#1
Hello everyone. This is my first post here and I have a question. I currently am the owner of a Taylor GS Mini mahogany. For $500 it's solid top mahogany with rose wood sides. I love the guitar and it sounds really great and sounded better than some of the more expensive guitars in it's range so I chose it. I want to eventually purchase a guitar in the $3,000 range.

My question is, what exactly is the difference between guitars in the $500 range, and $3,000 range.

If my guitar is solid wood, and a more expensive guitar is also solid wood....

What exactly is making another guitar worth $2,500 more dollars ?

Now I've only been playing guitar for around two months, but in the two months I would say I've fallen quite hard for playing ! It's amazing.
My goals for playing is to eventually play my own original material at open mics & possibly more, a sing-song writer is what I see myself as in the future.

And for that purpose, I am wondering how you all feel about guitars in that price range, will having a $3,000 ish guitar make a big difference in quality of performance and sound for my audience and listeners ??? Or is it more of, a pleasure for me, knowing that I am playing this banging expensive guitar ?

As at the guitar shop I fooled around with a few guitars in the $1,000-$1,500 range... and to be honest they sounded slightly different...but still similar in quality to the Taylor that I have now.

What do you all think ? Thank you .
#2
I'm one of those that doesn't believe there is much relationship, if any, between price and performance over a wide range in factory guitars. At best, returns diminish very rapidly as the price goes up. You can pay more for high labour costs in the US and Europe (the GS Mini is made in mexico), more expensive materials, better finishes, mojo etc but I don't think that it is until you get into boutique and luthier guitars that you really see performance differences, and even then it varies by maker and depends on personal preferences. You have to trust your ears. My favourite for fingerpicking is mid-priced, but it is all-laminate, even the top. OTOH, the three I play slide on were expensive, one being boutique, another luthier, and another being a Gibson prototype - but I wouldn't choose any of them for any other style.
Tony Done

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#3
Quote by tarotreadingsbyjohn
Hello everyone. This is my first post here and I have a question. I currently am the owner of a Taylor GS Mini mahogany. For $500 it's solid top mahogany with rose wood sides. I love the guitar and it sounds really great and sounded better than some of the more expensive guitars in it's range so I chose it. I want to eventually purchase a guitar in the $3,000 range. . . .


I think your own experience has answered your question.

I would never ever consider spending $3000 on a guitar when you can buy something just as good for $500.

PS. Welcome to the forum.
Last edited by Garthman at Nov 30, 2016,
#6
I went and tried several guitars ranging from 1,000 to 2,000. I wasn't really impressed. For such a large price difference, I barely noticed any kind of difference. Slight differences depending on the wood type, but definitely not enough to justify spending more than 1.5k. My favorite of the group that I tried was the taylor 114ce priced at around $1,000... but even then the difference isn't that much. Not what I expected at all. My new opinion is that it's best to try out different guitars in all different price ranges and pick the ones that sound best by ear.
#7
Like I said, trust your ears, not the name on the headstock or the price tag.

FWIW, I've generally liked the lower-priced Mexi Taylors (100 and 200 series) better than their more expensive ones.
Tony Done

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=784456
http://www.flickr.com/photos/done_family/
#8
Yes, you should trust your ears.
FYI, the GS Mini does have a solid top, but laminate back/sides, the $3,000 models will be all solid woods.
Eventually you should be able to hear a difference between a $500 GS Mini and a $3,000 818e.
#9
FrogstarWorldA

Sure you will learn to hear the diference, but which will you prefer?

To be fair, my music store-owning mate thinks I've got eccentric tastes in guitar tones.
Tony Done

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#10
Quote by Tony Done
FrogstarWorldA

Sure you will learn to hear the diference, but which will you prefer?

To be fair, my music store-owning mate thinks I've got eccentric tastes in guitar tones.

Which you prefer depends on you and the specific guitar
Speaking for myself, I can play my Korean Breedlove which was $500 brand new, it sounds good and plays well, and then pick up one of my more expensive guitars and go oooooh yeah, that's right, that's why I own this.
#11
I could possibly afford something better but I like the thinner body of grand auditorium style.. so I immediately gravitate towards Washburn Comfort Series WCG18CE.. price was just right and I liked the sound.. since I already have Bigrock Power Pins.. I installed it on my AE, to compensate for body thickness I use Planet wave O-Port.. it sounds better now plugged or unplugged.

If you have $10000 laying around and money is no option.. you can buy the more expensive boutique or master built acoustic.. but it don't mean much if you can't play well enough to bring out the tones.

