Guitar playing audiophiles, Martin or Taylor?

My "other half" is exploring the stress releiving effects of playing acoustic guitar. She's a great woman! She actually convinced me to buy a pair of Rowland model 9 monos w bps, instead of a boat. Thats my girl! Anyway, shes been playing for 1.5 yrs. Its a toss up between Martin ???? Koa wood, Taylor 314ce, Takamini GS330s, and a Tocoma???sound hole on top!!! All these models can be had "used" for around 900.00 All replys welcome, thanks Scot
When you get into the realm of guitars you mention, the choice of an instrument is intensely personal. It truly comes down to the one you play and like the best. Also note that identical makes and models may feel different to the player despite being one serial number apart.

My advice- take lots of time and try lots of guitars. But the favorite and don't look back!

another beautiful sounding acoustic is Larrivee,i think i spelled it right,i forgot about all the other brands after playing one ,very balanced ,earthy tone,,as micheal said,try lots of guitars,,,,,and youll know when you find the right one,good luck,
My brother plays guitar and between the Martin and Taylor (I do not know the models) he chose the Taylor for it's more forward midrange sound where the Martin had a warmer fuller sound. I understand there characteristics apply to all models according to the salesmen we have talked to and my ears. It is my understanding the Taylor is known for being a good bargain where the Martin's run a little more expensive.

Please take this post with a little salt as I have not done a lot of research myself just picked up a few things here and there.

Martin makes an acoustic for around $600 list that is a killer geetar for the price. The best way to pick out a guitar is like your speakers go play, see how it feels in your hands and how it sounds to your ears. Even the same model can sound and feel different so play a few of the same models to see what you like before you decide.

Happy picking
I agree about what has been said before here. A guitar is a personal preference and choice. Thus said, I have had a Martin D-12-28, a Gibson J-50, an Ovation Legend, and a Guild F-212 12 string, all from the 70's. I still have the last two, and have had them since the 70's. The only acoustic guitar that has recently had me seriously considering purchasing it, was a Taylor, model unknown. I'd like to see the Gibson again, but don't miss the Martin. Hope that helps, and have fun.
Had a Martin D12 28. Had to sell years ago. Needed the funds.

I bought a Tacoma Dreadnaught 6 string 4 years ago without the huge cash outlay and I feel no regret except the ever-increasing value of the Martins.
Taylor's are generally a bit easier to play than Martin. Larrivee's are excellent also. Definately buy used if possible and stay away from the lower model Martin's. At that point you are paying for name only.
I build acoustic guitars in a custom shop with a friend of mine. We build guitars based primarily on the Martin pattern, with some custom changes.

You can get nearly any sound you want, depending upon how you create the guitar, by choosing tonewoods, body shape, bracing and construction methods, and soundhole diameter.

I'd recommend going to the store, and playing the various guitars, measuring them for dimensions, and inspecting the construction techniques inside the body, with an inspection mirror. Generally, you'll find that the guitars are rather overbuilt for strength, and are not as responsive as a custom guitar(unless you go to the expensive "custom" production models). The guitars will vary in sound and responsiveness, even in the same make/model line, depending on how well it went together. You could pick up 2 "identical" Martins or Taylors from the same rack at the store, and they sound and play different. Pick the one you like. I've seen some folks go into a store and spend all day playing every Martin in the store, trying to decide which one suits them best.

Taylor braces differently than Martin, and this will influence their sound characteristics. Both are good, and different people could prefer either one.

Generally, you could look for a nice tight grained spruce top, and a non-laminated tonewood body, preferably a rosewood variation. A dreadnaught will be a big deep sound, and the smaller bodies will be more "midrange-y". A larger soundhole will give more midrange out of the guitar than a smaller soundhole. You can "tap" the guitar around the bridge area, to see if it has complex tones that ring, or if it sounds dead. If it sounds dead, it is probably braced so heavy that there is no responsiveness left. Try to pick one that sounds musical when you tap it. A knowledgeable person can go inside a factory guitar(through the soundhole) with a small hand-plane, and shave the bracing until it is good, but that is really only for a luthier to do.

Cutaways reduce the vibrating area of the top, and generally reduce the sound produced, and may limit the bass some.

