Today, I’m focusing on the definitive showdown between Martin guitars and Taylor guitars. While both companies make excellent guitars, there’s been a battle between the two that needs to be put to rest.
In order to create the Martin vs. Taylor definitive showdown, I created seven categories that the two companies will be evaluated on. Each category, I’ll do a holistic study of both Taylor and Martin to determine who wins in that category.
To decide which company is better, I’ve picked the following categories:
- Standard model lineup
- Custom shop
- Artist roster
At the end of this showdown, there will be only one winner…and I can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it! As always, be nice in the comments — I know you will, but I just have to say it!
As always, you can watch Acoustic Tuesday at 10 am every Tuesday in these four places:
- Acoustic Life YouTube channel
- We Play Every Day Facebook Community
- Get show notes emailed directly to your inbox.
- Listen to audio-only below or in iTunes
This Week on Acoustic Tuesday
Instead of doing a recap for each segment on Acoustic Tuesday, I’m going to leave you just with the links for the full videos, interviews, and factory tours.
I’d hate to spoil the surprise of who wins this week.
Round 1: History
https://youtu.be/2u67TlkokZY – Visit the Martin Museum with The Fretboard Journal
https://youtu.be/ONB7n-WYTQg – Watch me interview Chris Martin CEO of Martin Guitars!
https://youtu.be/JRTWMH1T0zI – A Martin History Retrospective
Round 2: Sustainability
https://youtu.be/Eq86nmvrk0s – Watch part 1 of my interview with Bob Taylor, CEO of Taylor Guitars
https://youtu.be/UKOiqQ9y0_8 – Watch part 2 of my interview with Bob Taylor, CEO of Taylor Guitars
https://youtu.be/T5eGe_NB2Tk – Watch part 3 of Tony’s interview with Bob Taylor, CEO of Taylor Guitars
https://youtu.be/ZDZAHjFK1Gk – See some of the sustainability initiatives within the Taylor factory
Round 3: Manufacturing
https://youtu.be/g7HtRsi-CCc – See inside the Taylor guitar factory
Round 4: Model Lineup
https://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/acoustic/series/overview – Checkout Taylor’s standard model offerings
Round 5: Innovation
https://youtu.be/qwx7jv33hvk – See one of Martin’s biggest innovations: The Dreadnought
https://youtu.be/_Hy6dy82l1M – See one of Taylor’s biggest innovations: V-Class bracing
Round 6: Custom Shop
https://youtu.be/8bLWyvih60E – Meet the Martin Custom shop
Round 7: Artist Roster
https://youtu.be/6kbWnWClsoE – Watch John Moreland play his Martin D28
https://youtu.be/nu5gDk97pFQ – Watch Billy Strings play a 1950 Martin D28
https://youtu.be/P__g0NWR0Y0 – Watch Molly Tuttle play a 1941 Martin D45
Spot on History Tony. CF Martin – Circa 1833
In regards to Kyle’s comment, I see it the other way around I see Martin as a working man guitar and Taylor for the advanced player.
Yes Martin wins the history round, hands down.
Taylor seems o target electricification more than Martin. I prefer none electric guitars. I think electrifying takes away from the pure tone of an acoustic guitar. Taylor also makes more cut away models which cuts away some of the sound board. Martin all the way.
Hey Tony, as a former subscriber, just a shout out for the job you and your staff do. Thank you very much. Question – Collings Guitars. I’ve never seen you play or comment on Bill Collings and his incredible impact on the world of top notch acoustic guitars? I’ve owned several Taylors, Martin D28 that I purchased over forty years ago. So, let’s hear your opine on Collings. Thanks in advance. Alton Rodgers
Absolutely! I tried out a Collings once and was blown away. Especially since I had just tried a D45 right beforehand and thought the Collings was right there with it. Not sure why they are not better known, given how incredible they are.
I recently checked out a couple of small-body Collings guitars @ The Guitar Shoppe in Laguna Beach. Sweet sounding & fun to play!
All I know is this: We travel full-time – the last year found us spending time in Montana, Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming – you get the picture. I have two guitars, a Fender “basic” guitar, the CD60E cutaway, and a Martin DX12E 12 string with the Spruce top and laminate body, bought used. I was hesitant to buy a twelve, but it carries a regular E tuning, and is all but impervious to changes in temperature and humidity. Gave it a set of Ultralight strings, and it plays easy, sounds great. I can judge Martin only based on my experience, but this guitar is near-bulletproof.
I purchased a Martin D10E less than a year ago, I compared it directly against Taylor guitars as well as some more expensive Martins. It had just arrived at the store and hung on the wall for just over a hour. I don’t if I got lucky, but it’s sounds incredible, even the salesperson who I have a great relationship, as well as the teacher I was taking lessons from were blown away. In fact the salesman even grabbed a Taylor costing 3x the money for comparison, and my Martin sounded richer.
I own a Taylor 414ce and it is a great guitar, but if I had the money I would buy an HD-28. I can’t afford it yet and I may never be able to but a Martin is what I want!
Great show on Martin versus Taylor. Thanks,
Completely biased vote for Martin as it’s in our backyard.
You are spot on so far for rounds one and two. Anything using a natural product like wood will vary- and it should. Round 3, fair enough as well. The clear overall winner? Your subscribers.
I don’t think one is better. They are different, not necessarily better. I think Taylor does have better playability, with generally a lower action than Martins (excepting possibly the new SC-13 from Martin). I think Taylor’s NT neck and manufacturing technology allow them to produce a much more ‘consistent end product across their model line. Despite that, guitar’s remain very individual – two identical models from the same manufacturer will sound different, sometimes dramatically so.
They have different tones, with Taylor famous for its bell like chime and articulation. Each is going to appeal to individuals differently.
I agree 100%. I think it is a matter of personal preference and nothing more. My personal preference is for Taylor, but that’s just me.
I agree about it being a matter of personal preference. For me, it’s the Martin D28. The planets in the universe finally lined-up at the right inclination and I was able to buy one! I have wanted one since I was 14 years old, and now I am 53. I can’t complain, though; it is the most beautiful sounding/playing guitar I have ever had in my hands. I have a Taylor 224ce K-DLX as well, and I would not trade it. It is truly beautiful and after playing the strings off of it for almost 2 years, it has opened-up with blooming lower mids, the upper mids and treble have developed chiming overtones and stronger bass than I ever thought it would ever have! It is a wonderful guitar… and to think that I almost didn’t even try it? Both my Martin D28, and my Taylor 224ce K-DLX, are outstanding guitars. I am very lucky to be able to have both; for a poor boy like me! I love my D28 more than I actually thought I would, and the Taylor 224ce has played-in to be a better guitar than I could have imagined it could ever be.
