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Acoustic Guitar

Ibanez Artwood AW54Ibanez created the Artwood Series which continues their rich tradition of acoustic guitars combined with a modern flair referred to as “modern approach to tradition.”

In Ibanez’s Artwood series, they have created the AW54JR which is a mini acoustic with a short-scale for smaller hands. The scale length on the AW54JR is 23.9″, which is within the standard length for a short scale guitar. Also, the AW54JR is only acoustic without the electric capabilities.

The latest AW54, a classic dreadnought, is made with a neck length of 25.6” and a radius of 15.75” providing easy playability at a very reasonable price.

The AW54 is crafted with a solid mahogany top, back, and sides and a fretboard of Ovangkol which provides greater playing comfort. The open-pore natural finish shows off the beauty of the mahogany woodgrain. The mahogany construction plus the open-pore natural finish provides a well-rounded full, rich tonal clarity that is not available with the spruce top.

The guitar is equipped with a Fishman Sonicore Pickup optimized to work with the Ibanez AEQ210TF preamp for maximum control over level, tone sweetening, and feedback.

The Ibanez Artwood AW54 acoustic guitars are a perfect starter guitar, whether you want a dreadnought or a short scale acoustic.  The Ibanez Artwood guitars are great for anyone searching for a playable guitar with an excellent sound that won’t break the bank.

The AW54OPN, full-scale Dreadnought guitar, is priced at about $229, whereas, the AW54JR, short-scale, begins at about $329.

 

Epiphone DR-100

Epiphone DR-100The Epiphone DR-100 will give you more guitar for your money than you would expect. The nicely crafted acoustic guitar sports a selected spruce top with mahogany back and sides. Because of the specially selected woods, the tone of the DR-100 will only improve with time as the wood matures.

Thanks to Epiphone’s SlimTaper neck, not-too-thick, and not-too-thin, the playability is amazing.

The DR-100 is priced for a beginner’s guitar at about $169, yet, it has the tone and feel of a more expensive guitar. The Epiphone DR-100 is a full-scale acoustic guitar.

Yamaha FG800 Solid Top Acoustic Guitar

Yamaha FG800 AcousticAre you looking for a real guitar that is still affordable? Then a Yamaha FG800 is a great choice. FG series guitars, as a whole, are known for their reliability.

Yamaha, once again, offers top value for the price. The guitar is a good build and works for most skill levels. This guitar will meet your needs for many years.

The Yamaha FG800, as close to a traditional dreadnought as possible, comes with a solid spruce top, Nato sides and back, and scalloped bracing, which enhances the sonic quality. It is also a full-scale dreadnought.

Nato, an Eastern Mahogany, has similar characteristics to regular mahogany. It offers a cost-effective way to build guitars that look great with great tonal quality.

The smooth neck makes the FG800 very comfortable to play. The fretboard is made of rosewood, but the nut and saddle are made of a plastic that is more resistant to wear, resulting in less maintenance.

The sound from the FG800 is unexpectedly well-rounded for the price.

Yamaha’s technology contributes to a strong sound in the low and mid ranges.

Both of the Yamahas listed are more reasonable for a beginner not needing a short-scale, starting at approximately $219 each.

Fender CD-60S

The Fender CD-60S, a full-scale acoustic, is one of Fender’s most popular models. It is an affordable high-quality starter dreadnought, with excellent playability, full-body sound, and good projection for vocal accompaniment, solo work, or any other “unplugged” application.

It features a solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, easy-to-play neck, and a smooth walnut fingerboard with rolled edges. Many instructors recommend the Fender Classic Design guitars like the CD-60S to beginning and intermediate students unless a short fingerboard is required.

One of the best features of the CD-60S is its excellent action. Even though it is a budget dreadnought guitar, it sports optimal action and is comfortable for the fingers. The detailed dynamics make it easy to use with no pain or discomfort.

The price of the CD-60S starts at around $229. Bundles, which go up in price accordingly, are available which would give you everything needed to get you started on your musical journey.

Taylor Guitars

Taylor Guitars, one of the largest guitar manufacturers in the United States, is located in El Cajon, California. They specialize in acoustic guitars in a variety of different sizes, plus semi-hollow body electric guitars. Their lower-priced guitars, the Baby Taylor, Big Baby Taylor, GS-Mini, and Academy Series acoustic guitars and acoustic-electric guitars are all made just over the border near Tecate, Mexico. 

