Price paid: $ 425
Purchased from: Local store
Features — 10
Made 2012 I think, and being an extension of the successful baby Taylor. The short scale is 20 frets which is the whole point on smaller guitar. I chose mahogany top over the spruce as a matter of taste & purpose/function. My Taylor 814BCE 25th anniversary covers the brighter tone very well of course and the mahogany accomplishes 2 things: It is darker/warmer and more woody sounding which most Martins are known for..but not that dark. Secondly it is not as loud & dynamic as spruce so very forgiving if I'm a tad sloppy playing finger style (and I am). The finish is impressive especially at this price point, frankly I could care less where it was made with this quality. It sounds great for delta blues playing & finger style picking. Setup for ES-Go Taylor pickup which I will probably install. + Easy upgrade pickup.
Sound — 10
I wanted a smaller acoustic that I didn't have to obsess over dings & such. It sounds great albeit darker/warmer than most I have played/owned. It suits my needs for delta finger style and I was amazed that it does a descent slide sound as well owing to the mahogany top, not spruce. I have an older crate acoustic amp that has 8" speakers & sounds Killer! I never thought much about crate but this sounds truly incredible with the Gy mini running through. I was after a small easy to grab & go, or "just by the chair," but big enough to give nice full sound. The mini does not disappoint and was chosen over the Martin LX1 hands down to my ears anyway. For the price I'd say 10 on sound, but spruce top probably being preferred by most players as it is louder & highs are so clear... typical Taylor. I heard a friend at a gig with Baby Taylor EQ'd right & in the mains it sounded huge, a full size sound.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The set up was surprisingly well done. It seems guitar makers are beginning to understand if the setup is done, to buyers it plays better! Duh! I believe it comes with 13's to get a bigger sound & that choice by Taylor was a good call. The Martin was smaller sounding to my ears, and the craftsmanship of the Taylor seemed better but still very lightweight. The mahogany top, with Sapele laminate sides is very well constructed & the finish seems fine. It's great to have a very nice thick nylon gig bag with pockets, handle, shoulder straps, and workmanship. At this price point I was expecting them to ask me at checkout "paper or plastic?", definitely not a custom fit very well made gig bag. It is really nice quality & the kaki color is very refreshing from midnight black gig bags!
Reliability & Durability — 9
Well having quite a few acoustics, & more over the years the mini really is well made. I have some guitars that are such an investment, no dings, etc etc. This will be like my '92 start... treated more like lawnmowers & not worry about $1500 loss for dings! In fact I will most definitely pack it on the boat, or down the river on a camp out here deep in delta US. The gig bag will help protect it from typical lawnmower dings, and scratches. I feel it is very dependable & happy to know a cheap pickup from Taylor will go into it! It's better made than I thought once I got it home.
Overall Impression — 10
Thumping acoustic is always good for the soul & delta blues is a great starting point. That said, I have done some DADGAD tuning with it finger style & it surprised me yet again. The larger strings on a small neck work on the old fingers, but that's also because I don't want to put it down. This guitar has been that rare experience where you keep finding things for the better. This wow factor "smiling cascade" is great once you have gotten over honeymoon, but still keep finding facts that make you happy you bought it in the first place. I'm happy to say I've had a lot of those smiles with the GS Mini. At this price point that is a very rare event... question should be "would I buy it again?" yes I certainly would!