PDA

View Full Version : What's the Difference? Taylor /Martin


Pages : [1] 2

Montreal 007
05-26-2005, 06:16 PM
Im relatively new to this forum, i have a feeling my question may have been debated already....Anyways here goes....I hear all this talk about Taylors/Martins/Gibsons and how devoted fans are to their chosen brand...I would like some objective opinions....Not which brand is better but rather what is the difference if any ?....Is there a difference or is just a brand ?...I mean wood is wood isn't it ?.....Of course lets compare apples with apples...ie...Lets not compare a high end Martin to a low end Taylor....Lets take a mid end Taylor {say a 400 series with an equivilant Martin} Are the differences subtle or large...Thanks....

Jeff M
05-26-2005, 06:31 PM
Martins sound MUCH better than Taylors and Gibsons.
OK. Thats my preference. Now lets hear from somebody else. :roll:

Getting serious now, are the differences between Taylor, Martin, Gibson, SCGC, Collings, Larrivee, whatever subtle or large? To some folks, (usually beginners), maybe not that large. To others (been playing awhile)...maybe large. Maybe not.
As I say, one persons "Chiming, well defined bell-like tones" is anothers "Bright, unbalanced, harsh and shallow". Anothers "Woody, deep, soulfull, balanced" is anothers "muddy, bottom heavy, ill-defined".The only way to find out where you fall is to play them and see for yourself.

(Up next, who was REALLY the better artist, Michelangelo or Leanardo Da Vinci ? :D )

Serenity
05-26-2005, 06:41 PM
In my opinion, based on what I've played, Gibsons acousitics are living off of their reputation. I haven't played one new Gibson that I'd pay 50% of the new asking price for. Taylors are great if you like that sound. I've simply found that I'm a Martin guy.

I wouldn't put new acoustic Gibsons in the same category as Martins and Taylors. Vintage...I would..but not the current Gibsons.

Of course, I've considered the possibility that I've simply been frightened by those tacky Gibson "dove" pick guards. It may just be a psycological thing.

Jeff M
05-26-2005, 06:43 PM
......

Of course, I've considered the possibility that I've simply been frightened by those tacky Gibson "dove" pick guards. It may just be a psycological thing.

It's those "moustache bridges" that do it to me (shudder!!).

Randal_S
05-26-2005, 06:46 PM
Yes, wood is wood.

However, using this comment to describe the tone of guitars is like taking a Ford truck engine and comparing it to a Porsche engine and saying "Steel is steel, right?"

Wood is wood, but the trick is hidden in the bracing, the thicknesses of the woods, the glue used, the finishes, etc.

Others will describe the tones with a variety of words, but be rest assured that there are differences, just as Martin and Taylor want it to be. Which is better is, of course, up to the buyer.

Jeff M
05-26-2005, 07:05 PM
Yes, wood is wood.

However, using this comment to describe the tone of guitars is like taking a Ford truck engine and comparing it to a Porsche engine and saying "Steel is steel, right?"

Wood is wood, but the trick is hidden in the bracing, the thicknesses of the woods, the glue used, the finishes, etc.

Others will describe the tones with a variety of words, but be rest assured that there are differences, just as Martin and Taylor want it to be. Which is better is, of course, up to the buyer.

Heck, all wine is basically just fermented grape juice.

beachbum205
05-26-2005, 07:19 PM
Ditto to everything that has been so well said so far about Martin/Taylor. This is a topic that keeps comiing up here, and at the Martin Forum too.

And yes, there really is a big difference in sound. I have owned 6 Martins and 5 Taylors over the past few years- and I seem to go back and forth. I keep thinking I'll settle on one, and then I find myself looking at the other end of the sound spectrum.

There is also a sort of difference in perception too. Martin is often seen as old-school, history out the wazoo, tradition, flatpicker, bluegrass. Taylor is often seen as inovative, fresh, up and coming, worship leader, rocker. Taylor has more models for those of us who want to plug in.

These are of course generalizations- and not everyone would agree. But sometimes preception, along with tone, has a lot to do with why people buy a guitar.

Folkstrum
05-26-2005, 07:20 PM
...and beer is just beer (we can keep this going all night ;) )

Personally, I never warmed up to the Gibson vibe-but that's just me. I've heard their QC is much more consistent now, and the newer ones are really decent.