For me, there is no contest between the two companies. Each one makes awesome guitars, and each one is best for what they do best; at least they are for me. I’m not done yet: I still want a D18, a D35, a Gibson Songwriter, a Gibson J45, a Gibson Hummingbird, a Taylor K24, a Taylor K26 and a Takamine Glen Frey model. I know it’s a lot to ask for but I never thought I’d be able to afford a D28, and now I have one that I love dearly. I hope that everyone, that really wants a really good acoustic guitar, will someday be able to get one (or as many as they can afford) of their choosing; whatever make and model it might be! I wonder if it would be audacious on my part to also want a D41?
Martin…has to be..
Tomatoe vs Tomato, Potatoe vs Potato
Both are awesome works of art and sound. How can you go wrong owning either.
I owned a D18 in the ’70’s. Taylor makes some excellent guitars. But there can be only one. It is the one that comes from Nazareth. Taylor certainly does a lot right, and some of their necks are better- but Martin has improved there. Meanwhile Martin’s have always had more character and better sound- but Taylor has made strides there, producing some models – like the Koa model- that actually have warmth versus the thin but clear sound Taylors were victim of in the past.
Bottom line? Taylor will keep Martin on their toes.
But the best Martins simply crush the best Taylor’s.
Taylor I think is number one. Martin is a close number two.
Automation is a double edged sword, it make more guitar the same and the quality from one to another guitar , however can always get what you want. When I purchased my D35 I must have played a dozen before finding the one that sounded the best. It is more efficient to do automation save money wood while the same can’t be said for building buy hand. I do love had built guitars and I love to see folks hand building guitars. Obviously we would not want ford or GM or even Mercedes building a total hand built car.
Martin Guitar or more bland while Taylor show off in the beauty of guitars. I own both and love them for what they are.
Martin definitely wins History, I have 2 and both sound great but different
Martin, for tone and resale value
I have both. Taylor 314ce, Martin D 28, Martin Baby, Martin 16 epd. They are all different and I love them. Looking at the Taylor 912 Builders very soon. I have started playing again after 45 years of playing Professionally as bass player. Is this a dream.
I feel that history plays a big part in my decision not to mention artist’s how have played the instruments ie: one you forgot to mention Bob Dylan has also played his fair share of.
So although I love Taylors guitars I feel MARTIN is a clear winner With roughly 140 years or so on Taylors
I think Martin gets short changed somewhat on sustainability. They continue to use renewable, exotic, reclaimed woods.
Taylor by their woods, manufacturing and various models and designs.
Technology isn’t always the answer, I’ve never seen a Martin with glue that has not been removed. I believe they use a little bit more hands on. less production more quality is Martins standard.
I still have my 1962 D-18 I got in 1965. I also have my HD-28, a guitar I longed for and searched for over several years back in the 80’s. I recently added a Taylor Koa GS-mini and,just before thisCOVID shutdown, I went to a local store to pick up a strap-lock. They didn’t have what I wanted so I started playing guitars. I fell in love with and walked out with a Taylor 914-CE V class. This shelter at home time is letting me get to know her.
Each one of these guitars is special in its own way. Each has its own voice and each has its own feel. I don’t think I want to determine a “winner.” To me, I’m the winner because I get to enjoy them all. Just sayin’
Re Kyle’s comment: My Dad grew up in the Oklahoma dust bowl (1930s). He learned on a small Martin guitar for the Church. His “desired” guitar was a Gibson. The Martin was “lost” in the move to Ft Worth TX to support WW2 manufacturing. I may not be good enough to play a Martin, but that makes me improve my playing and singing. I own both Martin and Taylor, but started with a late 1960s Montgomery Ward Airline Acoustic.
Stigmas of Martin and Taylor:
Martin, amazing builds, amazing woods, beautiful presentations and Horrifically expensive.
Taylor: amazing builds, most sustainable and amazing woods, beauty that is simpler but still awesome, only really expensive.
Both have beginner ranges, but neither is the go to for a new guitarist,Guild, Epiphone, Washburn, Alvarez all do a better job of being though tof in the low end.
I don’t know about Martin being more expensive. Taylor’s 400 series, in Rosewood, is only a little less than Martin’s D28’s/HD28’s; but they are not on the same level when it comes to build quality and tone: In my honest opinion. When you look at Taylor’s more elaborate series, i.e. 800, 900, Presentation and Koa; they compare with Martin’s 41, 42 and 45 series. At this level, both Taylor and Martin are pristine and pricey. I guess it all comes back down to personal preference. I would be proud to own any of these fine guitars. I love the playability, feel and tone of both brands; but I prefer Martin for their overall tone and hand-built, high quality fit and finish.
Taylor is a world leader in sustainable materials, no doubt; but Martin has also been looking at, and utilizing more sustainable resources as well. Martin has been building guitars with Sapele, Sipo, Ovangkol, Myrtlewood, Sycamore, Madagascar Rosewood, formica and Richlite. Taylor has been using “Tropical” Mahogany, Sapele, Ovangkol, Tasmanian Blackwood, Sassafras and they are a world leader with Koa (and other Acacia woods). Taylor owns an Ebony plantation, and sawmill, in Cameroon. Both brands are doing their best at making sure that there will be suitable tone-woods for generations to come. While at the same time, both companies are seeking out new, sustainable tone-woods to build tomorrow’s high end musical instruments. I am proud of their efforts, and that they are in this business for the long haul! I am a proud owner of fine guitars from both of these outstanding companies!
Martin- They were the pioneers. Does Taylor make good guitars? Absolutely! But it’s easier to improve an idea than it is to originate one.
Any idea how a Taylor V-Class guitar ages over time?
Martin- They were the pioneers. Does Taylor make good guitars? Absolutely! But it’s easier to improve on an idea than it is to originate one.
By the way…you mentioned Molly Tuttle two times before you started keeping track. Cheers Tony.
To bad you didn’t include Gibson. Then we could’ve had the classic Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge battles.
I truly wish Gibson would get their quality back up to standards like Taylor and Martin have. I want a J45 and a Songwriter, but not bad enough to accept the obviously poor quality I have seen in the past 10 years. I do not know how they let some of their guitars ship to dealers with manufacturing flaws that can be seen from across the room. I was looking at J45’s on Sweetwater Sound’s website 3 months ago. Of the four guitars they were showing the pictures of, 3 had the tuning machines on crooked (badly. Once again, you could see it from across the room), 2 had gaps between the fretboard(s) and the sound boards, and all 4 had glue on the fretboards, and sound boards, that could be seen from across the room. It’s a shame. Gibson used to be top shelf only. Back then, if you bought a Gibson you could rest assured that the quality, and tone, would be unquestionable. We have been promised the quality issues would be addressed, and worked out, by November 2019. We are still waiting, but i don’t know how long some will be willing to wait.
