View Full Version : Martin VS Taylor (I know this is dangerous)

05-04-2001, 05:16 PM
Alright, I need to understand something. I've been playing several Martins and Taylors. Every Taylor I touched had more volume and generally seemed more alive. How much of this is Elixor strings and how much is the design of the guitar? I apologize if this is a rehash.

Bill Nichols (CaptBill)
05-04-2001, 07:43 PM
Hi Tom,
I don't think your question is dangerous. I think you will find that the members of this forum appreciate fine guitars no matter who builds them. As far as the brightness of the guitars I would not attribute that to the Elixer strings. I like the elixers a lot but they are not a very bright string they have a little more of a broken in sound and last a good length of time. The comparison between the Martins and Taylors that you played may well have a lot to do with which body size, shapes and types of wood. A good comparison for instance would be to compare a Taylor mahogony dreadnaught to a Martin Mahogony dreadnaught both strung with the same strings and both with sitka spruce tops.
If you are currently shopping for a new guitar than buy the one that sounds the best to you. I think you will find however that for the most part the Taylors are a more playable guitar all the way up and down the fretboard.
Have Fun!

05-04-2001, 08:08 PM
The volume and brightness of Taylors are from the guitar ... it's something Taylor enthusiasts love and Martin enthusiasts hate. To my ear, Martins sound muddied ... kind of like cotton in your ears ... and Taylors are clear and bright. Of course, Taylors can also be interpreted as thin and tinny and Martins as vintage and mellow ...

05-04-2001, 09:20 PM
buddiesorg hit the nail on the head -- I like to accentuate the positive -- Taylors have outstanding clarity and playability, Martins have outstanding richness and a traditional feel. I also agree with Tom -- Taylors come alive in the hands of any player (including a perpetual beginner like myself) Martins sound wonderful but I find they are more work to play.

05-05-2001, 12:00 AM
I got to admit, though ... there's this Martin that's calling my name ... it's very possible that I'll have a Martin in my guitar closet again very soon (I traded in my only full sized Martin for a Taylor).

05-05-2001, 01:55 AM
The primary cross comparison between the two is in Dreads. The ubiquitous x14 Taylors are roughly matched to Martin's J (Jumbo) series guitars which are much rarer than the 000 an OM series. The latter are closer to an x12 in overall size.

Martin dreads tend to have more bass than Taylor's. Among Martins, I prefer the sound of the HDs, the scalloped bracing dreads. Among them, my favorite is the HD-18VS (12 fret neck, slotted headstock) a mahogany instrument. I played one at Gryphon that was really nice but I wasn't in a postition to buy it.

Martin makes great products. The build quality is excellent. I think they are more sensitive to dealer setup than Taylor and that has something to do with a perceived spottiness. (marginal, nothing like Gibson) I say this because when you go to a first class dealer like Gryphon the Martins are uniformly good whereas at the planet,et al, they can be spotty. #1 issue is dead strings. Quality dealers keep'em fresh.

One really big difference between Martin and Taylor is vision. Taylors are built to conform to the vision of one person, Bob Taylor. Martin no longer has that cohesiveness of intent.

While my personal preference falls to the Taylor sound, I am glad Martin is there. I think Martin makes Taylor better. I think Taylor and Martin are the class of the field when it comes to production steel string guitars.

05-05-2001, 09:43 AM
I love the sound of the Martins,keeping in mind they vary from model to model just like any thing else{ I played a D41 that was awesome}.For me Taylor has the best neck,hands down.Cosmetically I think Taylor has updated,while still using a classic design,to create better symatry in their guitars.The Taylors have great projection without having to really dig in.What great fun comparing,find what appeals to you. :confused:

05-06-2001, 01:28 PM
I own a Martin J40. Bought that (used) from a friend before i ever played a Taylor. I love my Taylors, but the Martin does have a distinctive sound. Woudln't dream of selling it, but I also am so attached to the beautiful Taylor craftsmanship and woodwork, etc, that i don't have any plans to veer back to Martins... but, never say never, right?

05-08-2001, 01:29 AM
Just my proverbial "two cents worth"...

I appreciate all the respectful comments in this thread. I know how various loyalties and preferences can sometimes inflame passions and degrade conversation!

I have to say I agree with just about all of the foregoing comments. IMHO, I tended to prefer the perceived clarity of the Taylor sound in most situations, but found I preferred the sound (rich, full and loud) of most Martin dreadnoughts when strumming in an agressive and loud manner.

