Choosing a high-end acoustic guitar nowadays is not easy. That’s why the Martin vs Taylor guitars debate is always on.
Here, we want to help you pick a quality guitar depending on your needs. For that, you need to take a wide array of factors into account.
Their sound is vital, yes, but there are many other things to think about. And here, we want to show you all of them, and how each guitar brand differs from the other.
Martin VS Taylor Guitars: What Are The Differences & Which One Is Perfect For You?
So, are you ready to find out what makes Martin and Taylor so different and how you can pick the ideal one? Then keep reading!
What is Martin Guitars?
One of the most prestigious guitar brands in the market, Martin is probably the go-to option for most traditionalist guitarists out there.
This brand was founded in 1833 by Christian Frederick Martin. Thus, the brand was initially called C.F. Martin, and still known as so by many people. It is based in Pennsylvania, and it is owned and ran by the same family of the guy who founded it.
What sets this brand apart, however, is the high number of quality guitars it has introduced into the market, starting from the Dreadnought design that became such a popular model.
Martin has another advantage: it produces next-level guitars every time. This brand doesn’t care about style or popularity. Instead, it is always optimizing for quality of construction, deep and clear sound, and unbeatable overall quality.
If you’re looking for a high-end brand, Martin won’t disappoint you.
Want to learn more about Martin guitars? Below you have our top 3 from this brand:
01. Martin LX1 Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
Top 3 Features:
- 23 inches long
- Stratabond neck
- Mahogany HPL top
The first model in our list is the LX1 Little Martin. As its name says, it is a small model, but also one of the best-sounding out there – ideal for beginners and experts alike.
As soon as you grab it, you’ll know this guitar is amazingly comfortable. The 23-inch long design doesn’t disappoint when it comes to handling with ease.
The 2 1/16 inch fretboard pairs well with that, especially with the 5/16 inch brace and the small knob-turners in Chrome that feel super-smooth.
Boasting a Mahogany pattern with HPL (high-pressure laminate), it offers a Sitka Spruce top that looks and feels fantastic. A textured finish plus a bright tone makes it undoubtedly good-looking.
You can pair this up with the Indian Rosewood or Solid Morado fingerboard. Along with the Rust Stratabond neck, the Chrome knob turners, and Tusq saddle, it will look amazing.
Despite its small design and relatively affordable cost, the LX1 from Martin has an impeccable sound. It doesn’t provide premium stage-oriented sound from a guitar thrice as expensive, but it gets close enough to that nonetheless.
- Comfy and playable design
- Fantastic for its portability
- Sounds well every time
- Not ideal for people with big hands
02. Martin LX1E Little Martin Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Top 3 Features:
- Fishman Sonitone pickup
- Rchlite fingerboard
- 23 inches long
The Little Martin series is an outstanding array of models to pick. And with the LX1E, Martin makes it clear why. Every single thing on this guitar is designed to surpass high expectations.
Even though this guitar is super affordable in comparison with other Martin models, it still offers a sound quality that surpasses expectations.
It combines a Sonitone Fishman pickup with an exquisitely-designed body. Together, they make it possible to tune the guitar to your needs while enjoying a buzz-free sound quality.
If there’s something that stands out about the LX1E from Martin is the Sitka spruce top, hand-rubbed and stylized for maximum beauty.
The body also boasts an HPL (high-pressure laminate) side and back made of Mahogany. Along with satin finish and a Richlite fingerboard that adds a warm touch– this guitar is set to surpass all expectations.
At only 23 inches in length, the LX1E Martin Little is easily one of the most portable guitars you can get. But this design is not only for portability but also for people who are learning and with small hands. So if you’re a beginner or someone who feels uncomfortable with larger models, this one will be your best choice.
- Small and portable design
- Looks and feels amazing
- Produces a neat sound
- The Rosette tends to scratch
03. Martin Steel-String Backpacker Travel Guitar
Top 3 Features:
- Tonewood build
- 5 pounds of weight
- 24 inches long
Not everyone knows the Backpack collection from Martin. And it’s a pity. This guitar series offers everything you could need as a person who’s always moving.