Gibson is owned by financial people after bankruptcy. They are harassing Heritage Guitars who are old Gibson employees in the old Kalamazoo Gibson factory. They did make great guitars in Montana, but poor management led to Ren Ferguson leaving . Gibson guitars are hit and miss. I love my 64 J-50 but am distressed over their up and down management. They are not in the same league with Martin, Taylor, or the new Guilds of Oxford.
No….more like Ford, Chevy and Dodge against Ferrari and Lamborghini!
I’VE BEEN PICKING A 1967 MARTIN D-18 SINCE I BOUGHT IT NEW IN TAHOE CITY, CALIFORNIA, IN 1968. IN CASE YOU HAVEN’T GUESSED I AM 83 YEARS OLD. I HAVE PICKED WITH A WHOLE LOT OF PICKERS MANY OF WHOM WANTED TO PICK MY MARTIN. I NEVER SAW ANY REASON TO PICK ANY ONES GUITAR. LONG LIVE .C.F. MARTIN.
I love to here a callout to get well John Prime, who brought me through hard times.
I love to here a callout to get well John Prime, who brought me through hard times.
AMEN to that! John Prine is one of my folk heroes.
Rest In Peace, John Prine. You have inspired a whole generation (or two) to pick up the guitar and learn to make music as beautiful as your music. You are greatly missed.
Taylor is the future
John Prime has Covid-19
Union Station Martin
Martin, for tone and history , Taylor is a great guitar but Martin wins hands down
Martin with Taylor a dam close
John Prine plays a Martin D-28.
Martin: While I have a deep appreciation for Taylor’s efforts in sustaiability and Andy Powers’ genius in guitar design, I just like Martins better.
Taylor….. Why? Martin is the past and Taylor is the future. Now, you need to include “sound” comparison from equal models of Taylor/Martin .
I really wish the Taylor GS Mini was a Martin!
Martin for me 😀
being from Philly (home of the Flyers)…………I’m partial to Martin. Once I progress with playing, I plan to make a Martin purchase……G
I see Taylor’s as more bright and Martin’s more dull – in the end it’s all personal pref! My brother and I played at a guitar shop for hours one day going from L’Arrive to Gibson to Martin to Taylor. I went back to A Taylor and he ended up with a Martin. Go figure.
Gotta go with Martin
Martin. I do love my D-12-28. Thanks!
Martin, not even close.
Martin is an American icon. Their guitars are the standard of excellence. Taylor makes good guitars. But they never sound as good to me as a Martin.
The tie is probably right. I own a 1973 D-35 & a Taylor 614 CE. The Martin has a sweeter sound and more pronounced bass, but the Taylor offers more features and flexibility for the player– electronics, cutaway, 1.75 nut, sweet sound and greater playing comfort. It also responds well to heavy strumming and light finger-picking styles. And its brown sugar maple back & sides are gorgeous and produce an evenly balanced sound between the bass and treble strings thanks to the unique bracing that Andy Powers used specifically on the 614 to voice the maple (its not the newer V-braced model). Both great guitars.
Watched your segment on best guitar and saw (no surprise) it was a tie.
The best guitar is the one that gets you to pick it up and play, lights your internal fire.
Hard to top the Martin list though: John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, Eddie Vedder, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson……etc
Tony it’s the wood Martin limits the wood so that the old martins value goes up. Taylor makes ready to play guitars with woods that have a future that maybe outstanding tones i.e, koa.lets see how the sc13e works out I’m on the list.
Regarding the lineup category, everyone knows of the D-28 and D-35 Martins. The various 100’s of Taylor are not universally known.
I have a great appreciation for both Martin and Taylor, however I feel it is my burden duty to do a write in. My very favorite is BREEDLOVE.
If I must choose between Martin and Taylor, my vote goes to Martin.
Interesting analysis but I think you missed the point of the comparison. You didn’t address the 3 criteria that I think drive a decision to buy Martin vs. Taylor – sound, playability and price.
Right on! This was more comparing the companies, not the instruments themselves… which would be much more interesting and valuable.
Tony!! Can we actually say which guitar is the better instrument, when “what’s better” is so darn subjective? Having said that, and being an owner of 2 guitars-both Martins, I’m gonna say TAYLOR!
Why? Innovation, consistency, and carving out their own sonic niche. No American guitar builder has accomplished icon status in less than 50 years. Nobody! In far less than 50 years from now, Taylor will be spoken of with reverence. I LOVE my Martins (DR & a D-18GE 1934), but my next guitar will be a Taylor.
I think that Taylor on the entry level and through the 200 series are a little over priced for what you are getting. Just my opinion.
Martin. Tone is something of a personal preference and for me nothing compares to the richness of a Martin.
Taylor’s consistency in manufacturing is a clear winner. Taylor’s driving the marketplace (brown/black stripped ebony fretboards, Koa as a material, the armrest, V-class bracing) shows that Taylor is clearly making the guitar of the future. The GS Mini has become a dominant guitar in travel/parlor guitars of the future. Martin high end instruments D-45, D-42 are museum quality art, but if you have less than $5,000 to spend you get more guitar for the money with Taylor.
Just saw 137.martin or Taylor,that is all guitar geeks personal opinion.i love both.even though I don’t own,a Martin or a taylor.yet but maybe one day I will.you know I love your show,always.durning this hard times of the pandemic,I am spending time in my room, practicing,and learning.to make the time go buy.have a good week.thank you😁🌟👍🎸🎤🎼☕
Martin – my dream guitar!
No winners, no losers, just diversity to choose from… and my choices so far a Mahogany Top GSmini, a Spruce Top 312ce, and a Cedar Top 314ce-RW LTD
My opinions developed over the years:
Taylor – “They’re so light-weight and easy to play.” True, you can pick up any model, plug it in and play. However, they all sound identical, regardless of model or materials – very hard to differentiate instruments in a blind listening test. Not as enjoyable to listen to when played acoustically. Resale prices diminish rather quickly.
Martin – Easily distinguishable sound. Each instrument unique. No electronics necessary, with age can sound almost piano-like. Just a higher quality of musicality. Want to hear instruments with TONE? Here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ6-i8hI3Gs
Selecting new guitar is much like choosing a girl friend. Looks good, feels good, performs exceptionally well and one other thing for the guitar – price.
Martin. You forgot Johnny Cash and Eric Clapton. 🙂
Martin has always had the richest sound over any acoustic! Even though Taylor is very impressive, they fall in the midrange for tone.
MARTIN. ‘Nuff said.
Martin … of course …. BTW – Tony Rice, Eric Clapton? Need I say more? 🙂
From my experience of playing Martins and Taylors in the music store, I have always felt that Martins have even sound across bass, midrange and treble frequencies. The Taylors have a boost of bass and treble.
