Taylor GS Mini-e LTD 50th Anniversary – Taylor celebrates half a century by showing you that size doesn’t matter

Taylor GS Mini-e LTD 50th Anniversary – Taylor celebrates half a century by showing you that size doesn’t matter

$899/£899, taylorguitars.com
The Taylor Guitars 50th Anniversary GS Mini-e Rosewood SB is an acoustic guitar that’s smaller than its name. Okay not really, but this latest anniversary edition to commemorate five decades of Taylor certainly is a mouthful. It’s also an interesting guitar that reflects the interesting approach that Taylor has taken to its anniversary instruments – rather than release one unobtanium-level fancy dan commemorative model, the brand has created an entire range of limited-run instruments that run the gamut from Builder’s Edition instruments and high-end classics through to affordable guitars made in Tecate, Mexico. The GS Mini is one of Taylor’s most popular and affordable instruments, and so it’s a logical choice to get in on the party.

READ MORE: Taylor 314ce LTD review – a fitting tribute to 50 years of innovation

What’s the difference between a 50th Anniversary GS Mini and the regular guitar?
The very best small-bodied travel guitars are the ones that make you forget they’re a small guitar at all, and as anyone who’s played a GS Mini over the years will tell you, that’s really where the fun starts here.
All that is of course present and correct with the LTD model, but it differs from the regular model by sporting a torrefied (effectively baking the wood to remove moisture and make it sound ‘older’) Sitka spruce top with layered Indian rosewood back and sides. Visually, torrefaction tends to colour the wood so another striking difference between a regular GS Mini and this one is the application of a lovely Vintage Sunburst finish on the top – it makes it look more like a guitar that was passed down through your family for generations – so don’t muck it up!
Other cosmetic updates for the big 5-0 include diamond fretboard inlays, gold tuners, firestripe (which looks like ‘angry tortoiseshell’) pickguard, gold side dots (that match the tuners), ebony bridge pins and a Special commemorative label inside the body.
Taylor GS Mini-e- LTD 50th Anniversary
How does the GS Mini 50th Anniversary play and sound?
My first impression when the 50th Anniversary GS Mini-e arrives is how much I prefer the more structured gigbag Taylor is providing with these guitars now. It feels and looks more substantial and protective to secure your instrument. Opening up the case and the vintage sunburst finish reminds me of a 50s guitar, but with modern day sensibilities – very nice indeed.
Whether you’re strumming it acoustic or plugged in via the included ES2 electronics, the best compliment I can give this guitar is that it sounds like a full-sized instrument. Part of this is because of the curved back of the guitar, which provides a larger box for the acoustic tone to project from.
The biggest concern when you’re dealing with such a small-bodied instrument is the bass, and while this isn’t a dreadnought by any stretch of the imagination, it has enough to get you by, but it still pushes the middle frequency envelope. Certainly compared to many parlor-size guitars, this is a much more rounded instrument.
What’s Crelicam? The unconventional new fingerboard wood on the Taylor GS Mini
Taylor has become widely renowned for its sustainability work and the effort the brand puts into sourcing and cultivating sustainable wood. It’s no surprise that this is a recurring theme throughout the 50th Anniversary range, and here we have a fingerboard of a wood I’ve not encountered before, and likely neither have you – West African Crelicam ebony.
Taylor sources this wood from Yaounde, Cameroon (where Taylor co-owns the Crelicam sawmill) and they’ve worked with the mill to create a new method of milling 50 per cent more usable wood from each tree. They even convert their sawdust and yard mulch into particle board, and the larger pieces of wood are donated to a woodworking association in Tijuana, Mexico where toys are created for orphans. That’s just how committed Taylor is to reducing waste. The wood itself feels and looks like regular ebony – I can’t see any compromises or differences as a result of this new manufacturing process.
Taylor GS Mini-e LTD 50th Anniversary (back)
Is the 50th Anniversary GS Mini worth it?
The main differences between this guitar and a regular GS Mini are primarily cosmetic, but that shouldn’t be discounted – this does not look like a beginner guitar, and the upgrades certainly elevated my perception of the instrument. I wouldn’t feel bad about taking this to a songwriter round or a gig.
The trick might be getting hold of one – just 1,974 of these guitars are being created, and they’ll only be sold in this anniversary year. If you can track one down though, rest assured that the offers undoubtable value for money
If you’re an experienced player looking for a guitar to take on vacation or to coffee shop gigs, this is about the best 900 bucks you can spend, and if you’re an intermediate player looking for a serious instrument, this will keep you company for years to come. What’s more, if you’re living in a small apartment, or simply don’t have room for another guitar in your current living space, the GS Mini-e will fit easily under a bed or in a closet.
The bass response might be a little lacking, but with vintage vibes and a fantastic overall tone – both plugged in and acoustic – this is one guitar that’s worth celebrating.
Taylor GS Mini 50th Anniversary alternatives
If you want something a little different on the wood front, the GS Mini-e Koa ($999/£969) is an all-koa alternative. On the Martin side of things, the LX1E ($549/£525) is a tried and true alternative – and originally favoured by Ed Sheeran. If you don’t mind something a little larger, the 23 5/8”-scale all-solid (Sitka spruce and mahogany) Yamaha CSF3M features a passive undersaddle pickup and is available in Vintage Natural and Tobacco Brown Sunburst ($619.99/£814).
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Source: www.guitar-bass.net