For 12's, I definitely have a preference for Taylors. Mine isn't "thin" or too trebly, or whatever the usual rap is on Taylors. The fact that they re-voiced their 6-strings I think was an admission that they were often lacking in the lower tonal palatte. Haven't played any of the re-voiced ones, as I'm not in the market, and no one around here carries them.

Martins seem to maintain their patina of "benchmark" even among those whose budgets have allowed them to go with commissioned guitars from small builders. It seems as though they are the guitars others are often compared to-like "it is very Martin-like" or "it's not very Martin-like." But I know people who love them, and people who feel they are so-so.

As has been, and will no doubt be noted many times over on threads like these, it's in the ears (and eyes) of the beholder. Very subjective. So, now that I've added nothing to this discussion, I'll be going... :ha:

dmc
05-26-2005, 07:23 PM
The question was how they differ (not which is better) - To oversimplify, Taylors have a slightly brighter (chimey) sound and Martins a warmer one. Both are musical but there's a caveat as you saw in Jeff M's post:

.....one persons "Chiming, well defined bell-like tones" is anothers "Bright, unbalanced, harsh and shallow". Anothers "Woody, deep, soulfull, balanced" is anothers "muddy, bottom heavy, ill-defined".

Its true that "wood is wood". But it REALLY depends on the player because tone comes from the hands. Thats why you have to play as many axes as possible to decide which one (according to your ears) blends best with the subtleties of your own playing style. It can even differ from one guitar to the other within the same make/model. Hence the guitarist's never-ending quest for the "ideal tone"..... ;)

Jeff M
05-26-2005, 07:26 PM
The question was how they differ (not which is better) - To oversimplify, Taylors have a slightly brighter (chimey) sound and Martins a warmer one. Both are musical but there's a caveat as you saw in Jeff M's post:



Its true that "wood is wood". But it REALLY depends on the player because tone comes from the hands. Thats why you have to play as many axes as possible to decide which one (according to your ears) blends best with the subtleties of your own playing style. It can even differ from one guitar to the other within the same make/model. Hence the guitarist's never-ending quest for the "ideal tone"..... ;)
Great reason for GAS to. You can never hve to many guitars. :)

Folkstrum
05-26-2005, 07:36 PM
Its true that "wood is wood". But it REALLY depends on the player because tone comes from the hands. Thats why you have to play as many axes as possible to decide which one (according to your ears) blends best with the subtleties of your own playing style. It can even differ from one guitar to the other within the same make/model. Hence the guitarist's never-ending quest for the "ideal tone"..... ;)

OK-I will agree with you to a point about "tone coming from the hands"-but I can tell you from sitting in many a guitar shop over the years with one pick (and my same two hands), and strumming or playing the exact SAME riffs on maybe 8 or 9 guitars-even two of the same model, that the "tone" of guitars IMHO is more a result of its construction (woods, bracing, neck, bridge, saddle, nut)--not to mention STRINGS--than what my hands were doing.

As to the "BEST" guitar??? I don't know how long it's gonna take you people to catch on!?!? It's the ESTEBAN...it RULES! :roll: :roll: :roll:

custom41
05-26-2005, 07:42 PM
It's hard for me to articulately describe tone. All can be great-sounding guitars depending on your preference. To my ear, the Taylors I have played have been too bright, jangly, and abrassive. But I admit, I haven't tried every model. I owned a used 810 (before the recent change). I bought it because it didn't have that brightness. But shortly after I purchased it, I realized that the strings were about 5 years old. Now, if I could find a manufacturer who sold strings that sounded 5 years old, I may have kept it.

I've played a lot of Martins also. With the exception of the one and only D-18GE that I played, to my ear, Martins are more mellow-sounding. They are easier on my ears. The Martin tone suits my personality, psyche, and soul.

Another difference is that you take a Martin to the brothel and a Taylor to church.

Just my two cents,
Greg

Stixx
05-26-2005, 07:54 PM
Im relatively new to this forum, i have a feeling my question may have been debated already....Anyways here goes....I hear all this talk about Taylors/Martins/Gibsons and how devoted fans are to their chosen brand...I would like some objective opinions....Not which brand is better but rather what is the difference if any ?....Is there a difference or is just a brand ?...I mean wood is wood isn't it ?.....Of course lets compare apples with apples...ie...Lets not compare a high end Martin to a low end Taylor....Lets take a mid end Taylor {say a 400 series with an equivilant Martin} Are the differences subtle or large...Thanks....

