The Taylor GS Mini and Martin LX1 Little Martin are both considered travel-size guitars, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end between these two acoustics.
These two guitars look, feel and sound very different from one another, so in this article I’ll be directly comparing them to help you decide which is the most suitable.
The Key Differences
The Taylor GS Mini has a larger body and longer scale length compared to the Martin LX1 Little Martin. The GS Mini has a louder and fuller tone with more bass and clarity compared to the Little Martin. Both guitars have solid tops, laminate back and sides, X-bracing and 20 frets.
|Feature||Taylor GS Mini||Little Martin|
|Top Wood||Solid Spruce Solid Mahogany|
|Solid Spruce Layered Koa|
|Back and Side Wood||Layered Sapele|
Images link to Amazon
Comparing the Tones
The different body shape and scales of these two guitars has an effect on the tone which can be broken down into three main parts:
- EQ balance
First of all, the Taylor GS Mini is a louder guitar compared to the Little Martin because it has a larger body. This means there is more air inside the guitar and hence the sound is amplified more. You can get electronic versions of both guitars though, so if you are using them only whilst plugged in, this won’t make much of a difference.
Secondly, let’s discuss the EQ balance. By this, I mean the balance between the treble, mids and bass frequencies which affect the overall tone and how warm and bright it sounds.
The GS Mini offers broader tonal frequencies which means that it has both a better bass and treble response. The result is a fuller tone with more clarity. This is due to both its larger body size and longer scale length.
In short, the GS Mini sounds more like a full-size guitar as it has a better overall tone. The Little Martin on the other hand sounds a bit warmer and duller with less clarity and note separation.
Finally, the GS Mini offers more sustain, which means the notes will ring out for longer. This is in part due to the fact that the GS Mini offers more bass response.
The Taylor GS Mini and Little Martin are both available with a few different wood options. These also have an impact on the tone, however these guitars have laminate wood on the back and sides which means the different species has less of an impact on the sound compared to if they used solid wood.
One other aspect to mention is the pickup in the electric-acoustic versions. In my opinion, the pickup in the Little Martin has more clarity and produces a better overall tone compared to the pickup in the GS Mini which sounds a bit muddier.
Check out this YouTube video to hear both guitars in action.
Feel and Playability
Despite both being in the “travel” acoustic guitar category, these two acoustics feel very different to each other. This is mostly due to the body size and scale length.
The GS Mini has a larger body compared to the LX1. For adults, the GS Mini typically feels better as it sits more comfortably in the lap, whereas the Little Martin can feel a bit too small. However, younger children may prefer the LX1.
|Body Dimension||Taylor GS Mini||Martin LX1|
Secondly, the GS Mini has a 23.5″ scale length whereas the Martin LX1 Little Martin has a 23″ scale length. The scale length refers to the distance between the nut and bridge.
The longer scale length on the GS Mini means you have to stretch slightly further to reach the lower frets, however this is not usually a problem for teenagers and adults.
The scale length also affects the string tension. The longer scale of the Taylor GS Mini puts the strings under more tension meaning they are a little harder to fret and bend compared to on the Little Martin. You can overcome this by putting thinner strings on the guitar though and lowering the action.
The necks on both guitars are both low-profile and easy to manage, but the GS Mini’s feels a little fuller. They have the same nut width, but the Little Martin has a flatter fretboard due to the larger radius (16″) compared to the GS Mini (15″). A flatter fretboard makes bending strings easier but can make chording more challenging. However, the difference here is minimal.
The final notable difference in terms of playability, is that the GS Mini has fretboard inlays on all its variants, whereas the Little Martin only has inlays on the LX1R variant and the standard version has no inlays. The inlays on the GS Mini are very useful for beginners in particular so its a shame most Little Martin guitars don’t feature them.
Despite the numerous differences between these two guitars, they also share some similarities. Here’s a list of the key features shared by the GS Mini and Little Martin:
- Solid tops
- Laminate back and sides
- X-bracing pattern
- 1.69″ nut width
- 20 frets
- Chrome tuning machines
- Padded gig bag included
- Electronic versions available
Full Specification Comparison
Here is a full list of the specifications for each acoustic guitar. If you want to check the current prices, here are links to Guitar Center for each model and variant.
Taylor GS Mini
|Feature||Taylor GS Mini||Martin Little Martin|
|Fret Inlays||Yes||Only on LX1R variant|
|Bracing Pattern||X-Bracing (Non-Scalloped)||X-bracing (Non-Scalloped)|
|Electronics||ES-B Pickup/ Preamp||Fishman Sonitone|
|Top Wood||Solid Spruce|
|Back and Side Wood||Layered Sapele|
|Strings||Phosphor Bronze Medium||Phosphor Bronze Medium|
|Case||Padded Gig Bag||Padded Gig Bag|
Check out my comparison between the Taylor GS Mini and Big Baby.