Martin Vs Taylor Acoustic Guitar. 6 Go Head to Head

This is our review of the Martin Vs Taylor Acoustic Guitar battle. 

Both Taylor and Martin guitars are very popular brands and have been for a very long time. The list of famous players for both guitar brands is huge. This alone tells you something about their many qualities.

Taylor and Martin are both superb instruments in their own right, it’s time to find out the differences and what acoustic guitar suits you the best.

taylor vs martin

Although both brands have 100s of variations. I’ve gone with 6 guitars I’ve had experience with over my 25 years of playing. That way I can give you a real-life perspective on the guitars.

Read on to see the differences between Martin Vs Taylor Guitars.

Product Range Comparison


Martin and Taylor Guitars – Tone

Tone is purely subjective and controlled by many variables guitarists can create.

Such as choice of strings, the thickness of the pick, bare fingers vs nails, a guitar players technique. If you were to put Paul Simon on an Encore guitar, he’d sound like Paul Simon on an Encore!

If I were to whittle it down to one clear difference, it would be:

The Taylor models of acoustic guitars are brighter with a richer sound, with more clarity but perhaps less body and warmth than a Martin. Obviously, this is only my opinion.

Although some models of Taylor and Martin may be from the same cut of wood, there really are so many tones to be had between the 100s of models.

To point out the exact Martin vs Taylor differences in tone would be near impossible. Both brands have a huge range of guitars that are made with a certain tone or music genre in mind.

The type of wood and structure of a guitar has a huge impact on the guitar tone. We have a thorough guide on this subject here (see bracing).

Lets get into the Martin Vs Taylor reviews:

Martin Vs Taylor. Full Reviews

1- Taylor 110E Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric Guitar

 taylor guitars 110e. Taylor Guitar Dreadnought
  • Friendly Price
  • Clear Bright Taylor Tone
  • Taylor Guitar Expression System 2 Electronics
  • Value For Money

The first of our budget acoustic guitar section is the popular and reliable Taylor 110e Dreadnought Acoustic-Electric guitar.

Sitka spruce covers the top and enables you to get a clearer, brighter tone than less expensive wood tops. Taylor Guitars has designed the solid top to resonate freely and produce a high quality rich sound.

Nut width is a little narrower than the standard at 1.68”. This is great for players wanting to get hold of bar chords and open chords without the difficulty of having to battle against a wider flatter fretboard radius.

The onboard electrics are nothing flashy, it’s fitted with the Taylor Guitars expression system 2. These are actually used on the higher grade of Taylor acoustics.

As the pickups are situated below the saddle you’re given a much more natural organic tone. This is in comparison to the standard acoustic pickup destination (under the saddle). 

This guitar is a dreadnought style, the most popular acoustic guitar model out there. This would suit the strumming or fingerpicker looking for a budget price.

I’ve added the Taylor 110e as my first pick, as it’s reliable and contains features you’d find on better Taylor guitars. At this low price, you’ll do well to find better value for money.

Model Taylor Guitars 110e-w Series 100 Finish Type Varnish Body Style Dreadnought Sitka Spruce Solid Top Yes Top Material Spruce Body Material Walnut Neck Material Sapele Fingerboard Material Ebony Bridge Material Ebony Nut Material Tusq Nut Width 1.6875″ Case Included Taylor Guitars Gig Bag

2- Martin D-10E Road Series Acoustic-Electric Guitar

D-10e c.f Martin guitar. martin and taylor budget budget winner
  • Very Popular Range
  • Vintage Looks
  • Handbuilt
  • Fishman XT Electronics
  • Classic Rich Sound

The Road Series Martin guitars are a huge range of acoustic guitars for all skill levels. Brilliant for versatility and spot-on ‘value for money’.

I’m a fan of the Martin D-10E acoustic-electric guitar and used one many years ago to play solo gigs. A very well thought of guitar which shows its strengths through popularity and a friendly price.

Not only does it look vintage and silky in the old-school Martin manner, but it’s also handbuilt with the finest craftsmanship.

Once again I’ve gone for a dreadnought, as they are built with a superb array of midrange scoop and substantial volume. This is essential for live performance. 

An all satin finish for maximum comfort and a non scalloped X bracing for all-round superior acoustic guitar sound.

The onboard electrics are the Fishman MX-T, which you’d find on a number of branded guitars up to 2k!

With very strong mids to highs, this makes a perfect partner for a player who likes fingerpicking or sounding out notes with a pick.

The bass isn’t as dominant as I would have wanted, but you can’t have everything!

