Bass Guitar Body Shapes

The shape of an acoustic bass guitar can make a big difference in sound. The body dimensions, depth, and size of the waist will all influence the acoustic bass’s tonal characteristics.

While there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the body shape of a bass, different genres tend to lean toward certain solid body basses.


The dreadnought is a classic body shape and is found on acoustic guitars of all shapes and sizes. Introduced by Martin in 1916, the dreadnought is a staple of acoustic music thanks to its large sound cavity that creates an impressively bold and balanced tone with robust lows, snappy mids, and bright trebles.

Dreadnoughts are a popular choice for musicians looking for a bold, powerful bass tone that’s perfect for flatpicking and aggressive strumming. They’re also great for singers, as the full-sounding low-end accentuates their vocal tone and helps them blend well with other instruments.

In the 1960s, the dreadnought became a favorite of bluegrass and country players, but it’s a versatile body shape that works well in virtually every genre. Gibson’s slope-shouldered dreadnought (the J-45) has been a go-to instrument for many singer-songwriters, including Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Gillian Welch, and Lucinda Williams.

With a wide waist and square shoulders, the dreadnought’s symmetrical shape is an effective tool for creating a strong low-end and punchy mid-range. It’s also a favorite of guitarists who prefer a more traditional look, as the broad, squared-off shoulder profile is similar to that of many other acoustic guitars.

Another dreadnought-inspired guitar is the grand auditorium, a popular shape with a wide waist and narrower neck. It’s often referred to as the “Taylor acoustic” or “Taylor Grand.”

When it comes to acoustic guitar body shapes, the dreadnought is one of the most iconic and widely used. It’s a versatile, classic, and well-loved model that’s available at both budget and higher-end acoustic guitar price ranges.

Its wider upper and lower bouts make it easier to play with a seated hand, and its shallow waist (area between the upper and lower body bouts) makes it more comfortable for strumming. It also has a good bass response and a warm, clear sound that can be well-suited to both strumming and fingerstyle playing.

The Grand Auditorium, also known as the “000,” is a more compact version of the dreadnought that’s great for playing while sitting down. Its narrower waist and streamlined hourglass design make it more comfortable than other body shapes, and it has a good bass response and clear and balanced tone that can handle strumming and fingerstyle well.


The Rickenbacker body shape is a classic, and it can be found on the company’s most popular bass guitar models. The company has a reputation for making high-quality instruments, and they’re a favorite of musicians from all over the world.

A large part of their success lies in the unique sound of Rickenbacker basses, which has been used by many great musicians. Sting of the Police, Geddy Lee of Rush, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Adam Clayton of U2 have all played Rickenbacker basses.

Another factor that makes a Rickenbacker bass stand out is its pickups. These pickups are designed to produce a specific vintage tone, and they contribute to the Rickenbacker bass’s signature sound.

They also offer a unique output system that allows guitarists to transfer two different pickup signals separately out of the guitar. This feature is called “Ric-O-Sound,” and it’s a great way to get the best out of a Rickenbacker bass.

Most Rickenbacker guitars are equipped with low-gain pickups, which are a good choice for guitarists who want to preserve the unique tone of their instrument. Most contemporary guitarists will prefer high-gain pickups, though, because they can create more dynamic tones.

In addition to the standard humbucker pickups, Rickenbacker guitars also have a few other unique pickup options. These include “Horseshoe,” “DeArmond,” and “Toaster” pickups. Horseshoes are a popular choice for playing lap steels, and they’re also known for their ability to create a fuller sound than other pickups.

DeArmonds are a little less common, but they can also be used to produce an excellent steel guitar sound. They’re a bit more expensive than other pickups, however, and they’re often found on vintage reissue models or Rickenbacker’s signature line of instruments.

A majority of Rickenbacker bass guitars also have a stereo output option, which is called “Ric-O-Sound.” It transfers two different pickup signals separately out of the guitar. The Ric-O-Sound system is a great option for those who are looking for an authentic Rickenbacker bass sound without spending too much money. It’s easy to tell if your bass has this feature by checking the number of output jacks on the guitar.


If you’re a Fender fan, you may already know that they offer a wide range of body shapes. The company offers a number of offset-shaped basses as well as many solid body options. These models are great for young or less experienced players, offering a scaled-down bass that’s still solid and comfortable to play, but doesn’t sacrifice sound quality.

Another popular brand is Gibson, who are known for producing some of the more unconventional body shapes on the market. Their Flying V and Explorer are two guitars that really stand out, and are often seen at custom shops and shows today.

As a result, these guitars have become a staple amongst alternative and punk rockers alike. They are also well known for their comfort and ease of playability, which is important for any budding guitarist.

One of the most popular body shapes on the market is the dreadnought. Named for the large warships of the early and middle 20th century, dreadnoughts are typically used in bluegrass, country, and rock music. They promote a strong, loud bass tone and are renowned for their snappy midrange and strong low end.

The dreadnought’s booming tone is made possible through its large body size and deep bass cavity. It’s a favorite for emphatic strummers and singer-songwriters, but it can also be a great choice for guitar players looking to explore more complex sonic textures.

While a dreadnought is an excellent choice for most guitar players, there are some things you should keep in mind before making your decision. First, you should consider your playing style. If you’re a heavy hitter, a dreadnought may be a little too much for you, so it might be worth considering a smaller body shape, such as the Concert or Grand Auditorium.

The Concert is another popular body shape that has been around for a while and has seen a resurgence in popularity over the years. Featuring a slightly larger size than the Parlor, this body type is ideal for fingerstyle players who appreciate the clarity of a balanced sound. It’s also a good choice for players looking to explore more complex sonic structures, such as polka or prog rock.


Gibson has a long history of producing a range of bass guitars. These guitars have a significant number of body shapes to choose from, and a variety of features. The most distinctive feature of a Gibson bass is the sound. This is often said to be a result of the combination of a mahogany body and neck with a rosewood fingerboard, humbucking pickups and tone and volume knobs.

In addition to their many standard electric basses, Gibson also makes a range of acoustic bass guitars. These guitars are usually quite large, and tend to have a big bass and overtones.

A lot of people tend to think that a jumbo is the largest acoustic body shape, but there are actually several other options for acoustic bass players. For example, there are 7/8, 3/4 and 1/2 size dreadnoughts that are not as large as their full-sized cousins, but have a similar depth and bass projection.

Another option is the 000 or Triple-0 shape, which is more akin to the larger grand concert styles. These larger models have a wider, more narrow waist and can be quite deep. This can make them louder than the smaller grand concert types, and they can also produce more bass and overtones.

These are often a good choice for guitarists who want to play heavier metal and rock music, as they have a very warm, rounded tone. This is often due to the use of a combination of humbuckers and single coil pickups, and they can cover a lot of ground in terms of tonal variation.

The EB-0 was one of the first acoustic-electric basses that was produced by Gibson, and it saw a variety of different variations over the years. It was very popular with classic rock and blues guitarists, and it introduced the idea of a bass with a set neck and humbuckers near the neck.

A dreadnought is usually considered the most versatile acoustic-electric bass body shape, as it can be used for just about any type of music. In fact, it is still one of the most common bass body shapes in the world.