Definitely get something you feel comfortable playing.. no sense buying a closet queen guitar.. unless that is your intended purpose.
I have Washburn guitars 'Maverick Series' and bass 'Bantam Series' and a few pedals and amps, but man I wish to have more patience and drive practicing my playing, if it's equal to the modding itch, then I'm golden.
Last edited by psp742 at Dec 1, 2016,
#12
Quote by tarotreadingsbyjohn
. . I went and tried several guitars ranging from 1,000 to 2,000. I wasn't really impressed. For such a large price difference, I barely noticed any kind of difference. . .


Yep. That pretty much matches my experiences.

Quote by tarotreadingsbyjohn
. .My new opinion is that it's best to try out different guitars in all different price ranges and pick the ones that sound best by ear.


Good opinion.
#13
I am VERY similar to your situation; started in late October, bought a gs mini mahogany, same eventual goals except I don't sing.

If you bring your guitar to a local store and play it right before/after the $3K guitars, you will notice A LOT of differences, from the overall tone, breadth/depth of sound, bigger bass and more detailed treble, easier playability of the more expensive guitars.

Mind you, I think our gs mini is a tremendous value for a $500 guitar, and sounds better than a lot of more expensive guitars, but as said above - there is no comparison to the higher level series Taylors. I'm purchasing a lower level full size guitar this week (214ce DLX) as I do not think you can get to be an advanced player with the gs mini, its neck is short so the strings need to be very high tension, and sonically it is limited compared to a full size. Don;t get me wrong, I love the gs mini and plan to keep it around for a long time but IMO to get a lot better and sound better, you need a full size guitar.
#14
Quote by transwarp
. . If you bring your guitar to a local store and play it right before/after the $3K guitars, you will notice A LOT of differences, from the overall tone, breadth/depth of sound, bigger bass and more detailed treble, easier playability of the more expensive guitars. . . . . .


Sure. But you can't fairly compare the sound of a small sized guitar to the sound of a full sized one. And playability is usually the result of a good set up.

Quote by transwarp
. . . . I love the gs mini and plan to keep it around for a long time but IMO to get a lot better and sound better, you need a full size guitar.


True. But you don't have to spend $3000 to get a good sounding full sized guitar. There are lots of mid-priced guitars available these days that sound every bit as good - and as of similar quality both in materials and workmanship - as more expensive ones.
#15
Quote by Garthman
Sure. But you can't fairly compare the sound of a small sized guitar to the sound of a full sized one. And playability is usually the result of a good set up.


Agreed, but while it is not ALWAYS the case, a more expensive guitar properly set up will be easier to play than a small/travel/parlor guitar.

True. But you don't have to spend $3000 to get a good sounding full sized guitar. There are lots of mid-priced guitars available these days that sound every bit as good - and as of similar quality both in materials and workmanship - as more expensive ones.


Again, for sure. The Taylor I'm getting is only about $1K; while it is nowhere near the broad tone of say, a 500 or higher series it is leagues above my gs mini, and is only $500 more for a full size, excellent sounding, easy-to-play guitar. Even the sales people in GC will admit that above the $4-5K range, there is diminishing returns. I got to play an $80K guitar and could not tell the difference between that and one of the $5K ones.

I was just saying that even for someone experienced, it might be easier to hear the differences between guitars if you have yours with you. Sometimes your ear has a harder time in isolation.
#16
one of the best sounding guitars i've owned was a taylor GC8. smaller body, smooth refined tone with just the right amount of everything. my husband said when he played it, he felt like he was at a music conservatory

the GS mini is nice, but it doesn't have the resonance of an all solid guitar nor will a laminate b&s guitar or cheaper made guitar with thicker wood and finish have the overtones you get with some fine guitars that are carefully tap tuned and braced by hand. the first time i played several goodall guitars, i was blown away - i hadn't even realized guitars could sound the way they did, and i've been playing for decades. and the GS mini and many other lam B&S guitars won't have the clean tone some guitars have. still, they're very nice for what they are and i like them - if they offered a version with a wider nut, i'd own one, but taylor says that's not to be.

that being said, i don't find the taylor GA models to sound that much better than a GS mini if at all. but that's just me.