The most important feature of this guitar is how easy it is to move around. It is only 24 inches in length, which is not necessarily the smallest – but small enough for traveling with it.
However, the advantage comes from the light design at only 5 pounds of weight. This is thanks to the ultra-thin design that reduces its body width, making it an amazingly portable model to have.
Even though the guitar is made for portability over anything else, it manages to look super enticing in every way.
This all starts with its Spruce Top, hand-rubbed for a more stylish look. The Tonewood back and sides increase its beauty. And with the contour neck shape, it looks like no other guitar out there.
Solid Sound& Playability
With such a unique design, you may think this guitar is not easy to play or eventually produces too much buzz. But you would be wrong. The thin body is designed and manufactured to produce almost the same quality as full-body models, producing clear and deep sound.
- Extra-portable thin design
- Clear & exciting sound
- Easy-to-use and adjust
- Strings are too high
What are Taylor Guitars?
A modern yet still prestigious guitar brand, Taylor is one of the most sought-after brands in the market thanks to the crisp sound and exquisite design it offers.
Taylor was founded in 1974 by Robert Taylor. It is based in California and produces some of the highest quality guitars in the market, both low and high-end models.
What makes Taylor such a great manufacturer is the ability to produce high-quality guitars that don’t disappoint in any way, while still pushing the quality further with exciting introductions.
For example, Taylor has introduced everything from neck designs to bracings, among them, you will find the Grand Auditorium body design. This body is used by hundreds of other models all across the guitar spectrum and brands.
Taylor is terrific because it produces modern-looking and modern-sounding guitars. And it is still a brand not afraid of pushing boundaries. Also, it offers acoustic, acoustic-electric, and electric models as well.
Here are our top 3 best Taylor guitars to consider:
01. Taylor BT2 Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitar
Top 3 Features:
- Electronic-free design
- Tropical Mahogany build
- Sapele sides & back
An exquisite guitar in almost every way, the BT2 Baby Taylor is designed for people on-the-go and those who want maximum convenience.
The BabyShapes design is a unique Dreadnought body shape that only Taylor offers. What sets it apart is not the design itself, but the ability to still offer fantastic results.
But sure enough, it is the small design that you will love the most. Whether you want to learn, gift it to a child, or travel with it – then you’ll find this design to be perfect.
Clear & Crisp Sound
Coming with no electronics and needing no amplifier to sound well, the Baby Taylor still handles a beautiful and clear sound every time.
You can use it for almost any type of sound needs, from high-stringing to lap slide, recording, or even just to play around a campfire. The sound it offers is more than enough for all those needs.
Lovely & Durable
A combination of Tropical Mahogany on top with Layered Sapele on the sides and a non-cutaway design make it look like any traditional model. The quality of the wood makes it even a better choice, also ensuring a durable product all around.
- Super-smooth fretboard
- Simple but good-looking
- Fantastic natural sound
- Produces a muddy bass
02. Taylor GS Mini-e Acoustic Guitar
Top 3 Features:
- 2-band EQ Piezo
- ES-B electronics
- GS MiniShapes body
As soon as you set your eyes on the GS Mini-e guitar from Taylor, you’ll know it is a model you can’t dismiss. It is one of the reasons why Taylor is such a big brand.
The main advantage of this guitar over others is how divinely good-looking it is. You get an all-Koa wood body, boasting a Koa top with layered sides and back.
The wood pattern and shades with its warm overtone, perfect to boast anywhere you go. This combination of Hawaiian Koa components is also durable and affordable, making it a go-to choice.
Being alluring is only one of these guitar’s benefits. Another exceptional advantage is the compact design, a scaled-down body at only 23.5 inches that is comfortable, portable, and magnificently easy to use.
This all comes down to its GS MiniShapes body and the patented NT neck, making it a piece of cake to play your favorite songs with. Add the GS Mini Hard Bag for even more portability.