The GuitarSquid stated in a review that Taylor Guitars have produced some of the greatest guitars in the business and have continued doing so for more than 40 years.

The GuitarSquid goes on to say that the GS Mini, one of their newest guitars, is a compact guitar that gives the guitarist great quality and can be valued as a guitar superstar.

In an interview, GuitarSquid stated that Taylor had produced some of the best guitars during their 40 years in business. They went on to say that one of Taylor’s  newest models, the GS-Mini, another small travel guitar, is being seen as one of the guitar superstars.

Disclaimer

Taylor recently released that, “The Taylor Big Baby (BBT) and Taylor BBTE are not currently offered as standard production models. Although, many authorized dealers do have the Big Baby Taylors in stock. Contact your local distributor for more information. You can also contact Taylor directly to find a distributor at 1-800-943-6782.”

Another option is to check different music stores that offer online sales, such as eBay who offers many guitars both new and used. You can also find several well-known music stores selling on eBay.

Taylor Big Baby vs GS-Mini Comparison Review

Taylor Big Baby and GS Mini Comparison Review

The BBT (Big Baby Taylor), a top travel acoustic guitar, is portable, playable, and affordable. It is designed after the bigger dreadnoughts, but size-wise, it is bigger than the Baby Taylor and smaller than the dreadnought. Even though the BBT is small, the volume and bass are more than other travel guitars.

Sound Quality

Both the Big Baby Taylor and the GS Mini are great travel guitars while maintaining good sound quality. The GS Mini maintains the responsiveness and sustain that you’ve come to expect from the bigger guitars, yet, without the muddiness.

The Big Baby Taylor’s Sitka Spruce top deliveries a broader dynamic sound range for playing a wide variety of styles, yielding more bottom-end and volume, with more projection, resonance, and sustain, then the GS-mini.

Even though it does not have the full jumbo body sound of the dreadnought, it does produce a fair amount of volume. If you are looking for a travel guitar with full sound, you might consider the Big Baby Taylor.

The intonation, another consideration when buying a smaller travel guitar, is great in the BBT, where it can get a little quirky in some of the other small guitars. The arched back that Taylor added to the BBT compensates for the intonation, giving it more strength and a fuller tone.

Size

Even though the BBT is only slightly larger than the GS-mini, it has a 15/16th size non-cutaway dreadnought shape with a full 4” depth and a scale length of 25.5”.

Because of the GS-Mini size, it is very portable providing the same playability and comfort level no matter where you are. Some do say it requires some adjustment to adapt to its small size, but they also state that the adapting was not an issue. It has been stated that the smaller size makes it easier to play the single-note lines.

Patented Neck

Both guitars feature Taylor’s patented neck which has a very natural feel to the guitarist.

Taylor patented a unique neck construction, a bolt-on neck, called the NT (New Technology) neck. Its construction, form, and function are unique in design. First of all, the Taylor NT Neck consists of one continuous piece of wood all the way to the 19th fret to support the fretboard as opposed to the typical design of ending the neck at the 14th fret where it attaches. That leaves the 19th fret supported by being glued to the guitar top that is actually designed to move. The slim neck is constructed of solid sapele, with a genuine African ebony fretboard.

The perfect neck angle is set and maintained throughout the life of the guitar by a very unique attachment method. Instead of being glued, the neck is bolted into a custom-fit pocket. Alignment is set by precision laser-cut spacers placed in the pocket in tolerances of 1000ths of an inch. Should realignment be necessary for any reason, the neck can be disassembled and reassembled with new spacers.

This ensures that the fretboard is aligned perfectly and completely supported, even with years of changing heat, humidity, and natural stress. Also, with the new construction, the Taylor NT Neck can be easily “reset” by replacing the spacers, instead of removing and replacing the neck and bridge as with other guitars.

Scale Length

Some have stated that the slightly larger size and the scale length of the Big Baby Taylor, make it feel more like a standard-size guitar, even though you can tell it’s smaller.

