Ask any musician what their favorite guitar brand is, and you are guaranteed to get a different answer every time. Choosing a guitar is very much a personal choice and comes down to personal preference on the sound the musician is looking to produce with their instruments.
Two of the bigger names in the guitar world are Taylor vs Martin. In a kind of “battle of the brands,” we look at the characteristics of each in our quest to find out which brand is the best. Let’s get right to it!
Taylor and Martin are only two of the most popular guitar brands in the United States. While both are considered high-quality and will cost you roughly the same, there is a big difference in the sound that they produce. While it would be easy to say guitar X is the best brand for musicians today, there are a lot of factors to consider before coming to this conclusion.
Taylor guitars were first created in 1974, making them pretty new to the game, considering Martin guitars have been around since the 1830s. These guitars are known for their more modern and crisp sound and are used by stars like Taylor Swift and Orianthi. Taylor guitars are the best to use for a more contemporary genre like rock, pop, and even metal music styles.
For a classic, iconic sound, a Martin would be your best bet. Having been around for almost two centuries, family-owned Martin guitars are known for their classic sound and are used to play more classic rock like that of Elvis, Bob Dylan, and Willie Nelson. A Martin guitar is the perfect pick for folk, country, and soft rock genres of music.
When choosing a guitar, there are certain factors that need to be considered before purchasing one. Doing research and reading reviews on a particular brand of guitar is always a great idea, as it allows you to see how previous customers have rated a guitar from a brand. Read both the positive and negative reviews to compare when deciding between two brands, such as Taylor and Martin.
If you prefer shopping in-store, it gives you the ability to touch, feel and hold the guitar, as well as test it out. Most customers base their purchase decision on the following factors:
- Acoustic vs. Electric
- String Type
Let’s take a look at these factors when looking specifically at the Taylor and Martin guitar brands.
As with most things, the more bells and whistles something has, the more expensive it will be. Taylor and Martin guitars are no different. A basic acoustic guitar from these well-known brands will cost around $1,000 and will increase in price as the quality and “extras” are added on.
Both Taylor and Martin have a range of guitars to offer, from entry-level, basic acoustic guitars to top-end, limited edition creations, which will set you back a cool $14,000.
Think about how much you are willing to spend on a guitar. Is this a hobby? Or would you like to try your hand at being a professional musician in the future? To avoid overspending and impulse buys, always set yourself a budget, and stick to it.
The size of the guitar is essential. If the guitar is for a child or a petite person, most guitars in the Taylor and Martin brands are available in ¾ size and will suit a younger person or beginner better. If you are comparing the size of Taylor and Martin guitars based on their fret sizes, there is only a 1-inch difference between the two.
Taylor guitars have a 15-inch fretboard, while the Martin has an impressive 16-inch fretboard. While this difference may not seem to be of any significance, to a musician, it can influence the sound that the guitar produces.
Both Taylor and Martin have an impressive range of electric and acoustic guitars to choose from. While the acoustic guitars are cheaper, as there is less equipment needed to play them, nothing beats the incredible sound you will get from an electric guitar and amplifier combo.
Test out both options to see which produces the sound and quality you want in a guitar. Factor in the price of an amplifier, pedals, cables, and more into your budget if you would like to buy an electric guitar from either Martin or Taylor.
Most acoustic guitars come standard with steel strings, but there are those musicians who prefer nylon strings. While cost could be a factor that influences your decision on which string type to use, musicians tend to focus more on the sound produced by each.
Steel stringed guitars produce a louder sound, while the sound produced on a nylon-stringed guitar would be muted and lighter. Again, it all comes down to preference. A steel-stringed guitar from Taylor would produce a more modern sound than the Martin would, but this is not to say that the sound is of less quality. The choice is based on the sounds needs of the musician.
A guitar is more than just a musical instrument. With the amount of detail and hard work that goes into making every guitar, it can be considered an art piece worthy of being shown off. When comparing the manufacturing processes of Taylor and Martin guitars, there are vast differences between the two.
Taylor guitars are mass-produced. The creator designs one guitar, which is then mass-produced and shipped to music stores across the country. This does not, however, mean that the guitar is of less quality. It is simply their method of manufacturing their guitars. As the company has been around since the 1970s, they use more modern manufacturing processes. The company produces around 700 guitars per day, totaling almost 130,000 guitars per year.
Martin guitars make use of traditional manufacturing processes and procedures. Each Martin guitar is created individually. There is one person who will create the shape, another to add the fretboard and strings, and so on. This results in each Martin guitar being completely unique. While they use technology to create their guitars, they are mostly handmade.
While Taylor Guitars manufactures 700 guitars per day, Martin Guitars produces only 200. This is because of the handmade, traditional manufacturing methods used by Martin Guitars.
It is challenging to say which guitar is the better of the two. We have looked at the factors that one should consider when purchasing a guitar, the significant differences between Taylor and Martin guitars, as well as the sounds a musician could expect from each.
Another way to assess the popularity of a brand is to look at the sales figures and which brand dominates the market. The Covid-19 pandemic that started in 2020 saw a massive rise in sales of guitars. This is because of new hobbies taken up during the strict lockdowns put in place all over the world.
Globally, there was a 15% increase in the number of guitars sold in 2020. Most of these sales were from online retailers and contributed to the $1.67billion in guitar sales in the United States in 2020 alone. Figures show that almost 7 million guitars were sold during this time.
Taylor and Martin are only two of the brands that saw enormous increases in their sales from April 2020. Taylor Guitars was voted the 15th largest supplier of both acoustic and electric guitars in 2020, with over 900 orders being processed daily. It was also named one of the standout suppliers of guitars in America in 2020.
Martin Guitars also saw a substantial increase in their sales figures from April 2020. While they do not mass produce their guitars and create each one individually, they have reported that they are still battling to keep up with their orders, and the waiting times of 6 months plus are applicable on all new orders.
These numbers are still not enough to declare an overall winner in the battle of Taylor vs. Martin, as the unique manufacturing processes of both can influence their sales figures for the 2020 period. Martin Guitars are individually crafted, while Taylor guitars are mass-produced and more readily available.
After reviewing the similarities of Taylor and Marting guitars, such as the string types, price, and popularity, as well as the differences in sound and manufacturing processes, there is still no clear winner in our “battle of the brands.”
Choosing a guitar is very much like choosing your own clothes because it has a lot to do with preference and style. In this case, the genre of music that the player prefers. It is always a good idea to read reviews of guitars that you are interested in and talk to other musicians about their preferred brands.