Superb Sound Quality
A combination of Taylor Chrome tuners with Elixir Phosphor strings makes it an utterly tunable guitar. Yet, it is the digital tuner with LED display from ES-B Electronics that truly sets it apart. You can tune it to sound however you prefer, especially with the under-saddle piezo and 2-band EQ preamp.
- Ultra-handy design
- Magnificent sound features
- Exquisite looks all around
- The small design doesn’t fit big hands
03. Taylor 224ce-K DLX Acoustic-Electric Guitar
Top 3 Features:
- 5 inches long
- Hawaiian Koa build
- Grand Auditorium body
If you want to take your guitar-playing experience to another level with a high-end guitar, then nothing will meet your demands like the 224ce-K DLX from Taylor.
Unmatched Sound Quality
As soon as you strike, strum, or pick the first cord, you’ll notice how well-made this guitar is. It offers a perfect combination of a Grand Auditorium body that lets you play anything, along with an ES2 acoustic electronic, ideal for adjusting the sound to the max.
You can pair these two with the Koa top for a focused sound and the Elixir Phosphor Bronze strings for clarity to get a uniquely beautifully-sounding guitar.
If the sound captivates you, then you will love its appearance. Boasting Hawaiian Koa on the top, layered Koa on the sides, and a Venetian cutaway on the lines – this guitar looks outstandingly enticing.
Let’s not forget you also get a Grand Auditorium body with EdgeBurst gloss finish. The Faux pearl rosette surrounding the soundhole with the Italian diamond inlays add a unique touch of style.
This will make it incredibly appealing, especially with the Tusq nut, Chrome tuners, Ebony bridge, and the Micarta Saddle.
Despite its already fantastic design and sound, you still get an extra-playable guitar. At 25.5 inches of length and boasting a super-comfy Ebony fingerboard, playing it will be a total pleasure. Add the Taylor Deluxe hard-shell case, and you can transport it anywhere with little effort.
- Outstandingly bright & crisp
- Unrivaled looks
- Comfy & easy to adjust
- Pretty expensive
Martin Guitars vs Taylor Guitars: Things to Consider
Now that you’ve taken an in-depth look into Martin and Taylor guitars accordingly let’s explain how they differ and how you can pick the ideal one accordingly.
The most crucial factor to think about when choosing between Taylor and Martin guitars is how they’re made.
Starting with Martin, we can say it focuses on the quality of construction over anything else. And this comes with the century-old tradition from the company of producing traditional-level guitars.
Every Martin guitar is designed and built by specialists. One specialist focuses on designing and building the perfect neck, another focuses on the body, one makes sure the string is perfect, and so on.
That ensures a pristine condition and overall resilience, taking Martin guitars to a whole new level (even the cheapest ones). This video will give you a better idea of Martin’s manufacturing.
In contrast with Martin’s building process, Taylor focuses on modern designs and builds. Instead of producing each guitar individually, like some Martin models are produced, Taylor designs the highest-quality products possible and then produces them in batches.
Sure enough, both the designing and building leave no room for error, only tackled by experts and handcrafters.
Even then, what sets Taylor guitars apart is the addition of unique parts. The V-Class Bracing is a perfect example of that. The owner Bob Taylor found out that the traditional bracing wasn’t perfect, so he decided to make a new one.
The V-Class Bracing was a perfect idea – creating a unique sound with a real and crisper sound than usual. And that’s how Taylor manages to stand out in terms of build quality. This video will help you learn more about it:
While both brands provide exceptional sound quality in their guitars, there’s a slight difference in sound that may either break it or make it for you.
For example, Martin guitars are designed to provide a more traditional sound. That means they have a classic acoustic guitar sound, something deep and earthy, a hallowed tone that produces almost no fuzz.
This gets even better when Martin adds Fishman pickups to the guitars. These pickups capture this traditional tone even better, ensuring an even brighter and more natural guitar tone.
