feature because it allows them to easily play scales much easier without fighting with the square shoulder of a traditional body style. The smaller body size and cutaway do have some drawbacks when it comes to tone and volume.

Although the back and sides are made of mahogany, you can expect the tone to be a little brighter than a full-sized dreadnought. The main reason for this is because cutaways actually take away from the surface area of the guitar and create a smaller sound chamber.

This is typically not a huge issue when you plug it in because you can use the onboard preamp to adjust the bass, mids, and treble of the amplified signal to make up for the loss of natural low end. However, it won’t be as loud or sound as full whenever you play it unplugged, but it still manages to cut through without sounding forced or brittle.

There is also this beautiful black version available.

What about the electronics?

Takamine’s TP-4TD onboard preamp is a feature that any player can appreciate even if they never intend on plugging it into an amplifier. It features a built-in tuner which is a lifesaver whenever you’re playing outside.

For those who do plug it in, the piezo pickup produces plenty of noise-free sound, excellent feedback control, a 3-band EQ(shape your tone), and gain controls.

Piezo pickups can often be thin-sounding, so this is a huge benefit and makes the guitar a much more versatile instrument.

To wrap all of those features up into one package is pretty impressive, not to mention the fact that they offer 3 colors to choose from:

  • Natural
  • Black
  • Sunburst

They offer several other versions of the GE30 as well, including a 12-string version and a version without a cutaway.

The best part is that it will not break the bank. This makes it a great guitar for many budget-minded guitarists to break into the bluegrass scene.

Hear how this guitar sounds:


  • Easy for electric players to transition to an acoustic
  • Onboard electronics make it versatile
  • Smaller size is great for those with smaller hands
  • Available in 3 color options


  • Cutaway body takes away a lot of natural volume
  • Smaller size may not allow it to cut through a mix as well as a dreadnought
  • Neck size may be too thin for those with larger hands

Find more great Takamine acoustic guitars here.

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Best Budget – Alvarez AD60

Body StyleDreadnought
TopSolid Sitka Spruce
Back & SidesAfrican Mahogany
FretboardIndian Laurel, 20 frets
Nut MaterialBone
Nut Width1.75″

Alvarez guitars completely changed the game when it came to producing a solid-performing, well-built acoustic guitar.

They have a very extensive line of models to choose from, and like Takamine, they have an impressive lineup of professional endorsees (ever heard of Bob Weir from The Grateful Dead?).

The AD60 is a perfect example of a guitar that is

  • affordable
  • stylish
  • and great for bluegrass playing

It all starts with a great selection of tonewoods.

The tried-and-true combination of

  • a solid Sitka spruce top
  • and mahogany back, sides, and neck

provide plenty of punch to bust through the mix while giving you the smoothness that only mahogany can provide.

The AD60 also features a rosewood fretboard and bridge – typically found on many higher-priced guitars.


  • A unique bridge design,
  • real bone saddles,
  • and tastefully subtle embellishments

make it a guitar that appears to be completely custom-built.

One noticeable attribute is the lack of fretboard markers with the exception of a beautiful pearl inlay at the 12th fret.

If you think a lack of fretboard markers makes it harder to play, keep in mind that they still have side markers so you’ll always know where you’re at on the fretboard.

Once you play it, you’ll be hooked.

The neck plays nice and smooth thanks to the semi-gloss finish.

But, if you play in humid conditions, you’ll be exceptionally thankful for this because gloss-finished necks can often become sticky when there is excessive moisture in the air.

The neck size is thinner than most guitars without being too thin.

There’s still plenty of meat on it to keep your hand from cramping while holding strumming chords for a long time while the action is close and smooth.

String buzz is not an issue even with the close action, and you can really put some force into your flatpicking without worrying about ruining the tone. This dreadnought-sized work of art cuts through the mix with little effort.

It still offers that low-end smoothness that is so crucial to bluegrass rhythm playing, but it is a bit brighter due to Alvarez’s unique bracing method. It is specially designed to add substantial strength to the guitar while balancing out the tone.

It may sound too good to be true, but the Alvarez AD60 is incredibly affordable – especially for all of the professional features that it offers.

Hear how this guitar sounds:


  • Incredible quality-to-price ratio
  • Unique bracing enhances both tone and structural integrity
  • Amazingly beautiful “hand-crafted” appearance
  • Professional features such as real bone saddles really enhance the tone


  • Semi-gloss neck finish gives it a “cheap” feel
  • Lack of fretboard inlays may make it hard for some beginners to learn on
  • The neck is pretty thin but may still be too wide for some players.

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Best Beginner – Fender CD-60S Bundle

Body StyleDreadnought
TopSolid Spruce
Back & SidesLaminated Mahogany
FretboardWalnut, 20 frets
Nut MaterialPlastic
Nut Width1.692″

Fender makes great guitars. That’s just a simple fact. And now I’m not talking about electric guitars only…

Although the name is more recognizable to electric guitar players, there is no doubt that Fender builds some quality instruments that are perfectly suitable for bluegrass playing.

The CD-60S Bundle is a great example.

This guitar starter package not only comes with a nice guitar

…but also everything you need to get started playing right away!

