Taylor has one of the biggest catalogs of acoustic guitars of any manufacturer, so finding the best Taylor acoustic guitars isn’t always as straightforward as you’d think, so to make things simple, we’ll tell you right off the bat that the Taylor American Dream AD17e is our favorite. This model is built with a Grand Pacific body shape, which contributes to its warm, robust tone. Its overall tone is helped along by the innovative V Class bracing, which significantly boosts its sustain, projection, and volume. The Grand Pacific shape is super comfortable with great ergonomics, which when paired with the slim mahogany neck, makes it extremely playable. This guitar features Taylor’s fantastic ES2 electronics for easy amplification, and is made in the US, ensuring top quality construction. We really love the Taylor American Dream AD17e, and naming it as our best Taylor acoustics Top Pick was a no brainer.
If you don’t mind upping the budget, then we’re sure you’ll agree that the Taylor K14CE Builder’s Edition is an extremely impressive guitar. Both in terms of sound and aesthetics, this guitar is the cream of the crop. It’s built with a Grand Auditorium style body, giving it great ergonomics and comfort, which is further aided by the beveled armrest on the front edge. The kona back and sides look sensational, and really go a long way to improving the tonal balance against the spruce top. Its silent satin finish makes it a great choice for anybody who plans to record, too. The Taylor K14CE Builder’s Edition is an ultra high end guitar, and the obvious choice for our best Taylor acoustic guitars Editor’s Choice award.
For anybody trying to keep costs to a minimum while shopping for a Taylor, the Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor really stands out. Like every Taylor, it’s made with a solid top, in this case Sitka spruce, and walnut for the back and sides. Despite being one of the most affordable models in the whole Taylor lineup, it still features high end woods like ebony on the fretboard, which tells you everything you need to know about how Taylor builds their guitars. It’s a ¾ size model, which makes it a great choice for travel, to keep by the couch, or even for young players trying to get their hands on a quality guitar. It comes with one of the best gig bags you’ll find with any guitar, let alone one at this price point, giving us even more reason to name the Taylor BT1 Baby Taylor as our best Taylor acoustic guitars Best Budget pick.
Taylor American Dream AD17
Superb tones and classic Taylor playability at a great price.
This guitar represents the most affordable way to get your hands on a brand New US made Taylor. This all - solid wood model is beautifully made, and sings like any good Taylor should, all while remaining attainably priced for amateurs and working musicians alike.
The Taylor American Dream AD17 has one of Taylor’s newer body shapes: the Grand Pacific. It’s a slope-shoulder dreadnought design (much like the Gibson 45 style) and it looks, sounds, and feels great.
It had a solid spruce top with solid ovangkol back and sides. With the American dream series, Taylor put more focus on the tones and performance by using less expensive cuts of solid woods rather than laminates, and the difference is absolutely noticeable.
One of Taylor’s signature features is having a slim, fast neck, and the ADI7 definitely lived up to this. We found its mahogany neck to be extremely comfortable, and the thin satin finish on the back was the icing on the cake. The fretboard was eucalyptus wood, which isn’t common on guitars, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that changes soon. It looked and felt a lot like ebony, but at a fraction of the cost.
Fretwork was another area in which this guitar excelled. Everything was beautifully finished, with well-beveled edges, and glassy-smooth crowns.
Tonally, it had the typical Taylor brightness, without excessive sharpness. In fact, it sounded like a well broken-in model right out of the box, an impressive feat considering this is an entry-level US-made model.
It had great note definition and separation, so even though it had a powerful bottom end, there wasn’t even a hint of muddiness.
Despite this guitar sitting around the middle of the Taylor lineup as a whole, it was still very nicely appointed. The sealed gear Taylor tuning machines performed very well, making fine-tuning extremely simple. It had a black Tusq nut, which contributed in a big way to the excellent tuning stability, and it even came with a Taylor AeroCase travel bag.
Verdict: The Taylor American Dream AD17 really was a dream to play. The slope-shouldered body was comfortable to hold and its V-class bracing ensured massive punch and presence. It was bright, airy, and resonant, and would be at home in any studio or on any stage.
Taylor Baby Taylor BT1
Affordable, tons of fun, and surprisingly versatile.
This is a fantastic guitar for a multitude of purposes; from couch strumming to jet setting, from campfires to cookouts, it does it all. Its compact size and superb fit and finish also make it a great choice for younger and smaller players to learn on a quality guitar.
The Taylor Baby Taylor BT1 is a 3/4 size model with a dreadnought body. It’s an extremely comfortable player and the dreadnought body shape offers incredible projection considering the size of the guitar.
It was built with a solid Sitka spruce top (as opposed to the mahogany on the Taylor BT2), with laminated walnut back and sides. We love this combination of woods, especially when paired with the dreadnought-style body.
