At the moment, I tell people that I’ve added a new member to the family. Have I become a father for the second time? Did I adopt a puppy? Well, the answer is no and no. Actually, I took possession of a brand-new Taylor G.S. Mini acoustic guitar.
In a previous post, I wrote why I believe it’s important to have a range of tones to work with when making music. My motivation for writing was the restoration of my 28-year-old Ibanez Dreadnought. Well, now I have another guitar to tell you about. I call him ‘Jiro’ in honour of my late father-in-law, Peter Jiro Oyagawa.
Good things come in small packages
With its reduced body size and scale length of 23-1/2” (rather than the standard 25-1/2”), the most obvious feature of the G.S. Mini is its parlour size. What are the benefits of a small guitar? Well, it’s easy to strum while lounging on the couch. You can also take it on a plane as carry-on luggage. As you’d expect, the G.S. Mini isn’t as loud as its full-size big brother, the Taylor Grand Symphony. However, you’d be surprised by how much sound it makes.
What does the G.S. Mini sound like?
Taylor Guitars offer the G.S. Mini with a solid top of either spruce, mahogany or koa. I chose mahogany because I hope it will blend nicely with my Martin and Ibanez, which have spruce and cedar tops respectively.
The purpose of this blog is to document the making of my new album. And, for me, the arrival of a new guitar is worth writing about. My yet-to-be-named album will be mainly acoustic. And, as I want it to be as sonically pleasing as possible, I need a range of different sounding guitars to record with.
The soundboard of my Martin dreadnought is Sitka spruce, which is known for having a wide dynamic range (you can play loud) and crisp tone. In contrast, the soundboard of my Ibanez is cedar, which has a limited dynamic range (it’s ideal for soft playing) and is slightly warmer than spruce.
Having a guitar with a mahogany top means that I have a warmer instrument with a little more bass. Mahogany also possesses natural compression, so it doesn’t spike much in volume. As an aside, legendary Beatles producer, George Martin, is said to have preferred recording mahogany guitars because they’re easier to control.
Is the G.S. Mini any good for gigs?
I don’t know yet. I intend to use it mainly for recording — although, for the right gig, I’d love to give it a workout.
The G.S. Mini (and all steel-string acoustic/electric Taylor guitars) comes with Taylors’ proprietary Expression 2 pickup system. Unlike many acoustic/electric guitars that have a piezo pickup under the saddle, the Expression 2 system has three piezos positioned behind the saddle. Taylor says that their design captures the nuances of acoustic guitars more accurately than other piezo pickups. Also, to ensure that a guitar’s strings are amplified evenly, you can adjust each piezo with an Allen key, which is a cool feature. When I get the chance to use the G.S. Mini for a gig, I’ll let you know how I get on.
How’s recording going?
After a few technical hick-ups, I’m pleased to announce that I have begun recording. Nothing is finished yet — I’m still learning about microphone techniques and how to use Protools. However, it’s great to be able to start experimenting with musical arrangements. A song that I’m excited about at the moment is called ‘Driving.’ It’s quite different to what I’ve written before, and I’m looking forward to seeing the final result.
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