Review Roundup: Koa 724ce

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See why guitar pundits are raving about our new 700 Series models, featuring select-grade koa.

The verdict is unanimous — critics love the look, feel and sound of our new all-koa Grand Auditorium.


724ce

Following the launch of our redesigned koa 700 Series in May, guitar reviews have been rolling in from many of the MI world’s media outlets. We sent reviewers the Grand Auditorium 724ce model. Across the board, the reactions were overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a sampling of what the critics are saying.

Guitarist magazine (UK) published a 6-page review in its summer edition, including rich detail photos that captured the natural beauty of the guitar’s select-grade koa and appointment details. Writer Neville Marten gave the guitar a 9/10 score and a Guitarist Choice Award, citing the guitar’s “virtually unmatched build, fit and finish,” “fantastic playability,” and “organic and rewarding tones.” Among the highlights from his writeup:

On build/materials: “Examine our 724ce with a magnifying glass and we’d challenge you to find a flaw…. The move towards this beautiful and sustainable timber, too, must be applauded.”

On the playing comfort: “The action is low and slinky, and its strings feel tactile and unresisting under the fingertips. The neck’s nut width is great for easy open chording and all those ‘twiddly bits’ we pickers love to throw in.”

On the sound: Marten called out the guitar’s “warm and welcoming” voice: “There’s no thunderous bass evident, but more of a balanced lower-mid hum that ties in very musically with the musical upper-mids and sweet trebles that the guitar exhibits…. Fingerpicked tones are crisp and direct, while strumming with a medium pick elicits a wash of finely tuned chords that makes the perfect bed to any vocal performance, but wouldn’t be obtrusive in the context of other acoustic instruments.” 

Wrapping up, Neville had this to say: “If [Andy] Powers and his team continue to create instruments that look, play and sound as good as this one, then there’ll be no stopping this company.”

[https://www.premierguitar.com/gear/reviews/taylor-724ce]

In Premier Guitar’s September edition, Jason Shadrick immediately picked up on the tactile sensation of the guitar’s ultra-thin finish: “It’s so thin that you can feel the pores in the wood, and [it] arguably adds to the instrument’s liveliness.” 

Sonically, he said the tone profile reminded him of “a modern, midrangey dreadnought with more focus.”

“The koa tones are complex and nuanced,” he writes, “with a little touch of mahogany midrange and maple sparkle…. It’s balanced in a way that would fit in with a broad range of styles. When I played a bit harder with a pick, I could sense how the koa top and, most likely, the bracing tweaks widened the dynamic range, and enhanced the guitar’s responsiveness.”

In his July review for Peghead Nation, Teja Gerken says this: “The 724ce has a great, open-sounding low end that works particularly well for big chords or lowered tunings, and I quickly found myself exploring some fingerstyle playing in open-D tuning. The guitar’s overall tonal quality is a bit ‘looser’ than most Taylor grand auditoriums, and I really liked its response and warmth. Naturally, it has Taylor’s typical precision setup, and the guitar played beautifully all the way into the cutaway…. Whether you think of it as a revamped 700 or a stripped-down Koa Series, the result is a very cool guitar that has its own look, feel and sound.”

[https://www.pegheadnation.com/instruments-gear/new-gear/taylor724ce/]

Vintage Guitar’s Pete Prown loved the guitar’s look (“Visually, the 724ce is a dazzler”) and uber-playability: “In fine Taylor tradition, the guitar has fast setup with low action, ready for your quickest licks up the neck.” On its sound: “Acoustically, the V-bracing exudes a warmer, traditional sound, unlike the trebly ‘Taylor sound’ of the 1990s and 2000s…. With strumming or fingerpicking, the bottom end is nuanced perfectly with the upper strings for a sweet, sophisticated tone, especially for a cutaway.” 

Prown also loved the amplified tone. “Plugged in, its ES-2 is one of the stars of the show….After decades of plastic-y sound from plugged-in acoustics, the ES-2 is a revelation and hopefully a harbinger of more organic acoustic-electric flavors to come.” 

