At this point, the Taylor GS Mini could be considered a modern classic. It has been a little over a decade since its debut, and it's fair to say that this tiny Taylor has transcended the classification of a travel guitar to become a well-respected acoustic in its own right. With more and more players turning to smaller guitars in recent years, it's no surprise that the GS Mini would become so popular. This pint-sized guitar promises to not only deliver the impeccable build quality Taylor is famous for but also the bright articulate tone that makes them so beloved - but does the GS Mini make good on these bold claims?
This petite acoustic guitar has had many guises since it was released in 2010, from a spruce top with rosewood back and sides to an all koa variation and many more limited edition guitars. For this review, we took a look at the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany. As the name suggests, this variant features a mahogany top, which is paired with layered sapele back and sides, as well as a sapele neck. It has to be said, just how good this guitar looks. The rich, deep hue of the mahogany top is quite striking and most definitely worthy of the Taylor name that graces the headstock.
As with all Taylor guitars, we have the inclusion of an ebony fingerboard - sourced from Bob Taylor's very own ebony mill. There is no trickery being used to artificially darken the ebony, which in turn lets the natural stripes in the wood shine through, giving each guitar its own identity - something we absolutely love.
Okay, so it may look the part, but how does it feel? In a word, fantastic. Fans of Taylor guitars will know how particular the building process is, and that most definitely extends to the GS Mini range. As a result, this guitar feels like a Taylor - and a more expensive one, at that. Yes, you can feel that the back and sides are laminated and not solid, like the more premium options, but that doesn't detract from just how well this guitar is put together. We have no issues with sharp frets, the nut is cut correctly, and the action is just to our liking - unfortunately, that isn't always the case with guitars at this price point.
The neck itself feels very comfortable, and as it keeps the string spacing of the larger guitars, it doesn't feel too narrow. That said, the shorter scale of 17 5/8" - compared to 20" on the Grand Auditorium - does feel significantly shorter than the other guitars in the line-up, and this takes a little time to get used to, especially if you are used to the likes of a 314, for example. Although the compact size does make it a fabulous beginner acoustic guitar for youngsters. It's also worth noting that the lack of cutaway does make playing beyond the 14th fret practically impossible - not that there's money to be made from playing up that end of an acoustic guitar.
We know this guitar is supposed to travel the world with you, but we believe it makes a perfect sofa companion as well. It's just so easy to pick up and play, and once you get used to it, the small stature is incredibly inviting.
So, that brings us on to sound. Overall the GS Mini Mahogany sounds pretty good. Again it has that Taylor thing. It's very bright and clear- although the Mahogany version here seems a little more mellow compared to a spruce top. Okay, it may never be as mellow as a mahogany Martin, but there does appear to be a little more warmth here than the spruce variation. Unfortunately, this guitar does lack in the volume department. Now, this is most likely due to the small body size, but we can't help feel that it doesn't project as well as we'd expect. The volume produced is more than enough for sitting on the sofa, but outside sat around a campfire, it may get a little lost.
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany review: Verdict
We have to say we are very impressed with the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany. It's impeccably built and looks fantastic. This mini guitar probably won't replace the workhorse dreadnought for many players, but it's not trying to. At the end of the day, this is a travel guitar, and despite its tiny size, it has a tone some larger guitars could only dream of.
Taylor GS Mini Mahogany review: Specs
- Top: Tropical Mahogany
- Back: Layered Sapele
- Sides: Layered Sapele
- Neck: Tropical Mahogany
- Fretboard Wood: Ebony
- Nut & Saddle: Nubone
- Headstock Overlay: Indian Rosewood
- Frets: 20
- Scale Length: 23 1/2"
- Body Length: 17 5/8"
- Body Depth: 4 7/16"
- Top Finish: Varnish
- Contact: Taylor Guitars