Tech Talk

The Perfect Fit: What Acoustic Body Shape Is Right For You?

Pick your guitar based on your style and needs.

There are a lot of options to consider when it comes to purchasing an acoustic guitar, and one of the most important is body shape.

Luckily, Fender’s Paramount Series offers three body shapes from which to choose--Dreadnought, Parlor and Triple-0. The matter is simply deciding which of those three is the right one for you.

Torn between the shapes? Take a look at our handy breakdown to help figure out which style best meshes with your style.

Are You a Flatpicker?

Whether you’re a flatpicker or a fingerstyle guitarist is an important difference. If you're the former, consider the merits of the Dreadnought, first introduced in the early 1900s and named after the massive British warships.

This guitar is biggest of the group, offering more square shoulders and body. With 14 frets to the body of the Paramount Series Dreadnought, it’s a little easier to play notes and chords that are higher up the neck. What’s more, the narrower nut keeps the strings closer together, which makes the Dreadnought perfect for strumming.

Flatpicking legends like Doc Watson, Clarence White and Tony Rice were all early adopters of this style, and pioneered the way Dreadnoughts were used in country and bluegrass music. Johnny Cash is also often credited with bringing the Dreadnought into the rock world.

Are You a Fingerstyle Player?

Fingerstyle players will enjoy the features of the Parlor. With a design base dating back to the late 19th century, smaller-body Parlor guitars are widely associated with indie rock, folk and classical music--Ian Anderson of the classically influenced Jethro Tull is one well-known Parlor enthusiast.

A wider fingerboard and string spacing allows for more room for intricate finger placements. And with 12 frets to the body, there is an extra internal air cavity above the soundhole that adds a mellowness ideal for producing delicate sounds.

Are You Looking to Solo?

Perhaps you are looking for the best of both worlds? The Paramount Series Triple-0 might be the way to go in that case, as it is a fantastic “do-it-all” shape for those with emerging playing styles.

The cutaway of the Triple-0 on the lower bout lets the lead player comfortably access the higher frets, while the fact that it is joined at the 14th fret makes it a good strummer.

In addition, a wider nut--like that on the Parlor--puts it in prime position for fingerstyle playing.

What's Your Size?

Besides your playing style, another factor to consider is your physical makeup. How much guitar can you handle?

Simply put, the Parlor is the smallest model, meaning it is easier to hold and carries a more modest footprint than that of its larger siblings. The Dreadnought, in turn, is heftier, a feature that also gives it more volume and bass. And again, the Triple-0 falls in the middle of that growth chart.

Give Them a Try …

Keep in mind, all of these suggestions are just a starting guide. Paramount Series guitars are meant to be played wherever and however inspiration strikes. You can certainly fingerpick on a Dreadnought and strum a Parlor. If you're a smaller-statured player who prefers a bigger guitar--or vice versa--that's great as well.

However, the Dreadnought, Parlor and Triple-0 each have definite personalities. The best way to find which one fits with your personality is to test them yourself!