Taylor GS Mini and Martin Acoustic Guitars are both travel-size guitars and that’s the only similarity between them. These guitars sound, look and even feel very different from each other. In this review, I’ll be exploring the differences between them to help you make an informed decision when making a purchase.
The Main Differences
The GS Mini has a long scale length and larger body than the Martin Acoustic Guitar. It also has a fuller and slightly louder tone with more clarity and bass. However, both Taylor GS Mini and Martin Acoustic Guitars have laminate sides and back, X-bracing, solid tops along with 20 frets.
Comparison of the Tones
Taylor GS Mini and Martin Acoustic Guitars have different body shapes and scale lengths that tend to affect the tone. The tone is usually broken down in three different parts including:
- EQ Balance
First things first. The Taylor GS Mini has a larger body which makes it a bit louder than the Martin Acoustic Guitar. This typically means that the guitar has more air inside and that technically amplifies the sound even more. There is an electric version of each of the two guitars but that won’t make a difference if you plan on using them when plugged in only.
Let’s talk about the EQ balance. The EQ balance means the balance between the mid, bass and treble frequencies that affect the tone of the guitar and how bright and warm it sounds.
Taylor GS Mini usually offers broad tonal frequencies that means it has better treble and bass response. This results to a more clarity owing to the fuller tone because it has a longer scale length and larger body. To cut the long story short, Taylor GS Mini almost sounds like a full-size guitar since it has a better tone in overall.
The Little Martin Acoustic Guitar, on the other hand, sounds dull and warmer with equally less note separation and clarity. Lastly, Taylor GS Mini provides more sustain meaning the notes tend to ring out a little longer. This is also because the GS Mini provides more in terms of bass response.
Both Little Martin Acoustic Guitar and Taylor GS Mini come in different wood options. This impacts significantly on the tone even though they feature laminate wood on the sides and back. This means that they are different species with little to no impact on the sound than when solid wood comes into the picture.
Not to mention, the pickup in most electronic acoustic options. In my opinion, the Little Martin’s pickup has a better tone and offers more clarity as compared to the GS Mini’s pickup that sounds muddier, to say the least.
You can listen to Taylor GS Mini and Martin Acoustic Guitars in action in the video below before drawing any conclusions.
Playability and Feel
Taylor GS Mini and Little Martin are both travel-size acoustic guitars but they have nothing in common. These two guitars are quite different when it comes to scale length and body size. Taylor GS Mini has a bigger body as compared to that of Little Martin.
The GS Mini comes highly recommended for adults since it sits comfortably on the laps and feels equally better. Little Martin, on the other hand, feels relatively small which means its best suited for younger children.
The GS Mini has a slightly longer scale length as compared to Little Martin. The scale length is the distance between the bridge and the nut. The latter having a longer scale length translates to more room for stretching especially if you want to reach the low frets. This can be a drawback for the little ones albeit not much of a problem for adults.
The scale length has an impact on the string tension as well. The Taylor GS Mini’s longer scale length tends to put the strings under tension which means they are hard to bend and fret as compared to doing the same on the Martin Acoustic Guitar. However, you can solve this problem by putting some thin springs on the acoustic guitar and also try to lower the action.
Both guitars have easy to manage and low profile necks although the GS Mini feels relatively full. The nut width is equally the same on both guitars but Martin Acoustic Guitar has a flat fretboard owing to its large radius. Bending the strings is a lot easier if the guitar has a flatter fretboard but makes chording a bit challenging albeit with very little to no difference.
The playability of the two guitars is also quite different. All Taylor GS mini variants have fretboard inlays while the Little Martin versions have inlays on the LX1R only and none whatsoever on the standard version. The GS Mini inlays are very useful for newbies, it’s such a shame that most Little Martin variations lack this feature.
These two guitars also share a few similarities despite the many differences. Here are some of the main features in both Taylor GS Mini and Martin Acoustic Guitars:
- Available in electronic versions
- Solid tops
- 20 frets
- They both come with a padded gig bag
- Laminate sides and back
- Chrome tuning machines
- 69” nut width
- X-bracing pattern
Comparison of the Full Specifications
Here’s an entire list comparing the full specifications of both Taylor GS Mini and Little Martin Acoustic Guitars.
Taylor GS Mini
- Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Electric Koa Plus
- Taylor GS Mini Acoustic Electric Koa
- Taylor GS Mini Rosewood
- Taylor GS Mini Mahogany
- Taylor GS Mini Electric Rosewood
Little Martin Acoustic Guitar
- Martin LX1
- Martin LX1RE Rosewood Acoustic Electric
- Martin LX1E Acoustic Electric
- Martin LXK2 Koa