We’ll start with the most important part: the guitar. It is a dreadnought-size guitar built with

  • a solid spruce top
  • with a back, neck, and sides made from mahogany.

For a guitar in this price range, a solid spruce top is a rarity. The wood selection is going to give you that classic acoustic tone with plenty of punch on the mid to high end and a warm, smooth low end.

The neck plays wonderfully with a nice action that beginners and intermediate players will appreciate.

It’s smooth, and your chord progressions and rhythmic bass lines will flow quite easily as your playing progresses.

This is a guitar that grows with you.

By that, I mean that you can afford to test the waters a little before committing to a guitar with more features, but even if you do, you’ll still find yourself going back to CD-60S simply because it’s a fun guitar to play.

This bundle offers beginners a huge advantage.

Because you get a quality instrument, but you also get some invaluable accessories with it.

About the bundle available on Amazon:

The inclusion of a hard-shell case in this package was a brilliant idea. Not only do they offer the best protection for your instrument when traveling, but they are also the best way to store your guitar when it isn’t in use. They are lockable, so you don’t have to worry about anyone playing your precious guitar when you’re not around.

You also get

  • a headstock clip-on tuner
  • picks
  • an extra set of strings
  • a guitar strap, a polishing cloth
  • an instructional DVD

This thing is ready to go right out of the box, and the instructional DVD contains useful maintenance information as well as material on how to play. It’s different from a lot of instructional DVDs and books, and beginners have all of the information on how to not only play but also keep their instrument in tip-top shape.

With the bundle available on Sweetwater you get:

  • a gig bag
  • a strap
  • picks
  • and an extra pack of strings
  • 3-month Fender Play subscription
  • the bundle is more affordable

If you want to jump headfirst into bluegrass, both of these are ”the packages” for you in my opinion!

It takes the worry out of purchasing accessories separately and provides you with a great way to get started with one single purchase.

The Fender CD-60S bundle can be grabbed up for an absolute steal. It’s not only a great value, but it’s a great guitar worthy of being in any collection. Hear how this guitar sounds like(you might be surprised):


  • Incredibly budget-friendly, especially with the included accessories
  • Fender quality construction and sound
  • Beginners have everything they need to start playing immediately


  • Finish on some of them is too thick, resulting in a loss of volume
  • Can sound a little buzzy when played with a lot of force
  • Some beginners may not appreciate the body size

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Buyer’s Guide

What makes a great bluegrass guitar?

A great bluegrass guitar is made from high-quality tonewoods.A spruce top provides the best projection and brightness necessary to really cut through the mix of other instruments, while the overall tone is defined by the wood that makes up the back, sides, and neck.

Mahogany and rosewood are the preferred tonewoods because of their balanced tone.

Rosewood has a bit more low-end definition while mahogany offers a brighter, more focused tone.

A great bluegrass axe is usually loud. This is so it can cut through a mix of other instruments and provide a solid rhythm that helps “drive” the song.  The best body shape is the dreadnought. This shape is loud, yet it offers better bass control and treble projection than jumbo-sized guitars. 

A good bluegrass guitar is made from all-solid tonewoods that only sound better with age. There are some guitars out there with laminated backs and sides that will work, but they at least need to have a solid spruce top.

How to pick the right bluegrass guitar for you?

Skill Level

Beginners should choose a guitar that inspires them to play. It needs to play easily whether you are playing chords or working on licks. The neck should be thin enough to allow easy movement up the neck while being thick enough to allow you to hold chords for long periods. You can start on a guitar that is made from laminated wood since it will be priced right for beginners. 

Intermediate guitarists may want to step up to mid-grade guitar that is made from all-solid tonewoods. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage to get a great all-solid wood guitar these days. This will improve your projection and overall tone.

More advanced players should choose to get a guitar that is high-quality and designed with bluegrass musicians in mind, such as the Martin D-28 or Martin D-18. These are the most popular bluegrass guitars on the market. Some advanced players seek out luthiers to make a guitar specifically for them. These guitars can cost thousands, but they are normally very high quality. They are also very prestigious to own. Some examples include Bourgeois, Collings, and  Wayne Henderson. 


Great bluegrass guitars can be found in nearly any budget range. Beginners will want to concentrate on a guitar that is priced right for them. You don’t want to drop a bunch of money into a hobby that you may not stick with in the long run. 

Intermediate guitar players may want to step up to something better and more expensive. Buy what you can afford! You don’t have to spend a ton of money on a guitar to have a great sound. There are great guitars priced at $1000-$1500 that will serve you well.

Advanced players will want to invest in a high-quality guitar like a Martin. These will give players the best tone and playability, and they will get better with age. Many advanced players prefer to play vintage guitars (costing thousands of dollars) because of their tone. 

Body Shape

displays Dreadnought acoustic guitar bodyshape
Dreadnought. “The Shape” for bluegrass.

The dreadnought body shape is the preferred shape of bluegrass players. This is because produces enough volume to cut through mixes of other acoustic instruments – especially banjos (they are very loud). 

Smaller body sizes do not offer enough volume, and their tone isn’t as rich. Larger guitars, such as jumbo-sized guitars, do not offer enough bass control and therefore their tone isn’t as focused. 