Hi. Antone. Martin Vs Taylor #137: The Winner is!
Taylor over Martin. I think Taylor actually has the edge in innovation in recent years and I think the artist preference is just a function of Martin’s longer history and place in music culture.
I vote for Taylor. Now having said that, I disagree, there does not have to be a winner. It’s a matter of personal preference and nothing more.
I vote for Martin. Having owned 2 vintage Guilds, a Takamine, Ovation and others I now own 2 Martins. I thought I wanted a Taylor to complete the collection, but every time I play a Taylor I go back to Martin because of the pure mellow guitar sound. Taylor’s are definitely consistent but too much on the treble side. I am now looking for my third Martin. By the way when I got my first Guild F50 in 1976 I crossed Martin off my list because I saw them as bluegrass guitars and I wanted something more diverse. I also lived in Bethlehem, PA for 16 years and knew Chris Martin personally. When moving from there in 2012 is when I got my first Martin. They are a different company today since Chris has been at the helm and they build a guitar today that not only meets the needs of professionals of all musical genres, but for people of all skill and income levels. They set the standard and they are still the classic but they have put new technology into their designs and instruments that I think make them the best in the Martin vs. Taylor battle. If someone gave me a Taylor or an incredible deal that I could not refuse I would probably take it but if I putting my money on the line for the best guitar and sound, Martin always wins.
Martin….without a doubt….Taylors are way too chimey
Hey Tony, Great show today. I own both brand guitars. However I have four Taylors. A 710 CE, 412 CE N, 210 e, and a G S Mini. My Martin is an HD 28 Sunburst. So I am going to give my vote to Taylor. Thanks for all you do to keep us enjoying our guitars. I do enjoy all my guitars though. Thanks again.
Bill K from sunny Daytona Beach, Florida.
I think it is such a personal decision as to which guitar one chooses. I am a newbie, so I have my very first guitar a Yamaha that I got for Christmas. I hope one day I get to choose between a Martin and a Taylor. My son is a wonderful guitarist and he has both (plus many others). He seems to always go back to his Taylor…..so my vote would be Taylor because is sounds so great!
Martin just feels and sounds better, quality is also off the charts. More hand craftsmanship is apparent!
Martin’s HD28, 0028, special edition SP000C16TR, and D16RTG.
Martin. No contest.
Taylor is my choice. Their Koa guitar is absolutely beautiful and has the most amazing sound. They only use Fallen Koa trees from Hawaii and are really concerned about sustainability. Yes Taylor gets my vote.
I have a taylor Mini KOA, the volume is HUGE. l
If you have one you’ll end up getting both.
I think it’s very cool that Taylor had the guts to introduce ebony fret-boards with figuring and blond stripes. All that wood used to go to waste because everybody in the guitar world wanted/expected the pure black ebony. But the majority of ebony is not. I think it’s beautiful. That idea just added 9 times more ebony to the world market than we had before. And the hardness and quality of the ebony is the same. Perfect hardness and fret retention. Now just since NAM I see Fender is following suit. (Check out: Fender American QMT Stratocaster HSS Pale Moon Ebony Fingerboard). Beautiful. Thank you Bob!
Taylor sounds good but the magic comes from Martin guitars
If it took either a Taylor or a Martin to make a great guitar player, there would be far fewer git-pickers in the world today. That being said, I’ve been gassing for a Martin 000 Clapton model since you could buy one for $2,000. Sigh….post me in the Martin camp with much respect to Taylor. -ed
martin all the way for playability
i cant remember who said it, may have been tommy emanuel on one of your interviews…. but it was said that the greatest guitar is the one you cant put down. Brand is therefore a mute point.
Obviously two of the best, but category #7 was bogus and biased based on the history and reputation of Martin for professional musicians. I think Taylor, across the board, makes the best product at each of their price points. Taylor for me. Plus I own three of them 🙂
Hey Tony, while I appreciate the attempt at deciding a winner through the categories you’ve presented, I think you’re missing the boat here. The most important aspects are sound/tone and playability, right? Isn’t that how most people go about deciding which company is best, by evaluating the product (even if you leave price points out of this)? You don’t really address these issues.
If you want to include other aspects, they are valid and very interesting, but clearly not as important as tone and feel (and properly done, the evaluation would compare like designs from each company). In my thinking the company that makes the best sounding, best playing guitar(s) wins. FWIW, I have both Taylor and Martin guitars, and each are special depending on what kind of music I’m playing. So maybe a better competition would be more specific. For instance, who builds the best dreadnaught?
Great ideas Steve. I loved the sound of my Martin D18 but finally found it another home because it was too hard for me to play. The action was lowered and I used light strings but my short fingers had a tough time getting around the neck. I miss the sweet mahogany sound but my new Taylor is much easier for me.
Taylor is the best due to sound, ease of play, ability to adjust or fix neck problems, and overall sound for picking. Strumbing is a tie.
Martin is the One
I have heard that Taylors are “easier” to play
I feel that Martins have a warmer high end, therefore, I choose Martin.
A few comments first, and my vote below…
It had to be a tie, of course. You can’t alienate either company by picking a favorite (but we anonymous Guitar Geeks can).
I have to say that most of those 7 categories are not the topmost ones in your mind when you’re choosing an instrument.
Mostly, it’s about playability, comfort, tone and unfortunately, price. It’s hard not to love a guitar that’s easy to play and sounds great. Next come workmanship and cosmetics. So this was more about choosing a guitar company…
But choosing a guitar? MARTIN – Why? Because I’ve never played one that didn’t play nicely and sound well. Taylor makes very nice guitars, but most sound a little ‘bright’ to me and they don’t all play ‘like butter’.
I have to flunk both custom shops because neither of them would build me a custom guitar with a 12″ fret board radius. I was surprised and disappointed by that. especially because the one Taylor that I do own, the T5z Pro has a 12 inch radius. So they do make 12 inch radius fretboards, – just not in their custom shop on a full on acoustic. So I just keep playing Takamine’s. 😜
I Like my Taylor but I Love my Martin
both where bit expensive, sacrifices had to be made, and debts incurred.
Taylor has recent article about using urban woods from ash trees sourced around San Diego Area
In my part of the world, I constantly see large mature trees chopped down and thrown away constantly.
The whole thought process doing something useful with urban trees as they age out instead of tossing them in the landfill, too cool! Opens your mind to the idea of different woods.
to me visually Taylors are works of art, they have more variety in appearances as standard production options
but if you want a custom order the price quickly doubles for even minor variations in standard features
pickups and cut a ways dominate the line
Martin is much more reasonable with custom orders often only about 10% upcharge from standard models
action too high? then budget to pay the Luthier to massage the action a bit and put lighter strings on it
plenty of non cutaway non electric models to be had
play ability and sound? I agree with others one is not better than the other, they are different in very good ways
In the local shop:
Both have beginner models starting at $500, more $ than other brands from overseas
I see Martin custom shop models in the same or less price range as high end standard Taylors
the Taylor custom shop models, the kind they make for MAM, prices approach the lower stratosphere, well beyond my credit rating
I saw a Taylor urban ash guitar in the store, beautiful!!
if I could only have one and only one ? Martin OM
Martin is clear winner for me.
