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#1
Hi Everyone..

I have recently joined ultimate guitar.com in search of answers, feedback or advice.

I live on a remote island so testing new guitars is a challenge for me. After months of research, I have narrowed my search for a new guitar and am now considering a Taylor 816 ce first edition or the Martin HD 28 e retro. What really surprises me is that the Taylor is almost the same price as the Martin and if I understand what I have read correctly, the Taylor has an inferior pick up system and an inferior bracing system. Both guitars use similar wood however the Taylor has more in-lay. I have also read that the Taylor is not built as well as the Martin and has problems within a year of playing. Both necks are low profile and both carry good bass and mid tones however the Martin is better balanced and projects sound better because of the forward scalloped bracing. The Taylor is slightly larger than the Martin..does it have the feel of a Jumbo and is it awkward on stage?

Can someone out there please offer some about major differences between these guitars and perhaps more importantly what would be the tonal differences? If you have experience with either or these two guitars...I would enjoy hearing back from you..

I will have the opportunity to play and purchase one of these guitars as I will be back in the states in June...

I hope to not confuse myself more by playing a Martin performing artist series at that time

Thank you ....

Robert
Last edited by rfconte at Apr 10, 2014,
#2
Strictly preference. Both instruments are superbly made of excellent materials. Taylors as a general thing tend to be a little brighter. Martin has generally gone for a more traditional sound.
Whichever lays on your ears better...
#3
The notion that taylors are built inferior to martin is totally untrue.
2010 Epiphone Dot
2010 Gibson Les Paul Studio Deluxe
2009 Taylor 110 acoustic
#4
taylors are very well built guitars, and in no way are they inferior to martins. tonally i usually prefer martins, as taylors tend to be brighter, but they do have sparkle in their top end that i do like. the 816 ce is a mini jumbo with a lower bout of 16 1/4", just a hint bigger than a dread. it's a taylor grand symphony (GS) guitar, and has a little more oomph in the bottom end than their GAs or GCs, so a good size if you like the taylor sound but with a little more richness. the HD-28 has more definition than the D-28, more clarity yet plenty of bass. one of my favorite martin dreads. honestly this is very much a matter of personal preference - neither guitar is superior to the other. and you can't go wrong with either.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#5
As others have said, there seems to be absolutely no difference in build quality between Martin and Taylor. A big plus for Taylors for me is their fully bolt-on neck, so there will never be any worry with low neck angles and neck resets - some Martins have low neck angles, and look like candidates for an early neck reset. It happened to me, and our lousy importer warranty here in Oz wouldn't cover it. OTOH, I don't much like the big open sound of Taylors or their catalysed poly finish. I stand more chance of finding a Martin whose sound I like than a Taylor, but they vary a lot between individual guitars as well as models. - Something like D-28, D-18 or 000-18 is where I personally would be looking - with a high neck angle!
#6
Hello Everyone.

First of all--thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me. All of the feedback you have offered is a huge help...

One thing---do any of you have thoughts or knowledge on Taylor's new expression system as compared to the original expressions pick up system? I have read that they have made changes but am yet to find a video that clearly illustrates what those changes/enhancements have been..
#7
To my ears and fingers Taylors >>>> Martins everytime.
#8
Taylor's new ES2 system isn't a huge leap from the ES system. i love the ability to adjust the pressure of the under-saddle pickup(3 screws on the saddle)... if you want more or less bass or treble, it's a quick adjustment. the 816ce will give you as much bass response as you could want.
here's a good video on the 816ce....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aifQzcD4LRI&feature=player_detailpage
taylor took the best selling line they had and completely re-built it. most guitar makers would be horrified at the idea, taylor took the original idea and expounded upon it knowing that it could very well be counter-productive to sales. the new 800 series is an improvement in every way.
need more gear and a lot more talent(courtesytuxs)
#9
Thank you both for your recent comments....am looking forward to taking y our thoughts forward to the strings in June....
#10
If you compare a Taylor of a certain body style and price point with a similarly styled and priced Martin, you will see that the Taylor comes with nicer appointments, such as ebony instead of a rosewood, or binding as opposed to no binding on the Martin. However, when you buy a guitar, it comes down to sound. Ebony is usually considered superior to rosewood, but if you prefer the report of the strings against rosewood, then you prefer the Martin. In any case, unless you just can't make up your mind between the two, then the question of binding or no binding should not really come into the question.

