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Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

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  • Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

    Long story short, my son broke the 50 year old acoustic guitar that I've been playing for the last twenty years. So, I just spent three hours playing and comparing every acoustic in the music store and ended up split between two very different guitars:

    - Martin D16GT (spruce top / mahogany sides and back)
    - Taylor 214CE-CF DLX (spruce top / copafera sides and back)

    The Taylor plays great (cutout is lovely for higher fret access), sounds very balanced but is maybe a touch shy on the bass. Playing barre chords and jazzy stuff up around the higher frets sounds incredible. The Martin plays pretty decent, and sounds exactly how an acoustic guitar should sound when you lay into some open chords. It's maybe a touch muddier playing up high. They both cost around the same amount.

    I'm using this for flatpicking, strumming/singing, and songwriting. Maybe the occasional fingerpicking stuff. The Taylor has electronics, but that's not something I really care about. Anyone have opinions on which way I should go?
    Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

    Originally posted by Douglas Adams
    This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

  • #2
    Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

    Any option to get to the 300/400 level in Taylor? The 100/200 are nice, but I remember there being a step up going to the 300 level.

    I haven’t played the 16 series, but the 15 series Martin is great. If the 16 is similar but with a Spruce too it should be nice.

    If you don’t need electronics look at the non-electronic versions of these guitars.
    Oh no.....


    Oh Yeah!

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    • #3
      Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

      3/400 were both out of my price range.
      Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

      Originally posted by Douglas Adams
      This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

        get a 314 CE Used over a new 100 or 200 IMO -It change your life.

        I personally usually prefer Taylors over Martins. They generally play better (Neck and Fret board profiles etc), sound incredible and are definitely a better value (dollar for dollar) mostly due to Bob's innovation with Neck joints and CNC manufacturing. I've done A/B comparisons in guitar acoustic rooms for years of Martins and Taylors at the same price point. -Taylor is usually the winner.

        Also, sometimes, with a Martin, I hear the guitar tone of some ubiquitous famous artist or song that I can't shake. Taylor's tones are a bit fresher without the historical baggage -unless you want that historical baggage -then a Martin is awesome.

        Honestly my favorite of all are the old vintage Gibson J's -but the prices are outrageous for ones I would want.
        “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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        • #5
          Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

          I really dig the historical baggage my D-18 has...only played new Taylors and it takes a few years for an acoustic to get it's tone on so can't say anything about them one way or the other....

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          • #6
            Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

            Originally posted by justFred View Post
            I really dig the historical baggage my D-18 has...only played new Taylors and it takes a few years for an acoustic to get it's tone on so can't say anything about them one way or the other....
            Yeah, strumming a D chord on a Martin will send your mind on trip down musical memory lane for sure.
            “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

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            • #7
              Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

              I'm a Martin guy through and through. Taylor's are nice and I've played a bunch of those but I always go back to appreciating and feeling more at home with the Martins. I personally own a D-28 that I bought in 2004. It sounds better now than the day I bought it. I like the big warm sound of the chords and even up high it's nice and clear. Not as crisp as a Taylor but I don't like an acoustic that is too crisp. Big, full, warm, and that's what sold me on it. It also helped I had a pick from any of the brand new unopened ones that arrived at the store that day.

              Go with what your gut says. Maybe even go back and ask if you can play them in a lesson room to isolate yourself from the rest of the store (if they have lesson rooms).

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              • #8
                Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                Both will sound better over time

                My Martin was bright and stiff when I first got it 20 years ago
                It ain't now

                I really dig Taylor guitars though

                I would get the Taylor if it were me
                But I have a Martin
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                • #9
                  Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                  Originally posted by ErikH View Post
                  I'm a Martin guy through and through. Taylor's are nice and I've played a bunch of those but I always go back to appreciating and feeling more at home with the Martins. I personally own a D-28 that I bought in 2004. It sounds better now than the day I bought it. I like the big warm sound of the chords and even up high it's nice and clear. Not as crisp as a Taylor but I don't like an acoustic that is too crisp. Big, full, warm, and that's what sold me on it. It also helped I had a pick from any of the brand new unopened ones that arrived at the store that day.