Welcome to the furum , first and formost and you will in time know the answer to the above questions ad nausiem by virtue of your own experience if you have a LOT of disposable income and if not by default just listening to the endless dribble that we who have been around forever have learned for you.

That said the difference between Taylor , Martin , and Gibson is simple enough. Neophytes gravitate to Taylors due to some notion they play easier which is not to say they don't but a proper set up guitar plays well no matter who builds it so obviously Taylor does the initial set up better perhaps.

Then there is the two tried and true brands of yore, Martin and Gibson. Someone said Gibson is living on historical reputation and that is about as succint a description of a Gibby as I could muster so ditto to that in spades. Gibson is proof positive that if you build enough crap with the basics in tact once in a blue moon you get it right. That ''right '' is one out of 20 or so J 45s the rare accidentily well done Dove and a few million les pauls for those of the vine grown variety of guitar player.

Then there is Martin. Martin has been building guitars even longer than Gibson has and no doubt with more authority and purpose but of late
irrespective of the lull in quality found so abundant in the sorry seventies , Martin is now building the best guitars they have ever built and are in fact
building the future , I want one guitars of the next Millenium. Martins are so
good right now albeit mostly in the very high end range of their model spectrum that no luthier in the country can build a better Martin than Martin.
Bill Collings notwithstanding is building some fine wonderful pieces of his own ilk but let there be no mistake , they are not boutique Martins they are Collings a fine thing in ther own but not to be confused with refined Martins . They are NOT Martins. My experience has shown me withought a shadow of dought that no one is building a Martin. IF the could they woould. Bob taylor looked me in the eye and said ,""If I could build a Martin Dreadnaught I would" That is out of contex but the meaning is what it is .

So to the neophyte collector , picker , singer ,songwriter , I would exhort you to not only find your voice for singing but find the one for you guitar.It might be a Gibson you lucked upon at a Guitar Center of all places or it might be a brand new ten grand Martin or it might be one of the many beautiful Taylors that adorn the sagging walls of Music stores everywhere but know this . At the end of the day , Im on my porch with my Martin.......it works for me.............love peace and the persuit of tone.

Now if you will excussssssssssssss me < I'm going to go have a timbre tantrume and play the crap out of my D 18 GE, then stum ever so gently on my new Marqjuis , followed by a forray into the recent past place of picking parlors on my Taylor 914 and follow up with a little down home debachery on my Collings Slope 12 fretter.

All the best in your quest..........Stixx

Folkstrum
05-26-2005, 07:55 PM
Another difference is that you take a Martin to the brothel and a Taylor to church.

HEY! We have a Martin in OUR church....Martin Luthier...er LUTHER. :D

{sorry, had to get that one in--now I'm off to church with my Taylor--then later on to the brothel}

gteague
05-26-2005, 07:59 PM
<del>

Another difference is that you take a Martin to the brothel and a Taylor to church.<del>

lol! love that one!

most possibly why all these so-called pworship leaders need one of each.

[g]

/guy

Yes Sir
05-26-2005, 08:26 PM
Martins all the way, Taylors all the way back

MikeD
05-26-2005, 09:09 PM
taylors are bright, martins are warm.

Folkstrum
05-26-2005, 09:43 PM
Martins all the way, Taylors all the way back

But tell us how you REALLY feel. :hmm:

Steve-R
05-26-2005, 10:04 PM
I am fortunate enough to have a Taylor 310ce and a Martin D-16RGT. I didn't appreciate the Taylor until I got the Martin not too long ago. They both have their strong suits and I love them both - plan to keep them and enjoy their sound as they age.

For what it's worth, the Martin has a more bassy bottom, but the Taylor is a joy to play as well. Wider neck for fingerstyle. When I play one, I am compelled to pick up the other later in the session. They perfectly complement each other.

Ain't life grand!

SlowFingers1
05-26-2005, 10:32 PM
The way I see it, both are great guitars, as are many others (Larrivee, SC, Collings, etc.). However, they are not the same. There is a pretty disctinct difference between the way that a Martin and a Taylor play and sound. It is tough for a newbie like me to describe well enough, but I will try anyway. It seems like the Taylors I have played have been a bit more effortless to use, easy fretting, etc. The Martins were a bit tougher to play (if I understand correctly, they come from the factory set up with higher action, but a setup can correct this difference). Though the Taylors seem easier to play, the Martins I have played seem to have a darker, more pleasant tone to my ear. The Taylors sounded great, but not as dark (not sure if that word makes sense to you in terms of tone or not, but it is the word I will use). Some people like the Taylor tone better, or are willing to sacrifice the dark tone in favor of an easier playing instrument.