Over at Acoustic Guitar magazine (November/December edition), Adam Perlmutter called the 724ce the most balanced-sounding koa guitar he’s ever played, with these additional reactions to the sound: “With an impressive midrange and a tight low end that’s never mushy or boomy, it has the characteristic warmth and sweetness that comes with a hardwood-topped instrument.” 

“The guitar’s overall tone is crisp and dry, with a rich midrange that seems to connect the bass and treble notes into a single sound. There is exceptional low-end clarity, which is especially good for flatpicked bass note runs in standard tuning or fingerpicked parts in open tunings.

“The treble range is where the 724ce seems particularly special…. Where many koa guitars can sound a little brittle and zingy on the high end, the guitar’s upper strings ring with a lacy high-end sweetness and a snappy, quick response that is also smooth and refined. To make a visual analogy, the 724ce’s treble response is bright and warm like an Edison bulb, compared to the harshness of a corner store’s LED lights that some other koa guitars project.”

Finally, Guitar Player’s Jimmy Leslie echoed others’ admiration of the guitar’s visual virtues. (“Take the 724ce out of its case and the only thought that crosses the mind is, ‘Gorgeous!’”) He also picked up on the impact of the thin finish on the guitar’s sound. 

“It’s lighter and far less dampened than the established Koa Series. It takes very little pick energy to set the 724’s top in motion, and its sensitivity facilitates extreme nuance. It’s very player reflective, capable of a wide variety of tones from mellow to bright depending on the attack…. If you like your instrument lively and sensitive to subtlety, the 724ce delivers.”

Guitar Spotlight

Ashes, Two Ashes

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A pair of handsome limited-edition Urban Ash models spotlights the wood’s virtues in a whole new way.

After making its debut with our Builder’s Edition 324ce back in early 2020, Urban Ash has delivered resounding proof that quality tonewoods not only exist half a world away — they grow right here in Taylor’s own backyard. Though we’ll always love building guitars with classic, time-tested woods like Indian rosewood and mahogany, there’s something extra special about being able to offer players an exceptional playing experience using homegrown materials. For Taylor, Urban Ash is more than just a great tonewood — it’s a major step forward in our mission to develop more sustainable ways of building guitars.

What is Urban Ash?

Urban Ash is our name for wood from Shamel ash trees, which are also known as evergreen ash. It’s a species that was widely planted in areas of Southern California after World War II as a fast-growing shade tree in conjunction with new housing developments. As is the case with other tree species in urban and residential areas, ash trees eventually need to be removed, whether because they’ve reached the end of their natural life cycle or they’re posing a public safety risk.

Previously, these ash trees would be sold for firewood or otherwise disposed of. That’s where Taylor comes in. Through our collaboration with the experienced tree care professionals at West Coast Arborists (detailed elsewhere in this issue), Taylor sources guitar-grade wood from those ash trees.

Urban Ash, it turns out, is ideally suited for guitar-making: Its properties are similar to high-grade mahogany, and it’s easily workable into the shapes and cuts needed for building acoustic instruments. Urban Ash’s musical attributes include a bold midrange response and a strong focus on the fundamental note.

To date, we’ve used Urban Ash as a back-and-side wood in the aforementioned Builder’s Edition 324ce and our compact GT/GTe Urban Ash twins. Now, we get to expand the role of Urban Ash in the acoustic world with our first two guitars featuring solid ash tops, serving up new visual presentations and musical possibilities for players.

424ce LTD

Back/Sides: Urban Ash

Top: Urban Ash

Body Shape: Grand Auditorium

Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony

Bracing: V-Class

Nut Width: 1-3/4”

Scale Length: 25-1/2”

Electronics: ES2

Protection: Deluxe Brown Hardshell Case

Our 400 Series embodies cross-genre musical utility, so it felt like the perfect place to introduce this Urban Ash Grand Auditorium with similarly broad musical applications.

In addition to an all-ash body, we chose to showcase ash’s natural blonde complexion, revealing the rich character of the wood grain and a subtle range of creamy hues.

Inside the guitar, our tone-enhancing V-Class bracing coaxes more of the natural sonic properties of the ash, which, in this case, means more of the dry, mahogany-esque midrange response players might have heard from the Builder’s Edition 324ce. Like its more common hardwood-top counterparts, Urban Ash yields a clear focus on the note you play, offering exceptional balance across the frequency spectrum.