                  Go with what your gut says. Maybe even go back and ask if you can play them in a lesson room to isolate yourself from the rest of the store (if they have lesson rooms).
                  Yeah, I would agree that new Taylors have a crispness that makes harmonics and arpeggios really shine -I loved that about my 314CE -but it has mellowed over the last 20 years to something a little less round and warm of a Martin but still more "brilliant" in the top end than a Martin
                  “For me, when everything goes wrong – that’s when adventure starts.” Yvonne Chouinard

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                    I went on the same journey a few years back and settled on a Taylor 5xx series. It sounds incredible and surprisingly loud. It hasn’t even fully broken in yet either. It’s a great guitar.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                      Hmm. Kinda a newb here as I've always had my one acoustic guitar and been happy with it. I didn't realize that the 214 Taylor was laminated sides/back. That's possibly a deal breaker for me. After a quick browse though the want ads it looks like I can get a used 414 ce for about the price of the 214, or a used D-16 for half the price. Unless the 414 is stunningly better than the 214, that would tilt me heavily towards the D-16.
                      Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

                      Originally posted by Douglas Adams
                      This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                        Originally posted by NegativeEase View Post
                        Yeah, strumming a D chord on a Martin will send your mind on trip down musical memory lane for sure.
                        Only if it’s a great one. Most are pretty ordinary.

                        For $1000 -1500 you can get a nice solid rosewood and solid spruce Blueridge.

                        If you can pick through a few and choose the one that inspires you to write a new song right there in the acoustic guitar room of the store, that’s the one I’d get.

                        And I did.

                        It whipped every Martin in the place.

                        New Martins sure smell good though.
                        “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

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                        • #13
                          Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                          Originally posted by Lewguitar View Post
                          Only if it’s a great one. Most are pretty ordinary.

                          For $1000 -1500 you can get a nice solid rosewood and solid spruce Blueridge.

                          If you can pick through a few and choose the one that inspires you to write a new song right there in the acoustic guitar room of the store, that’s the one I’d get.

                          And I did.

                          It whipped every Martin in the place.

                          New Martins sure smell good though.
                          Before I bought my Taylor I played a handful of Martins....ordinary at best.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                            I prefer Taylor in general; but I wound up with a Breedlove.
                            Originally posted by King Buzzo
                            I love when people come up to me and say “Your guitar sound was better on Stoner Witch, when you used a Les Paul. “...I used a Fender Mustang reissue on that, dumbass!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Buying a nice acoustic - Taylor vs. Martin

                              Originally posted by Lewguitar View Post
                              Only if it’s a great one. Most are pretty ordinary.

                              For $1000 -1500 you can get a nice solid rosewood and solid spruce Blueridge.

                              If you can pick through a few and choose the one that inspires you to write a new song right there in the acoustic guitar room of the store, that’s the one I’d get.

                              And I did.

                              It whipped every Martin in the place.

                              New Martins sure smell good though.
                              I played my way through most of the acoustics they had in the store. Neither the Martin nor the Taylor would have been my first choice . . . generally I figure you're paying too much for the fancy-pants brand name stuff. Was really hoping that one of the cheaper Yamahas would work out, but none of them were better than OK. There were three of the D-16s that I tried, and one of them clearly sounded nicer than the others. I tried several of the Taylor 214s too . . . they seemed more consistent (although I didn't like the one with Koa back and sides - it was too bright).

                              Special mention to Larrive guitars as well, they had some lovely sounding acoustics. Biggest disappointment were the four Gibson's I tried out, (couple dreads and a jumbo) all of which sounded very dead.

                              (Also, I tried an old acoustic arch top - love the looks, but it's a very weird sound. Dry, mid-rangey, just . . . odd.)
                              Last edited by GuitarStv; 08-04-2019, 05:01 AM.
                              Join me in the fight against muscular atrophy!

                              Originally posted by Douglas Adams
                              This planet has - or rather had - a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn't the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.

                              Comment

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