btw, spend a few months playing every acoustic guitar you can get your hands on, A/Bing them and comparing preferences. after that it will become easier to hear the differences between guitars.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#17
Quote by patticake
one of the best sounding guitars i've owned was a taylor GC8. smaller body, smooth refined tone with just the right amount of everything. my husband said when he played it, he felt like he was at a music conservatory

the GS mini is nice, but it doesn't have the resonance of an all solid guitar nor will a laminate b&s guitar or cheaper made guitar with thicker wood and finish have the overtones you get with some fine guitars that are carefully tap tuned and braced by hand. the first time i played several goodall guitars, i was blown away - i hadn't even realized guitars could sound the way they did, and i've been playing for decades. and the GS mini and many other lam B&S guitars won't have the clean tone some guitars have. still, they're very nice for what they are and i like them - if they offered a version with a wider nut, i'd own one, but taylor says that's not to be.

that being said, i don't find the taylor GA models to sound that much better than a GS mini if at all. but that's just me.

btw, spend a few months playing every acoustic guitar you can get your hands on, A/Bing them and comparing preferences. after that it will become easier to hear the differences between guitars.


My 214ce DLX sounds VASTLY better than my GS mini; much bigger sound, more detailed, broader, etc but it helps to play them one right after another to hear the difference.
#18
transwarp

I've played them side-by-side on a few occasions, and agree that the 214 is a lot better if you are looking for that big open Taylor sound. However, the GS Mini is very good at what it does - tight and bright - so it is a question of horses for courses. I think that the term "better "should be used with great caution.
Tony Done

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/done_family/
#19
Quote by transwarp
Agreed, but while it is not ALWAYS the case, a more expensive guitar properly set up will be easier to play than a small/travel/parlor guitar.
Well no. "Playabiliy", is a game of string tension, string alloy, angles, and advertising. The only real variable involved is the fret work. If done properly, it will allow as low an action regardless of the price of the guitar.

So, 80/20 "brass" or bronze if you prefer, bends more easily than phosphor bronze. Bends easier equates directly to frets easier.

String tension is higher, the higher in gauge you go. Hence, a .010 to ,047 (135 lbs. tension), set will always be easier to play than a .013 to .056 set, (185 lbs tension), regardless on which guitar you choose to install them..

After that come the angles. Pure geometry determines fretting difficulty. Thus, the height of the strings at the nut and the saddle determine the fretting force, not the price tag.

I have a Taylor 12 string. Despite Bob Taylors rantings of the greatness of his guitars, and the ranting of noob Taylor owners about, "how much their new Taylor acoustic plays like an electric" (*), a 12 string is still a 12 string, and it can be a bee-atch to play.

Remind me to drop the action via filing down the nut. You see, the strings are too high on the bass side, and about right on the treble side. I know, I know, "bolt on neck", "shims". No, you can't cure it that way, no matter what the ads say.

(*) IMHO, these are people who have never picked up a Les Paul or similar with even 010's and jumbo frets.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 21, 2016,
#20
Quote by Captaincranky
Well no. "Playabiliy", is a game of string tension, string alloy, angles, and advertising. The only real variable involved is the fret work. If done properly, it will allow as low an action regardless of the price of the guitar.

So, 80/20 "brass" or bronze if you prefer, bends more easily than phosphor bronze. Bends easier equates directly to frets easier.

String tension is higher, the higher in gauge you go. Hence, a .010 to ,047 (135 lbs. tension), set will always be easier to play than a .013 to .056 set, (185 lbs tension), regardless on which guitar you choose to install them..

After that come the angles. Pure geometry determines fretting difficulty. Thus, the height of the strings at the nut and the saddle determine the fretting force, not the price tag.

I have a Taylor 12 string. Despite Bob Taylors rantings of the greatness of his guitars, and the ranting of noob Taylor owners about, "how much their new Taylor acoustic plays like an electric" (*), a 12 string is still a 12 string, and it can be a bee-atch to play.

Remind me to drop the action via filing down the nut. You see, the strings are too high on the bass side, and about right on the treble side. I know, I know, "bolt on neck", "shims". No, you can't cure it that way, no matter what the ads say.

(*) IMHO, these are people who have never picked up a Les Paul or similar with even 010's and jumbo frets.


A small travel/parlor guitar will likely have a shorter neck than a full size guitar and therefore, its string tension must be higher. The higher the tension the harder is to press down on the strings - that's just physics. This thread as I understand it is about 6 strings not 12, since the GS Mini is a 6 string instrument.
#21
transwarp

Shorter neck means lower tension for the same pitch and string gauge.
Tony Done

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#22
Quote by transwarp
This thread as I understand it is about 6 strings not 12, since the GS Mini is a 6 string instrument.
Well, you've managed to turn it into a "small vs. big guitar", and/or, "expensive vs cheap guitar" thread, so I suppose you'll just have to deal with it.

