GS Mini Review

manufacturer: Taylor date: 09/09/2015 category: Acoustic Guitars
Taylor: GS Mini
The Taylor GS Mini is a relatively new product from the people at Taylor and will fit right in with their ever growing family of baby/travel size guitars.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.3
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8.3
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
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reviews (3) pictures (1) 6 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8
GS Mini Reviewed by: thom_alexander, on may 01, 2012
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Features: The Taylor GS Mini is a relatively new product from the people at Taylor and will fit right in with their ever growing family of baby/travel size guitars. The GS Mini is essential a Grand Symphony guitar shrunken down to 3/4 scale. In comparison to other Taylor models, it's size is somewhere in-between the Baby Taylor and the Big Baby Taylor. The GS Mini incredibly light is made up of solid and laminate wood with a stain finish which makes it the perfect companion for travel playing which is exactly what I have been using it for lately. The top is Sitka Spruce and the neck and sides laminate Sapele. This combination leads to deep crisp bass notes and a bright high end, if not slightly over powering the bass at times. The Spruce top I have found to begin opening up slightly in the short time I have had it so I imagine the sound shall only get better. The laminated sides, although not solid wood, probably suit this guitar better for travel playing as the laminate is stronger, won't run as high a risk of cracks from prolonged use and besides it's not as if it cost you 1000+ like other Taylor models. The price I deem very fair considering the guitar for me came with a mini hard bag (which is very light, brilliant for traveling with) and a set of Martin Light strings and will probably go down a lot in price over the next year as it is still considered a "new" product. The guitar uses chrome tuning pegs and comes with a truss rod (this I saw as an essential feature in case the guitar ever warped due to constant changes in temperature due to it's life as a travel guitar). The GS Mini's unique selling point is the fact that the owner can very easily install a pickup and take it back within 5 minutes due to the GS Mini's (optional) pickup which retails at about 70. The guitar has screws at the end pin which allow the end pin to be removed and the pickup installed in its place. If purchased for the use of traveling like I have done, I rate this guitar very highly. // 9

Sound: I play finger style guitar and for me Taylor Grand Auditorium and Grand Symphony Guitar's have always been excellent for this type of playing and the GS Mini doesn't disappoint either. The treble however often over powers the bass so some small changes to playing must be made to balance out the sound. Strumming on the guitar seems to fair more fairly as it provides a rich powerful sound due to its large sound hole (surprising for the guitar's size). I often use the guitar for percussion playing and the guitar is brilliant for drumming around without denting or damaging the wood. Tapping however I found sounds unpleasant at times further down the neck, Andy McKee's drifting for example often sounds very tinny because of this. The guitar is also capable of holding open tunings (so long as they do not go down more than a 3 semitones from standard tuning otherwise buzzing often occurs) with only minor tweaking needed before each playing session to ensure it is still in tune. // 7

Action, Fit & Finish: Set-up wise, the guitar to me seems ideal and appears to be very neatly constructed. I did notice a small dent by the sound hole of the guitar when first playing it in store, whether this is guitarguitar's fault or Taylor's I am unsure but the dent is barely noticeable. Another minor problem I found was on the neck where the Ebony fretboard and the Sapele neck meet, the Sapele's brown colour has gone over the black Ebony slightly. One final problem I encountered was the depth of the headstock which makes it impossible for me to attach my G7th Nashville Capo to when not in use, although it does fit perfectly on the fretboard when playing. // 7

Reliability & Durability: This guitar I would consider my work horse as it is constantly being moved around with me, taking minor bumps here and there and still appears to be in mint condition. The satin finish so far has held up well considering my constant use of the instrument. In terms of gigging, I would take this guitar with me to gigs but as use as a backup incase one of my higher end guitars encountered a problem. // 9

Overall Impression: Overall, I'm impressed with Taylor's GS Mini and believe it fits right into the family of baby guitars they produce. When setting out to purchase a travel guitar I originally had my eyes fixated upon the Martin LX1 but on a return trip home to Birmingham I visited guitarguitar to potentially purchase the Martin but they had none in stock so I tried a few of the other travel guitars they offered but none had the playability or the sheer presence as the Taylor did when I started playing, not even the LX1. If my Taylor ever encountered problems I would definitely pay to have it repaired or replaced despite the fact it is slightly more expensive than other travel guitars on the market at around 400. I do dislike about this guitar is how slippery the guitar's satin finish is, but I have ordered Kling-on stabilizer's recently so I shall see how the guitar fairs when they are attached. One final thing to ask, would a cutaway model of the GS Mini be to much to ask for Taylor? // 8

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overall: 9.6
GS Mini Reviewed by: david.peavy.712, on march 05, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 425

Purchased from: Local store

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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! // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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! // 10

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overall: 9.2
GS Mini Reviewed by: glasseye666, on september 09, 2015
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 465

Purchased from: Sounds Great Music

Features: The guitar is a brand new Taylor GS Mini Mahogany bought from Sounds Great Music in the UK just over a month ago as a present from my wife and various family members for my 30th Birthday. It is a scaled down (23 inch and smaller bodied) and stripped down version of Taylor's Grand Symphony model that is made in Mexico. It features a solid Mahogany top with the back and sides being a Sapele/Poplar laminate as opposed to solid which doesn't bother me but may but some people off. The neck is also Sapele. The bridge and fingerboard are both Ebony (really nice piece of ebony on my fret board) and the saddle and nut are both Tusq. Tuners are non-locking and unbranded but seem well made and solid. The finish is all natural satin adding to the stripped back vibe and there is no actual binding but some nice white edging to the body and sound hole. Internally the top features Taylors X bracing and the back is slightly bowled out which eliminates the need for bracing and has other benefits too (more on that later). While there are electro versions available, I went for this purely acoustic version. This does however feature a couple of hidden features such as a clip to attach Taylor's purpose built, retro fit ES Go pickup quickly and without making modifications to your instrument. The rear strap pin can also be easily removed to make way for a jack socket and there is a clip on the upper edge of the body to stop the pickup's cable flopping around inside the body.

