Learning guitar can be a daunting task, especially if you have no previous musical experience. There’s so many reasons why people give up, and that includes sore fingers! It’s important to invest in a quality guitar that’s comfortable to play and sounds great. That’s why we wrote this Baby Taylor review to help you narrow your search!
So, You Want a Small Guitar?
Small-scale acoustics, like the Taylor BT2, are excellent guitars for beginners, especially children attending formal lessons for the first time. However, that doesn’t mean these are “kid’s” guitars!
They’re portable, lightweight, and you can just pick it up and play; no expensive amps to buy, and no tangled chords to fumble around with. This makes them great for strumming around the campfire, practicing and writing on the go, or just to keep by your desk. Guitarists of all experience levels can find a place for a small acoustic guitar in their arsenal!
Perhaps you or maybe your kid are adamant about learning on an electric guitar. That’s understandable, considering electric guitars are very versatile and easier to play than acoustics. However, you could be potentially limiting yourself by starting on an electric. Yes, they’re easier to play, but it slow down the development of finger strength.
Regardless, it’s most important to consider how a guitar sounds and feels to play when shopping for a new axe. This can all be affected by the wood used, the size and weight, the quality of the hardware and/or electronics, and more.
Introducing the Baby Taylor BT2
The Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor is a small acoustic guitar that’s perfect for entry-level players, or experienced players who want a guitar to travel with.
The BT2 is completely identical to its predecessor, the BT1, save for one thing: the top.
The BT1 features a spruce top, while the BT2 uses solid mahogany instead, giving a more mellow, well-rounded tone. while the BT1’s spruce was very bright but could also be a bit more harsh on the ears. Don’t be fooled, though; the BT2’s tone is clear and powerful.
I’d go as far as to say that the BT2 would be a great purchase for any guitar player, no matter what the experience level. However, the BT2 does not plug in, so it’s not the guitar you’ll want to bring on tour or use for regular gigging. A nice peaceful open mic at a coffee house would be a good setting for it, if you’re eager to play for a crowd!
Neck & Body
Three words: mahogany, mahogany, mahogany! The neck is made of tropical American mahogany, while the back and sides are composed of layered sapele; a more readily-available strain of mahogany. Unlike the BT1, the BT2 offers a mahogany top that serves as its sole difference in construction and tone from its predecessor. The varnish finish offers protection as well as a nice look and a smooth feel. This guitar is well built and plays great.
Hardware & Components
The BT2 has some very nice hardware. It offers enclosed, die-cast chrome plated tuning pegs as well as an adjustable truss rod. There is a tusq nut and a micarta saddle and pearloid dot inlays on the fretboard. The fretboard is ebony and offers 19 frets. There is no cutout on the body so this isn’t the guitar you want to use for solos high up on the neck, so you’d need to utilize more the lower-pitched frets for any acoustic soloing.
Sound & Tone
The mahogany used on this guitar produces a well balanced tone with plenty of mid range. For a small guitar, it produces decent volume. It’s easier on the ears than the BT1, but also not as bright. The BT2 has a bluesy edge that sounds great with hybrid picking, rolled licks, and other country-blues styles of playing. The warm, dark tones the BT2 produces will certainly have you eyeing mahogany guitars for future purchases to come. The BT2 comes equipped with Elixir NANOWEB light gauge strings, but many reviewers have enjoyed stringing this bad baby (get it? “Baby?” As in Baby Taylor? Yes, I know I’m not funny) with D’Addario strings instead. Of course, this depends on what strings feel and sound best to you, which is subjective at the end of the day. There is another version of this guitar called the Big Baby, which offers a spruce top for a brighter tone that’s still full voiced. However, if the BT2 is too small for you but you still want something portable, the Big Baby can give you that compromise on size.
The BT2 costs a little more than notable competitors such as the Martin LX1. However, the BT2 offers guaranteed Taylor quality and sound packaged into a portable mahogany guitar that’s built to stand the test of time. While it’s perfect for entry-level players, the BT2 is anything but an entry-level guitar. This isn’t something a beginner plays for 3 to 6 months and then pawns off for a “real” guitar; the BT2 is a real guitar through and through. For the price, you also get a quality gig bag that’s durable enough to make you not want to immediately ditch it for a hard case. However, for althis price, I would love it if they included a built-in tuner, or perhaps a separate tuner that comes along with the gig bag. That would be a good way for Taylor to separate their guitar-gig bag bundle from their competitors.
- Tone that is mellow and well-rounded, while also being powerful and clear
- Portable and durable; long life guaranteed
- Perfect first guitar for learners. Includes a gig bag!
- Not acoustic-electric
- Tone not as bright as previous version
- Neck is a tad narrow, might cause discomfort for big-handed players!
The BT2 offers the high-quality you expect from Taylor in a 3/4 sized dreadnought-style guitar.
Alternatives to the Baby Taylor
Not sold on the Baby Taylor? That’s fine! Let’s take a look at some other nice acoustic guitars on the market.
Washburn Apprentice G-Mini 5
The G-Mini is gonna be the most budget-friendly option we’ll discuss here today. This Washburn guitar offers a spruce top with a mahogany neck, back, and sides. So right off the bat, you know it’s not going to sound terribly different from the BT1. It has a brighter twang to it than the BT2, but doesn’t match up to its mid range. The Quartersawn scalloped bracing offers lasting durability, which is something you’d want out of a guitar best suited for learning or traveling. However, for a couple hundred bucks, you’re definitely getting what you pay for; and what you pay for is a plastic nut and saddle.
- Neck & Body: Spruce top, mahogany neck and body
- Hardware: Plastic nut & saddle
- Sound & Tone: bright, slight twang
Martin LX1 Little Martin
I really do love both Martins and Taylors, so you can’t go wrong with either. Pricewise, the Little Martin can be a better value depending on where you buy it from. Either way, you don’t get any plastic on your guitar for that price point! (Sorry G-Mini, I’m sure many will enjoy your sound. The plastic is just a turn off!) The Little Martin features a sitka spruce top and body made up of both mahogany and spruce. It’s got a hand-rubbed finish for that personalized Martin touch, as well as a Rust Stratabond neck and a rosewood fretboard. It’s got a balanced tone that’s bright but not too bright, and projects well.
- Neck & Body: Sitka spruce top, mahogany/spruce body and neck
- Hardware: chrome tuning pegs
- Sound & Tone: Balanced, bright, good projection
Taylor GS Mini
The GS Mini is likely the closest contender to the BT2. It features a mahogany top and back, with a sapele neck and body. This guitar is certainly the most high-end instrument on this list. However, for that price, you certainly get the tone you pay for. The bass notes are bold and the high notes cut through like butter. It has plenty mid-range like the BT2, but still sits just a tad on the brighter side.
- Neck & Body: Mahogany top & back, sapele neck & body
- Hardware: Chrome tuning pegs
- Sound & Tone: Good EQ, bright, good mid-range, bass notes are bold and high notes cut through
We hope you enjoyed this Baby Taylor review, and that you give consideration to the other fine instruments discussed in this article before making your next purchase. Hopefully we helped you narrow down the search for your next acoustic guitar! Let us know where you stand on the Baby Taylor v Little Martin debate.