Tonewise, the Mini beats the snot out of rest of the similarly priced, small-body “travel” guitars that I have played. It doesn’t have the full harmonic capability of a standard size Grand Symphony or dreadnaught, but there’s enough there to be quite satisfying. The bass doesn’t rumble, but there’s more than enough to offer the drive that other little travel-style guitars lack. The mids are quite pleasant, not at all nasal or harsh, and the high end is clear and present. The Mini is not just a tool that you compromise on because you need to travel with something. It’s a guitar you can pick up and get lost with, because it does offer that broad, viable sonic palette.
Just about the first thing I do with any guitar I get my hands on is drop to DADGAD, and the GS Mini handles that drop just fine. It came with Elixir Mediums for strings, so you’ve got plenty enough oomph for DADGAD. C-tunings are a little floppy sounding, but doable.
Optional Pickup System
The ES-Go is a magnetic soundhole stacked humbucker pickup specifically designed for the GS Mini. The directions say all you need is a screwdriver to install it, and there are only about five steps to the install, none of them rocket science. The instruction manual has clear photos illustrating each step, with well-written directions that—gasp!—make sense. The pickup adds about $99 to the price of the Mini, and if you are planning on doing more than just pickin’ around a campfire or in your hotel room on those long, dull business trips, it’s a great addition.
The ES-Go pickup installed
Plugged in to a discreet, interior soundhole clip, the ES-Go sounds pretty realistic, and I didn’t have to do much EQing to get a pleasantly guitary sound. The mids are warm and not nasal at all, which was a nice surprise. I tweaked the Presence up a bit on my Baggs Core 1 amp, because the pickup sounded a little lack-luster, and that seemed to do the trick. The signal is about as hot as a passive pickup, and I was able to crank up the volume pretty far without feedback. I wouldn’t hesitate to gig with this guitar in a coffeehouse or small, friendly bar, but too much crowd noise will bury you. That’s true of a lot of passive pickups, though, so that’s not really much of a knock. Taylor released their V-Cable, a cable with a volume pot at the plug, at the same time as the GS Mini, as an option to boost the volume on the guitar.
The Final Mojo
Taylor may be famous for their action and playability, but with ground-breaking innovations coming one after another (the Baby, the NT neck, the Expression System, the Baritone 8-String, the Mini), Taylor is turning out to be excitement central in the acoustic guitar world. The GS Mini certainly meets the criteria for an affordable, great playing, great sounding guitar that could become the “new Parlor” guitar for the 21st century. I can’t imagine this guitar not taking the world by storm.
you need an affordable, great playing, great sounding little buddy to take with you everywhere you can imagine going.
if you have no use for portability, ever.