What to Consider Before Buying a Taylor Guitar
Although Taylor was only founded in 1974, it has already become one of the world’s most respected manufacturers.
Where are Taylor Guitars Made?
Their higher-end models are made in California from solid wood and enjoy more detailed finishing. The less-expensive ones are made in Mexico, often from layered materials, but there’s no difference in quality control.
Are Taylor Guitars Good?
Absolutely! Taylor doesn’t make the cheapest instruments around, but many find them well worth the money.
Neck & Body
Most of these instruments are in the Grand Auditorium body style. This shape combines the overtone-rich sound of a dreadnaught with the tight sound of a grand concert. Its slim waist and compact size make the Grand Auditorium easy to handle. Taylor does also make dreadnaughts, which offer an expanded bass response.
Are Martin or Taylor Guitars Better?
There is some debate over whether Martin or Taylor is the better guitar manufacturer. Martin guitars are mostly dreadnaughts, and they have a more traditional sound. Taylor is a newer company whose guitars fit the sound of contemporary music. Both make high-end acoustic guitars and neither one is better than the other. It all comes down to your preferences.
Taylor guitars are also made with a patented neck design that stays straight and stable. Necks can develop a “bump” at the 14th fret over time, but Taylor’s one-piece necks stay straight, even with temperature and humidity changes.
High-quality components complement the careful build of Taylor guitars. Most come fitted with composite nuts and saddles that carry string vibration better than plastic.
The tuning machines are also high-quality. Even the tuners on more affordable models hold tune well. Most have a 17:1 ratio which offers greater precision when tuning – a must if you are performing or recording.
Acoustic-electric Taylors come with the company’s breakthrough Expression System 2. This is a pickup system where the piezo pickup is behind the saddle rather than under it. This type of setup means that the amplified sound is fuller, more natural, and more true to the guitar’s unplugged tone. For performers, this is a must-have.
Sound & Tone
The modern sound of these acoustics makes them a favorite of contemporary musicians. Most of these guitars have a Sitka spruce top. Spruce is a responsive wood that is well suited to every genre of music. It has a high-end “sparkle” that many of these guitars are known for. If you’re looking for a versatile instrument, a spruce-top acoustic is a great option.
For blues players and anyone else needing a warmer, midrange-heavy tone, a mahogany-top Taylor like the Baby Taylor BT2 may be a better choice. Mahogany has a characteristic “woody” tone that’s very focused.
Many more affordable models such as the GS Mini come with back and sides made of layered Sapele. Layered wood doesn’t have the same complex sound as the solid wood found on high-end guitars, but it tends to sound better than laminates do. Sapele looks and sounds a lot like mahogany, but it has a little more treble response.
Taylor’s best acoustic guitars often have solid Indian rosewood backs and sides. This wood offers beautifully complex overtones, deep lows, and clear highs.
Action, Fit & Finish
Most players prefer the easy-playing feel of low action, and most of these guitars come with the action already low. But, if you want to adjust the action to your liking, you can do so yourself or take the guitar in for a professional setup.
These guitars are designed to be incredibly playable – many have satin necks, which have a smooth, fast feel. Most also have ebony fretboards, which is widely considered to be the superior choice for an acoustic fretboard. It’s naturally slick, and its crisp attack adds just enough articulation to your playing.
Fit and finish-wise, Taylor is impeccable. You don’t have to worry about any poorly-attached parts or runs in the finish. Often, more affordable models will have a simple yet elegant aesthetic with mother-of-pearl dot inlays and simple rosettes. More expensive models come with tasteful yet intricate inlays, many of which are either Italian acrylic or abalone.
Reliability & Durability
Most well-made guitars are reliable and will last a long time, and Taylors are no exception. It’s unwise to subject your guitar to serious abuse, but most acoustics can withstand a few knocks. The layered woods used on the backs and sides of more affordable models are more resistant to changes in temperature and humidity. This means that, over time, they are less likely to crack or warp.
So, what is the best Taylor Guitar?
Each of these Taylors is a worthy instrument in its own right, but the Taylor 814CE is the best on our list of Taylor guitars reviews. This high-end guitar is made of all-solid tonewoods, and its Grand Auditorium body is one of the most versatile body styles out there. It’s supremely responsive and playable, and it comes with world-class electronics too.
Last update on 2021-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API