05-08-2001, 03:35 PM
George raises an interesting point. Most high end acoustic companies like Taylor, Larrivee, Goodall, Collings, etc. have driving force "Master Luthiers" (Bob, Jean, James, Bill, etc.) who set the visions through keeping their designs state of the art. Is there a person at places like Martin, Gibson and Guild who are their equals? I'm not sure there is since they seem to focus more on building old designs rather than new ones.

[ 05-10-2001: Message edited by: Jim ]

05-09-2001, 09:19 AM
I've played them both, and loved them both for different reasons. One thing is for sure: as good as Martins are, they (or really any guitar I've tried) can't match the Taylor action, playability and neck feel. Hey, some hate the Taylor neck too...
It's all the individual guitar. I've had good and less than good Martins (and Taylors, for that matter). Some people set the EQ on their stereo in such a weird way too...

05-09-2001, 06:18 PM
Hummmmmmmm, interesting thought -- I've played both over the years and all the posts sound right-on to me.

So I'm sitting here thinking that my 810B has a fine, clear, strong sound along with a lot of rich, full, bottom -- I wonder if I'm comparing it to a Martin in my mind? Or is it more of a cross between both?

Hummmmmmmmm...(eerie music plays in the background)


05-14-2001, 07:02 PM

05-23-2001, 02:09 PM
Interesting thought, Rambo. I was very serious about buying a Martin about two months ago. But after playing a Taylor, the first thing I noticed was the brightness, crispness, and ring, which I hadn't noticed at all on the Martin. The Martins I tried never really came alive like my Taylor, but may have had a warmer strum. However, I have to agree with the masses on this one and say that I am a huge fan of the Taylor neck, and nothing I played from other manufacturers came close.

05-28-2001, 02:37 PM
I beleive the sound of the old Martins are very hard to match. However, I am a true and die hard Taylor fan. I prefer the Taylor because of the bolt on neck technology. The majority of guitars, no matter how well made or brand, need neck resets over the period of time because of expansion and contraction of the woods. This is a very simple procedure for the Taylor Guitar with the bolt on neck but is very complicated for Martins with Martin's Dovetail Jointed neck. The new Taylor NT neck also allows a degree of adjustment that previously was not available on acustic guitars. Other guitar manufacturers are coming up with their own "NT" neck designs but none seems as good as the Taylor NT neck. See the Doolin Guitars as an example. As to the sound, I would say buy the guitar that sounds best to you but be aware somewhere down the line the guitar will need work due to the nature of wood and you may not want to see your favorite old guitar torn apart for a neck reset.

06-02-2001, 07:53 PM
Taylors brightness and playability is very apparent.I love the Martin sound but find my personal experiances more approachable with the Taylors.

06-03-2001, 10:08 AM
For playing Delta Acoustic Blues, Martins (most likely due to their price) were never chosen back in the 1920's or 30's, Stella was chosen by the likes of Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson et all. If Taylor had been around back then, I doubt if Taylor would have been chosen for the same reason. In the 21st Century, I find that different sizes & brands seem to fit different styles as well. Martin's sound great in the Bluegrass/strummed/small string band venue. Taylors are FANTASTIC for the solo artist. Kottke is a perfect example. Could you imagine his sound from a Martin? Sorry, I can't. ;)

06-23-2013, 05:57 PM
try taking a taylor to a bluegrass festivle you will burn it for firewood after you here some martins with medium gauge strings that will be the only guitars you can even here next to a good banjo mandilon and fiddle martin is and always will be the standard for guitars i would look for a recording king if i ditten wont to spend the money for a martin

06-23-2013, 05:59 PM
Is 12 years a record for a zombie thread revival?

06-25-2013, 06:01 PM
Orange juice vs Grapefruit juice at breakfast?

06-25-2013, 07:52 PM
As an owner of both, they are both fantastic guitars. It really depends on personal preference and also what you are looking to get out of it. As others have mentioned, Taylors are extremely bright, great playability, and can really shine when played in a full band. If you are playing with other musicians, especially those with electric guitars, base, drums, etc...the Taylor will be bright enough to be heard. And the Expression system sounds really good when amplified.

Martin to me does have a much deeper, richer sound. It is definitely hands down better for Blues as I feel they can play a better tonal range equally. Especially if playing acoustic or with another acoustic player, nothing beats the Martin. It also has a better sustain. I have a D-18V and it is amazing at the lower end (I tend to be the rhythm guitarist while playing acoustically).

Either way, you cannot go wrong. Happy hunting!

06-25-2013, 10:20 PM
Is 12 years a record for a zombie thread revival?

Haha - the last post when this was an active thread my daughter was in 1st grade. We had her college orientation last week:)

11-04-2016, 04:41 PM
Intersted in what the OP decided on getting.... 15 years later