Sonically, the real difference in this model comes with the ash top. Players can expect some of the natural compression that usually comes with hardwood tops, an effect that takes the edge off the initial attack for a smoother, more refined punch. But as chief guitar designer Andy Powers discovered in the wood-selection process for this model, Urban Ash is not merely a replacement for mahogany. Though its tone profile is similar, the ash’s somewhat lighter average weight gives it a breezier character when used as a top wood.

“There’s a pretty fair range of density when it comes to mahogany,” he says. “Generally speaking, Urban Ash is comparable to the middle and lighter weight range of mahogany, which lends it an open, airy quality.”

Visually, a gloss finish adds an elegant luster to the ash body. Our Renaissance fretboard and peghead inlays in Italian acrylic reflect the guitar’s affiliation with our 400 Series, while other distinctive touches — black binding, satin black tuners, a black pickguard and a black 3-ring rosette — add striking counterpoints against the blonde ash body.

224ce-UA DLX LTD

Back/Sides: Layered Urban Ash

Top: Urban Ash

Body Shape: Grand Auditorium

Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony

Bracing: Forward Shifted X

Nut Width: 1-11/16”

Scale Length: 25-1/2”

Electronics: ES2

Protection: Deluxe Brown Hardshell Case

Our other all-ash limited-edition Grand Auditorium pairs a solid Urban Ash top with layered ash back and sides. Layered woods allow us to combine durable construction with the ability to use premium wood veneers. In this case, the layered ash back and sides boast beautiful figure, and both the body and neck sport a rich tobacco sunburst.

Tonally, you can expect the signature musical versatility of the Grand Auditorium body style, an easily adaptable sound that performs equally well when strummed, flatpicked or fingerpicked. Again, it’s the Urban Ash soundboard that really sets this model apart, generating a woody, dry response with a touch of compression to balance out a dynamic attack.

“The top has a unique flavor reminiscent of a traditional mahogany top with a light and vibrant twist,” Andy says.

Visually, the tobacco sunburst together with the gloss-finish body serve up eye-catching stage presence. Supporting appointments include gold Taylor tuning machines, a faux tortoiseshell pickguard, white binding, a single-ring Italian acrylic rosette and Small Diamond fretboard inlays in Italian acrylic. In terms of feel, players might appreciate the slightly narrower fretboard on this model (1-11/16 inches), which will make fretting a bit easier for developing guitarists or players with smaller hands.

Look for both of these limited-edition Urban Ash guitars at authorized Taylor dealers this fall.

Guitar Spotlight

Hands-On Learning

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Two new walnut-top Academy Series models expand the look and sound of our beginner-friendly guitars.

After making its debut with our Builder’s Edition 324ce back in early 2020, Urban Ash has delivered resounding proof that quality tonewoods not only exist half a world away — they grow right here in Taylor’s own backyard. Though we’ll always love building guitars with classic, time-tested woods like Indian rosewood and mahogany, there’s something extra special about being able to offer players an exceptional playing experience using homegrown materials. For Taylor, Urban Ash is more than just a great tonewood — it’s a major step forward in our mission to develop more sustainable ways of building guitars.

The Academy Series delivered a guitar that’s not too precious for travel and everyday play, and that could nonetheless perform well in a wide range of musical scenarios. And though they were designed with an eye toward helping beginner players get over the initial “hump” of learning the instrument, they’re also broadly appealing to more experienced players.

Five years later, we’re thrilled to grow the family with two new guitars: A Dreadnought Academy 20e and a Grand Concert Academy 22e, both topped with solid walnut instead of spruce.

New Academy Series Models at a Glance:

Body Shapes: Dreadnought and Grand Concert
Body Wood: Layered Walnut
Top Wood: Solid Walnut
Armrest: Beveled Walnut
Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony
Nut Width: 1-11/16”
Scale Length: 24-7/8”
Electronics: ES-B
Protection: Gig Bag

About the Guitars



With these two new models, players now have an alternative to the classic spruce-top tone, swapping out the soundboard for one made of solid walnut. As a tonewood, walnut’s density and hardness put it in good company with mahogany, Hawaiian koa and other hardwoods — you’ll hear a distinct compression effect inherent to denser woods, which smooths out the guitar’s attack for a more balanced initial punch. Walnut yields an airy, open midrange character with a strong fundamental focus, meaning you’ll hear more of the note you play and less of the ringing overtone response you’d hear from other woods.