Check for "intonation" by doing a "harmonic" strike at the 12th fret on each string. If the harmonic is an octave up from the fundamental, and "in-tune" with the fundamental, then it is intonated correctly(for the most part). The B string is the most common one that gets intonation wrong. If intonation is not right, then the guitar will not be in-tune all the way up the neck. This can usually be corrected by a good set-up man. Some guitars are made wrong, and cannot easily be corrected, so intonation is a pretty important thing, if you want your guitar to be in tune when you play it.

Make sure that the neck "set" looks good and tight, and the angle is good. This will reduce the need for truss rod adjustments over time.

Just as in audio equipment, you have to like the sound and feel, so there is no substitute for auditioning and playing.

Everything in your price range is going to be a factory built guitar. You have to find anything that didn't get picked up by the quality control department. And even then, it is going to be much stiffer than a custom built guitar, because they can't spend the time needed on each guitar to make each one as responsive as they could be. They just take pre-cut wood, and put it together, without being able to individually select woods, and individually plane thicknesses, and do alot of hand tuning work. This is why you need to spend some quality time with the guitars, so that you can pick out a "good one" from the batch.

That being said, they are all "guitars", so they will play and sound reasonably good, from those manufacturers. But you can pick out a "winner" for the same price as they charge for the "losers", if you spend some time playing them and listening to them.

Any new or almost new guitar will need some break-in time, and also will need frequent tuning as it settles in.
I'd just contract with Tom to build you one. Other than that I have a suggestion that can really appreciate quickly. The 000-18's (21's, 28's, etc.) are highly sought after for a variety of reasons in most major cities but can still be found for the price you are willing to pay. If you can find a nice example of this guitar and then have a Luthier tweak it with shaving the braces and intonation, etc., it will have most of the qualities of a D body Martin, fit most females better than a Dreadnaught and is collectible right now and will only become more so with time. I prefer the dreadnaughts but really kick myself for selling my 000-18. What a great parlor instrument!
I completely agree with the above comments as to the personal nature of guitars. I've had some that were love at first play and others that i just couldn't make friends with..regardless of cost or brand. That said you owe it to your other half to check out Larrivee. Everyone i've played or heard is killer while i've walked away from a lot of others, including martins and gibsons that are out of your price range, totally unimpressed.
Agree with all about the personal nature of guitars. As Tom pointed out, even two guitars of the same model from the same manufacturer can sound different from each other (I noticed this when I bought my Guild F-212 years ago, choosing it over a couple of Martins and three other F-212s in the store). Have her take the time to play them and choose the one that suits her best, sonically and in comfort terms, ease of play, etc. Tom's post above is particularly helpful in this regard.
Taylor 414ce. Very nice.
First, I agree with all that point out that a guitar is a very personal choice.

For me, I've owned many Taylors (510, 614CE, 814 Legends of the Fall limited rosewood) and finally ended up with exactly what you are considering, the 314CE. The rosewood 814 had a beautiful exotic sound, but for some reason I didn't play it all that much (maybe afraid of putting a ding in it). The 510 just didn't feel right. The 614 was a bit bright (maple top). But the 314 is comfortable and has a clear, full sound, and I just love having it propped next to the sofa ready for impromptu sessions.

I have never owned a Martin, but from those that have, they warn that the less expensive Martins are not very good, and you are simply paying for the Martin decal. But the more expensive Martins are very good.

From that, I inferred that in the $1000 price range, the Taylors are the better choice b/t Martin and Taylor.

Dudenbostel 12-fret all the way.
The Martin is a sweet guitar, with warm, rich, kind of tube-like tones. I've never heard a guitar quite match a good vintage Martin in those areas yet. That said, some of the larger ones can be uncomfortable to play for long periods. I picked up a rosewood Larivee Parlor guitar lately and am enjoying it daily. it's small, very portable, and has the kind of tone that keeps you involved and playing.
i like acoustics with indian rosewood sides,very bright and punchy and notes are fave.....prefer that over mahogany(slightly darker)..
taylors are very very nice guitars,prolly the only ones i play when i visit the guitar centre.
Neither. I will only play electrics! G&L's and PRS's! Here's a link to some of my music, too:
Crazy you need to expand your horizons dude. Country swing, and blues, especially slide, on an acoustic archtop is the shit. You can coax way more tone out of an acoustic than out of an electic and the hand control you pick up will help your electric tone. ANd on a more practical side you can always use the excuse "but honey i NEEED and acoustic" when the wife starts complaining that the guitar collection is reaching critical mass
I own several guitars including a Martin J40 and a Taloyr 512. The Marting has always been my favorite. It has a beautiful tone
A friend wants to build a guitar amp that is tube driven.

