Martin guitars and Taylor guitars are two of the most popular and well-known guitar brands in the world. These two brands produce high-quality acoustic and electric guitars.
Martin guitars and Taylor guitars are two of the more famous guitar brands in the music industry. They have been around for a long time and have been producing some of the best acoustic guitars on the market. Both companies offer different models with each offering a mix of different features. In this article, we will be comparing two popular models from each company, to help you decide which one is best for you!
Let’s take a look at what sets Martin vs Taylor guitars apart.
Table of Content
- Introducing Martin & Taylor guitars
- What is the difference between Martin and Taylor?
- Features Comparison
- Are Taylors easier to play than Martins?
- Wrapping up
Introducing Martin & Taylor guitars
The Martin Guitar Company was founded in 1833 by a German, Christian Frederick Martin. Martin guitars are known for their outstanding craftsmanship and distinctive sound. The company is a family business that’s been passed from father to son since its inception.
The Taylor Guitar Company was founded in 1974 when Bob Taylor partnered with Kurt Listug to build guitars for Carlos Santana. In 2006, the company partnered with Gibson Guitars to start producing some of its models. Nowadays, the company makes acoustic and electric guitars that come in different shapes and sizes, all of which have different sounds and playing styles.
Both companies offer great quality instruments that can compete with any other manufacturer on the market. However, there are differences that set them apart from each other such as tone, cost, and durability that should be considered before making a purchase decision.
What is the difference between Martin and Taylor?
The first thing we see is that Martin guitars are generally more expensive than Taylor guitars. However, this is not always the case as there are exceptions to this rule such as an entry-level guitar from both brands that cost less than $500.
Taylor guitars are known for their quality craftsmanship, which is reflected in their price tags, but they are also some of the most iconic guitars on the planet because of the sound they make and how beautifully they are designed.
The main difference comes from how these guitars are made, and the underpinning design principles.
Martin’s principal objective in making guitars is to bring out the classic acoustic guitar sound.
Taylor has a more modern approach, trying to create a sound that perfectly complements most modern music genres. Modern guitarists will still use these Martin Guitars, such as Ed Sheeran and Jake Bugg.
Besides these overall differences, there are several nuances between these guitar styles.
In this section we explore and compare the features of these two guitar manufacturers. We break them down based on price, sound, quality, and manufacturing.
Price – How do Martin and Taylor Guitars differ in price?
There are a lot of reasons for the price difference between Martin and Taylor guitars. For one, Martin guitars are made from wood that is more expensive than the wood used by Taylor guitars.
In addition, Martin guitars offer better sound quality and durability. This can be attributed to the design and construction of their guitars which are more rigorous than the one found on a Taylor guitar.
It’s difficult to compare the prices of Taylor and Martin guitars since there isn’t a way to do it on an equal playing field. It’s difficult to compare their guitars since they’re all so unique.
Nevertheless, the majority of their guitars are priced at or over $1,000, with a few lower-priced options for beginning and intermediate players.
A few of these manufacturers’ most expensive models may cost up to $140,000 USD.
These two guitar brands are the best in the market, but they are different in design, materials, and sound. Martin guitars are more expensive than Taylor guitars. For example, a Martin D-45 is priced at $8,500 while a Taylor 214ce is priced at $3,299.
In short, if you can buy a Martin, you can probably afford a Taylor of comparable quality and the other way around.
Design How are Martin and Taylor Guitars designed differently?
Guitars from both manufactures are built differently. Taylor, who may be more receptive to innovative building methods, has developed a taste for new methods. Martin guitars, on the other hand, have been built this way for decades because it works for them.
Taylor guitars have a unique benefit in that the neck angle may be readily adjusted to accommodate changes in the human body over time.
Every acoustic instrument will eventually need a neck reset and refinishing touchups, which may cost hundreds of dollars, owing to the effects of time and pressure.
Although the angle of a Martin guitar’s neck cannot be adjusted since it is made to historic standards, the sound produced by a Martin guitar is richer and more resonant than that of a Taylor guitar. Traditional set-neck construction has a trade-off like this.
As a result of their bigger size, Taylor guitars are designed and built to a very high standard. Necks with exact pockets and laser-cut shims ensure that fretboards are properly supported and straight.
There are no two Martin guitars the same, and each is handcrafted. Guitars are assembled by groups of individuals who have expertise in creating certain elements of the instrument, and then the guitars are completed.
The quality of both these brands is very high. You will find many very fine acoustic guitars from both sides. Both Taylor and Martin are known for their outstanding quality control, which satisfies even the toughest modern artists. For both manufacturers, the result is nearly always high-quality instruments.
The difference in quality is basically not noticeable. Ultimately it depends on the models you compare. An expensive Taylor will be better than a cheaper Martin, and vice versa.
The professional lines of these guitar companies contain more than one perfectly crafted instrument. The quality of these guitars is attested to by the leading edge musicians who use them. Names who have rocked either of these brands include Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, John Petrucci, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Chelsea Wolfe, Paul McCartney, and many more.
Both companies arguably make some of the best guitars in the industry, so it’s hard to decide which is best.
Manufacture Process – How are these guitars made?
Taylor uses more modern manufacturing methods most of them unique to Taylor Guitars.
While Martin uses more traditional manufacturing methods.
