Most guitarists always dream of having a Taylor in their guitar collection. This is because the brand usually combines state of the art electronics with handmade craftmanship to come up with exceptional sounding guitars for the home, studio or stage.
In this article, we’ll be exploring a scaled down design basing on Taylor’s Grand Symphony- GS shape of the body. Enter Taylor GS Mini Koa Acoustic Guitar! The GS Mini is an excellent choice for guitarists looking for the beautiful grain and signature sound of Koa wood without breaking the bank.
Factors to Consider When Looking for a Mini Acoustic Guitar
Taylor GS Mini Koa is a worthwhile investment whether you’re looking for a travel-size portable guitar for your gigs or something to play when lounging around the house. However, there are a few things you need to factor in before making a purchase including:
Whether or not you need electronics. It would be best to go for a mini acoustic guitar with an incredible pickup system if you plan on using it to perform. You can forgo the electronic aspect if you want something small to play at the comfort of your home.
Whether or not you’ll need a solid top. Most guitarists usually prefer sold top acoustics with laminate tops. Laminate guitars, on the other hand, have and edge over the others as they tend to resist changes especially due to temperature and humidity.
What of the scale length? Mini in this case doesn’t necessary denote the size of the acoustic guitar that’s why its always advisable to factor in the scale length before making a purchase.
Taylor GS Mini Koa Pros and Cons
In this article, we are going to discuss the Taylor GS Mini Koa in details. First things first, let’s look at its pros and cons.
- This acoustic guitar Koa solid top that produces a warmer and brighter sound
- The Koa sides and back are layered giving you an entire Koa grain look
- Taylor’s expression system B pickup reproduces the sound of the guitar faithfully
- The lightweight and compact build makes it ideal for travelling since its easy to carry around
- The layered Hawaiian Koa wood sides and back don’t have a full tone like that of a solid Koa
- It’s quite expensive for a mini acoustic guitar even though its nice sounding
Benefits and Features of the Taylor GS Mini Koa
Taylor GS Mini Koa has very impressive features. Let’s get into the details, shall we?
Taylor GS Mini Koa uses the road less traveled in terms of tone wood construction. The solid top is made from Hawaiian Koa with an incredible grain. However, Koa wood is as sonically complex as it is beautiful. It gives you a full, warm mid-range similar to that of mahogany along with a bright, clear high-end like that of maple. The sides and back, on the other hand, are made of layered Koa.
Taylor incorporates layered woods as opposed to going the traditional laminate way. Laminate is a step up since most laminates largely consist of plywood and resin. The layered sides and back don’t produce the same sound like that of a solid wood. However, they make the acoustic guitar relatively cheap without compromising on the tone.
The neck is made of lightweight Sapele wood that looks and sounds great just like mahogany. The fingerboard is extremely comfortable to play with since it’s made of ebony. In addition, the ebony tends to provide some striking contrast especially against the complex grain of the Koa wood.
You can check out the video below to get a glimpse of what we’re talking about on here:
Electronics are usually made in different ways. However, one of the best electronic systems on the market is Taylor’s Expression System B popularly known as the ES-B pickup. It has an edge over the others since the piezo design is slightly different from most under saddle piezos.
Taylor’s Expression System B uses the behind the saddle pickup system design. Under saddle piezos don’t usually capture the resonance of the acoustic guitar which is quite the opposite of the ES-B pickup as its sounds more natural.
In addition, the ES-B Pickup system includes an onboard preamp that comes with an in-built chromatic tuner. It quite handy especially when you play gigs. You also stand to benefit from the volume controls and onboard tones that are equally useful when dialing in the right sound for the venue. It’s important to note that the top-notch electronics play a significant role in the cost of the guitar.
It would be best to check out other Taylor Mini variants if you are not planning to plug in. Check out the video below if you’re looking to learn more about Taylor’s Expression System B.
Other Additional Appointments
One of the most noticeable things about the Taylor GS Mini Koa Acoustic Guitar is the Koa grain. Save for that, it has other impressive features including:
Tuners – If you’re conversant with playing guitars then you’ve probably come across some cheap variants with equally cheaper tuners. If so, then you know how frustrating it can be. This GS Mini comes with chrome tuners that hold tune remarkably well and look good too.
