Taylor GS Mini Mahogany Review: Acoustics Under $500 Reviews

Published Categorized as Beginner Guitars Under 500, Guitar Reviews, Guitar Reviews under 500, Laminate Back and Sides Wood, Mahogany Top Wood, Sapele Patterned Laminate Back and Sides, Small Size Guitar Reviews, Solid Wood Top Wood, Taylor Acoustic Guitars

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Hello and welcome to my Taylor GS Mini Review. Today we’re looking specifically at the Taylor GS Mini Mahogany.

As soon as I picked this guitar up I knew I was in for something special. The feel and look of this guitar is striking, but what about the most important aspects of a guitar – the sound and playability?

I’ll get to that in a moment.

This review will cover:

  • The GS Mini’s sound (including videos)
  • The playability of the GS Mini
  • Who the GS Mini is most suitable for; and
  • Whether or not the GS Mini is value-for-money

O.k let’s start off with the sound.

Table of Contents

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar , Sapele, Mahogany Top

Sound


This guitar is a travel sized guitar so I wasn’t expecting too much in terms of the fullness of sound or the volume.

Despite those expectations, the tone was amazing! It had a nice warm, clear, full and balanced sound.

Volume

The volume and resonance, especially given the size, was impressive. It gives off such a full resonant sound for such a small guitar – it’s full and resonant but also balanced and even.

Warm or Bright?

The GS Mini Mahogany was definitely a warm sounding guitar. If you prefer a brighter sound then it does also come in a model with a Sitka Spruce top.

On a scale of 1-10, the Mahogany version is about a 4 – 4.5 out of 10, with 1 being so warm that it’s muddy sounding and 10 being so bright that’s it’s tinny and harsh. So the GS Mini is nice and warm but still crisp.

Materials

O.k. let’s take a quick look at what the GS Mini Mahogany is made of:

  • Top (Soundboard): Solid Mahogany. The Mahogany top is the main reason for the warm tone. It’s got a non-cutaway body shape.
  • Back and Sides: Layered Sapele is used for the back and sides. Whilst not as good as solid wood back and sides would be, if it had solid back and sides this guitar would be considerably more expensive. And to be honest the tone was so nice the Sapele back and sides are definitely not an issue.
  • Headstock: The chrome tuners are nothing special but they felt fine to use and felt solid.
  • Nut and saddle: The nut and saddle are made from Nubone – which is a synthetic material designed to emulate bone. Don’t mistake this for cheap plastic – Nubone is a great material for nuts and saddles.
  • Bridge: The bridge is made from Ebony. Not only does this look good, it’s also an awesome material for bridges – it’s hard and dense so it does a great job at transferring the sound from the strings into the soundboard with minimal loss of energy.

Videos

Sometimes I can find videos that do a pretty good job of representing the sound of a guitar. In this case I couldn’t find one that really did the GS Mini justice for what it sounds like in real life.

But these videos should give you some idea anyway.

This first video compares the sound of the GS Mini Spruce to the GS Mini Mahogany. (note that he says TUSQ for the nut and saddle but it’s actually Nubone – both similar materials though).

This next one if mostly the guy talking about the guitar but there is some playing – mostly towards the end.


Playability


There was nothing about this guitar that I didn’t like.

O.k. there was one thing but it’s not a biggie: the pickguard design wasn’t my taste. But playability was certainly something I very much liked with this guitar. It just felt nice to play – I didn’t have to try and force anything, it was smooth and easy.

Action

The action on a new guitar is always too high for my tastes – which is ok because it’s something that can be easily adjusted – but the action was actually really well set up on the GS Mini.

Personally I’d probably still lower it a tad but it wouldn’t be a big adjustment.

The Fretboard (Fingerboard)

The fretboard is made from ebony (like the bridge). There’s something I love about ebony – not only does it look great but I find it has a really smooth feel to it and I think that really helped with how nice this guitar was to play.

The Size

With the scale size being smaller than normal (23.5″) I did have moments trying to play chords in the upper frets where I had to really focus to fit my fingers in.

But this is to be expected with a reduced scale size.

Nut Width

The nut width is 1 11/16 inch (43mm). Most nut widths these days are either 43mm or 44mm so this is pretty standard but on the narrow side of standard. Some full sized dreadnoughts have this nut width so it’s not super narrow or anything but it is nice for those with smaller hands.

Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar , Sapele, Mahogany Top

Who this Guitar is Most Suited to


This guitar is most suited to anyone who likes a great sounding, nice to play guitar!

But seriously, it is most suited to:

  • Anyone looking for a travel guitar
  • Anyone with smaller hands
  • Anyone with a smaller body-size
  • Beginners learning the guitar
  • Kids, whether learning or already quite advanced

But definitely not restricted to the above. In fact I’m 6 foot with relatively big hands but I am going to buy this guitar – when I can justify spending more money on another guitar! – not to have as my only guitar, but certainly not just as a travel guitar.

In terms of styles, the Mahogany version is certainly more suited to acoustic blues and folk in my opinion but is definitely versatile enough to play any style.

But if you do prefer a brighter sound you could check out the Spruce model. The GS mini comes in three different models.

  • GS Mini Spruce
  • GS Mini Mahogany
  • GS Mini Koa

The Koa version is a little more expensive but man does it look and sound amazing!


Value-for-Money


value for money tick

Hands down. 100%. Yes!

I honestly couldn’t believe that I was playing a guitar that only costs just over $500. Part of the reason it is so cheap is because of the size and scaled down body shape. But if you don’t mind a smaller guitar then this bad boy is incredible for the price.

It was really nice to play and felt about as far away from cheap as you could get on a $500 guitar. Its build quality is amazing.

And I couldn’t believe I was playing a mini guitar. The sound was so full and resonant.

It’s well built and has quality materials throughout. O.k. the bridge pins are plastic but they are easily and cheaply replaced.

This is the best guitar for the price that I have played.


Final Verdict


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Taylor GS Mini Mahogany GS Mini Acoustic Guitar , Sapele, Mahogany Top
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Wrapping up my GS Mini Review, I have a con to share.

The one thing I don’t like about the Mahogany version of the mini Taylor is the red pick guard. I think it looks kinda ugly. But otherwise the guitar looks fantastic.

But more importantly it plays brilliantly and sounds awesome.

This guitar is far too good to just be a travel guitar. In fact, if you buy this as your travel guitar, you may find that you also end up playing it at home, at gigs and for recording. And your other guitars may start to feel a bit left out!

Now I have to confess that when it comes to guitars I usually prefer Martins over Taylor guitars – just a personal preference because I prefer a warmer tone and Martins tend to have that. And I like the way Martins play slightly more.

But in this case I haven’t played a better guitar, Martin or otherwise, at this price. And compared to what I consider Martins equivalent (the Martin LX1E) this guitar wins by a long shot.

I hope you found my Taylor GS Mini review helpful. If you want to compare the this baby Taylor GS Mini to other guitars in a similar price range, check out the link below.

Guitar material comparisons here:

Any questions or comments very welcome in the comments section below.

Taylor GS Mini FAQs

Why is Taylor GS Mini so popular?

The Taylor GS Mini has gained popularity for several reasons, making it a highly regarded and sought-after acoustic guitar. The GS Mini is a compact and travel-friendly guitar with a scaled-down body size. Its smaller dimensions make it easy to carry around and play in various settings. The GS Mini is built with the same high-quality standards as full-sized Taylor guitars. Despite its smaller size, the Taylor GS Mini delivers impressive sound projection, tone, and clarity. It has a balanced frequency response and a rich, full-bodied sound that surprises many players. While the GS Mini is not the cheapest acoustic guitar option on the market, it is often considered a good value for the level of craftsmanship, sound quality, and versatility it offers. These factors, combined with positive reviews and recommendations from musicians, have helped propel the Taylor GS Mini to its popularity and widespread acclaim in the acoustic guitar community.

Is Taylor GS Mini a good beginner guitar?

Yes, the Taylor GS Mini is often considered a great option for beginners. Many beginners find that the guitar’s playability, sound quality, and long-term value make it worth the investment.

Is the Taylor GS Mini a full size guitar?

No, the Taylor GS Mini is not a full-sized guitar. It is a scaled-down version of a standard-sized acoustic guitar, designed to be more compact and portable. The GS Mini has a smaller body size, shorter scale length, and reduced overall dimensions compared to a full-sized guitar.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

3 comments

  1. thank you so much for such a thorough review!! you helped seal the deal on the guitar we had picked out but the store was closing.. headed back tomorrow to purchase.
    thx for your time!!

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