When you come right down to it, my Ovation "Matrix" 12 string, was a whole lot easier to play than my much more expensive, (at least 3x more expensive), Guild jumbo maple 12 string. Which kind of shoots your theory in the foot.

And since I'm comparing 12 string to 12 string, this is an "apples to apples" observation.

And BTW, Gibson uses a short (24.75"), scale on their Les Paul, while Fender uses a long (25.5") on their electrics. You know, I've never heard anybody say a Strat was easier to play than a Les.

Here's those "physics" you're talking about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scale_length_(string_instruments)
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 21, 2016,
#23
Quote by Tony Done
Shorter neck means lower tension for the same pitch and string gauge.


What I meant was that the strings on a shorter neck guitar like a GS mini will feel tighter, and more difficult to press down. The first fret for instance of the GS mini is rather difficult to barre down compared to the same fret on a guitar with a fuller length neck.

Quote by Captaincranky
Well, you've managed to turn it into a "small vs. big guitar", and/or, "expensive vs cheap guitar" thread, so I suppose you'll just have to deal with it.


I do not have to deal with anything, including your childish rantings or insults. The thread title mentions a gs mini against $3k guitars, presumably full size.

You do not run this forum, nor would I want to participate in any that you had such control over. Do not respond, your future posts will be ignored.
Last edited by transwarp at Dec 21, 2016,
#24
transwarp

There's a trade-off. True, short scales feel stiffer, but if you tune them to, say, standard pitch, the string tension is less. For example, a parlor guitar might have a scale length of 24", which is equivalent to about a semitone (one fret) less than a 25.5"scale, so If you tune it to E standard, the string tension is equivalent to Eb standard on a 25.5"scale. As a result, I can't say I've noticed much difference in feel with steel strings between a 24"and a 25.5"scale, if anything 24" feels slacker to me. 24" with nylon strings in standard tuning definitely feels slack to me. OTOH, a concert uke with a 15" scale does feel stiff even when tuned well below guitar tensions. Could your problem with barres at the first fret be due to high nut slots?
Tony Done

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#25
Quote by transwarp
I do not have to deal with anything, including your childish rantings or insults. The thread title mentions a gs mini against $3k guitars, presumably full size.


Quote by transwarp
You do not run this forum, nor would I want to participate in any that you had such control over.
Nor do you.

Quote by transwarp
Do not respond, your future posts will be ignored.
You posting incorrect information however, won't be ignored.

Your posts thus far in this thread have been at minimum, ill informed.

Tony Done

The reason large body steel strings have sort of standardized to 25.5" scale length, is presumably to allow the higher string tension to transfer more energy to the sound board. There is also some discussion that a shorter scale is "muddier", with respect harmonic structure.. However, that context, is as it relates to Les Paul (short scale), versus Telecaster / Stratocaster (long scale) guitars. IMHO, that's a fairly moot point, beings as the standard double coil pickups on Gibsons, produce so much more "harmonic mud" than the single coils on the Fenders, as to mostly invalidate that comparison.

As far as 24.75" to 25.5" scale relates to play-ability on steel string flat tops, I'm also convinced that you don't quite know you own strength anyway... What with those mediums strings you're always championing...

Besides, you yourself know that if a small guitar is hard to fret at the 1st, the only solution is to buy a $3000.00 guitar.. (Or is it)?
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 21, 2016,
#26
Captaincranky

I can't tell the difference between a 25.5 and a 24.75 scale, so I have no idea why folks go on about it so much. I think it is a fair reflection of my (in)abilities.
Tony Done

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#27
Quote by Tony Done
Captaincranky

I can't tell the difference between a 25.5 and a 24.75 scale, so I have no idea why folks go on about it so much. I think it is a fair reflection of my (in)abilities.


Yeah. The difference in scale lengths is about 3% which is pretty small in the scheme of things. I can't tell the difference either.

I think OCPD syndrome is the main factor in a lot of this minutiae nonsense.
#28
Quote by Garthman
...[ ]....I think OCPD syndrome is the main factor in a lot of this minutiae nonsense.
Perhaps. But, we seem to get bogged down in even smaller differences in neck width, and it is hard to say that doesn't make a difference. As far as the difference in scale length goes, I do think the stretches are easier on a short (24.75" scale), down low on the neck, and a bit more cramped up high. You can probably get close to a semi tone higher of a barre on the short scale instrument. 3/8" does make a difference, and that's what the difference in length is a fret #12.

I'm going to cast my vote as, "it's not a big deal, but it is a deal nonetheless". I will say setup, string gauge, and fret type, make a much larger difference in the grand scheme of things.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Dec 22, 2016,