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Comparing Martin and Taylor: do I have cloth ears?

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by goonie, Jan 30, 2021.

  1. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Afflicted

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    Slightly sadder still. It was actually on December 25th but announced two days later.

    edit: happier news is that perhaps this trio is back to playin'
    edit2: so much is said about the talent in that band by who isn't named in the video title.

     
  2. bonzo898

    bonzo898 Tele-Meister

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    Definitely trust your ears and your hands. Don’t limit your search to just Martin, Gibson, and Taylor. The last 2 times I was on the hunt for a quality acoustic I thought I would end up with one of the big brands but I ended up with a 76 Guild D-50 and a newer Pono grand concert. This was just by playing everything in sight. I love both of them and have regrets.

    Happy hunting!
     
    Henley likes this.
  3. harpdog

    harpdog Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    One other thing to factor in: on board pickup. I can’t stand the Taylor Expression 2....could be just me. I like Taylor guitars and own one with nylon strings and a different pickup. The nicest sounding Taylors I owned was a 414 with Ovangkol back and sides and a koa backed 314
     
  4. PastorJay

    PastorJay Friend of Leo's

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    Every guitar is different. And you might be surprised what you like.

    I've set out twice to buy a good quality acoustic. The first time I didn't know what I wanted, but ended up buying a Martin dread, which gets the sound that I had heard on so many Doc Watson recordings.

    The second time was when I had lost some strength in my hands and I wanted a guitar that was easier to play. This time I was pretty sure I wanted a small Gibson or Martin.

    But by the time I'd been in 3 shops with a good diverse selection of guitars, I was pretty sure I wanted a Taylor.

    I went to a locally owned shop with a good selection of Martins and Taylors, and played almost all of them. Then I took home the one that I liked the most.

    Which was not a Martin.

    Buy the guitar you like. And know that a new guitar will probably sound better in 6 months or a year than it does now.
     
  5. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    Is that Mark O'Connor on the mando?
    I thought Sam Bush, but too tall?
    ( don't know if Mark plays mando, as I know he can play fiddle of course and guitar)

    * note- Tony's playing here ( and anywhere) is IMO a good example of ' bell-like tone'- as there is clear reason and sustain to his 'note decay'- rings out
    Amazing player +amazing guitar = this!
     
  6. kookaburra

    kookaburra Tele-Afflicted

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    Ah, the title track of my favorite John Hartford album!
     
  7. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Tele-Afflicted

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    If you are interested in a Taylor in a smaller body size, I thought that the 322 was pretty nice. It definitely was not bright sounding.
     
  8. Frisco 57

    Frisco 57 Tele-Meister

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    I've got a 1970 Martin D18 and a Taylor DCSM (Dan Crary signature model) from the 1991. Oddly they sound very similar but the Taylor plays a lot better.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
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  9. wblynch

    wblynch Tele-Meister

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    A cutaway model is going to sound different from a shouldered version, I personally don’t like cutaways and I think that’s what makes Taylor’s sound bright as most buyers choose the cut.

    I have a simple Martin D1 and my brother has a Taylor (214?). There is definitely a difference in sound and I prefer mine.

    but I think Taylor’s are extremely well made and have been to their San Diego factory.

    the best thing about Taylor is the bolt on neck. The action can be lowered without shaving the saddle. Plus a neck reset is a 20 minute affair with a Taylor. I dread the day my Martin needs a neck reset.
     
    Telecaster88 and goonie like this.
  10. TheDavis

    TheDavis Tele-Meister

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    I like so many others were in the same boat.
    This is what separates the two for me. Every Taylor I’ve ever played has a sweetness to it that’s instantly pleasant. You can’t shake that sweetness.
    If you want to express pain or sadness or reality go with a martin, if everything in your life is cheerful go with a Taylor.
     
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  11. dswo

    dswo Tele-Holic

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    If you can't hear a difference, maybe get the one that you like the feel of. Or buy one, live with it for a couple years, and (if you don't like it) sell it and try the Other One. That's what I'm planning to do at some point after That Which Must Not Be Named relents.

    P. S. When I bought my current acoustic, I took it home and compared it with my old guitar, which I bought for US$279 in 1985. The difference was more subtle than I expected. But after several months of playing the new guitar, I picked up the old one and it sounded like...cardboard.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2021
  12. DDickens

    DDickens Tele-Meister

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    Too bad you can’t do back-to-back comparisons. If I were in your shoes, I’d just keep playing and shopping til one clicks. I’m sure we have all had that experience where a guitar just fits you physically and sonically.
     
  13. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    Get what guitar sounds better to you. May I add, if you play before an audience, see what acoustic amp soumds best to you in your guitar/amp combination
     
  14. Mark617

    Mark617 Tele-Meister

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    I admit I don’t use one enough to warrant big dollars. But I think Taylor sounds richer. Again to my untrained ears. I’ve had a Washburn , a Guild and a chance to get a Martin at a good price. I own a Taylor mini Black Limba. It’s full sounding and seems to be constantly in my hands
     
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  15. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's

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    Taylor has done many different body styles and they are always changing them. I haven’t played many lately but I wouldn’t be surprised if the newer Taylors don’t sound like the simplified internet opinion of them.

    You can’t go wrong with either. But if you are dropping big bucks, I’d try to find a shop with a large selection. Comparing back to back really helps.
     
    goonie likes this.
  16. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    You really can't compare Martin and Taylor unless you are comparing similar body styles. Generally the large, dreadnaught Martins i.e. D28, D35, D41, D45 and several others have that woody tone. The smaller bodied Martins not so much.

    I would say a large bodied Taylor compared to a large body Martin does fall in the category of bright vs deep/woody but when you move to thinner and smaller bodied versions of these brands the same adjectives don't apply. The tone can vary widely.
     
  17. Danb541

    Danb541 Friend of Leo's

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    I've never played a really good Martin but a friend of mine has a $3,000 Taylor. It's a beautiful guitar but is so bright and loud. It's almost harsh to my ears. He also has a baby Taylor, like a 3/4 size guitar. It's a lot of fun and sounds great. Sounds better
     
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  18. TheDavis

    TheDavis Tele-Meister

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    Tony Rice has been thrown around a lot here and his answer to age old question of Martin versus Taylor was Santa Cruz Guitars.
     
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  19. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    There are some generalities about the two makes, but every guitar is an individual example that must be played to evaluate. Don't buy per other folks' opinions if you can avoid it.

    A relative died and I was given my choice of his two acoustic dreadnaughts: A 2005ish Gibson Hummingbird that would take at least $2,500 to buy and a newish Guild D-240E that retails at $399. The Gibson's tone was dull and the guitar was very "stiff" playing. The Guild's tone was balanced and it was a lively, easy player. Both had good strings and were set up right. I took the Guild.
     
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  20. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Holic

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    There’s more sound difference between models and sizes within a manufacturer than between manufacturers.
     
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