Martin. I have played and owned 800 series Taylor’s. My arsenal is all Martin now. No regrets.
Stigma: Martin wins. I remember an ad way back when that said, “Taylor, as good as Martin.” I never heard Martin say, “Martin, as good as Taylor.” I own a Martin JB18, the first Jimmy Buffett model and a Taylor 816CE. Both are amazing. I love them both. I love them both. I would give the edge to Martin.
How come no tone or playability categories?
You’d these would be the biggest rounds.
Anyway… I can pretty much pick out Martins just by sound.
I’m going with Martin
Btw… Blackhawks have the best jerseys
Martin — I own 0018 and a 12-20
Taylor – because of sustainability, amazing work on that front, I hope other manufactures learns from and it becomes the standard. Hopefully in the future this will will no longer be part of any comparison.
Martin… All Day Long
I love the long history and deep tradition of Martin. Nothing exudes more magic and soul than an old Martin guitar. Those old eras never die as long as there are Martin guitars to bring them back to life for us.
I vote MARTIN without any reservation simply because acoustic guitar history, tradition and culture are built on the very shoulders of MARTIN. Some of the icons of blues and folk – legends of our time – played MARTINS before TAYLOR even existed. There just is no pre-war TAYLOR. Plus, I just prefer MARTIN’S warmth over TAYLOR’S brightness of tone.
Having voted for MARTIN, I will quickly add that I lust after a TAYLOR 214CE-DLX-K which in my opinion sounds better than many MARTINS and other more expensive TAYLORS. And there is no shortage of TAYLORS I would be thrilled to own. I also always look forward to the latest edition of TAYLOR’S Wood & Steel which is unmatched (in my opinion) by MARTIN.
Gotta be Martin just the history and the players
As a young new guitar player at the age of 12 in 1964 I took guitar lessons for about five years. Back then there were only two premiere guitar manufacturers, Martin and Gibson. There probably were others, but no one knew about them. Taylor didn’t exist. I dreamed of owning a Martin for many many years. Now I own two a Mexican made one (GPC-11E) and one from Nazareth (HDC-28E). Both sound excellent. I lost my way with playing guitar because life, including 30 years in the military, happened. I came back to guitar when I accidentally saw one of your videos. I did not know Taylor guitar existed until recently, but have played a couple recently. The more expensive ones are great sounding guitars. I haven’t played a laminate. The whole point is this. Would Taylor even exist today if it wasn’t for Martin and maybe Gibson leading the way. Just a thought. Best Regards
As far as pure guitar playing and listening enjoyment, Martin has always sounded more full and even to me. Taylor is brassy and bright and records well with other instruments but most of the time I see most pro’s will play a Martin live and I definitely prefer the sound. Taylor has a good reputation but I’ve personally never picked one up and played one that had an even enough or warm enough tone to want to buy. Martin all the way for me!
Martin in the end, WINS…
I own both the Martin HD-28 VS and the Taylor 914 ce….
What guitar do I p/u when I just want to PLAY (practice/noodle)…yes, the Taylor…it’s playability is preferable for all the reasons we love Taylor…. but when it comes to what’s that TRUE….”Take me away Calgon” guitar tone (think PP&M, Kingston Trio, John Stewart, Neil Young, Paul Simon, James Taylor, the artist list here goes on forever) sound I am trying to replicate from player’s of my era (73 years young) Martin wins by a KNOCKOUT.
I guess the standard answer would be that Martin caters to the traditional guitarist, while Taylor is looking to move the guitar manufacturing business into a modern, sustainable, and more profitable business.
Here’s an issue – I’m looking to add a medium to high end no cutaway dreadnought into the stable and Taylor doesn’t make one! How can that be? Is Bob so adamant that he’s not gonna follow Martin down that path? Makes no sense to me… I’d rather support Taylor as I live in San Diego, but I want what I want and he seems unwilling to make it.
Martin or Taylor? How about neither? I know, I’m weird. Been playing guitar for over 55 years since I was 12. Played accordian before that as my parents thought I might qualify as the next Lawrence Welk. Was not cool at the time though, so picked up a guitar instead. Anyway, Martin always held a mystique for me and represented the top of the heap in my mind for most of my life. Tried many over the years and when I finally could afford one, could never come to actually plunking money down for one. I just don’t like them in the end…don’t know why. When Taylor came on the scene, I was impressed by the look, quality, consistency, and electronics. I’ve really tried to like them, have played many (100 to 800 series), and even bought one about 2 years ago. Took it back before the 45 day trial was up as I just could not get used to the “brightness”. Thought the V-bracing might be the answer, but found that to be worse. I’m a flat picker who largely prefers a J-45, Hummingbird type of guitar. I’ve played an Ovation for about 40 years, have had a Hummingbird, 12 string Takamine, Yamaha, Epiphone, Framus, Alvarez classical, and just recently bought a McPherson carbon fiber, as well as some electrics: Strats, Les Paul, Stewart, and a Parker Fly. I have been in search of the perfect guitar for a long time (I know I’m not alone). Every guitar player knows the feeling of picking up that near-perfect instrument that almost plays itself when you touch it. That’s the ticket! But, try to find it. Then, when you do, check out whether you have the same opinion when you play it the next day, next week, next month. It’s been both a satisfying and frustrating journey. The closest thing I have ever played to date is a Larrivee LV-09. (Not interested in anything but a cut-away). Played it one day at a local store. Came back to buy it the next day and it was sold. Recently planned to visit both the Taylor and Larrivee factory as they are in the same vicinity in CA, but my health took a turn before I could, so maybe sometime in the future. Life’s a mystery. Keep up the great work, Tony!
I have only dealt with Taylor Guitars but if you had looked at customer service, they would have my vote. My daughter plays guitar and she wanted a guitar that was limited and not being made anymore. Guess what, my daughter’s prayers were answered. They were so good to us, I doubt my daughter would look at another brand.
Today….Martin is my winner! . I have a D12-28. I purchased a new Taylor 717e Builders Edition, but had to purchase a 1996 HD 28 Martin a few weeks ago, with the intent to sell the Taylor. But now I’m having second thoughts! So…today….Martin. Tomorrow…no idea! Go figure!!
Martin for all long years!
Hey Tony, and fellow guitar geeks.
