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No matter how you look at it, Taylor’s one of the biggest names in the acoustic guitar industry. They’re among the most trusted brands, and for a good reason. It’s no surprise that Taylor GS Mini-e comes in as one of the best acoustic bass guitars you can currently find.
If something doesn’t look right when you first lay your eyes on this bass, it’s because it isn’t really your ordinary model. Taylor GS Mini-e is actually a small scale acoustic bass, which means that the entire instrument is scaled down. It features a modified concert body shape with a wider lower bout. Tonewood of choice came down to solid sitka spruce for the top, while the back and sides are made of layered sapele. Whether or not laminate wood is justified in this price range depends on the specific model in question. Many see it as a flaw, but Taylor definitely knows how to pull it off without compromising neither performance nor reliability. This sapele shell sounds every bit as good as solid wood, with the additional perks such as increased resistance to temperature, wear and other factors. Lastly, the guitar features great looking binding and a varnish finish.
When it comes to hardware, Taylor’s GS Mini-e packs the usual. We are looking at a set of pretty great, but ultimately standard die cast chrome tuners. On the outside, they don’t look like much. However, when you start tuning the guitar, you will definitely notice the precision and smooth tracking. On the other end, Taylor went with a West African ebony bridge. Saddle and nut are made of Micarta and Nubone respectively. In other words, you won’t find the most traditional materials here, but Taylor’s choices definitely work. The electronics package they chose for this build is their ESB pickup/preamp combo. It is a simple unit that features basic controls and a built in chromatic tuner. Even so, it fits the nature of GS Mini-e acoustic bass rather well. From a purely practical point of view, the hardware found on this guitar delivers consistency and reliability.
What most people are wondering when they see as short scale bass, especially an acoustic one, is how good it sounds? In case of Taylor GS Mini-e, there are quite a few things to note. For starters, you don’t really hear the lack of sound box real estate. Sure, there’s some difference but nowhere near as much as you would expect when you first see the guitar. Its lows are massive, at least compared to its size, while the mids are present and wide. We can probably attribute most of this to that lower bout, but ultimately everything from the tonewood used to Taylor’s bracing helped this effort. Once plugged in, Taylor GS Mini-e offers a nicely balanced performance. Despite the lack of a proper EQ, ESB preamp does a great job at rendering the authentic sound of GS Mini-e’s natural acoustics.
At the end of the day, Taylor GS Mini-e is a bit deceptive. On paper, it doesn’t sound all that great considering its price, but all of that changes once you start handling it. Whether it’s that legendary Taylor knowhow or just good craftsmanship, this guitar sounds incredible in use.