The maple neck felt much like that of an electric guitar. It was slim, fast, and very comfortable for a wide age range of guitarists. Even though this is the cheapest guitar Taylor makes, it still had an ebony fretboard, which we found to be absolutely phenomenal. It felt great and really popped against the light wood of the top. The fretwork was well executed, there were no sharps or any other flaws, and everything was properly leveled.
Thanks to the solid Sitka spruce top, the tones were bright and exceptionally punchy. The small body kept everything tight, with a lovely shimmery top end and strong midrange focus. The reduced body size also cut down on some of the booming bass you normally find in dreadnought-style guitars. We feel this makes it a great recording companion, too.
Tuning stability was superb. The tuners themselves really did help, as did the use of quality strings. Unlike many guitars at this price point, the BT1 came with Elixir Nanoweb-coated strings, which are some of our absolute favorites. Remarkably, it even came with a nice gig bag, again something not often found at this price point.
Verdict: The Taylor Baby Taylor BT1 was so much fun to play. It reminded us that great guitars don’t have to cost a lot of money, nor do they need a ton of embellishments. It followed a simple formula of quality woods and solid construction. The result is a wonderful guitar that players of all ages can use and appreciate.
Taylor K14ce Builder’s Edition
A perfect blend of technology and world class craftsmanship.
This flagship model represents the kind of guitars that Taylor can make when their luthiers are given more of a hand in the process. It's one of the most magnificent sounding guitars on the market thanks to its use of the finest woods and the meticulous attention to detail that has gone into the construction.
The Taylor K14ce comes in what is arguably Taylor’s best body shape, the Grand Auditorium. It’s comfortable and delivers some of the sweetest tones you’ll ever hear.
The body was made with some of the most spectacular woods we’ve ever seen. It had a torrefied Sitka spruce top and some truly exceptional Hawaiian koa on the back and sides. With the torrefaction process, the top had a fantastic old-guitar tone that removed any harsh overtones usually associated with bright guitars.
It had a tropical mahogany neck with a fantastically-ergonomic feel. It was a little thicker than the average Taylor profile, but it worked so well with the additional comfort afforded by the reshaped Venetian cutaway. The fretwork was all immaculate, with fantastic edges and slick crowns that played like butter.
The use of ebony throughout was another impressive feature. We particularly loved the West African ebony fretboard, and the binding was simply stunning.
If you want a premium guitar with the most articulate, well-balanced, and finely nuanced tones, you have to check out the K14ce Builders Edition. It uses V-class bracing, and as promised, delivers insane resonance and sustain. The balance of tones from the aged spruce and the koa was nothing short of magical. It had a strong midrange and a top end that sliced through any mix.
We could go on ad nauseam about the construction quality of this guitar. Taylor has truly thrown everything into making this one of the most playable acoustic guitars on the market. From the beveled edges to the graphite nut, and Gotoh tuning machines, the synergistic approach to the build was tangible.
Players who enjoy plugging directly into an amp will love the Taylor System 2 Electronics. This setup had a 3-stage pickup that gave us a tone that was almost indistinguishable from the unplugged guitar.
Verdict: The Taylor K14ce is one of those special guitars that really captures the essence of a brand. Taylor might not have the same history as a company like Martin, but guitars like this are why they’re often held in the same regard. It was amazing to hold and play, and the tones were out of this world.
Taylor GS mini e
So much more than a compact travel guitar.
Don't be fooled into looking at this guitar as just a travel model, or a kids instrument - far from it! While its compact dimensions may make It appealing for those demographics, this is still a strong performer That can satisfy the needs of amateurs and gigging musicians alike.
The Taylor GS Mini-e is just slightly smaller than a 15/16 size guitar, and it makes use of Taylor’s phenomenal GS (Grand Symphony) body shape. Even for a large adult guitarist, we found it was extremely comfortable and it’s a great fit for younger players, too.
Our test model had a solid Sitka spruce top and a stunning book-matched Rosewood back and sides. Thanks to its X-brace construction, it had the punch and presence of a much larger guitar, further increasing the usability for working musicians and those playing to an audience. It was incredibly responsive and overall a lot of fun to play.
The neck had an exclusive GS Mini-style profile made from solid maple. Unfortunately, it was perhaps slightly too thin for an acoustic guitar and players with larger hands might find barre chords uncomfortable. Although if you’re looking for something to use for a lot of lead work, this guitar is deadly in the right hands.
It had an ebony bridge and an ebony fretboard, both of which looked fantastic and performed just as well. Fretboard is dense, hard, and felt excellent under the fingers.
Something to note is there is also a Taylor GS Mini Mahogany model. Check out our full review here.
We loved the tonal profile of this guitar. The small body kept everything tight, and yet it still had the volume and presence of a much larger guitar. In and of itself, this was a very neat trick. Tones were more prominent in the mids and upper mids, which helped keep the GS Mini slicing through any mix we put it in.