I enjoyed this episode but I think it misses the mark. To me, the two most important things in measuring guitars are: 1). How does it sound? 2). How easy is it to play?
My first “step up” guitar was a Martin D18 dreadnought. The sustain, the magical sound of the mahogany gave me goosebumps. But as a small woman with small hands it was a bear to play.
I find the necks of Taylors are easier for my fingers to wrap around. I needed a thinner body type as the 5″ dread hurt my right shoulder. Now I play a Taylor 312 ce and I also have a Taylor Big Baby which is the easiest to play. I’d love a GS mini if it came with a cutaway (would that negatively effect the sound?).
Carol from Kane’ohe
I personally like the tone of Martins vs Taylor. They are both great sounding instruments.
I guess it all depends on the genre you are leaning toward: either classical or bluegrass et.
My vote is for Martin (disclaimer: I don’t own either one these.) My opinion based on music I have heard and whether or not they disclose who or what they are playing.
I love the tone of the Martins and admire the look of Taylor.
Clearly were I to buy new today I will choose Taylor. That said I respect history etc. as just that, history. I bought Taylor recently and keep my Gibson.
Taylor! And yes,I’ve owned both.I can’t wait to own a V class Taylor.
I have 2 Martin guitars and 2 Taylor guitars but by a slight margin I VOTE MARTIN
I have played a lot of Martin and Taylor guitars of all prices, and in comparable guitars MARTIN ALWAYS WINS. Martin is more balanced and the tone is the best.
I have one of each – Also used to live close to Nazareth and have been to the factory – Really really hard to get past the hands on very custom like feeling you get at the Martin factory but have not been to the Taylor factory – I love to build things and was captivated by the craftsman I saw at Martin – Each guitar has such a different sound – I love both..
Opinions are like noses-everyone has one!!!!!!!
Both Taylor and Martin are top guitars and you can’t go wrong with anyone of them.
Except for Gibson there would be no guitar industry in the USA if not for Martin Guitar.
That includes Taylor, Pre-War, Guild, and all the other guitar makers you can name.
Martin is the clear winner.
Definitely Martin in most categories. I think you underestimated Martin’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Check out these links from Martin’s web page: https://www.martinguitar.com/about/sustainability/ I think it’s as least as committed as Taylor’s. Martin also has many dedicated robotic operations in their building process. Finally, consider the major players who play mostly Martins — The subject of next week’s program, Bob Dylan, played mostly Martins and a few Gibsons. No mention of Taylors. Then again, there are Stephen Stills, certainly one of the world’s most amazing guitar players, as well as David Crosby, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopler, Richard Thompson, Jason Isbell, Jorma Kaukonen, The Kingston Trio, Tommy Emmanuel, and, of course, your favorite and mine, Molly Tuttle. I might be slightly prejudiced because my brother used to work at Martin. I might consider buying a Taylor, but a Martin will always be my Holy Grail and object of lust.
Martin hands down!!
Martin. My great grandfather played a Martin, my grandfather and grand uncles played Martins. Of course they were all from West Virginia and music was the video games of that era. I play a Martin because of the contour neck. The playability is easy. But ergo, I also play a Gibson Hummingbird which has a superior sound. As far as Taylor, I live within 10 miles from their factory. After this comparison by Tony, I think I need to visit it.
Martin. Anything else is just an imitation.
Only one winner………Martin Guitar.
Martin. I have a Martin 000-42 and a D-18 Modern Deluxe, as well as a Taylor 814ce, GS Mini and Baby Taylor. In my opinion, the Martin tone and sustain are superior to the thinner Taylor tone.
Ive had several of both brands and If you consider resale or trade in value, you got go with Martin.
I think round 5 might be a bit tight, Your main Taylor innovation you claim is the V bracing, however I believe that V bracing has been around for a very long time in some form or another. Cole Clark in Australia have a form of V bracing on their Fat lady models and Spanish model guitars have used a V bracing system although Andy has definitely improved on the design I believe. But I find it hard to say it was an innovation on Taylors behalf.
Martin, Although I have not done a Taylor factory tour yet hopefully next trip to the US of A
I vote Martin. I do own both a Martin and a Taylor and I am fond of them both, just a tad more of my Martin. Plus Martin has the history going for it and I was born and raised in Pennsylvania so I got to with the home town. Martin gets my vote.
I have a 1938 000-18 Martin and owned it for only for 54 years. When I play it, I wonder why I even play my other guitars. I took it to the Martin Factory in Nazareth about 15 years ago and they did a little fine tuning on it and after when I played it for them, they said it sounded better they any guitars built today (their opinion). For 82 years it has stood the test of time!
Although a decent model Taylor sounds good, the Martin models from D18 and up, is still an overall winner!
I can do more versatile guitar sounds tonally with my D18….
Martin most Taylor’s are a little too bright.
Rest In Peace, John Prine. You were a legend, and many people took up the guitar because of you. All aspiring Singer-Songwriters wanted to be like you… to have talent just like you. Your skills were amazing! You inspired many individuals, and a couple of generations of Singer-Songwriters. The one’s that come close to your skills, realize now, that it took years and years of practice to get to your skill level. You made it look easy! You will be sorely missed. Your family, friends and loved ones are in our prayers.
On daily TAC lessons I’ve seen you play multiple Martins, button Taylors. No one has a pre-war Taylor. Between the 2 I have to say Martin. BTW, I own one of each.
Martin has the pedigree…..Martin all the way!!
Martin all the way!! Both great guitars but history, more hands on in building, long list of great artists playing, and preference to the “Martin” sound, all makes Martin guitar iconic and the winner.
HD 28. D18, D18GE. 0015m, 00L 17m
Mini, 312 & 414 TAYLOR
Tony: Now that a lot of us open-mic’ers are using the internet to perform, a review or advice as to which the best platforms to use are – e.g. Zoom , Jamkazam, would be appreciated! Thanks for your show!
Hands down, Martin!
Tony, have you ever done a review of Zager guitars or are you able to share your opinion publicly?
Tony, have you ever reviewed Zager guitars or are you able to comment publicly?
I’ve owned both. Martin is the clear winning.
Taylor! I have 5 acoustic guitars, of which 3 are Taylors and 2 are Martin. I love them all, but my next G.A.S. is also for a Taylor.
Martin = Good Old Boy
Gibson = Bad Boy
Taylor = Choir Boy
A pickup is not part of guitar design, it is electronics. Also Gretsch has used latticed bracing since the 50’s which is a type of V-Class bracing.
My first serious guitar I owned was a Martin D-28. But once I got my hands on a Taylor I’ve never looked back. I currently own 4 and have owned 4 others (upgraded over the years). I sold the D-28 to buy my 2nd Taylor. If I could find a Martin with a comfortable neck and good action I’d consider buying it.