Great Acoustic Guitar Brands for Bluegrass

  • Martin
  • Blueridge
  • Collings
  • Bourgeois
  • Alvarez

What should I avoid when choosing a bluegrass guitar?

I recommend staying away from guitars that are crafted from a lot of exotic woods.

Examples of these would be

  • koa,
  • spalted maple,
  • and zebrawood

Although beautiful, they simply don’t have the tonal characteristics of more traditional woods like spruce, mahogany, and rosewood.

Many manufacturers are using more sustainable sources for tonewoods and therefore using woods like ovangkol and padauk. These are suitable because they produce tones similar to traditional wood varieties.

If you’re in doubt, always research the tonal qualities of the wood and see how they compare to spruce, mahogany, and rosewood.


I have played a lot of guitars over the years, and that experience has taught me a lot about finding the right guitars for bluegrass music.

In fact, my knowledge of bluegrass was gathered directly from the source: from award-winning and professional guitarists.

The guitars listed here were hand-picked because of their ability to meet the needs of guitarists from beginners to advanced players.

They all share common features –

  • such as a solid spruce top
  • and they all have attributes that make them great for bluegrass.

Our picks for the Best Bluegrass Guitars are meant to offer players choices that stand out amongst the ever-growing marketplace of guitars. It is very easy to get overwhelmed with so many different guitars on the market today, so these were recognized because they stand out from the crowd.

You don’t need to take out a second mortgage in order to get a great playing and great-sounding bluegrass guitar. They can be acquired affordably, and the quality can still be found even for those on a tight budget.

Bluegrass guitar is a fun and rewarding style of playing that is truly an all-American art form. Find a guitar on our list that matches your needs and get ready to do some flatpicking!


How much is a good bluegrass guitar?

Good bluegrass guitars range from around $200 to about $3000, respectively. There are always exceptions to the rule when it comes to pricing, but this is a pretty typical range.

But yes, even on a tight budget, you can get a nice bluegrass acoustic guitar for yourself.

Keep in mind that some professional luthiers can charge upwards of $10,000 for their guitars, but the majority of bluegrass axes are much more reasonably priced.

What is a Bluegrass Guitar?

Bluegrass music is hard to forget once you hear it: driven, energetic, and powerful.
For a guitarist, it provides a unique challenge in the sense that it can take only a little while to learn but a lifetime to master.

Before bluegrass came about, the guitar was mainly played as a rhythm instrument. It was not typically considered to be an instrument that involved a lot of technical lead-playing skills.

As the art form progressed, this idea fell by the wayside…

You will hear many bluegrass guitarists refer to “flatpicking”. This is the style that is typically played in the bluegrass world as it utilizes a flat pick to play leads instead of finger picks.

Some artists who helped make flatpicking famous include Doc Watson, Tony Rice, Del McCoury, and Brian Sutton.

Playing bluegrass is fun.

The tight blend of country, Appalachian folk, and blues makes it appealing to guitarists young and old. Since acoustic instruments are the heart of bluegrass, it is important that you get a guitar that is not only going to play well but also sounds amazing.

Do I need a Bluegrass guitar to play Bluegrass?

No, not necessarily. I’ve heard bluegrass licks played on Telecasters and it sounded fantastic! You would need a bluegrass guitar if you were jamming with a bunch of other acoustic instruments outside, but you can use just about any type of guitar to learn on.

What guitars do bluegrass players use?

The most popular guitars for bluegrass are the Martin D-28 and the Martin D-18. Other popular choices include Collings and Bourgeois.

Are Taylor guitars good for bluegrass?

They will work fine but will lack some of the volume that Martins offers. You may have to change up your playing style a little to help accentuate the bass notes, but they will work fine overall.

Is bluegrass like jazz?

Bluegrass is like jazz in the fact that players can take turns improvising solos. It is a style that is learned but never perfected – just like jazz!

Is bluegrass music hard to play on guitar?

Bluegrass music can seem tricky to play on the guitar because of its speed and timing, but it really follows basic concepts. It is only as hard to play as you make it seem, and you’ll find that it gets more challenging as you get into it. That’s part of the fun!

Is Bluegrass too hard for beginners?

Not at all. Bluegrass follows fundamental principles that are the foundation for the guitar. For example, they use a lot of strumming chords, open-string notes, and scales that many beginners learn first.

Can you play bluegrass on electric guitar?

Absolutely! Country guitar players play bluegrass licks all the time on electric guitars. That being said, acoustic guitar is still the main guitar type used ion bluegrass.

DL Shepherd

Darren has been playing guitar for over 25 years and teaching guitar since High-School. He fronted the metal band Suddenly Silence in the early 2000’s, and also achieved recognition as an award-winning bluegrass guitarist. A native of southwestern Virginia, and has shared the stage with many big-name acts from various genres. When he is not playing one of his many guitars, he can be found riding his Harley through the mountains of Virginia. Expertise: teaching guitars, electric guitars, acoustic guitars, guitar amplifiers, guide pedals, flatpicking, bluegrass, metal, rock, and blues.