Taylor Body Shapes: Buyers Guide
Taylor is one of the most popular guitar brands in the world at the moment. They’re known for their great sound, innovative pickup systems and superb playability, straight out of the box. You’ll see them in the hands of players ranging from Taylor Swift to John Petrucci.
Taylor offer five different body shapes. People sometimes think that if a guitar has a bigger body, it’ll be louder. Whilst there is some truth within this, that’s not always the case. The various Taylor body shapes are there to cater for different styles of player. Different players will be able to get more out of one body shape than they will another. When picking your Taylor guitar, you need to consider how the shape lets you play – it really is quite a personal thing.
Here are the five different full-size Taylor body shapes with an outline of how they sound and what kind of player they’re designed to accomodate.
This is the quintessential Taylor body shape. Bob Taylor designed the GA shape to be everything that he wanted in an acoustic guitar. It’s the swiss army knife of acoustics; the jack of all trades etc. If, as a player, you do a bit of everything – strumming, finger picking, flat-picking, this could well be the shape for you. Proportion-wise, it’s somewhere between a grand concert and a dreadnought so it’s small enough to drive the top with light fingerpicking, but big enough to withstand some fairly hefty strumming.
The Taylor Grand Auditorium guitars have a balanced and clear tone, though they’re particularly clear in the mids. They sit well in any mix – again showing their versatility. If you want a new acoustic guitar and don’t know where to start – perhaps you don’t know what kind of player you are; try a Taylor GA. From there, you’ll know if you want something bigger, smaller, or whether it’s just right! The Taylor Grand Auditorium is the one acoustic guitar that can do everything; no wonder it’s their best-selling guitar shape.
This is a smaller bodied guitar, really well suited to fingerstyle players. The smaller top means that it requires less power from your picking hand to get volume out of it, though it does mean it’s got a lower volume limit. For players with a light attack, a Taylor Grand Concert might be ideal as you have to put less in, physically, to get a great range of dynamics out of it. The smaller top also keeps overtones in check, meaning you get a nice, focused sound.
The Taylor GC models also have a slightly shorter scale (24 7/8″) lending a slinkier feel due to the lighter string tension. The smaller body size and tapered waist make it an extremely comfortable guitar to sit down with as well as giving it a certain sonic quality that sits well in a mix.
The Taylor Grand Symphony was born from Bob listening to players’ shouts for a similar guitar to the GA, but with more volume. From the waist up, it’s the same size as a Grand Auditorium, however the GS has a bigger lower bout. This gives it a richer, more piano-like bass response as well as thicker treble frequencies. The larger top also means there’s a higher volume limit so, for players with a strong attack, it will be louder. If you’re a strummer, or flatpicker, the GS body shape will give you plenty of volume and expression, whilst remaining tonally balanced. If you want dramatic shades of quiet and loud, the Taylor Grand Symphony could well be the body shape for you due to its impressive dynamic response.
The Taylor GS body shape was introduced in 2006 and has proved itself to be very popular. Solo singer-songwriters love how much space it can fill and how reactive it is to their attack. The guitars have a wonderfully balanced and rich tone and will allow those with a strong attack to get plenty of volume from it.
Dreadnoughts tend to be very prominent in the low and low-mid frequencies, though Bob Taylor’s dreadnought has been modernised a touch so that it’s very even across the tonal spectrum. It’s still however, a fantastic accompanying guitar as it boasts a powerful bass response and crisp highs, allowing vocals to sit nicely. The Taylor Dreadnought is very articulate and both chords and lead lines picked out are sure to be heard.
The top is shaped in such a way that players with a heavy attack will get plenty of volume from it. The dreadnought’s roots are in bluegrass, country and traditional folk music so if someone wants the classic ‘boom-chick’ style rhythm sound, this is the one to look at. If you’re a flatpicker and/or strummer, after a classic sound, the dreadnought could be the one for you.
This is Taylor’s biggest body shape and lends itself nicely to players who really like to attack a guitar. If you’ve got a heavy picking/strumming hand, you’ll get a load of volume out of the Taylor GO body shape, though it’s by no means one-dimensional; it’s also very expressive. Contemporary fingerstyle guitarists love it, as it allows them to go from very quiet to very loud, instantly. For those that play with a lot of dynamics and expression, the Taylor Grand Orchestra is definitely worth a try.
With a body size like this, you might expect a deep bass response – and you’d be right to, though it’s also very balanced and has a lush, complex tone. The Taylor Grand Orchestras are big, rich, and bold, both in terms of looks and sound. If you’ve tried a range of guitar shapes but you’re still after more, try this!
Need More Help?
We have acoustic guitar experts that have been specially trained by Taylor at their factory in San Diego, so if you need specialist, one-to-one advice to pick the right guitar for you, please do get in touch.