Martin for sure. Had a Taylor once, but now have 6 Martins.
When I shopped for a guitar to celebrate my 65th birthday, it came down to two, a grand concert Martin acosutic/electric and a similar sized Taylor acoustic/electric. I hose the Martin for the depth of its tone; the Taylor had too bright a sound. I figured I could get a brighter sound on the Martin if I wanted by using an amplifier. You also need to compare these venerable workhorses to the older Gibsons and Guilds, which definitely stack up favorably. I own two Guild 12-strings, a 1973 F112 and a 1980 F212, and would not part with them for anything
I am relatively new to these aspects of guitar. However, I am sold on the Taylor line as I am partial to the neck of the Taylor, which fits my hand just perfectly! It seems to be an easier guitar to play than Martin!
I would also like to thank you, Tony, for the way that you articulate information. It is a pleasure listening to you,no matter the duration of the video!……… Thank you, man!!
I have 2 custom shop Martins. I have a 40 series cutaway Dreadnought all in Black (similar to a D-41) Even had my name put in the neck in pearl. This is in 1994 when finding a Martin Cutaway was hard to find. So imagine a D-41 cutaway all in black, this is what it looks like. Also had a 000-42 sent to the custom shop , had the neck changed. Greatest custom shop PERIOD. I’ve owned Collins, Taylors, Brazilian Rosewood 810B Taylor, Takamine’s, Yamaha, Gibson. Martin is the by far the best
I concur with Kyle that Martin has the image of a Rolls Royce and the price to go with it. But being a po-boy I set sights on my Taylor, being more than I could really afford. Since then, my guitar money has gone to my grand kids guitars and essentials. If I had the opportunity for another guitar I would definitely look at Martin. As for the winner, I see tradition vs Innovation each have their place in the competition. They complement and challenge each other.
As a former Pennsylvania man and visitor to the Martin factory, I Dream of owning a Martin Guitar. Someday!!
Thanks Tony, always a great show. I grew up always wanting a Martin and I couldn’t afford it, so I have owned 3 Taylors. But in the last two years, I’ve traded two of my Taylors for 2 Martins. One was a used 12 string with amazing bell tones, and then I bought a Martin D10E six string. I hate to put either of them down. The tone is rich, and for me, when I compared the Martins and the Taylors, I found the sustain in the Martins just continued to sing. How blessed we all are to be able to have the opportunity to compare great instruments. I’m grateful to have both, but my favorite is MARTIN!!!
Martin vs.Taylor. One more category would have made it decisive. Smell. I cant help but put my nose inside my Martin every time I pick it up. That’s never happened with my Taylors.
Taylor and Martin, both great companies with impeccable instruments, which I can’t quite afford. Mine is a Breedlove. Thank you Tony, fantastic show. Now going forward: With my present pocket book limitations, and my engineering discipline, my choice is Taylor. ~ Tom Dolan______
Martin, by far!
Tony; This episode seems to go against the idea of TAC and Acoustic Life. Battles? who’s better? Who’s best? My question would be who cares? They are both top notch, I would love either or both. The recent episode of 5 great values for entry level seems more in line with the values of the idea of living your best acoustic life. Not that it has to be entry level. Why not the top 3, 5, 7 or what ever best value high-end guitars?
P.S. How do I get a Hockey Jersey with the Acoustic Life logo?
Now why don’t you go to the 70’s and lets compare Martin vs Ovation or 80’s Martin vs Takamine. Is Taylor machine made, if so why do they cost the same as a Martin or Gibson or Collins ect. A fair comparison would have been Martin’s vs high end Gibson’s ,Collins, Thompson Bourgeois ect. Innovation, you don’t have to go to the past just pull up the new Martin SC-13 neck joint, by far the most advanced since the 1800’s. I enjoyed playing my Taylor ,no doubt, on stage with the comfort and playability and electronics they are hard to beat. UNPLUGGED we should not even have a discussion between these 2. This is just head scratching. Unplugged this is still Martins world
I have owned two Taylor 12-strings (855) and I now have a Taylor 414 CE Rosewood. I have owned a Martin J-40 and I now own a Martin GPCPA4. The Taylors play much better than the Martins. The Martins emphasize the bass much more and the Taylors are more balanced. The Taylors are impeccable as far as workmanship is concerned. My Martin has a neck problem that I have chosen to live with but I am surprised it left the factory with the problem. If I have to choose one to play in public, it’s always the Taylor. I love the sound of both but I have to go with the Taylor just a little bit. By the way, I have a Seagull that I bought in a pawn shop that can hang in there with the Martin and the Taylor pretty well.
Thanks for a most interesting show I really enjoyed it.
My choice for winner is MARTIN
and the logic is this :
INNOVATION is not a tie – If you look at Martin’s X bracing you can see this ia actually 4 V patterns.
So to me, Taylor does not get credit for developing the V pattern – Martin already had it 4 times.
I have to admit bias since I own Taylor guitars and no Martins, but that choice was made after comparing both manufacturers. I admit that I didn’t consider most of the categories that you used to make your judgement. I just live the sound of the Taylor guitars. I have a 2003 714CE/LTD and a mahogany GS Mini. I love the brighter tone of the Taylor guitars. I was, however, blown away by the Billy Strings and Molly Tuttle clips that you shared. Maybe a Martin would be good to round out my small collection (which includes Gibson ES335 and Les Paul Standard in addition to the Taylor acoustics).
By the way, including Hank Williams as a Martin guitar player when comparing the respective artists who play them is data that should be thrown out since he died long before Taylor guitars were being made. I would have limited the artists to those playing today and then develop a more inclusive list for your data set. I bet either manufacturer would provide a list of artists who play their instruments. I really liked the clips that you shared, but it was very limited and focused on artists that you like.
I really enjoy Acoustic Tuesday. I’m currently trying to focus my attention on electric guitars because I want to expand my skill set. Otherwise I would probably sign up for your course. I have a good friend who signed up and really likes it. If you can recommend a good electric guitar course, let me know.
I own both Martin and Taylor top line guitars and they are collecting dust because I fell in love with Takamine. The sound and playability cannot be matched. Maybe one of the reasons why it is one of country music’s favorite guitars.
I own two Martins, a 2010 HD28 and a 2005 D18ge and
2002 New Hartford Guild F50r. The Guild has become my favorite guitar. But the Martins definitely have their own sound. I’ve played a lot of Taylors but I feel they don’t measure up. Perhaps it’s the bolt on neck vs the true dovetail of the Martin.
Although a very hard decision, I have to go with Taylor.
Tony i prefer martin because they have a more balanced tone to me but i do like taylor because some of they’re guitars have a brighter tone that seems to fit what i want to play, BTW where was the trivia question i generally rack my brain each week to figure it out but if i can’t then i sometimes find myself pausing your show to google it
Martin. No question.