The scale length is defined as the portion of the open string that vibrates between the nut and the saddle. The BBT scale length feels more natural at 25.5”. The GS-Mini, on the other hand, is shorter at 23.5”. Guitarists have reported that the strumming feels more normal and familiar on the BBT.

Tonewoods

The tonewoods construction gives both guitars the look and feel of quality that the Taylor is known for. Both guitars are constructed with a solid Sitka Spruce top and laminated Sapele, a type of African Mahogany, is used for the back and sides. They include a single-ring rosette and tortoise shell pickguard to enhance the look of the guitar.

The wood used on the top makes a huge impact because the top distributes the string vibration through the instrument to make the sound. Most of the BBT guitars come with the Sitka Spruce top, which seems to be the most popular today. That may be because the wood has a perfect blend of stiffness and elasticity with just the right proportions, which produces a wide range of crisp articulation.

The sides and back also work with the top in emitting the sound by giving it a firm platform. They make the guitar less susceptible to temperature and humidity changes.

 Both guitars are ideal for traveling because the layered wood of the sides and back are less susceptible to temperature and humidity changes which are often encountered during travel.

Hardware for Both

The tuners, on both guitars, are standard. The Nubone nut, which sits just below the head is similar to TUSQ. At the other end, you will find an African ebony bridge where the Micarta saddle sits.

Taylor Big Baby & GS-Mini Features

Taylor BBT Big Baby Specs

  • 15/16 Size Dreadnought
  • Sitka Spruce Top
  • Sapele Back and Sides
  • Maple Neck
  • Ebony Fretboard
  • 25.5″ Scale Length
  • 1-11/16″ Nut Width
  • 15″ Fretboard Radius
  • X-Bracing
  • Ebony Bridge
  • Tusq Nut and Saddle
  • Die-Cast Chrome Tuners

Taylor GS-Mini Specs 

  • Natural Finish
  • 6-String Miniature GS Body Shape
  • Sitka Spruce Top
  • Sapele Laminate Back and Sides
  • Sapele Neck
  • Ebony Fretboard
  • Lexan Headstock Overlay
  • 23-1/2″ Scale Length
  • 1-11/16″ Nut Width
  • 20 Frets
  • Ebony Bridge
  • Chrome Tuners

The Big Baby Taylor or The Taylor GS-Mini

The Big Baby Taylor Acoustic Guitars are well suited as a travel guitar, but because of their larger size, they are not limited to being a travel guitar or for children or those with smaller hands. They have great sound and enough projection for strumming, flatpicking, or fingerpicking.

The Big Baby was tested by the musicians at The Music Zoo. They did not find any unbalanced notes on the neck, the frets had good spacing, the string height and the thin neck provided a very comfortable play.

The Taylor GS-Mini is smaller in size, but is definitely not a toy. It is a powerhouse. It is very versatile making it a great guitar for beginners, children or people with small hands. Because of its size it makes a great travel guitar.

It is also great for fingerpicking or strumming with enough volume for home or around the campfire. For many, the size is perfect, not too big, not too small. It’s just right as a ultra-portable Taylor guitar.

If you need an acoustic or acoustic-electric with a sound quality closer to the dreadnought, but small enough for smaller venues or practice sessions, consider the Taylor BBT Big Baby. It can meet your needs with ease.

So now the choice is yours. Which guitar is best for you?

Most music stores online price the Taylor GS-Mini for about $599 with pre-owned prices between $400 and $500. The Taylor GS-Mini-e acoustic-electric is priced between $700 and $800, depending on the type of wood used.

The Big Baby Taylor new prices ranges between $400 and $600, whereas, the pre-owned price varies between $300 and $500.

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Martin GPC-16E Grand Performance

The Martin GPC-16E Acoustic-Electric Guitar, first introduced at Nashville NAMM 2019, is an exciting addition to the redesigned 16 Series guitars. It is a 25.4” scale length, Grand Performance acoustic-electric guitar great, for the guitarist who wants the warm, full tone with robust projection.

Hardware

The Martin GPC-16E comes equipped with factory-installed Fishman® Matrix VT Enhance electronics.

The Enhance feature also adds an output and sensitivity boost, perfect for those with a percussive touch.

The battery box is located between the endpin and 1/4″ jack so replacements do not require removal of the strings.

The GPC-16E comes strung with Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 light gauge strings.

