Taylor 150e Vs Martin D12X1AE: Which Is Better? (2023 Edition)

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If you’re curious about Taylor 150e Vs Martin D12X1AE 12-string guitars and which is better, you’ve come to the right post!

Taylor Guitars

Taylor is one of the most respected acoustic guitar manufacturers today. Formed back in the 1970s, they’re famous for their high-end, high-quality instruments. They also offer some cheaper alternatives that are made in Mexico. But most of their stuff is more than worth the price.

What’s particularly interesting about this brand is its ability to add modern features while retaining some old-school traits. You can find Taylors with traditional body shapes but unexpectedly modern yet very useful modifications.

Taylor 150E

Review Demo - Taylor 150e 12-String

Of course, Taylor also manufactures 12-string guitars. One of the models worth our attention is 150e. It’s a dreadnaught-shaped instrument with a solid Sitka spruce top. What’s somewhat unique, however, is that back and sides are made from walnut.

Along with this comes a maple neck with an ebony fingerboard on top. There’s a total of 20 frets and the scale length measures 25.5 inches.

The guitar is also equipped with Taylor’s ES-2 electronics. This one comes with three knobs. Aside from the volume control, you have a 2-band EQ.

What I also want to mention are the instrument’s awesome visual traits. The satin varnish finish gives it a pretty unique look. And although the overall design is simple, I really love how the black body inlays work with the walnut wood grain.

Another thing that I really about the satin finish is that it improves the feel of the neck. It may not seem like an important feature. But, in my opinion, it does impact the ergonomic qualities. Not to mention that it’s much cooler than glossy finishes.

The instrument has the X bracing typical for the 100 Series. This brings some extra structural stability. And, of course, it boosts the sonic qualities as well.

Speaking of, the 150e sounds pretty full. But it kind of gravitates towards the brighter side. Such a tone makes it versatile enough that you could even use it for some lead parts as well.

What I find to be its best feature is the comfortable neck. I’m not sure about the exact profile, but it’s pretty slim for a 12-string.

Overall, it’s surprising how great this instrument is for its price level. It’s easily one of the best 12-strings around the $1,000 mark.

Martin Guitars

Martin is one of the companies that has set the standards for acoustic guitars. What you see with modern acoustic guitars, a lot of their traits were established by Martin.

After all, the company has existed since 1833. Some of their biggest innovations are the scalloped bracing and the Dreadnaught body shape.

For the most part, they have traditional-style guitars. And while there might be some modern features on some of their models, their main focus is on traditional steel-string guitar models.

Needless to say, these are mostly high-end guitars. They’re widely considered to be one of the best, if not the best, guitar brand.  Martin’s main manufacturing is in Pennsylvania. But they also make cheaper alternatives in Mexico.

Martin D12X1AE

The Martin D12X1AE 12 Strings

12-string D12X1AE is one of those cheaper alternatives from Mexico. Nonetheless, it’s still a pretty decent 12-string acoustic guitar. However, Martin is no longer making these.

If you do stumble upon one, they’re definitely worth checking out. The body features a solid Sitka spruce top. The back and sides are laminated wood, although Martin never really specified the exact tonewood.

There’s also a pretty slim neck on this one, equipped with a richlite fingerboard. The headstock holds a classic Martin design. And that’s what we could say for this entire dreadnaught-shape guitar.

These also come with Fishman Sonitone electronics. This is a pretty decent addition to an otherwise cheap instrument. The controls for volume and tone are located on the inside of the body. You can access them right on the edge of the soundhole.

Although a cheaper alternative, D12X1AE is a pretty decent guitar. The overall tone is fairly balanced. Additionally, the Fishman electronics work pretty well. The instrument is in the vein of Martin’s traditional stuff. So there aren’t many surprises in any of its traits.

The major downside is that this is a discontinued model. You can still find some in circulation online. But it could be simpler to get one of Martin’s current affordable 12-string models like the D-X2E.

Taylor 150e Vs Martin D12X1AE: Which Is Better?

Although both of these guitars are great, I’d rather go with Taylor 150e. Bear in mind that this isn’t just about the availability.

Don’t get me wrong, Martin’s D12X1AE isn’t a bad guitar. But Taylor here comes with a few qualities that I find to make it superior.

Firstly, the electronics are much better. The pickup manages to pull off more realistic tones. Additionally, it’s much easier to control everything.

Secondly, the guitar feels much better. There’s a satin varnish finish on it, which gives it a completely different vibe. And the neck is pretty slim for a 12-string, making it easier and more comfortable to play.

The visual traits are also better. Taylor 150e really looks like it’s a more expensive, higher-quality instrument to me.

As far as the unplugged natural tone goes, they’re both pretty similar. Maybe there are a few nuanced differences. But you could easily have these mixed up in a blind test.

What I love about both of them is the inclusion of a strap button at the body and neck joint. This can really come in handy as you can use universal electric guitar straps on them.   

Taylor 150e Vs Martin D12X1AE: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped you think through these 12-string guitars and which might be right for you!

And if you want to read more about instrument comparisons on this blog, then check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

4 Responses

  1. JM Governale says:

    The Martin rules. You must have blinded by the light when you looked at the Taylor

    1. I’m a Martin guy through and through!

  2. Michael Ward says:

    Thanks for the comparison as I was looking for this!
    The new Martin 12 is D-2XE and lists for $649.
    I’m pretty sure Taylor is the one.
    And I own a Martin Dread Centennial which is minimalist in design also.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Michael!

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