The electronics were a custom setup from Taylor, the ES-B expression system. It made use of 2 piezo transducers to deliver a rich, natural acoustic sound. Using just 2 x 3v lithium batteries, the system can operate for up to 300 hours, making it one of the most efficient pick-up systems in any acoustic guitar.
We did like the Taylor-branded sealed-gear tuning machines. They moved without any excess play or wobble, which made fine-tuning nice and easy. At the same time, they held firm during several hours of play for excellent tuning stability.
Verdict: The Taylor GS Mini e really was a wonderful guitar in many ways. The tones were excellent, and for lead guitarists, playability was absolutely fantastic. Whether you’re a new player looking for a high-end beginner instrument or a seasoned pro looking for something portable that is more than a tourbus strummer, this is your guitar.
Taylor Academy 10
Perhaps the ultimate student grade strummer.
While this Taylor was technically designed as a student grade instrument, it’s also an affordable path to a full size guitar from this storied brand. It cuts back on some of the fancier appointments you might find on higher end models, but believe us when we say this is playability defined.
The Taylor Academy 10 is a very plain-looking guitar, make no mistake about it. There’s no binding, no real inlay, no pickguard, and only a very basic rosette. It had a traditional dreadnought-style body, with a classic combo of solid Sitka spruce on the top, and layered sapele on the back and sides.
Even though this is technically a no-frills model, it did still come with a carved armrest on the top, which was a hugely beneficial feature, adding significantly to the overall playability of what is usually considered to be one of the more uncomfortable body styles.
It had a maple neck, which we found to be slim and very forgiving, especially during longer periods of play. Amazingly, even though this is an entry-level model, it still came with an ebony fretboard, a wood usually reserved for high-end models. We very much enjoyed both the look and feel, and we were equally impressed with the quality of the fretwork.
One area it did somewhat disappoint was excessive brightness in the tones. Because it has a solid top, this might mellow with age, but it was really apparent when being compared against guitars with torrefied tops. Being a dreadnought, it was very loud, with cannon-like projection and great presence.
Intonation was accurate up and down the whole neck and it performed extremely well when it came to Tuning stability. Even after several hours of use, it didn’t need any adjustment.
Verdict: The Taylor Academy 10 is definitely a great choice for players who love bright-sounding guitars. The tones weren’t quite as complex as you’d find on a guitar with an aged or torrefied top. But considering this is intended as a student-grade instrument, albeit a high-end student instrument, it more than gets the job done.
Exceptional comfort with great tone and sleek lines.
Despite having premium woods used throughout, high end Electronics, and some tasteful embellishments, this Taylor is still attainable priced for many players and offers the kind of playability that most come to expect from this brand. It’s a great partner for performing, recording, or simply strumming at home.
The Taylor 214ce is a real performer, delivering the look of a more high-end model at a more palatable price. This is a grand-auditorium model, one of Taylor‘s signature shapes, offering improved comfort and playability compared to a traditional dreadnought, without losing the power and projection. This particular model had a Venetian cutaway for improved access to the upper frets.
The body was made with a perfect pairing of solid Sitka spruce on the top, and Indian rosewood on the sides and back. It was responsive, and of course the rosewood looked fantastic.
We did like the neck, which was made with tropical mahogany and had a typical, slim Taylor profile. It played fast and was comfortable from top to bottom. As we’ve found with many Taylor guitars, it also had a West African ebony fretboard. Ebony is one of the very best materials to use for this purpose due to its hardness and its fantastic looks.
The grand-auditorium shape and Sitka spruce/rosewood combo gave it tons of presence and character, while being deceptively loud. The curved lines make it feel smaller than a dreadnought, however it’s only fractionally smaller on top. We found that it gained a lot in terms of comfort, while not really sacrificing anything.
At the top end, this guitar had tons of sizzle with a relatively prominent midrange, and a meaty bottom end. We loved it when fingerpicking, but we did find it just a touch muddy with aggressive strumming.
If you’re planning to play through an amplifier, the 214ce came with Taylor’s excellent ES2 Electronics. If you’re a fan of slick lines on your guitar, you’ll enjoy the three discreet control knobs. However, we noted that they can be difficult to use, especially in darker conditions, as they are not labeled.
It came with a number of embellishments that helped it stand out from other similarly-priced Taylor models, including white binding on the top and bottom of the body and a very nice tortoiseshell pickguard. We were very happy with the overall build quality, the neck was good and straight, it was well intonated and Taylor has used quality hardware throughout. For more, check out our full review of this guitar.
Verdict: The Taylor 214ce really is a great choice for a number of players. It’s a capable performer for those looking to play shows or record, and it makes an incredible intermediate-level guitar for those looking to upgrade to something special from their first acoustic. It plays well, offers a lot of great tones, and even comes with a premium gig bag.