There is also the option to purchase Taylor's V Cable which has an in built volume control to make up for the guitar's lack of built in controls. Ultimately, the guitar is perfect for my practice at home and jamming with friends and the after market options are easily available if I decide to gig it. Some may prefer in built electronics, in which case check out the electro version. The guitar came with a Taylor GS Mini branded padded gig bag. The bag seems sturdy enough that you won't need to panic about slight knocks and general travelling but I wouldn't like to test it against anything too violent. In a nice touch there are reinforced strips at either end of the bag to prevent the headstock and strap button wearing through the lining. I feel this could have been done on the top where the bridge touches the inside as there are already some indentations from the end pins. This can be easily rectified with a piece of cloth but it's a point for consideration in my view. Inside the front pocket of the case, Taylor provide a number of small booklets with information on the guitar, the strings used on each if the company's models, re stringing advice for those who maybe aren't familiar with acoustics, some instructions for care and maintenance and a form to register the instrument with them. A really nice touch in my view. // 8

Sound: Ok, having tried to stick to the facts in an unbiased fashion regarding the spec of the guitar, I'm afraid some serious gushing will now commence. I genuinely cannot say enough good things about this instrument in this regard. I admit to being a mainly electric player, typically using a Fender American Special Stratocaster and an Ibanez USA Custom model, with not a huge amount of experience of acoustic guitars but I fell in love with this straight away. I tend to play bluesy rock (ZZ Top, Rory Gallagher, Gov't Mule etc) along with more classic heavy metal such as early Black Sabbath. Since getting the guitar I have been experimenting with more traditional blues and folky styles and this guitar is perfect for that. I have even been adapting some rockier songs for acoustic and it sounds great. I tried it in a side by side comparison with the spruce top version and much preferred this. Despite my love of bright sounding electrics, I found the spruce topped model overly bright and twangy and was much happier with the fuller, more rounded sound produced by the mahogany top. As for the effect the laminate back and sides have on the tone? I genuinely don't believe it has any detrimental effect. Again my experience of acoustics is limited and maybe with more experience I would feel differently but, as it stands, I can't complain at all. The most surprising thing about the sound is the amount of volume a guitar this size produces. This relates somewhat to the slight arching of the back and reduced bracing which allows it to project much more with much more of a bottom end response. Obviously, it would be ludicrous to claim it sounds just like a full sized Grand Symphony or Dreadnought but, it is far closer than many similar sized guitars I have played. I haven't yet tried the guitar with a pickup but it records very well through a microphone. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Straight out of the box, the set up was perfect for me. The neck has an almost soft v profile which is very easy for me, as a mainly electric player, to get accustomed to. The action and intonation were great and the strings were perfect for the guitar. The frets are fairly shallow which took some getting used to after the jumbos on my electrics but this didn't take long. There are no sharp ends and the neck feels fantastic. As previously mentioned, the finish is natural satin which is actually very attractive and allows the wood grain to come through really well. The Mahogany top has a really nice reddish brown hue and the Sapele on the back and sides has a really nice almost flame effect where the colour ranges from a mahogany brown to almost gold colour. The satin finish on the neck feels great, giving the guitar a played in feel and doesn't get sticky with sweaty hands The finish is very thin and will likely wear away with play but that doesnt bother me too much as it will just give it some character. There is a very small rough patch in the finishing near the base side of the neck join which isn't an issue to me but it's there and is worth a mention. Overall it is very well put together. // 9

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is very light, thanks to it's size but feels solidly built. The tuners are non locking but chunky enough and it holds tune really well during my practice. They may need to be upgraded if I start to play it live but, at present, there are no issues. The strap buttons feel solid enough and should be fine. I would happily use it at gigs without another acoustic to back it up but again, I mainly play electric so it would likely only be used for a few songs. Once again the thin satin finish may be likely to wear fairly easily. Not a problem to me but I can see how it would be off putting to some. // 9

Overall Impression: Put simply, I love this guitar. If it were stolen I would definitely get another one but I would be gutted to lose this one. It suits my needs and style perfectly and sounds amazing. I seriously cannot praise the sound enough. As I previously stated, my experience of acoustics is limited, mainly to cheaper models and this is my first quality acoustic model. I am aware that Taylor advertise it as a beginner or ideal second guitar but, in my view, that sells it a little short. Again, if I had the budget to buy a hand made, all solid model produced in the UK or the USA, I may feel that this is the case and the more expensive model is the way to go as a main guitar. At this point though, my Mexican Mini is just amazing. // 10

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