Price paid: $ 999
Purchased from: SGCNation.com
Sound — 8
Oh the sound of Taylor guitars. If you've ever heard a church band, you know it well. Traditionally, those Sitka Spruce tops are so bright that they've actually caused a legitimate war between the Bright Side (Taylor) and Dark Side (Martin). It's become a signature for them and it's not a bad thing, but it's not for everyone. The GA3 is a little different because the Sapele back and sides really do reign it back in. The word to describe this guitar's sound is "balance". The lows aren't enough for anyone to mistake it for a D-28 but the bass is pretty adequate. It does have a lot of mid-range to it, but it's an articulate mid-range that plays well in a mix. It also projects surprisingly well for it's body shape and depth so volume will never be a problem. Check out the video for sound samples. My only gripe is that the mid-range can overpower the lows, but it is still a Taylor afterall.
Overall Impression — 8
I've always considered myself more of a Martin guy and have been conditioned over the years to fight the Taylor army with all my might. I have to admit, I'm starting to cross over to the Bright Side. Nothing Martin has in this price range will even come close to the quality of the GA3, along with the DN3. It feels good right away and the company hedges their reputation on quality for a reason. If you're looking for a well-balanced guitar and electronics aren't a priority, the GA3 should definitely be considered. The mid-range can be a little strong for some tastes but if you want something deeper you'll probably be looking at a different body style anyways.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Nothing to worry about here because of that AMAZING hardshell case! It's borderline-creepy how much I like this case. It makes you want to get the expensive humidifier just to keep that filthy hose away! Of course it's a solid top so it's just as susceptible to damage as any other good acoustic. The chrome-plated proprietary tuners are top-quality so you'll never have to worry about tuning issues. Did I mention it comes with a a hardshell case?
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Here's something that even the hardest-core of Taylor haters either concede or are in denial about: no acoustic guitar manufacturer does a better job with quality control and from-the-factory setup. I put them right behind Ernie Ball for their consistency and professionalism across the board. Every Taylor plays well right out of the box, and most of them even ship in tune. The solid top has Taylor's famous gloss finish, and if you're into that kind of thing, it's fantastic. Fingerprints don't really show up like other gloss finishes tend to display and the guitar looks more expensive than it actually is. The textured Satin finish looks sharp also, but what really makes the guitar is the cream binding. An all-around impressive-looking and great-playing instrument.
Features — 7