The result is a clear, balanced sound suited to a wide range of musical applications. These guitars are equally at home in standard lesson and practice scenarios as well as recording or playing live through the included ES-B pickup, which we recently updated with new EQ controls and simpler battery replacement. The Dreadnought Academy 20e will serve up all the big, bold tone players love from the classic body shape, making it a great choice for strummers. Expect clear lows, crisp highs and plenty of midrange power, with projection that can fill a room with sound, especially with a more aggressive attack.

Meanwhile, the more compact Grand Concert Academy 22e features accommodating contours for a more intimate feel. You’ll hear strong definition between notes, making it a great choice for fingerstyle players or those who employ flatpicked lead lines. Despite its smaller size, the Academy 22e serves up plenty of volume, and its wide dynamic range makes it a great choice for players learning how to pick or strum with a lighter touch.

With a built-in armrest — a feature typically reserved for high-end guitars — these models are ideal for beginners getting used to the feel of an acoustic guitar, and their slender necks, along with a 24-7/8-inch scale length, make it easy for players of all ability levels to navigate the ebony fretboard. Like our other Academy Series guitars, these models are built without cutaways for optimal resonance, and they feature a slightly shallower body depth than our standard Dreadnought and Grand Concert models, making them easier to hold and play. It’s all topped off with a thin matte finish that showcases walnut’s natural grain for an earthy aesthetic.

You’ll find both the Academy 20e and the Academy 22e at authorized Taylor dealers everywhere.

Product Spotlight

Revisiting the Classics

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Indian rosewood joins Hawaiian koa and blackheart sassafras as another exotic top wood for our T5z Classic guitars.

It’s hard to believe our “electracoustic” T5 made its debut more than 16 years ago. The launch of the hollowbody hybrid in 2005 made a big splash in the guitar world, earning awards for its innovative design and revealing an exciting new soundscape of amplified acoustic and electric voicings for players to explore. In its most distilled form, the T5 answered the lingering need among gigging players to get great clean and distorted tones from the same guitar.

Even before plugging it in, players were drawn to the T5’s slim, lightweight body and uber-playable Taylor neck. It gave us a new guitar platform to showcase our latest developments in pickup design, as we integrated an acoustic body sensor — a component of our original magnetic Expression System electronics, which we had introduced with our acoustic guitars in 2003 — with proprietary humbucker designs. Five-way switching summoned different pickup configurations, while the guitar’s fluid compatibility with acoustic amps (or a PA) and electric amps meant that, with an A/B/Both box, a gigging player could cover a lot of ground on stage with just one guitar. 

Daria Musk on her favorite T5z settings.

Over the years, the T5 has evolved like all of our guitar designs. The electronics were updated, and it spawned the spin-off launch of the smaller-body T5z — inspired by a custom design for Prince — which leaned a little more into the electric guitar world with electric strings, jumbo frets and a 12-inch fretboard radius. 

Through all its iterations, the T5z remains a unique musical tool that speaks to the increasingly diverse musical appetites of players and their interest in exploring new sonic textures in an amplified setting. What’s more, the evolution of amp modeling and effects technology has made it easier than ever for players to leverage the T5z’s strengths to the fullest. Rather than needing a dual acoustic and electric amp setup, for example, these days, players can plug into a Fractal AX8 or Line 6 Helix, or some other recording interface, in pursuit of inspiring new tonal flavors. 

Exotic Wood Tops 

Over time, our T5z model offerings have steadily evolved to include a robust array of top woods, color treatments and other appointment details across our Custom, Pro, Standard, Classic and Classic Deluxe series. Last year we bolstered our menu with a pair of new T5z Classic models featuring beautiful hardwood tops: koa and blackheart sassafras. This year we’re pleased to add a rosewood-top edition to the mix. Like its counterparts, the rosewood model features a subtle shaded edgeburst top and a satin finish. The back, sides and neck sport trans black color shading to match the rich, dusky hues of the rosewood, with Taylor satin black tuners adding the perfect aesthetic accent.  