Instead of having a cutout in the side of the guitar for the controls, like some guitars, the
Fishman® Matrix VT controls are right at your fingertips in the soundhole. This includes the volume and tone controls (VT) in the upper part of the soundhole and the Enhance control (a bridge plate transducer) in the lower part of the soundhole. transducer) in the lower part of the soundhole.

Body and Neck

The Martin GPC-16E Acoustic-Electric Guitar is an American-made Martin guitar crafted with satin-finished East Indian Rosewood back and sides and a Sitka Spruce top. Even with its solid wood construction, it is more affordable than some of the other Martin guitars, such as the D18 or D28.

The 14-fret Grand Performance has a thinner 000 depth, which provides a satisfying body resonance and fuller bass tones.

The cutaway model allows easy access to the higher register. The high-performance neck taper, with bold herringbone rosettes, makes for easy playability up and down the fretboard, great for fingerpicking or strumming, live or unplugged.

The model number GP tells us that the guitar is a Grand Performance body. This body shape has been in Martin’s lineup for a number of years and is similar to a Taylor Grand Auditorium, which is Taylor’s most popular and versatile body shape.
Both mid-size models blend some of the characteristics found in their small body guitars with those of the larger dreadnoughts for a more versatile guitar for the modern guitarist.

Sound

The East Indian Rosewood back and sides create a resonant sound with deep rich bass and bell-like trebles and excellent note definition. Whereas, the Sitka Spruce top yields a balanced tone and good projection.

The volume potential is not what you would expect from a dreadnought or a Jumbo guitar, but you can expect to get a lot of volume from the GPC-16E when you really dig into it.

If you play with a light to medium touch it is going to be louder than the bigger body guitars because you don’t have to expend as much energy to get the top moving, a benefit of a smaller body guitar.

Conclusion

The Martin GPC-16E Rosewood acoustic-electric guitar has a beautiful tone that complements the human voice of the performing guitarist, yet is perfect as a solo instrument or for recording tracks.
It is ideal for the player who plugs in or plays at home, with the comfort of a slightly smaller guitar but with an exceptional tone.

It is also available in the left-handed model.

Features

Body
Body type: Grand Performance
Cutaway: Yes
Top wood: Sitka Spruce
Back & sides: East Indian Rosewood
Bracing pattern: Forward shifted X
Top finish: Gloss
Body finish: Satin
Orientation: Right-handed

Neck
Neck shape: Modified Low Oval with High-Performance Taper
Nut width: 1.75 in. (44.45 mm)
Fingerboard: Ebony
Neck wood: Select Hardwood
Scale length: 25.4 in.
Number of frets: 20
Neck finish: Satin

Electronics
Pickup/preamp: Yes
Brand: Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT2
Configuration: Under saddle transducer
Preamp EQ: 2-band
Feedback filter: No
Tuner: No

Other
Headstock overlay: East Indian Rosewood
Tuning machines: Nickel Open Gear
Bridge: Ebony
Saddle: Compensated White Tusq
Nut: Bone
Number of strings: 6-string
Recommended Strings: Authentic Acoustic -Lifespan 2.0 – Light (MA540T)
Special features: Inlays
Case: Softshell
Accessories: None
Country of origin: United States

Sources:
Wikipedia (January 5, 2019) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreadnought_(guitar_type)
Graph Tech TUSQ Martin-style saddle. Retrieved from Sweetwater.com Retrieved from Musiciansfriend.com
https://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/16-series/gpc-16e/
https://www.sweetwater.com/store/search.php?s=Martin+GPC-16E
http://onemanz.com/guitar/2019-martin-models-review-16-series-all-of-them/

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Little Martin LX1R and LX1RE

The Little Martin Acoustic Guitar, LX1R, and LX1RE, their smallest travel guitar, are big on tone, quality, and versatility. If you’re looking for a quality acoustic guitar for a child or an adult with small hands, the Martin LX1 should be at the top of your list. It is the best in terms of quality, sound, and feel. For an authentic Made in Mexico Martin, it is surprisingly affordable.