Martins and Taylors of the same body shape and price point will often use slightly different woods somewhere on the back or sides. Moreover, they tend to have different style bracing. These are the features that shape your tone most and are what you should pay most attention to, and where these features are concerned, when comparing Martins and Taylors of the same price point, there generally isn't a popular favorite like there tends to be with ebony versus rosewood fingerboards. Here it just comes down to what sounds good to you. For example, you may prefer an ebony fretboard, however you may still discover that your like for the sound produced by a Martin's classic bracing is greater than your like for the sound produced by the bracing on the Taylor, and that because of this, the Martin sounds better to you over all.
Last edited by afdgdfa at Sep 30, 2014,
#11
To add to this.... I just got the latest issue of Wood & Steel, Taylor's magazine. (You get a subscription when you buy one..)
Anyway, in the letters section, it was asked why Taylors were unpopular with the bluegrass crowd.... Martins still rule.
Bob recommended giving a listen to the new 800 series instruments, which evidently has been designed to give the "traditional sound" a run for the money. I wouldn't know... Haven't heard one.

Bob also notes that his instruments are very popular among blues players, and my own little GS Mini is a terrific fingerstyle blues guitar.
#12
Quote by Bikewer

Bob recommended giving a listen to the new 800 series instruments, which evidently has been designed to give the "traditional sound" a run for the money. I wouldn't know... Haven't heard one.

Bob also notes that his instruments are very popular among blues players, and my own little GS Mini is a terrific fingerstyle blues guitar.

Allow me to add to the pile-on bumping of this thread, but a Taylor 800 will give most people a run for their money, since we'd have to take out loans to afford one. I'm not sure why that was even suggested.

I actually can't think of any blues guitarists that play Taylor- though I'm sure they're out there. I have nothing against Taylors, by the way.
#13
Quote by chrismendiola
Allow me to add to the pile-on bumping of this thread, but a Taylor 800 will give most people a run for their money, since we'd have to take out loans to afford one. I'm not sure why that was even suggested.

I actually can't think of any blues guitarists that play Taylor- though I'm sure they're out there. I have nothing against Taylors, by the way.


I'm a blues fingerpicker, and I've tried the GS Mini and thought it worked very well, especially the all-mahogany version. OTOH the bigger Taylors are a bit too open-sounding for my tastes for that style. That's why I mentioned the plain-braced Martins in an earlier post.

Re prices and models. I've tried a few different Taylors, and generally preferred the Mexi-made 100 and 200 series to the more expensive ones. In fact, I haven't found much correlation between price and tones I like in acoustic guitars.
#14
Taylors are more machine precision crafted. Martins are more traditionally crafted. So Taylors have a kind of "perfect" sound that I don't find martins have so much. I don't mean they sound better, but it's more a strong clean tone I find, as you would expect from every piece being precision crafted, and fitted. Taylors will also be more consistent, as in all the guitars of the same model will be more similar. Martins are more different guitar to guitar.

They are quite different in character. I know it's rough for you, but I really think its something you need to try for yourself. It's not like buying electronics. It's also very personal.

Both brands are great though. It just depends on what you want. I have an 816 ce. I love it, love the shape and feel and sound. It comes with medium strings. I love that, not sure if that's your thing, thought I'd let you know in case it makes a difference for you. The pickups need a TRS cable. Once you get that, the pickup system is good enough I find. For any serious recording you need mics for any acoustic anyway, imo. Without the TRS cable you'll get some quiet noise mixed in with your signal.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Sep 30, 2014,
#15
Quote by dragoro
The notion that taylors are built inferior to martin is totally untrue.


