Once it comes to travel-size guitars, Little Martin vs Taylor Big Baby vs GS Mini is a topic that comes up in many discussions. All of these guitars have unique characteristics which allow them to excel in particular conditions. Spare a bit of your time to check out this article and pick up the guitar that suits you most.
Little Martin Overview
Martin released four different categories of the Little Martin — LXM, LXK2, LX1, and the Ed Sheeran Special — with a total of seven models. It will take another article to discuss each, so this article will only focus on the most common ¾-size Little Martin, the LX1.
Young kids age 7 to 10 will surely love the Little Martin LX1. It belongs to the Little Martin LX series, which is so far the best guitar for kids in the series. Though smaller than a regular guitar, it has excellent craftsmanship designed to produce great sound even when played unplugged.
It’s durable and fun to play, more like a “pick up and play” type of guitar that lets you jam anywhere. Made with hand-rubbed solid Sitka Spruce top like some of Martin’s top-of-the-line guitars. Also, it has a Mahogany pattern High-Pressure Laminate (HPL) back and sides.
While some people love how the Little Martin LX1 is being finished, it is also a major turn-off for other guitarists. However, Little Martin also has a good side, because some find its tone to be a bit deeper compared to a Baby Taylor.
Taylor Big Baby Overview
A kiddy guitar that sounds so much better, the Taylor Big Baby could be your next guitar or your kid’s. It’s a fraction smaller than a full-sized guitar, 15/16th size like a smaller dreadnought. Instead of the overall 16-inch length, it only has 15 inches.
If you have heard of a Baby Taylor, this is its bigger, yet younger brother. They share nearly everything – from the premium craftsmanship to the features. The overall size still makes it portable, without compromising its big tonal output. Speaking of its fuller volume, this can be attributed to its arched back design, like the Baby Taylor.
Sitka Spruce top offers a perfect blend between stiffness and elasticity to provide a broader dynamic range. The laminate back and sides make it sturdy, yet a good vibrating platform. Aside from that, it’s also resilient to temperature changes and humidity.
It seems to be a bit bigger for kids, compared to a GS Mini. But, it has the most stable neck construction with smooth and playable neck. The Taylor Big Baby offers more versatility in playing different styles and also has more volume and low-end response.
It has a more natural feel with a full-sized scale length. Taylor Big Baby is not only a choice for kids, but adults, too, especially those who want to have a smaller and handier guitar.
GS Mini Overview
If you love a grand symphony guitar, then the Taylor GS Mini could be the one for you. It’s designed by Bob Taylor in 2006. It offers more volume and wide dynamic range. As Taylor describes it, it’s a ‘do it all’ type of guitar with rich bass and strong mids.
Looking for a Taylor quality in a smaller guitar? You’ll get it from the Taylor GS Mini acoustic guitar. From the quality construction to sturdy design, you are assured that you have a very reliable guitar wherever you go.
Featuring Sitka Spruce top and layered Sapele back and sides, you know your guitar is built to last. Not just that, it’s a great-sounding guitar that is capable of producing a full and rich tone with extra punch. It has an ebony fretboard and bridge for the guitar to be more stable, compact and better-sounding.
Though it’s a scaled-down instrument, you can still experience a balance between portability and musicality. It has a smaller scale length, so it’s very easy to form chords. This also makes tuning quick and fantastic.
It’s quite smaller than the Taylor Big Baby and it has more articulated sound. It has a smaller scale length compared to the Big Baby. Definitely not a toy and kids will surely learn a lot from this small guitar.
Little Martin vs Taylor Big Baby vs GS Mini: Specification Comparison
When comparing two or more guitars, it’s very important to see the difference right away. You don’t need to play them to compare their specifications and features. You can easily spot their similarities and differences based on the table below.
|Specifications||Little Martin||Taylor Big Baby||GS Mini|
|Top||Sitka Spruce||Sitka Spruce||Sitka Spruce|
|Bracing Pattern||X-Bracing Non-Scalloped||X Bracing||X-Bracing with Relief Route|
|Back and Sides||Mahogany Pattern HPL||Layered Sapele||Sapele|
|Neck||Rust Birch Laminate||Maple||Sapele|
|Neck Construction||Mortise & Tenon Neck Joint||Bolt-On Neck||Taylor Neck|
|Neck Width||1 11/16-inch||1-11/16-inch||1-11/16-inch|
|Fretboard||FSC® Certified Richlite®||Ebony||West African Ebony|
|Bridge||FSC® Certified Richlite®||Ebony||Ebony|
|Nut & Saddle||White Corian Nut/Compensated White Tusq Saddle||Nubone Nut/Micarta Saddle||Nubone Nut/Micarta Saddle|
|Strings||Authentic Acoustic Lifespan® 2.0 Medium – 92/8 Phosphor Bronze MA550T (Recommended)||Elixir Phosphor Bronze Light||Elixir Phosphor Bronze Medium|
As you can see, both Taylor Big Baby and GS Mini have almost the same specs, except for the neck material, scale length and a few more things. This is expected since both of them are travel-sized guitars and manufactured by the same company. The Little Martin, on the other hand, seems to be using HPL and Richlite, rather than wood.
Now, after checking their differences and similarities in terms of materials used, nut width and other specifications, you should know which among the three is better when played. So, in the next section, you’ll know which among the three is designed to give you better playability.