Between these exotic-top Classics and the other models that make up the T5z family, there’s an abundance of looks and sounds to choose from. Look for these and other T5z models at your favorite Taylor dealer. 

two Taylor acoustic 200 Series Plus guitars, one laying on its side in front and the other handing from a stand behind

Product Spotlight

Dynamic Duo

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Fraternal twins from our 200 Plus Series strike a harmonic balance of musical utility and affordability.

For newer and discerning players alike, there will always be value in a reliable workhorse guitar. Almost every longtime guitarist has one — as good for accompaniment at an open mic night as it is for couchbound practice sessions and tinkering with song ideas. And if that guitar comes with a few slick features to elevate its style and usefulness? Even better. Enter the 214ce Plus and its series sibling, the 210ce Plus, designed to fill the need for an everyday guitar that performs at a high level without breaking the bank.

The two guitars share key family traits: layered Indian rosewood back and sides, a solid spruce tops, a Venetian cutaway, ES2 electronics and a comfortable Taylor neck profile (featuring a 1-11/16-inch nut width) that’s easy on your fretting hand. Aesthetically, the two models boast a full-body gloss finish and nickel tuners that elevate them from the standard 200 Series, along with our popular new AeroCase, which combines lightweight portability with stellar protection.

The pair diverges in body shape, with the 214ce Plus inhabiting the Taylor original Grand Auditorium and the 210ce Plus in the classic Dreadnought style. Players tend to love the Grand Auditorium both for its one-size-fits-all feel and its highly adaptable musical response, which performs beautifully whether you’re fingerpicking, flatpicking lead lines or driving a tune with aggressive strumming. The GA’s articulate, yet open character makes it easy to bend to fit a variety of playing styles and genre-specific approaches, with a punchy response that balances low-end warmth with treble clarity.

Taylor’s Andy Powers takes the 214ce Plus for a spin.

Meanwhile, the wider-waisted 210ce Plus is Taylor’s take on the big, commanding dreadnought body shape. Typically, players seek out dreadnought guitars for their strong projection, typically buffed up with a more potent bass response. The large air chamber allows it to produce stunning volume; our version maintains that room-filling power and trims out some of the extra overtones in favor of greater note separation, in keeping with the “contemporary” Taylor sound that players have come to love. The result is a guitar that balances the heritage vibe of the classic dreadnought shape with modern refinements that make it even more useful in situations where you really want your guitar sound front and center. Watch Taylor’s Artist and Community Relations Manager, Lindsay Love-Bivens, put the 210ce Plus through its paces below.

Lindsay Love-Bivens plays the Dreadnought 210ce Plus.

Whichever shape you lean toward, both of these guitars are out in stores awaiting a test-drive. Head to your local Taylor dealer or browse from your favorite online music retailer.

Product Spotlight

Uncommon Sense

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TaylorSense returns as our most comprehensive guitar monitoring system ever.

If you’ve spent any time shopping for guitars — especially if you live in a place with a drier-than-average climate such as this writer’s home in Denver, Colorado, where guitar shops essentially use giant humidors to house their acoustic inventory — chances are you’ve at least heard about the importance of keeping your guitar properly humidified and protected from warping or cracking. The solid woods used in acoustic guitars are highly dynamic, forming an almost “living” system that constantly responds to environmental conditions. That’s why many guitar shops keep their acoustics in a separate, climate-controlled room, and why an in-tune guitar can seemingly fall out of tune just going from a cool room to a warm, brightly lit stage, or in the course of being transported from one house to another. It’s also why our factory climate in El Cajon is carefully controlled to maintain optimal temperatures and humidity levels. For guitar players, keeping your guitar properly humidified might be the most important part of guitar maintenance, especially if you travel with your acoustics and regularly play in new locales.

Enter TaylorSense, the new and improved guitar care system for Taylor acoustic players.

In short, TaylorSense is a smart battery box that replaces the standard 9-volt battery box of a Taylor guitar. Inside, sensors monitor the relative humidity and temperature around the guitar, transmitting that information to a smartphone linked by low-energy Bluetooth. Using the TaylorSense app, players can check climate info in real time.