Absolutely. Taylors are world-class. Especially those high end ones like the 800 series. Also, Taylor's Expression System pickup may very well be the single greatest acoustic pickup ever manufactured.
#16
I agree with all those who posted positive comments about Taylor guitars. I own two Taylors ( 614ce, GC8)I also have a "85 Martin J40 and I like all of them for different reasons. It's like comparing apples and oranges. The Taylor Expression System is one of the best pick up systems around. Whoever told you that it is inferior is uninformed. The simplicity of just plugging it in anywhere is what I love most about it. No one is going to listen to your new guitar more than you and no one is going to enjoy it more than you so buy something that appeals to you. I would bring someone along with me who knows how to play and listen to the guitar from the other side. You can focus more on what you hear when you're not playing yourself than play it to confirm that you like how it feels. Buying a guitar is a very organic thing.
#17
I've owned and gigged with both thousands of times in the US. Neither is better. Both are excellent companies, as both of the team models you mentioned are great. You cannot lose in either direction. Both are great guitars and you'll find your own voice in either choice you pick.
- Fender, Taylor, Martin, Ibanez, Ramirez, Marshall, Boss, Morley, Mesa/Boogie, Univox, Shure, Monster, Dunlop, Seymour Duncan, DiMarzio, Lace, Sperzel, DW, Tama, Zildjian, and a little Johnnie Walker
#18
Absolutely it all comes down to personal preference, Taylor's are generally brighter sounding guitars, but Martin's generally sit in the middle of the tonal range. There's little difference in build quality, both are excellent and are bound to make you happy.
#19
Can someone out there please offer some about major differences between these guitars and perhaps more importantly what would be the tonal differences??????
#20
Quote by anmol77
Can someone out there please offer some about major differences between these guitars and perhaps more importantly what would be the tonal differences??????


You have to hear it for yourself. Each brand has different models with different characters, and yet they also have something common between each model in the brand. You have to hear it with experience. I can't properly describe it with words what the sound is like.

So go to music stores, or listen to a bunch of YouTube videos, and you'll get it.

To me, the tonal differences are not what's more important though. I find that the feel and playability of the instrument is the most important thing. And each person is different, so again, you need to try for yoruself.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Apr 24, 2016,
#21
Taylor were pioneers in the use of electric guitar- like necks, which initially gave them a toe-hold in the market. However, most acoustic makers have now followed their lead, including Martin on some of their models.

The big plus for me is their neck joint design.

Their tone tends to be fairly big and open, there are others I prefer, but it is a personal thing.
#22
Personally I wouldn't consider buying a Martin D28 or a Taylor 816. For the price you would typically pay for either of them you could get one of these:

http://www.recording-king.co.uk/Product/Recording-King-RD-126-FE2-Electro-Acoustic-Dreadnought-Guitar-p2

And one of these:

http://www.recording-king.co.uk/Product/Francisco-Domingo-FG-27-Classic-Guitar-Rosewood-p63

And one of these:

http://www.recording-king.co.uk/Product/The-Loar-LH-309-Archtop-Guitar-p48

And one of these:

http://uk.yamaha.com/en/products/musical-instruments/guitars-basses/el-guitars/pacifica/pacifica112v/

And that's really all the guitars you will ever need.
Last edited by Garthman at Apr 23, 2016,
#23
No need to spend a fortune on a Taylor 816 or Martin D28 when a Taylor 110 or 114 would do just as well for over $1000 less. Maybe I've got bad ears but I've never heard anything by Taylor that sounds better than the 110 or 114. Not badmouthing their high end stuff, which is all excellent quality as well. It's just that the 100 and 114 are simply fantastic guitars for the money, and compare quite well (and favorably in my opinion) to guitars which cost a lot more money. Taylor's really expensive stuff...you are paying for the beauty of the inlays, exotic woods, etc. Nice stuff to have, sure, but playability and sound aren't any better, in my opinion.

I'm interested in Tony's opinion. He seems to hold Taylor in high regard, wondering if he feels the same about the 110 and 114?
Last edited by TobusRex at Apr 23, 2016,
#25
Quote by Tony Done
Taylor were pioneers in the use of electric guitar- like necks, which initially gave them a toe-hold in the market. However, most acoustic makers have now followed their lead, including Martin on some of their models....[ ].....
Ahem, are you absolutely sure that wasn't ovation?

Quote by TobusRex
No need to spend a fortune on a Taylor 816 or Martin D28 when a Taylor 110 or 114 would do just as well for over $1000 less. Maybe I've got bad ears but I've never heard anything by Taylor that sounds better than the 110 or 114.....[ ]....
That's pretty much the consensus with the "Mexi-Taylor " 115e 12 string as well. You really would have to spend a stupid lot of more money, to find one which sounds just a little bit better.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Apr 23, 2016,
#26
Yeah, I've heard that said about Ovation so maybe they were the pioneers, but it was certainly a big selling point for Taylor. I always thought of their good pickup/preamp system as their original selling point. Ovation as a pioneer and innovator was a bit before my time, but their necks seemed pretty much run-of-the-mill by the time I got interested in them.