Little Martin vs Taylor Big Baby vs GS Mini: Playability
Little Martin has a good weight and you will be surprised by its playability. The ¾-size body makes it easier for your child to hold it. It’s an instrument designed to be played for hours without any problem. Since it has an HPL body, rather than wood, it’s pretty sturdy, too.
Taylor guitars have perfect neck and you can expect it from both Taylor Big Baby and GS Mini. The neck of the Big Baby combined with the Elixir strings offers better playability. Since it’s smaller than a dreadnought, it’s comfortable to hold and to be played on the lap. For younger kids, however, maybe the Big Baby is just too big for them.
Lastly, the GS Mini has a slim neck with low action. Complete beginners may find this guitar handy because it doesn’t need much effort to fret the strings down. Though it has a shorter scale length, not as short as the Little Martin, it’s easier to adjust from full-sized Taylor Big Bay to GS Mini. It’s also playable out of the box, so beginners may find it easier to start playing without the need for any professional setup.
Little Martin vs Taylor Big Baby vs GS Mini: Sound
In the sound department, the Little Martin has a bright and warm tone. However, this isn’t your typical bright and tinny small guitar, this is a Martin. So, with its solid Spruce top, you’ll get a deeper and warmer projection, something you expect, even from a full-sized dreadnought. Check it’s sound compared to the GS Mini through this YouTube video:
Now, the Big Baby will surely surprise you with its bass and punchy tone. With the Sitka Spruce top, you can have a more dynamic tonal response. Also, you can get that crisp, bright and clear ring because of the solid top material.
It only has a light coating of varnish, so it won’t lose its richness and projection, like a full-sized dreadnought. The X-bracing allows the topwood to have clarity and better intonation. The laminate back and sides, on the other hand, adds durability and protection to the Taylor Big Baby. Why don’t you check it’s sound through this YouTube video?
Taylor GS Mini has a full and rich tone, even with its compact design. It has a bright and smooth sound with better sustain and response like the high-end Taylors. Unfortunately, when you play the guitar for the first time, you’ll hear bright tones, but through time it’ll develop deeper tones.
The back and sides are made with three-layered Sapele laminate. Although the GS Mini doesn’t have the sound like a real wood guitar, you’ll get a sound that only this guitar has. So, if you want clarity and some note-defining punch, then, the GS Mini is great for you. And, among the three, the GS could be the best-sounding one.
Little Martin vs Taylor Big Baby vs GS Mini: Price
The cheapest of them all is the Little Martin. But, why is it cheap when it’s a Martin? Simply because it uses HPL materials. Martin was able to drop the price of the Little Martin LX1 because of the high-pressure laminate mahogany back and sides and neck, instead of real wood.
Additionally, you can also see an FSC certified richlite, which is, again, not a wood. Keeping the design simple and straightforward, allows Martin to lower the price and to make it very affordable to everyone.
It’s not every day that you’ll get a great deal from Taylor, or they offer their acoustic guitars at a cheaper price. But, when they do, perhaps, the best thing to do is to grab the opportunity. Of course, you aren’t obliged to replace your full-sized guitars with ¾-scale guitar, but, you might want to check the Taylor Big Baby and the GS Mini.
Though the Big Baby is a 15/16-scale dreadnought guitar, it’s particularly cheaper, because of its laminate Sapele back and sides. It seems like a scaled-down, yet it’s still a full-sized guitar and is great in every aspect.
Lastly, the Taylor GS Mini is the most expensive among the three. Of course, if you are looking for a Taylor quality, it’s always associated with a higher price tag. But, since the GS Mini is a mini, well a ¾-size guitar, you are getting it at a price that fits your budget.
Martin and Taylor guitars are great brands when it comes to acoustic guitars. They have years of experience, and they are the best in the industry, provided that they have been the trusted guitar brands for different artists.
So, you might roll your eyes or raise your eyebrows when you hear or see a cheaper Martin or Taylor guitar. Of, course, an affordable guitar from either of these two makers will only mean that it’s a mini or a travel guitar. And, speaking of travel guitars or best guitars for your kids, it’s always a comparison of the Little Martin vs Taylor Big Baby vs GS Mini.
There’s no right or wrong small guitar for your kids. All these guitars are handy and are a great company whenever you go camping, out of town or just jamming in your apartment. However, if you want a deeper and a booming response of a full-scale guitar, you should get a Taylor Big Baby.
For a veteran or a child who wants to really play, a GS Mini will be great. It’s also the best-sounding guitar among the three. Yet, if you need an affordable and handy guitar, get a Little Martin. Each guitar is great for different types of players. So, whichever you choose among the three, make sure that it’s the guitar that makes you want to play.
Hi music fan! I am Jeff. Hope that you enjoy some stuff I shared here in my personal blog.
About myself, Currently I am in charging as Artist Manager/Music Supervisor at 72 Music Management. I did managed album to Grammy Award in 2017 with 7 Nominations from 2014-2020 and had the opportunities to work with : A.J. Croce, Blind Boys of Alabama, Bobby Rush, Dom Flemons, Dustbowl Revival, Sarah Grace
Governor of the Memphis Chapter of The Recording Academy is one of a award that I am lucky to achieved.