FRETS.COM Illustrated Glossary

A classic acoustic guitar design
© Frank Ford, 10/7/98 Photos by FF

Long about the time of the Great World War, Martin introduced their largest guitar body style, the "dreadnought." Originally intended as a specialty item, it eventually became the most popular body size, with its loud, deep tone.

Martin's dreadnoughts are certainly the most copied of all steel string guitar designs, and nearly all other guitar companies make dreadnought models. All Martin dreadnought model designations are identified by the letter "D," as in "D-18," "D12-20," or "HD-28."

The dreadnought body is easily recognized with its "square-ish" shape and lack of a pronounced "waist."

This is a Martin dreadnought, a D-35:

The dreadnought body is has a width of 16 inches and a maximum depth of about 5 inches.

Here's the original dreadnought:

The British battleship, H.M.S. Dreadnought, was the inspiration for Martin's name for their largest guitar.

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