Taylor Academy 12
A compact comfortable body, and a slim neck make this guitar a fingerpicker’s dream.
Taylor really excels when it comes to making great quality, Stripped back guitars that put the emphasis on the player and the tones rather than flashy accessories and details. It combines classic design with modern engineering, which adds up to a sweet sounding, guitar that’s comfortable and built to last.
The Taylor Academy 12 is another model in Taylor’s student-grade lineup, offering simple, yet elegant styling. It had a Grand Concert body, which was notably smaller than the Academy 10 dreadnought, making it a great choice for smaller players or those looking for a more Paula-guitar type experience.
Construction was on par with all of the Mexican-made models in this roundup. Everything was properly lined up with great fit and finish, and it’s clear that thought has gone into the selection of woods.
The top on the Academy 12 was made with solid Sitka spruce. The back and sides were crafted from layered sapele, a common mahogany substitute and truthfully a pretty close match in terms of looks and tone. For added comfort, it also had a beveled top, which until recently was only available on high-end US-made models. So it was extremely pleasing to see this on an affordable guitar.
One slight criticism was that due to the smaller and lighter body, it felt more neck-heavy than the Academy 10. When playing seated, this isn’t much of a problem, but when standing, it was quite apparent that it wasn’t as well-balanced.
Players transitioning from electric to acoustic guitars will feel right at home with the maple neck. As far as feel was concerned, it played similarly to a Fender modern-c profile. In a nutshell, it was very comfortable and had a fantastic thin satin finish.
It was also treated to an ebony fretboard and had very nicely dressed frets, with not even a hint of sharpness at any point.
It was a great opportunity getting to test the Academy 12 alongside The Academy 10. Both are made with identical woods, so it was really interesting to get an objective comparison of the tones from each model. The Academy 12 was much better suited to fingerpicking than strumming, and it rewards players with a light touch. We found the tones to be warm, well-balanced, and articulated with great note separation and nuance.
The chromed Taylor-branded tuning machines offered excellent reliability. Once again, this model wowed us with its excellent tuning stability, which was assisted by the NuBone nut and the elixir Nanoweb strings that come standard on this model.
Verdict: The Taylor Academy 12 offers exceptional value for those who prefer fingerstyle playing over strummed rhythm work. The tones were rich and sweet, and despite having a smaller sized body, it still kept up with some of the larger models in this review in terms of resonance and sustain.
How to Choose the Right Taylor For You
Shopping for a Taylor acoustic is in most cases just like shopping for any other acoustic guitar. There are, of course, some Taylor specifics that vary between models and series that you should be on the look out for.
US-Made vs Mexican-Made
Taylor runs just 2 production plants, 1 in El Cajon, California, and the other just 38 miles away in Tecate, Mexico.
The Mexican-made models are the more value-oriented guitars in the product range, although there are still some high-end models coming from that factory, made all the more affordable by virtue of the fact that they aren’t made in the USA.
The American-made models are made by the brand’s most skilled luthiers, and built to tighter tolerances, explaining the higher price. In addition, the “Made in USA” label also helps with the residual value of the guitar should you ever want to sell it.
Not all retailers highlight which plant the models they sell came from, so if you aren’t able to see the inner label, the easiest way to tell is to check the series. The American Dream series and the 300 Series and up are made in the USA. All other models are made in Mexico.
The other major thing to consider with Taylor guitars is the body style. Taylor makes 5 different body styles, each with distinct tones and playability.
The GT acoustic is Taylor’s smallest size (excluding Baby Taylor/GS Mini models) and is known for its portability and tight tones.
The Grand Concert sits in between the GT and the Grand Auditorium as far as body size goes, but it still offers a full-length scale. This is a dynamic style that suits fingerstyle players well.
The Grand Auditorium is the signature Taylor body shape. It’s well known for its excellent tonal balance and versatile playability, performing well for both fingerstyle players and rhythm guitarists.
The Grand Symphony style offers huge presence and projection while remaining comfortable and easily playable. It’s a crisp-sounding guitar with extremely well-defined tones.
Finally, the Dreadnought-style has a massive bottom end, and powerful midrange. It’s the loudest in the range, too.
Taylor has clearly proven that they belong in the same company as the most respected and well-established acoustic guitar brands in the world thanks to their constant innovation and exceptional quality.
To recap our favorites from this incredibly competitive roundup, our Top Pick was the Taylor American Dream AD17 thanks to its incredible tones and fantastic build quality. Our Best Value pick was Taylor Baby Taylor BT1, which gave us premium sound quality and high-end features at a phenomenal price. And our Editor’s Choice went to our favorite model in the entire lineup, the Taylor K14ce, a professional-grade instrument with effortless playability and the most incredible tones.