Hi all.
I was wondering what people's opinions were in regards to these top makers
of acoustic guitars. Which do you think is better, Martin or Taylor, and why?

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Hi Arthur.

I have to say, I'm reluctant to enter into this discussion.

The following comments apply to both brands' mid line models (Martin's 18/28 series and Taylor's 500 through 800 series).

Both brands have their fans and critics.

Both brands are designed and built well. 

Both brands have a signature "sound".  Martins tend to be heavy on bass and lower midrange response while Taylors tend to emphasize the upper mids, highs & "dancing high frequency overtones" which is commonly called sparkle.

Both brands are subject to "problems" normally associated with high volume guitar factories and their respective warranty claims departments are very accommodating.

Both brands (ANY solid wood guitar) need to be maintained (setup & humidification monitored). 

Both use very high quality woods & materials.

To me, the real question is: "Which one fits my size /shape spec's, which neck do I prefer and which instrument comes closest to producing the sound I hear in my head."  Add to that the fact that there are differences between two identical instruments form the same builder (they WILL sound different), and I think you'll find your answer.

Best of luck in your continuing search for your “perfect guitar”.

Have a great one my friend(:

I would say the Taylor neck mounting system trumps all else,  considering a neck reset will be needed sooner or later on any quality guitar, but Taylor makes that a very simple operation.

Now if only all guitar manufacturers would change over to that process, how sweet and inexpensive life would be.

Now, if only the ETs would leave us alone.


If this forum ever needs a secretary of state highly skilled in diplomacy I'm nominating Paul!!!

Touche, Hesh (-: (-:

All IMHO, of course   :)

In the $500 price range, Taylor wins - they GS mini is the best guitar for the buck in that range that can be possible. A big, full sound, showing every note and string clearly. Martin's offering in this range are chunks of plastic and laminate that just don't sound that great.

In the $2000 range, Martin. A Taylor in this range sounds like a venetian blind to me - there is some kind of filtering that removes the tones I want to hear. Many Martins in the range reproduces everything I want to hear very nicely. (I know lots of people with Taylors in this price range who love them, and when I play those guitars, I really just don't get the sound I want. Go figure.)

If I was planning on touring for a year with one guitar, Taylor. I think it would be easier to service and more durable on the road.

If I was buying the last guitar I'm ever allowed to buy in my life, Martin.

If I had to buy a guitar for someone else, Taylor.

If I had to make a countertop out of guitars, Martin.

That all said - I play Guilds and a ladder-braced Harmony Sovereign. I have Martin ukes and I'm rebuilding a Martin tenor, but I don't own either a Taylor or a Martin guitar.

To me it don't matter what the name on the head piece happens to be the sound that an individual player is looking for not who built the Instrument is what is of the most importance. I donot like to be a judge of someone else Instruments as one person will pick up a guitar and play it and realy like it and the next guy that comes along may not like it at all. Bill.............

Yes Bill. Not to mention that a player might fall in and out of love with things over years, months, or days. I have owned both Martin and Taylor. They have quality offerings. My favorite tone / feel seems to be Gibson and Larrivee.

And that relies on what you've got in hand now, tomorrows discoveries can change the whole ballgame.

But there is a value in giving and getting opinions that come with a rationale - my reasons for liking one guitar or another may assist someone else in defining their reasons for liking the other guitar that I don't like. We are always searching for the vocabulary to describe what we hear, and having these seemingly pointless discussions can actually help folks define what they are looking for in a guitar, or why they have the preferences they do.

Sadly, the name on the headstock probably does affect the perceived sound of the instrument. I would be a bit ashamed, but I'm sure that I've enjoyed some name brand instruments more than some known not-so-good-instruments, even though there is no grounds for the preference.

And, well, there is a sound that particular companies have. If I say "Martin Dreadnaught" or "Taylor (whatever the hell model)", there is a perceived sound that is expected. If I play a Martin Dreadnaught that doesn't sound like a Dreadnaught, I'm really disappointed, and there are quite a few disappointing Martins out there. Never mind the difference between two of my other favorites - Martin and Kamaka ukuleles. :)

Out of curiosity, when I try Taylors, Breedloves, Gibsons, or most Martins at a Guitar Center, in the fancy pants expensive room, I'm underwhelmed by all but a couple pricey Martins. Is this perhaps because the best instruments among these have been sold, and I'm playing the dregs of the selection?

I completely agree with this post... couldn't have said it better...

Martin over Taylor if setup correctly 'cause the Taylors seem very heavy and hard on my shoulder/neck...but they are all(M's& T's) IMO overbuilt these days...there's my grain of salt.

Thanks for all the replies.

I am looking at a 2012 Taylor 110.

I have 2 questions though;

it has a 'scarf' neck joint,

and 'forward shifted pattern' bracing.

Can someone please tell me what those terms mean,

and are they any better or worse than what is usually used?

Thank you.



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