These two manufacturers of guitars have their own specific manufacturing process that they follow to create their instruments which includes design, production of parts, and assembling of these parts into an instrument such as a guitar or bass guitar.
Rather than mass-producing its guitars, Martin crafts each of its instruments as though they were one-of-a-kind works of art. For example, the fretboard is made by one craftsman, the neck by another, and so forth at Martin’s manufacturing plant.
The end result is virtually always an exceptionally well-crafted guitar for both brands. One of Taylor Guitar’s most innovative construction methods is the way they connect the guitar’s neck to the body.
Maintaining a straight and secure position is easier with this method.
There is no guarantee that Taylor guitars are better than Martin guitars based on this example alone.
There are still Martin D28 guitars from the 1940s and earlier that sound exactly like a current Taylor guitar owing to Martin’s high-quality manufacturing procedures.
Taylor has an adjustable neck angle which allows for easy adjustment of action when required.
Martin uses a set neck non-adaptable yet it does offer enhanced energy transfer from neck to neck.
Other important variables when considering playing ability are the fretboard radius. Most Martin guitars have an 18-inch radius but Taylors are smaller at 15-inch. The smaller radius of Taylor makes it easy to fret barre chords while the flatter radius of Martins is perfect for melody and lead guitarists. They have amazing instruments made by both manufactures but once properly set up, it is outstanding.
Action and setup.
In terms of sound and feel, both Martin and Taylor guitars are top-notch performers. With a little practice and common sense, a guitar player can make the necessary changes using just a few tools. If not, they might get help from an expert who has been trained in this field.
Playing the guitar is influenced by the radius of the fretboard. For the most part, Martin guitars and Taylor guitars have different fretboard radiuses. Chords are more easily able to compensate for this little discrepancy in the guitars’ radius.
They’re simple to play if the guitars are set up correctly and maintained. They are built with the finest materials and developed to ensure that players get the most out of them.
Handcrafted Martin guitars are the rarity rather than the rule. All the pieces of a guitar are purchased together by a group of individuals who specialize in creating a certain part.
Depending on the size, shape, and material utilized, the sound is different. There are distinct tone differences between Martin and Taylor guitars, as well. The “classic acoustic guitar tone” is often associated with Martin because of the company’s almost two-century history.
Since Taylor was founded less than a century ago, its sound has a more contemporary feel to it crisp, well-balanced, and expressive. Although some guitars are closes in sound based on the body shapes they use. Either way, they both make brilliant playing instruments with top tones.
Compared to Martin, most Taylor guitars are concerned with the higher mids. In fact, the Martin guitar tone and the Taylor guitar tone are rather distinct. Taylor may sound better for modern techniques, and different guitars are more suited to different types of guitar players.
The sound quality really varies from guitar to guitar. For example, the acoustic tone of Martin Dreadnoughts has a full, classic sound thanks to the body shape and woods used. The Martin Family is described as having a more traditional acoustic guitar sound, whereas the Taylor tone is known to be a more modern sound.
The natural acoustic tone of these popular acoustic guitar brands varies massively.
Either way, they both have a high-quality, rich sound, although there is a subtle nuance.
Taylor guitars sound more concentrated in the upper mid-tones, which creates a more defined, pointed sound.
The pickups from both manufacturers are excellent. Modern guitar players often seek pickups in their guitar models, as this allows them to function as electric guitar. Rather than capturing sound under the saddle, Taylor’s Expression System is meant to catch sound from above the saddle. Natural acoustic tones are said to be reproduced by this instrument.
Traditional tones may be reproduced with the use of cutting-edge pickup designs developed by Martin and Fishman together. If you’re looking for studio-quality sound in front of your guitar, Fishman electronics on new Martins are the way to go.
Both offer excellent sound shaping flexibility and are comparable to a studio-quality mic. The electronics are generally not included in the more affordable guitars.
Are Taylors easier to play than Martins?
Many music enthusiasts might disagree on this topic. Some would say that Martin guitars are easier to play than Taylor guitars because of their lighter body and thinner neck.
Others would disagree and argue that Taylor’s higher-quality wood makes their sound more appealing than Martin’s.
Regardless of personal preference, both companies share a commitment to quality and performance.
Martin versus Taylor may be boiled down to a conflict between tradition and modernity.
For more than a century, Martin has been making guitars with a traditional acoustic guitar tone because of their long history in the industry.
When it comes to the sounds of contemporary music, Taylor’s sound is one that can be heard in just about every genre.
As previously said, these are only generalizations; many contemporary musicians, such as Ed Sheeran, Noel Gallagher, and Jake Bugg, use Martin guitars.
Because everyone’s tastes vary, there are a plethora of guitars to choose from. You can’t go wrong with a Martin or a Taylor acoustic guitar.
Similarly, if you choose a Gibson (which is the subject of a separate essay). It’s possible that you’ll favor one over the other, or that you’ll discover that you can employ both depending on the situation.
These are some of the oldest guitar brands, which have gained a huge reputation in the industry.
In short, if you want a more modern sound, Taylor plays better in this situation. If you’re a traditionalist, Martin might be better. Either way, these brands produce incredibly high-quality guitars that will keep any player happy.
Interested? Check out our post about the best Martin guitars for the money.
Noah is an accomplished audio engineer with several years of experience producing music for major companies and independent artists. He enjoys sharing his vast knowledge of audio engineering topics to help musicians and music producers create great music.