It is extremely playable with a smooth finish neck and soft fret edges. This is a great place for somebody trying out their first Martin.

It’s tough as nails and built to last you a lifetime. Now that’s all I wanted and expected from Martin.

If you’re looking for a Martin acoustic but not wanting to empty your bank in the process, the Road Series is your starting point.

I wouldn’t go any lower in price and model, as with this deal you’ll be getting: Fishman electronics, satin finish, ebony fingerboard, and a walnut body.

Model C.FMartin Guitars D-10E Series Road Elec: Expression System 2 Finish Type Satin Body Shape Style Dreadnought Cutaway No Orientation Top Material Sapele Body Material Sapele Fingerboard Material Richlite Bridge Material Richlite Nut Material Corian Nut Width 1.75″ Tuner Yes Size Full Size Case Included Gig Bag

BUDGET WINNER- Martin Guitars-D-10E Road Series


3- Martin GPC-16E Acoustic-Electric Guitar

c.f Martin Guitar GPC-16e.
  • Super Build Quality
  • Fishman Matrix VT Enhanced Electronics
  • Classic Warm Martin Tones
  • Very Comfortable/Child Friendly

The Martin GPC-16e Acoustic-Electric guitar is the first of the Grand Performance shaped guitars.

This shape in my opinion is more comforting for the player. The Cutaway feature sits nicely into your lap and is smaller in body size than the classic dreadnought.

The top is made from solid Sitka Spruce wood with solid East Indian Rosewood back and sides.

Once again we have a classic Martin Scalloped X Bracing and the brilliant Fishman Matrix VT enhanced electronics. Now, this is already a big step up in build and hardware quality in comparison to the first two guitars in the review.

The nut measures up at 1 ¾ inch and the classic Martin low oval profile neck and a high performance taper. A very popular choice with Martin fans all over the world.

The butterbean open gear tuners are typical of Martin’s attention to detail. Preserving every small element like the original Martin guitars from the past.

I love the fact that in the face of modern designs, Martin adheres to the details and builds specs to what made them popular in the first place.

Another nice design feature is the volume and control knobs. They’re inside the soundhole hidden away from view. 

It’s safe to say we guitarists are not overstruck with the controls being in view on the outside of the body. It can spoil the look of a beautiful vintage guitar.

The Martin GPC-16 isn’t going to produce the volume of a dreadnought or a jumbo but can be best placed in the hands of a virtuoso who likes to get around the fretboard.

It’s also a great starter for children as it’s light, comfortable and so easily playable.

Model Martin Guitars GPC-16E Rosewood Series 16 Series Finish Type Gloss Body Shapes Style Grand Performance Cutaway Yes Top Material Spruce Body Material Rosewood Fingerboard Material Ebony Bridge Material Ebony Nut Material Bone Nut Width 1.75″ Case Included Gig Bag

4- Taylor Guitars 214CE-DLX Deluxe Grand Auditorium Acoustic-Electric Guitar

taylor guitars. Taylor Guitar 214ce. martin and taylor standard winner
  • Stunningly Beautiful Close Up
  • Easy To Play
  • Value For Money
  • Perfect Midrange Taylor Tone

I discovered the Taylor 214-CE Deluxe. It’s like the popular 200 series but added extras at an affordable price.

With a Sitka spruce top and a glossy finish, you’re given a good level of protection for live shows and dings around the house.

Forward shifted X Bracing enables a bigger volume and more prevalent bass to the mid-range Martin-GPC. This is the kinda acoustic tone I go for when looking at guitars.

If you’ve played an acoustic with a satin neck, you won’t ever want to play anything different. Smooth and enjoyable. Like silk in your hands.

The diamond inlays are stunning and something I really like about Taylor guitars. The tuning pegs are the basic chrome type, which in my opinion is a little disappointing (i prefer the Martin Butterbean).

The tortoiseshell pickguard design is Taylor’s own creation and looks the part for sure.

An instrument every player should have once in their life. A high quality build, super easy adjustable onboard controls, and an extremely comfortable instrument.

The depth of richness and clarity rings true, so the Taylor 214CE-DLX Deluxe Grand Auditorium easily wins my ‘standard’ section acoustic guitar battle

An absolute pleasure to play. It’s not flashy, not overpriced, and is a masterpiece at a cost you’d be surprised at.