I really like to play my Taylor GS KOA Limited Edition it’s easy to play and the electronics really put out the sound.But when it comes to deep down real gut busting authentic sound my Martin Johnny Cash D-35 is the winner. Great show by the way.
I’m new to guitar and haven’t really experienced both Martin and Taylor, so I don’t feel qualified to vote (but I do feel like I need to shop around and experience what these makers have to offer).
I wonder, though, does there HAVE to be a definitive winner? Can we ever agree, for instance who the best athlete was in any sport or can anyone named in the debate be REALLY good?
Look, I watched Tony’s interview with Andy Powers regarding Taylor’s V-class bracing and I have to say, I’m really intrigued by the Grand Pacific models, but the prices! Ouch! The Martin model I’m looking at – the 000-15m – also looks amazing. I don’t think I could go wrong with either guitar model or ANY model by either Taylor or Martin. Maybe it’s just a nice problem to have knowing that it’s going to be a win no matter what I choose.
I own a Taylor GSmini and love Taylor. I of course vote for TAYLOR.
Martin of course wins hands down in comparison with any other guitar company. Martin is the “champagne of guitars”! To own/play a Martin guitar is to own/play the best!!
Well I find Taylor excel at fingerpicking and Martin more of an excellent all rounder. I love the sound of my Taylor GSmini but I prefer the traditional sounds of the full sizes Martin’s overall
I haven’t owned a Tylor guitar so I can’t comment on the Tylor. But Martin blazed the trail for guitar makers. Tylor and other guitar makers just copied what Martin has spent so many years producing. They were making outstanding guitars when modern machines and robot’s wasn’t even thought of. When you say the word Martin around musician’s they know that Martin means quality no questions asked maybe not so sure about Tylor made guitars. I’m sure Martin will be here when all the rest has of guitar makers has called it quits. That’s is my final response and I’m sticking to it
I don’t know about category 4 – Martin is not that hard to understand to me
00, 000, OM and D and you’re there. Just wood combinations after that to me.
That said, this IS your best show ever!
Tommy Coomes – Nashville
Ooo, Very Hard. Tie is good.
Chris is a Marketing guy and a great steward of the Brand
Bob T is the genie of innovation and sustainability
Martin hands down with no disrespect to Taylor. Martin just has the history and the track record reflected by the long list of owners. Watch videos from the 40’s, 50’s 60’s, 70’s up to today.
Recording Artists primarily all own Martin’s. Bob Dylan, Crosb, Stills, and Nash, John Lennon,, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, and on and on! Martin!
Tony, just re-watched James Corden “Car Karaoke” with Paul McCartney. There is one segment were they play in a small pub. Paul is behind a curtain and Corden asks a patron to play something on the juke box. When the young lady makes her selection the curtains open up and Paul, with a band, play a song. The COOL part was when Paul played “Love Me Do” on acoustic! Acoustic you say? Yes! A MARTIN!
“Martin” To own a Martin would be like dying and going to heaven, but then I couldn’t take it with me.
The real answer to which one is better is simple: The answer is….. “which ever one you Love“. I spent a few hours at Carter’s in Nashville. An incredible experience in and of itself. I played MANY amazing guitars, including early vintage Martins exceeding $35K. I loved them all. But they just didn’t feel or sound as right…. to me…… as my Taylor 816CE, or my 1983 Alverez Yiari. Some day I hope to find a Martin that I Love…… I just haven’t found it yet. As a side note…… I have observed that a HUGE number of really talented country guitarists play Takamine’s. Great video Tony….. enjoyed it a lot 👍
Martin. Or maybe Collings.
Ya know when I joined Acoustic Life a couple years back, I bought a nice Martin that I perceived as something that I would have to learn to play up to . I’m not “there” yet. Other guitars, I irrationally thought, would hold me back. So pre conceived notions of the guitars had everything to do with my choice of guitar, nothing to do with data, history, synchronizing my skill at the moment.
I own a Taylor and Martin. I love them both. Finger pick more with Martin. Play hard with Taylor.
Well, Tony, my feathers are not all all ruffled by a dead heat tie, especially when one is so well deserved. But somehow, the idea of pitting Martin against Taylor is sort of like pitting a Chateaubriand against a Bistecca alla Fiorentina…..both the ultimate expressions of what to do with a huge, thick steak! I live in Raleigh, which has now become the epicenter of bluegrass music with the advent of the big annual 5-day IBMA extravaganza. In the bluegrass world, which is growing exponentially, Martin has reigned supreme for many years. Almost ALL serious bluegrass musicians, amateur and professional alike, play either an HD28 or a D-18 Martin. I’ll tell a little story. A few years ago, I was participating in an open bluegrass jam in downtown Raleigh and a lovely young woman joined us, holding a Taylor.
She expressed interest in learning to play bluegrass and asked how she could best go about it. I told her that her first step should be to swap the Taylor for a Martin. She did not like that!
But it’s all so subjective. Each guitar has its best place. Bluegrass picking simply sounds better with a Martin, period, Trey Hensley notwithstanding. I play a Martin HD28V and it sounds great for bluegrass and other stuff as well. It’s all a matter of how the instrument feels in your hands and sounds to your ear as well as to the ears of those on the other side of the guitar.
Thank you so much for airing this segment. It was a great experience for me to visit the Martin factory a few years ago, and now you make me want to visit the Taylor shop as well!
Martin…..the tone has never been matched.
Innovation a tie? This is my first ever comment. Enjoying the TAC experience so far. This is day 1. I am by no means an expert but my logical mind almost forces me to choose Martin. They may have leveled off but closing in on 200 years of guitar making has to give them the edge…IMHO.
Hey Tony. Nice job on the match-up. As a new D28 Modern Deluxe owner, I have to cast my vote with MARTIN. Hope I’m not too late.
I was 18 Years old( now 75 )I played a Martin owned by the then young , unknown Paul Simon , fell in love with it , But poor could not afford one , now own three also have 2 Taylor’s but no contest MARTIN
I have to vote for the Martin . I just hear more colour and dynamics from any Martin. To be fair, it comes down to usage.I would recommend a Taylor acoustic for concerts and band work a workhorse to support the vocal trios and quartets in the frontline. I would use a Martin for featured solo work ….a Martin would support the melodies and harmonies in instrumentals, bridges and flexible enough to lend its own ‘Martin voice ‘ to lyrics while supporting and complementing the stylings of the solo vocalist. ( Now I will return to learning to play guitar….sigh…TAC.)
Wannabe Guitar Geek Tena S.
I really dislike the Taylor sound. For sound which I like country and rock would be:
And Taylor would be far down any list.
Tony are you going to do a review on the Martin SC-13E? Game Changer!!!!