Taylor 12-string - 150e? I tried one, excellent.
#27
I'm seriously considering banning this as a thread topic.

But then we'd get even less posts in here
My God, it's full of stars!
#28
Quote by Dreadnought
I'm seriously considering banning this as a thread topic.

But then we'd get even less posts in here
Relax, we can argue this in our sleep!
#29
Tell me if you've heard this one. A guitarist brings a Taylor to a bluegrass festival...
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#31
Quote by Dreadnought
I'm seriously considering banning this as a thread topic.

But then we'd get even less posts in here
I forgot to mention this in my last post, but this isn't a new "Martin vs, Taylor" thread, it's a necro from 2014. So, no reason to panic. It more than likely will crawl back into its crypt shortly.
#32
Quote by TobusRex
No need to spend a fortune on a Taylor 816 or Martin D28 when a Taylor 110 or 114 would do just as well for over $1000 less. Maybe I've got bad ears but I've never heard anything by Taylor that sounds better than the 110 or 114. Not badmouthing their high end stuff, which is all excellent quality as well. It's just that the 100 and 114 are simply fantastic guitars for the money, and compare quite well (and favorably in my opinion) to guitars which cost a lot more money. Taylor's really expensive stuff...you are paying for the beauty of the inlays, exotic woods, etc. Nice stuff to have, sure, but playability and sound aren't any better, in my opinion.

I'm interested in Tony's opinion. He seems to hold Taylor in high regard, wondering if he feels the same about the 110 and 114?



The first models of the Taylor series are laminate, and you can definitely hear that. It's maybe not incredibly obvious to everyone, but I can definitely hear the difference, and it's obvious to me. That's up to the 3 series I think. And then after that, every series up, is different only in the types of woods they use for tops and sides, and that definitely also makes a big difference. The only model you're only playing for inlays etcetera, is the 9 series. The 9 series is just like the 8, except fancier.

That's how it was when I shopped for mine. They do change things a little, recently the 8s and 6s got a bit of a redesign, and the types of wood combos they use aren't always the same, year to year, but there is definitely a noticeable difference between their laminate models and their solid wood models for sure. The laminates are not as strong and clean. It's like if there is a little bit of sort of buzzing, for lack of a better word, or distortion or whatever in the sort of 1k freq range, which is common in laminates. Whereas solid wood has a strong clean tone all the way through.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Apr 24, 2016,
#33
Quote by theogonia777
Tell me if you've heard this one. A guitarist brings a Taylor to a bluegrass festival...

Quote by Tony Done
^^^^ Nothing but cultural bias. I feel the same way about Matons.


What's funny to me, is that the argument you are referencing, is exactly the sort of argument that leads to that sort of cultural bias.
#34
It's a joke.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#36
Quote by Captaincranky
I forgot to mention this in my last post, but this isn't a new "Martin vs, Taylor" thread, it's a necro from 2014. So, no reason to panic. It more than likely will crawl back into its crypt shortly.


Let's not pretend that this doesn't pop up regularly
My God, it's full of stars!
#37
I agree.
Martin boasts (defined, actually) a traditional sound.
Taylor has an open sound.
I find Martins, in general, have more headroom than Taylors...that is if you play with a lot of muscle Martins will respond well. Taylors , otoh, bloom under a light touch but fold under a heavy hand.
#38
Yes, that is my experience. It made me think also think of the difference between cedar and spruce tops, about which the same thing could be said for many makes.

FWIW, I like Martin tonal types for fingerpicking and Taylor types for slide, though even most Martins are too open sounding for may tastes.
#39
Quote by theogonia777
Tell me if you've heard this one. A guitarist brings a Taylor to a bluegrass festival...


In one of Taylor's "Wood and Steel" magazine/catalog dealies they publish a few times a year, Bob Taylor had a story about going to a bluegrass festival. Of course, he was mostly talking about their marketing push to try to break that stereotype. But he mentioned something I found interesting. He said that at this festival, he watched the guitar competitions, and took note of brands the players were using. In the Flatpicking competition, he said it was something like 50 contestants, and only one of them was playing a Taylor. But in the fingerpicking competition, nearly half of the contestants had Taylors.
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