Model Taylor Guitars 214ce-DLXSeries 200 Finish Type Gloss Body Style Grand Auditorium Cutaway Yes Top Material Spruce Body Material Rosewood Neck Material Sapele Fingerboard Material Ebony Bridge Material Ebony Nut Material NuBone Nut Width 1.6875″ Case Included Hard Case

STANDARD WINNER: Taylor Guitars-214CE-DLX Deluxe


5- Taylor Guitars Builder’s Edition 912ce Grand Concert Acoustic-Electric Guitar

taylor guitars. Taylor Guitar 912ce
  • Frets are a shorter
  • Incredibly responsive,
  • Built from top-notch materials
  • Exceptional and luxurious modern sound
  • Prime midrange warmth

Incomparable playability and master luthiery set this guitar apart from any other on the list.

The stunning ‘Taylor Guitars Builders Edition’ is Royalty of the Concert acoustic guitar world. For players with exquisite taste. A real treat for guitar players looking for a first-class ride.

Crafted from top-notch rosewood and spruce. The frets are a shorter 24-7/8″ scale length. This gives you a smooth and slinky way of moving around the fretboard without having to try very hard.

Incredibly responsive to touch, while offering a surprising sustain and midrange warmth.

Handles like a true champion, exceptional and luxurious. Taylor has a super-fast response which puts me in mind of playing an electric guitar.

An absolute joy to play due to the skill and mastery of Luthier Andy Powers.

The Taylor 912ce makes a great guitar in most genres, from rock to jazz to fingerstyle acoustic. The tonal response also translates into an easily shapeable amplified sound with the onboard ES2 electronics.

An absolute must if this beaut is in your budget range. You’ll never need another style of acoustic!

6- Martin 00-28 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar

c.f martin guitar 00-28
  • East Indian/Sitka spruce top construction
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Nice resonance and superb projection
  • Rich, deep lows that you should be getting from a dreadnought
  • King of chime

The Martin 00-28 Grand Concert Acoustic Guitar is yet another accomplished masterpiece.

Once again, Martin shows off their legendary luthiery skill in a Concert sized guitar. A perfect combination of classic acoustic guitar tones and modern manufacturing.

East Indian/Sitka spruce top construction will have you dribbling at the mouth. The fretboard has a beautiful silky feel to it as you whizz up and down the neck.

An extremely comfortable small-sized concert guitar that doesn’t skip on the rich compact tones. This Martin model really characterizes the word ‘chime’.

I was surprised how this type of body shape can provide you with such rich deep lows which you should be getting from a dreadnought. If you close your eyes, you really start to question what guitar you’re playing.

The top-end shimmering tone is a joy to the ears. You cannot get this kind of attribute from any other guitar around this price. Scalloped bracing provides a nice resonance and superb projection.

The 00-28 Grand Concert is on another level. Beautifully built and sings like a bird. You wouldn’t expect anything less from the heavyweight manufacturer in acoustic guitars.

Is it time for you to shop for a Martin?

PREMIUM WINNER: Martin Guitars-00-28 Grand Concert


Martin And Taylor-Notable Build Differences

C.F Martin has been producing acoustic guitars for 170 years, they continue to build in a manner that ensures we receive the best acoustic guitars ever made.

Martin guitar X bracing guitars are still some of the best on the market.

With the traditional approach taken by Martin, their builders give you a more personal hand built guitar.

Some players want their guitar handmade, by the best builders when parting with their hard earned cash. This makes buying a Martin guitar a little bit more personal.

There is one significant difference between the two brands, and that’s the manner in which the neck angle is adjustable on the Taylor models.

After a few years, your guitar will naturally move and require attention. Some Taylor models are constructed to adjust to such changes over time. This gives Taylor the edge in the market, it gives buyers confidence their guitar won’t require restoration in the future.

Taylor seems to be the more forward thinking and modern brand between the two.

But on the flip side to that, Martin is one of the oldest and most successful guitar manufacturers. And why would you change something that’s still very successful today?

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!

Bracing. Take Note! 

Bracing is the name given to the pattern of wood that supports the inside of the guitar body, just below the soundhole.

The bracing design can also be implemented on the (inside) back and sides of a guitar to enhance the voicing.

Bracing is essential to each guitar as it distributes the force applied by the neck and strings. A brace maintains tonal responsiveness whilst being structurally sound.

Rather than comparing the two brands of acoustic guitar for ‘build’. It’s best to understand the difference between the traditional X-bracing designs and the V-Class Bracing.

For over 100 years acoustic guitars have used the X-bracing option. It’s difficult to design guitars in the X format and expect increased sustain. To Increase sustain would mean decreasing volume and vice versa.

