Martin vs. Taylor
Martin, the oldest existing guitar manufacturer in the United States, has been around for over a century. Taylor, a relatively young company, has been at the forefront of the latest innovations in the industry.
These brands are the cream of the crop and are always pitted against each other.
Body, Construction and Consisteny
A guitar’s sound can be attributed to a lot factors. Things like body size, body shape, type of wood, bracing and scale length affect a guitar’s tonal characteristics. Martins have superb craftsmanship.
The company has a commitment to not cut corners like what many other companies did to survive depression.
Typical body and construction of a Martin and Taylor are not far apart. A Martin acoustic guitar is made up of solid mahogany in back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top. Sitka has a powerful direct tone that is capable of retaining tone clarity when played forcefully.
Mahogany is a highly dense wood that is responsible for low overtone sound. Likewise, Taylor has model DN5 which has the same initial specs.
In terms of consistency, Taylor wins on most user accounts.
Handmade guitars can be slightly different from each other. A guitar may sound different than another guitar even though they are the same model from the same company.
Taylor has a standardized production to limit variances. One example is their computerized finish facility,
Both guitars have their own sound respectively. When you ask people of their tonal characteristics, Taylor’s trademark is bright and loud.
This can be interpreted otherwise with some people saying that it is thin and tinny. Taylors are said to sound less full than Martins but have better projection.
Martin guitars, on the other hand, have a traditional, vintage and mellow feel to it. Other people interpret their tone by the era it makes a person feel. In this case, Taylors are for contemporary music and Martins are for old-school or traditional music.
Martin acoustic guitars are also bassier if compared with Taylors. Recent models of Taylor acoustic guitars though have shown improvement in this area.
Guitarists who are transitioning from playing electric to acoustic have reported their ease of playing Taylor guitars. Taylor’s playability is exceptional and this is one of the reasons why it remains popular for beginners and experts alike.
Taylor was also the pioneer of the bolt on neck technology that made neck adjustment possible by just loosening the neck bolt.
Price, Resale Value and Innovation
Martins are said to be more handmade than Taylor hence the considerable price gap. This price gap can also be because Martin has a hundred years over Taylor which was only founded in the 1970's.
Taylor seems to be the more economical choice especially since both are known for quality. Further, Taylor makes budget versions of their most popular guitars.
You can basically get a guitar for $500 that looks physically the same as those premium ones being sold for as much as $5000. Martins are out of reach for musicians especially to those who don’t play for money.
In terms of resale value, Martin wins the round. Martin is the oldest existing guitar company in the United States and the company has been tried and tested for over a century. A huge number of the innovations that we take for granted these days were made by Martin.
Examples of these are the herribone bracing, cross bracing and dreadnaught guitar. Martin guitars can retain their value and with time and proper care, can be sold for profit.
Taylor is a young company that can already command premium prices. Its top of the line products have prices similar to Martins.
Taylor’s major contribution in the field is the bolt on neck technology. This is responsible for the easier neck adjustments that previously were not available on acoustic guitars.
Both brands are well-established so the final decision is a matter of personal preference. People who use Martin prefer its earthy and warmer sound.
The bright and thinner sound of Taylor guitars appeal to many players as well.
If you can afford it, I say why not get both? Most players end up owning more than one instrument anyway.
Just don’t buy both at the same time. Choose one and play with it until you harness its full potential.
Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Chris Martin and John Frusciante have all been spotted with Martin guitars.
Neil Young, Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews and John Foreman are all photographed with their Taylor acoustic guitar.