Can anyone recommend a low priced guitar DIY tube amp?

probably $200 or so is all he can afford...

I have an old Sigma HD 28 made in Japan for Martin back in the early 1980's. It is an excellent guitar. It has a spruce top, rosewood back and sides, and a mahogany neck with a rosewood fingerboard. Made the old fashioned way before CNC and finished in lacquer rather than today's cheaper looking satin finishes that are common on popularly priced guitars. And I have it strung 10-46 like my electrics so I can do blues style bends. Despite the light gauge strings, it has a wonderful deep tone and almost never goes out of tune. I would not trade it for a modern day Martin or a Taylor. Today Sigma's are mostly machine-built mass-produced guitars, but back in the day they made a real effort to retain Martin standards of quality.
Everyting that has been said is so true. For my purposes I chose a Taylor 410 series Koa wood. At 900-1000 used you can find a 500 series but again make sure you can take it for a test drive.
I have an HD-28 and the thing that made me go Martin over the 7series Taylor was that to me the Taylor just seemed to be missing something that the Martin had. Its real personal.
Let me add, that I own both a Martin and a Taylor because they are both great guitars. Overall, I prefer the Marting because of its wonderful balance and rich tones. I could easily live with either though as my only guitar
About 5 years ago, my company had a banner year. So, I went out and bought about 35 guitars, every one I ever wanted but couldn't afford. Aftet looking at all of them for a couple of years, my wife laid down the law - get rid of some. So, I figured out which ones I played and sold the rest. The two keepers? A Martin D35 and a Takamine EC132SC. I love my Martin!

Phil, look here:

DIY Guitar stuff

There may be something you are looking for there. Not sure, but I had it bookmarked.

Having played guitar my for over 30yrs (since I was 6yrs) and sold guitars in my younger days (for some time) I have owned or played most makes and models vintage and otherwise. I have recently sold most of my guitars and currently have a great luthier building me two soon to be three guitars, so I guess you can see where I'm going. There are only two issuses. 1. What you want? Unfortunatley at your level it's even harder with what dimensions, tone woods etc to decide exactly on what you want and need but if you can get some help from an ubiased person that knows what they are doing it will help quite a bit. 2.Exactly how much are you willing to spend? I would strongly urge you see what TWL makes and what he can offer you for the money. Good acoustics are not cheap and customs are usually a bit more expensive than popular mass produced (mid priced) models but if you can find a good luthier and I do stress good luthier (and TWL sounds like he is) you should get a better instrument for the money.
Each guitar is different, even same make and model. Also the strings can make a world of difference. A string that sounds great on one guitar can sound awful on another. The age of the string also has an effect. If you're comparing guitars make sure to check the strings. If they're old and funky they can make a guitar sound nasty. So when speaking of guitars one can only speak in general terms. Judge the individual instrument rather than the brand or model.
I play a Martin D-16GT and enjoy it. It is one of the "lower priced" models but I don't think I got ripped off. If you do decide to go with a Martin you should be able to get a substantial discount - don't pay list!

Like everyone else has said, it is a personal preference. Play lots of guitars and choose what sounds best to you.
I have a Martin D25 Koa (1983) that got wrecked in a car accident back in 1996. I had an authorized Martin luthier piece it back togehter with a D45 neck and snowflakes on the fingerboard, volute etc. It sounds better than it did befor eth accident. I have played Taylors but the feel is not as supple as the Martin, though I like the brighter tone of the Taylor; it feels more like Gibson. Also I am fond of Seagull. I'll stick to the Martina and will probably make a D35 my next acoustic if and when I have the bux.
Golly, this makes me wonder about what a particular Linn/Honest Records artist uses:

What kind of guitar does Martin Taylor play?

Gags aside this is a good example for the smaller manufacturers as Martin used to play his own model Yamaha when they were paying him bucket-loads of cash to do so but has since moved to a small luthier Mike Vanden in the late 90's and with Mike designed the Vanden Martin Taylor Artistry and an acoustic model which I believe is called the Gypsy.
I'm a Martin guy, but, like a bunch of others have mentioned above, DO NOT buy a guitar without letting your wife play it first. They all sound and play differently from each other, even same model/brand.

If you want something really inexpensive that plays very well (well, I thought so, anyway) look for a Garrison. Interesting design, which produces good results IMHO.

Once you have the guitar picked out...then you get to choose strings.