Mini-guitars are usually good for children and travelling, but when it comes to sound quality they can not compete with full-sized versions. GS was promised to be an innovative product suitable for both purposes.
The First Impression
The first thing that catches an eye is not even the guitar, but the case it comes in. It looks really solid and promising. And, well, the quality of the product inside does meet the expectations.
Taylor GS mini is a short version of another Taylor’s product – Grand Symphony guitar. But if other mini-guitars look like babes when compared to their full-sized analogues, GS mini looks like a teenager. What I mean, is that this guitar is not a stereotypical ? model, it is something more.
Unlike many budget guitars, Taylor has no mahogany in it. The body is made out of Sapele (back and sides, both covered in satin) and Sitka spruce (top). Taylor uses the same general technology for creating all of its models, so the material here is not cheap wood, but the original ebony one. The whole guitar is matte.
Guitar has Elixir Phosphor Bronze Medium strings. It is universal decent option which is OK, but leaves some room for upgrade for sure. One may want them with harder or softer version. The “X” type of bracing makes it easier to tune the guitar and, just in case, to replace the strings.
Die-cast tuners are classy and solid. They will serve their purpose for a long time, without being replaced. Easy to adjust and fix, replaceable and well-made, these tuners will not spoil your play.
Not even the smallest parts were forgotten. The tortoise pickguard adds +1 to solidity and durability. It is small things that matters, and it seems like this model has no downsides in the build.
Being a mini-guitar GS mini has body thinner and shorter than classical instruments. The difference isn’t that big for usual adult person, but for a child or an adventurer this is an advantage. Smaller size makes transporting much easier.
The look did not suffer as well. The model has no cutaways as many other small-sized guitars do, which keeps its’ look symmetrical and classical, just like a usual acoustic guitar.
Designers and material technologists have done their jobs properly. The appearance and the comfort are of the highest quality. It is hard to tell the difference with a usual-sized acoustic guitar at the first sight.
GS Mini in Action
Sound is always the most frightening part of mini-guitars reviewing. Even the models that look promising and should, in theory, sound well, turn out to be disgusting ones. Taylor GS mini did manage to surprise everyone, as it is hard to tell the difference between it and usual acoustic guitar.
- Tones. The tones are easy-to-listen, bright and juicy. They are warm in general and respond to touches in a really nice manner.
- Bass. Unlike most of mini-guitars Taylor GS does not lack neither volume nor loudness. Bass sounds really strong, has no dull and weak notes. This model can be named the unique one, as no other opponent in this price-range can suggest such a high quality of sound.
- Lows, mids and trebles. They are clear and clean. Just this.
With this being said, it is fair to assume, that Taylor GS mini can be called not only one of the best options among the small-sized guitars, but also a decent opponent for classical acoustics. But all the mentioned pros would have been not as valuable, if the playability levels were uncomfortable.
As you could have already guessed, the playability action here is low. The guitar is really consistent and easy to play. In fact, super active players should even raise the action level, as it is really low.
This is what makes playing convenient for both the beginning and the experienced players. The first category will have easy times playing notes clear, as there is no strings buzz. Members of the second one have an opportunity to speed up, as the distance between frets and strings is high enough not to be a problem. There is no common annoying problem of losing tempo due to high action. New players will not be demotivated and therefore will have more opportunities to develop their skill.
The final argument is the Taylor’s GS mini neck. The same neck joint is used in all Taylor’s models, independently from size and cost. It makes playability level comfortable and convinient.
Default build is decent for a learner, but as the skill grows so do the requirements to hardware. Taylor GS mini has a high upgrade potential. It is to replace most of its parts and adjust the new ones. Here are the most popular features, that usually get improved:
The classic build includes medium bronze strings. These are good for an average player during the first couple months of practicing. However, one may want to replace it immediately with soft nylon material (for children and women). It will ease the playing even more. It would also be reasonable to get harder strings after getting used to guitar, to make the sound more bright and loud.
The picture is almost identical to the strings. Basic ones are nice and suitable, but as the skill level grows they need to be replaced with better ones. It is recommended to get Gotoh’s samples or replace with the elder brother’s tuners. Yes, they are universal, so golden ones from Taylor F/S will fit nicely. Such replacement will allow to go for improved adjusting and higher levels of personalization.
A separate chapter of upgrades is electrifying the acoustic guitar. Honestly, it only helps with studio records and performances, and will be the complete waste of money for a new practising player.
Taylor has its own electrification kit, which is sold separately for around a hundred dollars. It is simple and plugging in only requires a screwdriver. There are only two components, but instructions are super-extended and clear.
The quality of this product is as high as it is in all the other Taylor’s devices. Despite being really simple, the kit does its’ job. It helps with recording and analyzing skill levels.
Upgradability makes Taylor GS Mini really flexible. It has well-done basic complectation, so called “Beginner’s pack”, and lots of replaceable parts, which is really convenient for the players, who feel how the skill is raising, but do not want to switch the guitar.
Other GS-Series Products
Sometimes it feels like Taylor decided to occupy the market of mini-guitars completely, leaving opponents with zero chances to catch up. The main reason for feeling like this is the overwhelming amount of GS devices. Let us take a look at the most popular ones:
GS Mini Mahogany
It is like 80% the same guitar, but performed completely out of mahogany. This type of wood provides softer tactile feelings, softer sound and really nice vintage look. All the other features are alike.
GS Mini-e Mahogany
Basically the mahogany version of Taylor GS Mini which has built-in ES-B preamp, tuners, battery indicator and some software.
It costs a hundred dollars more. Summing two numbers, we get the price of Taylor GS Mini + electrification kit. The Mini-E version however has bigger potential, so it is worth buying exactly this one for studio recording.
Honestly, other mini-guitars are either not this good or cost much more, so there are not really many opponents.
Feedback from Users
Theory is all good, but it is only possible to realize some things after practical using. A couple of users shared their opinion about how it feels to own Taylor GS Mini in real life conditions.
Dean, 35, Camper
- I chose this one mainly because it is portable and durable. I am not a professional musician you know, but the guitar sounds OK to me. It has already survives several rains and hits. The wood became darker, but it still makes sound. What really attracts me is the case. It looks so solid and impressive, that I feel like a professional wearing it.
Andrew, 26, guitarist for 3 years
- I’ve been skeptical about purchasing mini-guitar. In my opinion, ? will never sound as bright as juicy as a normal guitar. Taylor GS Mini turned out to be better than I expected. I do not say that is equally as good as my Yamaha, but it quite a decent one. For sure it can compete with some acoustic models, but I don’t see much potential in it. It could be OK for a fresh guitarist or playing as the second guitar. But never will it ever be able to perform the first role nor be something interesting for an advanced player.
Well, so many people so many opinions. Not everyone can fully appreciate all the advantages, not every person will enjoy playing mini-guitar, but in general average users report that their experience with this model has been extremely positive.
Summing it Up
Taylor GS mini is a successful product indeed. It is compact, well-built and comfortable-to-play instrument, both suitable for children and adults, beginners and intermediate players. The sound quality is high. Basses are loud enough, lows, mediums and trebles sound clean and clear.
However, with the price of 500 dollars this model can not be called a guitar for the novices. It is a device for intermediates, which is still suitable for newcomers, willing to have something decent to start with.
There is quite a lot of options to upgrade the guitar, so it can be a long-time purchase developing many skills. Finally, it looks stylish and is suitable both at the party and in the forest. Taylor GS mini is one of the best options in its’ price category.