Bass Guitar Body Shapes

To a non-musician, all basses are pretty much the same. You slap one on a stand, put some strings on it and add a few shiny twiddly doodads.

But to the bass player, there are many different choices when it comes to body shapes and woods. Each of these has a different effect on the tone of the guitar.

Grand Auditorium

There are a number of factors that determine how an acoustic guitar sounds. These include the soundboard material, body size and shape, and string tension. The size of the soundboard can have a dramatic effect on how much of the sound reaches the strings. This is particularly important for bass players, who need to hear their low notes clearly. A larger soundboard will also give the bass a more full, round tone. This can be useful for many styles of music, especially when strumming chords to accompany a singer in popular songs.

The Grand Auditorium was designed by Taylor Guitars in 1994 and has become one of the most popular shapes of all time. It features refined proportions that fall between the Dreadnought and Concert body styles. This makes it a solid choice for guitarists looking for an all-rounder, with the beefy lows of the dreadnought and sparkling highs of the concert guitar.

It’s important to note that even though the Grand Auditorium is a great all-rounder, it can be difficult to get a good sound out of this guitar when strumming hard. This is because it can’t withstand the same amount of volume as guitars with a smaller body size.

A more bass-heavy acoustic guitar would be better suited for this type of playing style. For this reason, many musicians choose to pair their Grand Auditorium with a pickup to get the best possible sound.

Another option for those who want a little more of a bass-heavy guitar is the Orchestra Model (OM). This body type is similar to the Grand Auditorium but has a slightly larger lower bout and upper bout width. It is also more narrow in the waist, which makes it a bit easier for fingerstyle players to handle.

The OM is often thought of as a scaled-down Jumbo, and it’s no wonder that many players prefer it over the Grand Auditorium when playing fingerstyle. This is because the OM can produce more of a bass-heavy sound than the Grand Auditorium, but without the same volume as a Dreadnought or Jumbo.


Dreadnoughts have long been the acoustic guitar world’s most recognizable—and copied—body shape. Originally developed in 1916 by C.F. Martin for a retail business named Ditson, these large-bodied instruments were dubbed “dreadnoughts” after the HMS Dreadnought warship because of its massive size and imposing appearance. A popular and dependable instrument, the dreadnought has become a standard acoustic guitar model, offering a full, robust tone that works well for a variety of genres of music.

Although the name might sound intimidating, the dreadnought is a great choice for flat pickers and strummers seeking a versatile guitar that can handle many styles of playing. Their larger dimensions deliver a deep, balanced tone that can stand up to the power of most lead guitars. They also work well as a rhythm guitar because of their strong projection and rich, full sound.

A good alternative to the dreadnought is the grand concert guitar. Sometimes called an OM (for orchestral model), this type of guitar sits nicely between bigger-bodied acoustics like the dreadnought and smaller-bodied shapes like the parlor guitar. The concert’s flat shoulders and narrow waist create a very comfortable, intimate feel for playing, while its larger body still delivers plenty of tonal versatility.

Another option is the jumbo guitar. The jumbo has a wider bottom bout than the dreadnought, but it tapers into a much narrower waistline after its rounded shoulders. The result is a well-balanced tone that can cut through most musical styles, but it requires a bit more force to play than smaller body shapes.

Taylor’s grand orchestra is a variation on the dreadnought that’s geared more toward players with heavier picking/strumming hands. The larger size of the Grand Orchestra guitar allows for plenty of volume and resonance to support a heavy picking hand, while its broad sound spectrum and crisp clarity make it a great choice for singer/songwriters. Like the dreadnought, the Grand Orchestra can be a good option for bluegrass, country and traditional folk musicians looking for that classic “boom-chick” rhythm sound.

Relish Trinity

Trinity isn’t your typical solidbody electric bass guitar. The Swiss-designed instrument breaks a lot of rules in terms of its design. The asymmetrical body has two leg rests to ensure you can play comfortably in all positions, including seated. It also has a deep cutaway to facilitate fast string changes. Its headless neck design eliminates neck dive, making it even more comfortable to play. This is a bass guitar that’s built for the modern musician.

The bass’s patented pickup-swapping system makes it an ideal choice for players who want to experiment with different sounds. The system allows you to swap between humbuckers and single-coils without the hassle of opening up the guitar. The bass is also available in several different finishes. It is lightweight and has a sleek, contemporary design that’s sure to turn heads.

Known for its iconic guitars, Gibson’s most famous basses are the Precision and Jazz bass models. However, the company also produces a number of other distinctive bass guitars. The Gibson Thunderbird bass, for instance, has a jagged, eye-catching shape that has made it a favourite among rock musicians, such as Paul McCartney and Jack Bruce. The Fender Mustang is another bass that’s a favourite among musicians, thanks to its distinct look and powerful sound.

Although these bass guitars are designed for playing music, they can also be used to practice a variety of skills, from reading musical scores to learning how to play chords. The Mustang bass also has a built-in tuner and an EQ with three presets, so you can customize the tone to suit your preferences.

While it might be tempting to label each bass as a specific type, you should realize that the sound of a bass depends on its size, material and other features. For example, a large dreadnought bass will have more low and mid-frequency ranges than a smaller auditorium style. Therefore, it will be more suited to playing bass in rock and metal genres.

Another important factor is the type of wood used to make a bass guitar. Mahogany is a good option for basses because it has an even and balanced tone. It also has a rich, full sound and is quite sturdy. You can also find basses with top veneers made from koa, which has a bold grain pattern and golden tones. Other options include alder and maple.


While most bassists are familiar with the dreadnought and classical guitar body types, it may be surprising to learn that there are many more shapes. Depending on the wood, finish and pickup routs, each bass has its own unique sound. For example, a soft wood like paduak, wenge or maple creates a warm sound while a hard wood like swamp ash, alder or basswood produces a percussive tone.

Bass players who prefer a solid-body electric bass may be interested in the new Boden bass, which made its debut at the Winter NAMM show. The asymmetrical shape and headless neck allow for unparalleled comfort and ergonomics while playing standing or seated. Additionally, the bass features extensive weight-relief routing that keeps it incredibly light — a must for those who play long sets.

The bass’s patented multi-scale neck and acoustic body combine to produce a timeless and organic acoustic sound with plenty of low end. This sound can be fine-tuned with the onboard preamp, giving bassists complete control over their instrument’s sonic character. The Boden Bass Prog, available in 6-, 7- and 8-string configurations, was designed with bassists in mind. The asymmetrical design allows for comfortable playing positions while the patented Endurneck construction reduces neck dive. Additionally, the bass is equipped with Nordstrand Zen Blade soapbar-size noiseless pickups and a 3-Band preamp.

Another acoustic bass that stands out is the Gibson Thunderbird. This eye-catching shape is often used by rock bassists, and has been heard on recordings by the Beatles, U.F.O, and Nikki Sixx. The Thunderbird’s angular, protruding shape and massive tone have earned it a place among rock legends.

The jumbo acoustic guitar body is a little bit bigger than the dreadnought, but it doesn’t have quite as much depth. This makes it a great choice for acoustic basses that need to stand out from the crowd and for acoustic bassists who are playing harder styles like blues and country. The wider bottom bout also gives it a fuller tone than the dreadnought, though it can still sound bright when played with a sharp attack.