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Old 06-27-2011, 11:05 AM
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Default Why do Taylors fret so easy?

I own 4 acoustic guitars. A Martin D-35, Martin D-17, Taylor GS-8, and Taylor 110E. Now, they've all been set up professionally by the same Luthier recently and they all play and sound sweet. They all have the same brand and guage string on them. And they all have colossi bone saddles and nuts fitted by the same Luthier that set them up. So, setup and strings are all equal elements. They all play and sound sweet and are a joy to play... However, the Taylors both seem to fret easier and I can play them for longer periods of time than I can the Martins. Don't get me wrong, both of the Martins fret easily as well and play smooth. But just something about the taylors seems easier and less fatiguing. Is it the neck shape? Neck angle? Fret wire Taylor uses? Anyone know if there is anything to this or is it just in my head? I actually prefer the sound of my D-35 over all my guitars... but the playability of my GS-8 blows me away. And for a beater/jammer the 110E can't be beat.
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Old 06-27-2011, 11:27 AM
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Possibly the neck shape suits you. I have a Taylor and a couple Martins, and for me the 1-3/4 nut of the Taylor is a bit easier to play than my 000-18. However, I think my Taylor is harder to play than my 000-28 EC, which also has a 1-3/4 nut and a mod v neck. They are all different, obviously, and my preferences would not suit everyone else! (And like yours, mine have all been set up by the same luthier.)
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Old 06-27-2011, 12:13 PM
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It is largely due to the NT neck. A guitar with a perfect neck angle and properly-set action will feel better than a guitar with a less-than-perfect neck angle and properly set action.

The best way to demonstrate this is with a Fender Stratocaster. You have a lot of wiggle room with the neck angle because you can change the height of the saddles so drastically, but when it is in that sweet spot it makes a big difference.
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:22 PM
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I think you nailed it...assuming all else equal (action height, neck angle), it comes down to neck shape (thickness) and fret type (thickness, height). I think the taylor necks are thinner than martins by default aren't they?
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Old 06-27-2011, 01:55 PM
Glennwillow Glennwillow is offline
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Why do Taylors fret so easy?

Maybe they worry more than other guitars?

- Glenn
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post
I think the taylor necks are thinner than martins by default aren't they?
Martin makes several different shapes of necks, so no. My 000-18 has a fairly shallow C neck, as do many Martins. My EC has a nice meaty Mod V. Other Martins have D necks that are a bit thicker than the C on my 18. And so on.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chalz View Post
It is largely due to the NT neck. A guitar with a perfect neck angle and properly-set action will feel better than a guitar with a less-than-perfect neck angle and properly set action.

The best way to demonstrate this is with a Fender Stratocaster. You have a lot of wiggle room with the neck angle because you can change the height of the saddles so drastically, but when it is in that sweet spot it makes a big difference.
This is exactly why IMHO. The setups on my Taylor guitars did not work around the neck angle, instead they included altering the neck angle if needed, so that the guitar could play with ZERO relief on the fretboard.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:10 PM
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I don't think they do, so I guess it's a bit subjective. For me, my '94 Takamine plays better than any other acoustic I've owned. I tried hard to LOVE my Taylor with the factory setup, but found that until I filed the nut slots a tad lower, and lowered the saddle, I just couldn't say it played that great. Sounded awesome...played so-so.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infi-del View Post
However, the Taylors both seem to fret easier and I can play them for longer periods of time than I can the Martins. Don't get me wrong, both of the Martins fret easily as well and play smooth.
I don't have a good answer for you, but I've noticed the same thing. For the record, I love both guitars and my next guitar will most likely be a mahogany Martin of some sort. But almost all Taylors that I've played have played easier than the Martins I've played.

Martin afficionados explain this away by saying that all guitars play equally well with a good setup, but I haven't found that this holds water. And you're a good example - same setup, same strings, etc, but the Taylor wins out in playability.

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Old 06-27-2011, 02:36 PM
steamfurnace steamfurnace is offline
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I believe that Martin has tried to address this issue for today's players by offering the "P" neck profile on the Performing Artist Series and now some of the classic models as well, like the new D-28P. My GPCPA1 frets quite easily for me, and even barre chords are pretty good up the neck with this new style/size neck.
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glennwillow View Post
Why do Taylors fret so easy?

Maybe they worry more than other guitars?

- Glenn
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Old 06-27-2011, 02:57 PM
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neck angle-- neck shape/profile-- AND fretboard radius can all attibute to the difference. My CA GX performer I had had a 1 3/4 nut also but my Taylor is much easier to play. I can barre chord effortlessly where the CA was a bit more of a chore. the neck profile and such had alot to do with it.
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Old 06-27-2011, 06:52 PM
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Yea I def find the 1-3/4 nut on taylors much easier to play than 1-11/16 martins.
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:15 PM
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My late 2010 Taylor 810 Acoustic is the easiest to play of any non Strat guitar I've ever owned or played and I've owned and played more than a few
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Old 06-27-2011, 07:31 PM
Jeff M Jeff M is offline
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Nothing magic about it.
Action and scale length are the major factors in string tension (along with string gauge).
Any guitars of equal scale length can be set up with an action as low as another..assuming a straight neck, good frets, good neck angle.

Neck profile, nut width, string spacing at the saddle, string to string spacing, spacing of strings relative to the edge of the FB are all factors in how comfortable a neck is to play.
Different folks have different preferences...hence, builders offer different options.

I find Taylors uncomfortable to play because of their relatively skinny neck profile.
I much prefer something like the Martin low-oval profile with a good set up.
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