Nut – Taylor GS Mini Koa features a unique NuBone nut which is a composite that’s specially designed to sound more like a bone. Check out the informative video below to get to know the difference between Tusq, NuBone and other different composite.
Saddle – This guitar’s saddle is made of micarta. Micarta is a popular composite although it’s a bit dull since it doesn’t have the brightness of Tusq or NuBone. The micarta saddle usually helps balance out the brightness since Koa wood is a relatively bright sounding type of wood.
Finish – Just like other Taylor variants, the GS Mini has a varnish finish which is ultimately a matte finish according to Taylor. The finish gives this acoustic guitar a modern high-end look along with making it more playable. The only downside is that the glossy neck tends to feel sticky especially when you try playing fast.
Inlays – This acoustic guitar has simple inlays. The rosette is an exquisite three-ring design while the fretboard features dot accents. This makes the guitar look simple yet stylish and it suits it quite well. The ebony fingerboard and Koa grain are beautiful even on their own.
Taylor GS Mini Koa Social Proof
Getting hold of the Taylor GS Mini Koa for the sole purpose of trying it out before making a purchase can be a chore. If this is the case, you can check out the reviews from those who’ve either tried it out or made a purchase. Here’s a highlight of the reviews we came across on the internet:
Taylor GS Mini Koa Viable Alternatives
Before settling on the Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Guitar, it’s best to check out other viable alternatives. Don’t fret, we did the legwork for you! Here are some of the top alternatives to put into consideration:
Luna Safari Starry Night Travel Guitar vs Taylor GS Mini Koa
- It lacks electronics
- It has a slightly shorter scale length
- It has mahogany sides and back and a laminate spruce top that produces a different sound that of a solid top musical instrument
- The moon phase inlays and “Starry Night” graphic makes it stand out visually
Luna Safari Starry Night Travel Guitar is a statement piece owing to the graphic design all over the body. Most Luna acoustic guitars are usually designed to be striking without getting in the way of the price and this variant is no exception.
If you’re looking for a relatively affordable travel-size guitar then the Luna Safari Starry Night Guitar is your best bet. However, its sounds different from the GS Mini.
Taylor Baby BT2 Mahogany vs Taylor GS Mini Koa
- It features a solid top mahogany with a slightly darker and warmer tone
- Taylor GS Mini has a Grand Symphony shape while Baby Mahogany has a dreadnought body
- It lacks electronics although there’s a variant that comes fully equipped with electronics
- The ebony fingerboard has an incredible aesthetic touch and offers comfortable playability
If you’re looking for a travel-size guitar but fancy traditional tone wood and dreadnoughts combinations, the Taylor Baby Mahogany comes highly recommended. This small travel guitar features a solid top mahogany with layered Sapele sides and back. Plus, it’s a relatively cheaper option to Taylor GS Mini Koa.
Give Taylor Baby Mahogany a try if you prefer a little yet highly playable dreadnought.
Traveler Guitar Redlands Concert Acoustic Guitar vs Taylor GS Mini Koa
- It’s a cheaper option
- It features a laminated top that doesn’t produce full sound like that of a solid top. However, kit resists temperature and humidity changes remarkably well
- It comes with a saddle and bone nut, striped ebony binding and other comfort features that are quite rare in most acoustic guitars within this price range
- The under saddle pickup allows you to play and plug in but is not natural sounding like Taylor electronics
This extremely comfortable concert-body along with a cutaway is an excellent choice for players looking for and cheaper travel acoustic guitar with onboard electronics. The body features laminated mahogany while the beveled armrest gives you a great playing experience. It’s equally good looking without compromising on its affordability.
Finding a great acoustic guitar that’s well built and is equally equipped with premium quality electronics is no easy feat. The Taylor GS Mini is relatively expensive as compared to other variants but has excellent sound quality when unplugged and plugged in which makes it a worthy investment. What’s more, it’s made of Koa wood that is not only visually stunning but also sonically beautiful.