Big picture: Either of these will suit you well, depending on what you want out of a guitar. I ended up buying neither, and got a Larrivee OM3-MT instead. I am very satisfied with it. I do think my Gull plays a bit easier right now, but the Larrivee tone is a bit more pleasing to the ear.

Folkstrum
05-26-2005, 10:58 PM
For someone "new" to this, you did a fine job describing what many, many others have in much the same ways. It took until "my old age" (50's) to begin to appreciate acoustic guitars the way I do now. I thank forums like this for opening my eyes and ears to a lot of stuff I just didn't bother to think about much before.

Some folks have described this as being a "golden age of luthery." I look at all the major makers (like Taylor, Martin, Gibson, etc.), all the less LARGE ones (like Larrivee, Tacoma[Fender owned now], etc.) the "imports" (Takamine, Blueridge, Washburn, Cort, etc.) and the independent luthiers or small shops (way too many good ones out there to even begin to name!), and remember "back in my youth" it seemed we had Martins, Gibsons, Guilds, Harmony, Ovations-but nothing like the kinds of choices out there now. Most imports were marginal-some better than others-but nothing that really rang a lot of bells. Boy--has THAT changed!

Anyway, with so many choices, and new ones springing up it seems almost daily, anyone should be able to find any number of great sounding, playing and built guitars. Really phenomenal to me.

Yes Sir
05-27-2005, 04:16 AM
I think Taylor's are a bit overrated. They spend too much time worrying about cosmetics and pricing there stuff a bit higher. Yes I know they are consistent in coming out the factory with low action but you can get any guitar set up with low action. Plus. I dont like the direction they are going. Coming out with this new T-5 without taking care of the E.S. problem first. I think people buy Taylor's for the phycological reason that if something is more expensive then it must be better.

I am not knocking on them or anything but I think their prices need to be reduced. If somebody wants a Taylor like tone they can buy a Larrivee for half the price and a better pickup. Or if you have the money, for just a bit more you can get a handmade guitar.

meridian
05-27-2005, 05:48 AM
When I first came back to acoustic guitar after 25 years away I bought a Taylor, and then another and another and another actually many "anothers" -- I think I owned 8 Taylors overall. I also bought a couple of really nice Gibsons (J-50 and a J-200). THEN I went and found what I wanted in a Martin -- which was the size of a Taylor X14 with better balance and tone which was a Martin MC-40. Now my last Taylor is up for sale and my 6th Martin is arriving soon.

Pvee
05-27-2005, 06:49 AM
About 3000 miles.

.
.
.
Someone had to say it !!

jkillips
05-27-2005, 06:52 AM
This is so much more fun of a place to debate this stuff than the guitar.com forums, since no one is telling anyone else to shut the blank up, go blank themselves, etc. Also, everyone here types in complete sentences. Ah, adulthood.

Anyway, this is a fun issue, because only one thing matters - the guitar. There's no amp, pickups, effects, etc., coming into play.

Okay, first off, I'm a big Taylor fan. I have a 414-CE which I absolutely love. But, Martin dreads are definitely growing on me, and I have now FINALLY played a Gibson I like.

Taylor: In general, I think with a Taylor, you tend to hear the strings more, if that makes sense. It's an airy, bright sound, and I find it to be very touch-senstive, from gentle and pretty to punchy and penetrating. It is NOT a "traditional" acoustic sound, because...

Martin: THIS is the traditional sound. I can really hear the wood here, as opposed to the strings, which is why I think some people call this a warmer tone. I could also call it a deep sound (some Taylor dreads get here, too.)

Gibson: This is based on the one good one I've played, and it sounded great. I really thought this was the rock strummer's tone - Mellencamp, etc. It's a clear woody tone, but fairly bass-heavy for me. String-to-string, I didn't find it to be a balanced tone - the lower frequencies are much more present. But, it has its place.

Have fun exploring, and coming up with your own descriptions. But, like said above, it's all about finding your won voice.

