I'm buying my first acoustic guitar on Tuesday. I'm a pretty experienced electric player so I know about playability and all that, but I'm new to picking out tone. My favorite guitarist John Mayer uses orchestra body acoustic guitars. I happen to like the mellow tone he gets out of it. My question is, can I get the same kind of tone out of a dreadnought body guitar? Thanks
some dreads have a mellow tone, some om's have a bright tone or a loud tone. it really varies from guitar to guitar.
There is a lot of variation depending on construction.
In general terms, smaller-bodied guitars tend to have a more balanced tone and are often favored by fingerstyle players.
Dreads and "Jumbo" guitars are by design rather bass-heavy, they were originally intended to use in string-band contexts, and to be heard above all the fiddles and mandolins and such.

A lot depends on the wood. With Martins, the old rosewood instruments had a very powerful bass that sounded great on stage but was sometimes difficult to record. The mahogany-bodied "cheaper" instruments like the D-18 had a more balanced tone and were often preferred in the studio.
Nowadays, with so many different styles and materials available, you have to evaluate each instrument on it's own.
Ok thanks. I like to play fingerstyle much of the time, but I like to use a pick as well. Any suggestions as to specific brands or models? My limit is $600 at the moment
Same advice as always... If at all possible go to a music store that has a wide variety of instruments. See what's in your price range and play 'em....
See what you like.
A big chain like Guitar Center is great, 'cause they'll have every price point covered with several models and you can pretty freely play anything.
my suggestion would be to save a little more money and by the martin Dx1-ce. it's a beautiful sounding dreadnought body that to me sounded better than the $1600 orchestra model on both chords and fingerpicking.