This review could apply, at least partly, to the Koa version of the Taylor GS Mini as well.
This non-Koa version is a mixture of Sitka Spruce on the top and Rosewood for the back and sides, where the top is a solid piece of lumber. There's also a version of the GS Mini that uses mahogany in the back and sides, so take your pick of tonewood.
In all cases, the top is solid, making this $600 one of our favorite budget-friendly recommendations, especially for those that want a travel acoustic that can double as a higher-functioning performance and/or studio guitar.
This is our Taylor GS Mini review covering all aspects of the popular small-form acoustic.
Read more: Best acoustic guitars overall
Compare to Similar Acoustics
First, we've put together a simple comparison table allowing you to select a few guitars to compare the GS Mini to.
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In this next section we've put together a few pros, cons, and ratings for those interested in a quicker reference or who might not want to read the full Taylor GS Mini review.
IDEAL FOR: Couch guitar playing, gigging, recording, and pretty much everything.
Sound Quality and Pickups
The sound isn't thin or tinny, but actually does a great job of accentuating brightness without sounding too brisk or shrill. You get some nice bass on the lower frequencies if you pick with your thumb and some intense finger scrapes when finger picking.
Arpeggios and pick-thru chord progressions sounded particularly good.
We also like the sustain and natural resonance you get out of the GS Mini. Unplugged in a living room is where it excels most, doing a great job of filling the air without any amplification.
Build and Feel
This guitar feels light in your hands, despite the existence of a solid top and the traditional Taylor bracing system. It's good for carrying (comes with a gig back) and can be easily traveled with, though is big enough to feel like a substantive instrument in your hands.
The X-bracing is similar to what you have in more expensive Taylor acoustics with a relief route, fitting to the smaller grand symphony body shape.
It feels very much like a performance acoustic that's made for a smaller room and an easier lap hold.
- String Type: Steel string acoustics (includes Elixir acoustic strings)
- Number of Strings: 6
- Body Shape: Grand Symphony Mini
- Left-/Right-handed: Right-handed
- Color: Natural (Spruce version)
- Finish: Satin Varnish
- Top Wood: Solid Sitka Spruce
- Back & Sides Wood: Layered (laminate) Indian Rosewood
- Body Bracing: X-Bracing with Relief Rout
- Neck Wood: Sapele
- Fingerboard Material: Ebony
- Fingerboard Inlay: Dots
- Number of Frets: 20
- Scale Length: 23.5"
- Tuning Machines: Die-Cast Chrome
- Bridge Material: Ebony
- Nut/Saddle Material: Nubone nut/Tusq Saddle
- Nut Width: 1.6875"
- Electronics: ES-B (Taylor expression system pickup and preamp)
- Strings: Elixir Phosphor Bronze, .013-.056
- Case Included: Gig bag
- Body Length: 17.625"
- Body Width: 14.375"
- Body Depth: 4.4375"
- Overall Length: 36.625"
Cost and Value
At only $600 the Taylor GS Mini is one of the company's most affordable guitars, outside of the BT1 and BT2. It's also priced in a spot where it could go as an upper-tier beginner guitar or a lower tier intermediate acoustic. For a Taylor guitar - a brand known for being more expensive - with a solid wood top and electronic pickup system, it's one of the highest-value acoustic guitars we can recommend.
What kind of strings come with it?
All Taylor acoustics come with Elixir acoustic strings. The Rosewood version of the GS Mini comes with the following string set:
- Elixir Phosphor Bronze, .013-.056
These are nice strings - some of the best you can buy - and do not need changed when you unbox the GS Mini. In fact, they should be good for about six months, give or take depending on how much you play.
Taylor GS Mini vs Yamaha FS800
The Yamaha FS800 is far cheaper than the GS Mini, hovering around $200 retail. Though it does still include a solid Spruce top, making it a decent budget-friendly alternative if the $600 price tag is too much. We don't like the tone or playability of the FS800 quite as much as the GS Mini, but Yamaha does an admiral job of keeping it competitive at such a low price point.
The total length of the Taylor GS Mini, including the body, neck, and headstock, runs at about 36.6 inches top to bottom.
On the Taylor GS Mini, the length running from the bridge to the base of the head stock - the scale length - is about 23.5 inches.
The couple GS minis we've played had extremely low action out of the box, which leads us to believe you won't need to worry about any modding or setup for dealing with action height.
Final Thoughts & Questions
The Taylor GS Mini is one of the best-value acoustic guitars we've ever tested, and seems to be one of the more popular buys on Sweetwater, always hovering near the top of their best-seller lists. We'd recommend it for a wide range of situations, including travel, beginner, intermediate, and even as a recording acoustic.
It's on the brighter side of the tone spectrum, so we'd add points for those looking for a more melodic, picking acoustic.
Strumming sounds good too, but this guitar really shines in the arena of brisk, melodic fingerpicking styles.
If you have additional questions or thoughts about our Taylor GS Mini review, feel free to drop them in the comments section below.