And, yes, those **** mustache bridges are hideous.

Taylor007
05-27-2005, 07:11 AM
About 3000 miles.

.
.
.
Someone had to say it !!
Well said!

Taylor007
05-27-2005, 07:13 AM
When I first came back to acoustic guitar after 25 years away I bought a Taylor, and then another and another and another actually many "anothers" -- I think I owned 8 Taylors overall. I also bought a couple of really nice Gibsons (J-50 and a J-200). THEN I went and found what I wanted in a Martin -- which was the size of a Taylor X14 with better balance and tone which was a Martin MC-40. Now my last Taylor is up for sale and my 6th Martin is arriving soon.

I had a similar experience minus about 7 Taylors. I owned a 614ce for almost 6 years. I found I liked the Martin tone much better. Totally subjective though. Both are factory built, both churn out well over 50 thousand instruments a years. Apples and oranges.

wthurman
05-27-2005, 07:47 AM
I like Martins and I like Taylors, and I like them for different reasons, with a singular reason at the base - I like acoustic guitars. They sound different, and Taylor has never made a secret that they're not trying to sound like Martin. To my mind that's a good thing.

To my ear, except for a few exceptional examples, they're both generally a compromise on the sound I want. Whether it's an aspect of tone I want added or taken away, I prefer Santa Cruz to Martin, and I prefer handbuilts to Taylor. Both Taylor and Martin are in categories I like, and both fall short of my hopes 98% of the time, if only by a little bit.

But I would gladly accept any of their best examples as the "only guitar I could own."

Beyond that, Taylor's primary focus seems to be innovation and re-invention - Martin's seems to be tradition, and both have their up and down cycles. Both are good at what they do.

But other companies and luthiers, while nodding to (and sometimes participating in) both things, seem to be more about refinement, and that's where my ear happens to be, too, so they meet what I'm looking for more of the time. In high-end guitars, both companies are great starting points, and on very rare occasions, an endpoint in a search.

And while I'm a big fan of Martin, I will say this - if I had to buy one guitar and it would be my last, and I had to buy it sight unseen, and it had to be a Martin or a Taylor, I would go for the Taylor. It's not merely playability - Taylor's tone, while generally not the top of my chart, is more of a known quantity, and their "low rung" of tone, at least to me, is at a higher average level than Martin's low rung. I've only played one or two really useless Taylors, but I've played countless Martins I wouln't spend ten dollars on.

But given time to search and a budget that was less limited, and it had to be a Martin or a Taylor, I'd probably end up with a Martin, because I think their upper limit of what I'm looking for is generally higher.

So I think Martin has a wider quality of sound range, with greater risks but an also greater payoff tonally, whereas Taylor has a better average, with less up and down possibilities overall, but certainly is more tonally consistent.

And I haven't found one of either company that put me in awe every time I play - I have two that do that right now, and they don't begin with either M or T.

All the best,

Wade

albertshaw
05-27-2005, 08:36 AM
It's like dating. Some people only goes out with one type of girls (or guys - trying to be non-sexist here). Back when I was single, I would go out with all types of girls - frankly, the more the merrier. I don't see people dissing James Bond for having many girlfriends.

So don't worry, be happy. Do what you want. Stick with Taylor. Stick with Martin. Or be like me, have both and have non Martin non Taylor too. You don't know what you are missing by sticking with one.

wannad28
05-27-2005, 08:54 AM
Taylor: In general, I think with a Taylor, you tend to hear the strings more, if that makes sense. It's an airy, bright sound, and I find it to be very touch-senstive, from gentle and pretty to punchy and penetrating. It is NOT a "traditional" acoustic sound, because...

Martin: THIS is the traditional sound. I can really hear the wood here, as opposed to the strings, which is why I think some people call this a warmer tone. I could also call it a deep sound (some Taylor dreads get here, too.)


Hit the nail on the head.

I think Taylors are, in general, better suited for a plugged in application and Martins are better suited for pure acoustic. You'll rarely, if ever, see a bluegrasser playing a Taylor with a mic in front of it. More often than not it's a Martin and a mic.

With that said, both guitars do very well in either scenario - it's just that each is stronger depending on the application.

I feel that for overall tone, Martin wins. Taylor's easier to fret due to lower action, that's easy to remedy. And with the right gear, a Martin can do very well plugged in.