The climate “sweet spot” for most acoustic guitars lies between 40 and 60 percent relative humidity, and spikes or major drops in temperature (say, a freezing winter day or a particularly hot day in summer) can potentially cause damage as well. If the numbers around your guitar should rise or fall outside recommended levels and remain there for long enough to damage your guitar, TaylorSense lets you know with alerts on your phone. The sensor box also detects impact damage, so you’ll know if your case takes a hit that you need to check on. Lastly, TaylorSense keeps track of your guitar’s battery level so you’ll never have to worry about starting a show with a dying pickup.

Longtime Taylor fans might be thinking, “Didn’t Taylor release this a few years ago?” You’re not wrong—the idea for a comprehensive guitar health monitoring device has been bouncing around the Taylor braintrust for a decade. We offered previous iterations of the system in past years paired with an iPhone-exclusive app that also featured a digital tuner and a four-track digital recording interface. We were excited about the possibility of being able to give players an easy way to make sure their guitars last a lifetime and avoid pricey repairs for cracks or neck issues, and many players, especially those with several Taylors in their collection, shared their appreciation for a one-stop system to help keep their instruments in good playing shape.

But TaylorSense is a digital technology integrated into a quintessentially analog system — the acoustic guitar—and as is common with new music tech, some users reported issues with the first version of the device. Scott Reinhardt, our Director of Digital and Retail Marketing, who helped guide the project since its inception, was at the center of conversations with players and customers who wanted more from TaylorSense. Scott points out that while the original iOS TaylorSense system was met with high praise by reviewers and was even featured in USA Today, it later became clear that there was room for improvement.

“We realized that we hadn’t set ourselves up to effectively service the technology,” Scott says. “We also had a large owner base clamoring for an Android-based TaylorSense experience.”

Complacency isn’t part of how Taylor does business — we don’t abandon good ideas if they don’t work perfectly on the first try. So we got to work, bringing in new app developers alongside our factory service and repair team to streamline the app and build a more accurate and consistent sensor array for the battery box. Concentrating on improving the experience and focusing the app’s functionality, we sought to provide excellent results without overloading the software — or its users. It was also important to the team that the system be available to as many players as possible, so extending the app to Android users was at the top of our list of priorities for the upgraded version of TaylorSense. It was also critical to make the system accessible to a broader range of guitar players, not just those who prefer Android devices to Apple but also guitarists around the globe. Accomplishing that required finding ways to scale up the technology and make it serviceable no matter where the player is located.

After months of redevelopment, extensive testing and endless app iterations, we released the new TaylorSense system in January of 2020. The partner app for the device is available for both Apple and Android smartphone users, and we’re excited that players in the United States, Canada, the EU and the United Kingdom are reporting great experiences with the new tech.

Of course, we couldn’t have made this happen without the help of actual Taylor players. Rebuilding the sensor box and smartphone app the right way involved getting the devices out to Taylor artists and owners who tested it rigorously and helped us refine the system. Among them was Gabriel O’Brien, Taylor player, audio engineer and moderator of the unofficial Taylor owners’ group on Facebook. Gabriel shared his thoughts after installing TaylorSense into two of his acoustic guitars and using the system for several months.

“Many of the most commonly asked questions about guitar care are really signs of humidity issues,” he says. “Being able to track humidity levels via Bluetooth really gives you peace of mind, since it alerts you when your guitar is outside the optimal humidity range. It also records physical impact, which is important for people who travel with their guitars, or even people like me who have children at home. Plus, it’s easy to install; a player with no guitar tech experience can do it in minutes.”

Now, the redesigned TaylorSense system is making its way into the guitar world, and we’re pleased that guitarists are enjoying its refined user experience and real-time updates. You can order your own TaylorSense unit from TaylorSense.com or find it at your local Taylor dealer.

Four Taylor GS Mini acoustic guitars in a group with two standing vertically and two laying horizontally

Product Spotlight

Mini Mania

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Portable, bold and ready for anything, the GS Mini is excitement in guitar form.