But then you’ll find Taylor guitars. These focus on more vibrant and modern sounds, those that don’t rely on clarity but on experimentation. The sound is usually crisp and super-balanced, ideal for a contemporary sound.
Taylor complements this well with the addition of Expression System (ES2) pickup. It is specifically designed to provide a natural sound through an amp, without getting rid of its crispness.
This video will give you a better idea of how Taylor and Martin guitars sound:
You could translate playability to how easy the guitar is to use and how comfortable it feels while playing. In that case, both Taylor and Martin perform well. But the designs set them apart slightly.
A Martin guitar, for example, boasts a set neck radius of about 16 inches. This affects the tone of the guitar and the feel. And because you can’t change this angle, you’re set to play with it. While this can be limiting for people who want extra adjustments, the overall flat design makes it easier.
Taylor guitars, on the other hand, have an adjustable 15-inch neck. Because it has a smaller radius, the barre chords tend to be easy to reach. But sure enough, the lead lines may not be so easy.
Even then, you can always adjust the neck angle by bringing the guitar to a guitar shop. Along with the NT (New Technology) neck design, Taylor guitars are likely to stay stable for long.
Below is an explanation of why the NT neck from Taylor is such an excellent feature:
Styles & Models
Lastly, you will need to think about the different styles of guitars available with Taylor, and which ones you can find on Martin’s catalog.
In that case, it is safe to say that Martin offers a more conservative approach. Most Martin guitars are acoustic or acoustic-electric. That means you either get completely traditional acoustic guitars, or those with a pickup. But you won’t have purely electric or similar models to pick from.
Even then, Martin offers the Backpacker series – a small and more portable design for people who want to travel with their guitar without feeling over-cumbered.
But Taylor tackles its styles and model options differently. While the guitars look similar as well, it manages to offer a more extensive array of models – going from electric to acoustic, acoustic-electric, and more.
So while it focuses mainly on acoustic guitars, Taylor manages to go into other markets (in case you want something more than just an acoustic model).
Frequently Asked Questions Of Martin VS Taylor Guitars (FAQs)
Once you’ve gone through our reviews about each brand and the factors that set them apart, then it is time to get rid of your doubts.
This section includes some common questions buyers have. We hope that our answers to these questions help you:
Why are Taylor guitars so popular?
When Taylor entered the market back in 1974, there was no competitor in the modern-sounding market. So Taylor became the go-to guitar manufacturer for people who wanted such a modern sound that matched the most popular genres at the time (country and rock).
Do Taylor guitars sound better with age?
Even though it may feel counterintuitive, there’s evidence that high-end Taylor guitars can indeed improve over time. While this doesn’t happen with all of its models, you can still rest assured that its highest-quality guitars will.
Are Martin guitars overrated?
No, Martin guitars offer every single feature the company stands up for. From a traditional look and sound to the most gorgeous designs and wood quality – Martin guitars are everything but overrated. There’s even evidence that Martin guitars sound better over time, that’s enough to say no.
Will a Martin guitar appreciate in value over time?
Most guitars lose value as soon as they’re bought. When it comes to Martin, you may find Vintage models costing thrice as much as a premium-quality guitar, similarly with limited editions. So, new low-end models won’t appreciate, but the rarest guitars will.
Are cheap Martin guitars any good?
If you need to buy a cheap guitar for whatever reason, you’ll be surprised at how good Martin’s low-end models are. So, yes, without having to empty your wallet, cheap Martin guitars enter like an excellent choice for anyone on a budget.
Martin vs Taylor – Which One To Go For?
So, which model should you end up with? We can’t say that – you must pick for yourself.
When comparing Martin vs Taylor guitars, you’ll find that both are exceptional. Yet, a few differences stand out.
That’s why we can safely say that if you want a deeper and more traditional guitar sound, then you should go for a Martin guitar.
But if you’re more of a modern guitarist who needs crispness to the max and a more varied range of sound, then a Taylor guitar will be your best bet.
What are you going for then? They’re both fantastic brands. So whatever you pick, just be sure it is the ideal model for your needs.