With this in mind, it’s brought forward a new way of enhancing acoustic guitar sound. The V-Class bracing. We will get to the V-Class later, but for now, there are two types of X-bracing to understand:

Martin Guitars Scalloped and Non Scalloped X Bracing

The Scalloped X Bracing build enables the guitar more movement and vibration.

This design supplies a better bass response and overall volume. This type of design is my personal build choice. I prefer the natural warm lows of an acoustic and a more noticeable midrange scoop.

The Scalloped X Bracing design can be found on the older models of martin guitars, right up to today’s models. 

The Non-Scalloped X Brace will ensure you are given a more balanced tone. If you prefer a narrower spectrum of highs, mids and treble, you would gravitate towards this type of build.

The only downside to this, is you’re not getting a lot of one, more of a leveled-out all-round sound in one. 

X Bracing at the Martin Guitar factory.
Pic C.F.Martin Factory Alex Harden

Taylor Guitars-V-Class Bracing

The V-Class design gives your guitar more sustain, especially higher up the neck. This is a benefit and a feature the X bracing cannot match in terms of clarity.

The V Class design enables increased sustain without giving anything away on the tonal side.

If you tested both X and V class guitars one after the other you can hear the difference. Although subtle, there’s definitely a tonal difference. 

V-Class guitars have more sustain and clarity for sure.

If you’re playing anything above the seventh fret on a regular basis then I would definitely look into buying a Taylor V-Class over the Martin X Bracing guitars.

Shape/Size

martin and taylor guitars shape

Although you may not see much between the two models, there really is a lot to consider. 

Here are the different characteristics:

Dreadnought Guitar

Body Shapes

The Dreadnought is the more common style of guitar on the market. It’s larger in size and exhibits a boxy shape. 

This is a major factor when considering the tonal values of both types of guitars.

Tone

The Dreadnought shape gives the player a nice delicate midrange scoop. You get more depth and low end. The top-end mid-tones are notably much snappier than a Concert. 

There is a great deal of difference in clarity between the guitars. The Dreadnought has a far more transparent sound due to the straighter body shape. This results in a wider proportional EQ.

A Dreadnought Guitar is suited to:

The benefits of the midrange scoop on a dreadnought are ideal for singer-songwriters or acoustic guitarists in bands. This is exactly where the vocal frequencies sit in the mix.  

Concert Guitar

Body Shape

The main difference you’ll notice is the size. A Concert guitar is smaller than a Dreadnought. It has a more rounded shape and a much deeper waste taper. 

The dreadnought on the other hand has a wider waist and displays a straighter longer body style.  

Tone

The Concert sized guitar is suited to more complex chords and voicings. As it’s smaller in size, it has a more controlled bottom end.  

The Concert gives you a better mixture of mids and treble tone. It’s coherent and more expressive with chords, especially higher up the fretboard. 

A Concert Guitar is suited to:  

As a Concert guitar is lighter and shorter, it instantly appeals to smaller players. In a sitting position, it is considerably more comfortable than a dreadnought. Especially for children and beginners.  

Dreadnought Vs Concert: Pros n Cons

Dreadnought Concert
LouderLighter & Shorter
Far More TransparentGreat For Fingerpicking Style/ Articulate Chord Playing
Ideal For Singer/Guitarist or BandsMore Expressive with Chord Sounds
More Depth and Low EndPerfect For Children & Beginners
Top-End Mid-Tones Much SnappierGentle Bottom End
Better Suited For The Chord StrummerVery Comfortable

What is a Concert Size Guitar?

A concert guitar is slightly smaller than a dreadnought guitar. This gives the smaller hands musicians and children a chance to learn how to play the guitar without having to overstretch.

Here are some approximate concert guitar measurements:

Body length: 19.5″

Lower Bout Width: 15″

Upper Bout Width: 10″

Body Depth: 4.6″

The upper bout is the part of the guitar body that is nearest the neck.

The lower bout is the largest part of the guitar that is nearest to the string termination at the bridge.

Bottom Line- Martin vs Taylor

I hope you’ve gained some understanding of the differences between the two super brands in the world of Acoustic Guitar.

Once you’ve tried a few out you’ll know which one suits you the best. Everybody’s taste is different, so gather as much info as possible and go try some out for yourselves. 

About Lee

Lee has been playing guitar for over 25 years. In the 1990s he made a few TV appearances in London and supported and few big bands at festivals. He's recently sung on radio and worked as a full-time guitarist/singer on a holiday resort. Lee is the founder of Authority Guitar, a site where he wants readers to enjoy every aspect of learning the guitar.

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