The second half of 2021 might turn out to be one of the more creatively inspiring times we’ve seen in years—certainly in months. Public spaces are gradually reopening in many parts of the world, and people everywhere are feeling the growing desire to make music together. That means that acoustic guitars are about to have a big moment in the sun, and there’s no guitar better suited to spontaneous creativity than the GS Mini.

Longtime Taylor fans know the GS Mini well: a scaled-down, solid-topped acoustic guitar with a voice that dwarfs its small frame. Borrowing the basic curves of our larger Grand Symphony body shape and sporting a take-anywhere, not-too-precious aesthetic, the GS Mini has been blowing minds and powering jam sessions for over a decade now. And still, despite being one of the best-selling acoustic guitars in the world, there’s more to the GS Mini and this family of guitars than meets the eye. While the GS Mini’s ubiquity as a pick-up-and-play guitar makes it both accessible and practical for virtually any kind of player, it’s also sometimes thought of as just a travel guitar and not a complex system of interworking design choices, as is the case for our full-size guitars. But the Mini is just as thoughtfully designed, and the choices made have profound impacts on the final product, even when they’re not immediately recognizable.

Take the back and sides of the GS Mini, which are built with layered woods—that is, two thin tonewood veneers pressed around a central layer of another wood to add durability and structural resilience. Pick up a GS Mini and you’ll likely notice that the back is slightly bowed outward, or arched, toward the body of the player. Look inside the body and you’ll see a back free of the bracing struts that we use in solid-wood guitars to articulate their tone and shape their musical response. This design choice, also featured in all of our guitars made with layered wood backs and sides, helps us maximize what we get out of our natural resources while making our guitars more durable.

“The ‘domed’ back design greatly strengthens the back, eliminating the need for additional bracing,” explains Master Guitar Designer Andy Powers. “A big reason for doing this is to avoid wasting raw wood. When you saw a board into back pieces, half or more of it ends up as sawdust. When you slice the same board into thin veneers for guitars like the GS Mini, very little wood is wasted as sawdust.”

Lindsay Love-Bivens shows off the sweet tone of the GS Mini-e Koa Plus.

Another often-unnoticed feature of the GS Mini is its soundhole, which matches the dimensions of soundholes in our full-size guitars, effectively making it oversize for the GS Mini body. This was a deliberate choice, Andy says, designed to change the way the guitar’s tone propagates and generate a more immersive sound from the small instrument.

“The relatively larger soundhole in the GS Mini creates a less directional sound projection, and more of a sound that envelopes the player,” Andy says. “Compared to the small soundhole of a Baby Taylor, the GS Mini will tend to give the impression of a slightly larger body when listening from the player’s perspective.”

Despite its unassuming presentation, the GS Mini is a marvel of acoustic design that has made a serious impact in the hands of musicians. Recently, we got in touch with a wide swath of artists to hear their thoughts on their GS Minis on the guitar’s tenth anniversary in 2020. Across the spectrum of musical styles, artists responded enthusiastically—from the Zac Brown Band’s Coy Bowles to Asking Alexandria’s Danny Worsnop, Stephen Egerton to Daria Musk, and Daniel Donato to Columbian singer-songwriter Camilo. Everywhere in the music world, artists are using the GS Mini not just as a practice guitar but as an inspiring musical tool worthy of a spot in any player’s lineup.

In this recent performance, Latin Grammy Award-winning Colombian artist Camilo delivers a gorgeous unplugged rendition of his song, “BEBÉ.” Camilo is playing his GS Mini-e Koa Plus, which we customized for him with a personalized engraving on the pickguard.

Of course, the GS Mini family has grown in recent years and now includes the GS Mini Bass, which has become a delightfully malleable instrument for musicians wanting to add another level of tonal complexity to their compositions. It may look small, but this thing sounds as huge as any bass guitar you’ve ever heard. Recently, sound engineer, composer and session bassist RAM showed off his GS Mini-e Maple Bass, which he touts as his favorite bass for recording.

Pro session bassist and composer RAM demonstrates the musical range and clarity of the GS Mini-e Bass.

You can find the entire GS Mini line, including the GS Mini Bass and the stunning GS Mini-e Koa Plus, at authorized Taylor dealers around the world and through online Taylor retailers.