Body & Neck

The LX1R has a smaller scale length, 23 inches, which is actually about two inches shorter. That means the frets are closer together, perfect for the smaller hand. The smaller size also makes this guitar perfect for travel.
The new LX1R with a hand-rubbed solid Sitka Spruce top and mahogany high-pressure laminate back and sides features the same great sound you will find in the top-of-the-line Martins.
The neck is made of rust birch laminate creating a very interesting pattern and feel. Richlite fingerboard and bridge make this little guitar sturdy for travel under different weather conditions.
This newest addition to the Martin family is built with the same quality Martin craftsmanship with an emphasis on producing a great sound in a small guitar, not like some of the student guitars on the market.

Hardware

These LX1R and LX1RE Little Martins are strictly acoustic with no electronics. See below for more on the LX1RE. Both Little Martins feature a set of quality Martin-sealed chrome tuners. As with the other Martin tuners, they are smooth and easy to use while holding their tuning well.
You will also find that it comes equipped with a TUSQ nut and compensated saddle, a Richlite bridge, and strung with a set of Martin SP strings.

Sound

The Little Martin is durable, easy to play, and stays in tune. You might ask about the sound. Truthfully, it doesn’t have the full-rich sound of the Martin dreadnoughts, but it wasn’t designed to. However, it’s a perfect “pick up and play” guitar that you can take anywhere. It’s great for practice, jamming at home, taking on the road, or around a campfire.
While the Little Martin is Martin’s smallest guitar, it sounds well-balanced in tone and has that satisfying warmth that you’ve learned to count on from a quality built Martin.

LX1RE, The Electric Model

You get the same compact and affordability of the LX1R, but with the addition of a Fishman Sonitone pickup mic system, which is great for plugging in to quickly amplify your sound.

Conclusion

Straight out of the box, the Little Martin comes with a padded gigbag made of a tough ballistic cloth exterior, plush interior, backpack straps, and a front zipper compartment and fits over the guitar like a glove.

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The Martin D-16E Acoustic-Electric guitar, made in Nazareth, PA, not in Mexico, is one of the more popular body styles.  It’s made from all solid tonewood. and contains no laminates. It also uses all-steel rather than nylon strings.

The Martin D-16E, like many of Martin’s other models, is manufactured with a streamlined process that helps keep the cost down and the value up. 

This Martin 16 Series Dreadnought is crafted with satin-finished ovangkol back and sides which helps with the resonant sound giving deep bass and rich overtones. Ovangkol is a special wood that can vary both in color and grain complexity giving a unique look. This model includes a mahogany burst Sitka spruce gloss top for balanced tone and projection and a high-performance neck taper for ease of playability up and down the fretboard. 

The D-16E comes with Fishman Matrix VT Enhance NT2 electronics installed. Strung with Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 light gauge strings and soft-shell case. This system consists of an undersaddle Acoustic Matrix pickup, a soundboard transducer attached to the bridge plate. It has controls for volume, tone, and blend inside the soundhole.

The shallower body makes playing more comfortable, especially for the right arm and shoulder.

Unless a comparison was performed with the shallower body dreadnought compared to a full dreadnought, it is difficult to determine if there is any tonal difference. 

When plugged into the amp, the voice on the D-16E appears to deliver the full dreadnought sound.

As with most of the Martin 16 Series, the D-16E is a great value. You are paying for great materials and great sound whether acoustic or electric. 

If you’re looking for a dreadnought with great sound and comfort, then you owe it to yourself to check out the Martin D-16E. 

If you aren’t sure about the shallow body dreadnought check out other acoustic guitars. 

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Martin Acoustic Guitar Reviews

Acoustic Guitars: Image by endri yana yana from Pixabay

Martin Acoustic Guitars

C.F. Martin & Co.® a leader in Acoustic Guitars Worldwide has been inspiring musicians for nearly two centuries with superior quality guitars and strings. Martin’s quality in their craftsmanship and tone keep Martin guitars the choice of many guitarists. Martin products are used in all music genres including pop culture, concerts, and even television and movie flicks.

Martin have been chosen by Musicians for years because of their craftsmanship and ton quality. Martin maintains an excellent, unwavering commitment to the quality of their products and their commitment to environmentally responsible in production practices.

Martin’s ingenuity in creating innovative features for their guitars continues to drive the market forward with a number of their innovations such as the X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar, and therefore the “Dreadnought” large-sized guitar.

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