If you’ve been researching guitar brands and are interested in a Taylor vs Gibson comparison, you’ve come to the right post!
These two guitar brands are among the most popular in the market today.
If you look at Sweetwater’s listing for acoustic guitars, both brands are in the top five with the most offerings available.
This is no surprise, as Taylor and Gibson are strong in the acoustic guitar market, even when the latter is more famous for its electric guitar line.
That said, both have a rich history in the acoustic guitar department.
Gibson’s history spans over a hundred years.
And Taylor has been making its instruments since the 1970s.
In the following sections, I’ll elaborate further on what to expect from Taylor and Gibson guitars.
A Brief History of Taylor Guitars
Taylor Guitars was started by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug in 1974.
At the time, they were employees at American Dream, a guitar manufacturing shop.
When Sam Radding, the owner of the manufacturing shop, sold American Dream, Taylor, Listug, and another employee, Steve Schemmer, bought the company and renamed it Westland Music Company.
They later renamed the company, Taylor, as part of its rebranding efforts.
Taylor Guitars uses state-of-the-art equipment, including computer mills and some trademark machines.
Their guitars are known for their modern characteristics with traditional designs.
Taylor currently has two factories in California and Baja California.
They now distribute to over 60 countries, with a factory service center in the Netherlands.
While Taylor Guitars is known for its acoustic guitars, it also has an electric guitar, the T5.
This guitar is a hybrid electric and acoustic guitar with an electric pickup on the bridge and an acoustic guitar body.
Notable Taylor guitar players include Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, Tony Iommi, Jewel, Tori Kelly, and many more famous artists.
A History of Gibson Guitars
Gibson Guitars has its history going way back to 1894 when Orville Gibson began making stringed instruments.
In 1902, he established the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Company, which started making archtop guitars.
It began making flat-top acoustic guitars in the 1930s and, later, hollow-body instruments.
It was in the 1950s that Gibson started its electric guitar line.
The Les Paul is one of the most prominent designs it released.
Gibson later introduced more futuristic designs, such as the Explorer and Flying V, which have also earned their place in guitar history.
While Gibson used to have operations in Asia, its manufacturing is now concentrated in the USA.
Gibson still produces its electric and acoustic guitars, amps, and guitar pedals.
It also has stakes in other companies, including budget line Epiphone, KRK Audio, and even Mesa Engineering, the brand behind the Boogie Rectifier amps.
Notable Gibson players include Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains, Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, Slash of Guns N Roses, Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters, and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.
Taylor vs Gibson: Acoustic Guitars
Before going further, let’s set the parameters for the comparison: acoustic guitars.
Taylor and Gibson are known for their acoustic guitars, which both started their journeys in the guitar industry.
In this article, I will compare each brand’s overall acoustic guitar offerings.
Since both brands started in the guitar market with acoustic guitars and Taylor is, first and foremost, an acoustic guitar manufacturer, this makes the most sense to me.
Taylor vs Gibson: Sound
Now, going into the tones you can expect from these brands, you can expect some differences between Taylor and Gibson.
Taylor Guitars are known to be bright, sparkly, and with a bit of mid-scoop.
If you’re performing solo, or the acoustic guitar is the centerpiece of your band, Taylor guitars are a good option for this purpose of playing.
Gibson Guitars acoustic guitars tend to have a more punchy and woody tone, which has a lot of the mid frequencies.
If your band has an acoustic guitar player or your songs require the sound of an acoustic guitar, then Gibson guitars are an excellent option since they can cut through the mix.
Taylor vs Gibson: Bracing
The bracing used on an acoustic guitar matters a lot.
For one, they minimize stress on the guitar from feedback.
It also shapes the guitar’s tone and keeps it in place, which could offset its body from feedback.
Taylor Guitars use V-class bracings, which the company uses to improve vibration and sound quality.
This bracing was designed by Andy Powers, who veered away from the usual X bracings found in acoustic guitars.
Using V-bracings, Taylor acoustic guitars offer more sustain and volume to cut through a mix without altering the natural tones.
The origins of V-class bracings are relatively recent, introduced by Taylor in 2018.
Since then, Taylor has shifted the bracing system of its guitars to the patented V-class to present a more consistent sound.
Guitars that use this bracing will have V-class attached to their model name.
Gibson Guitars use the traditional X-bracings.
Originally a concept by Martin guitars in the 19th century, the X-bracing has become the standard bracing for guitars in the market.
Some say the X pattern provides better support for the guitar.
The thing about X-bracing is that you can find it among almost all guitars across different prices.
Taylor vs Gibson: Body Shape
Taylor and Gibson offer different body shapes for their acoustic guitars.
Between the two brands, Taylor Guitars has a wider variety of models, including travel-sized and mini guitars.
Taylor has Grand Auditoriums, Grand Concerts, Grand Symphony, Grand Orchestra, Parlor, and a Mini Jumbo.
Gibson offers fewer models compared to Taylor.
But unlike Taylor, Gibson has 00, Jumbo, and Super Jumbo acoustic guitar models.
Taylor Guitars use a C or V-shape neck profile, which leans towards modern preferences.
Gibson, meanwhile, uses a 50s round neck or slim taper neck profile.
Taylor vs Gibson: Construction
Taylor and Gibson use a variety of tonewoods for their acoustic guitars with lots of overlap in tonewoods.
The type of wood plays a critical factor in how each guitar sounds.
Common woods that these brands use include Mahogany, Rosewood, Maple, and Walnut.
Taylor adds more variety to their tonewood palette by using Koa, Ovangkol, Sapele, Blackwood, Ash, and Ebony, among others.
Taylor Guitars makes their products using computer mills and proprietary machines in their factories in El Cajon, California, and Baja California, in Mexico.
Taylor built the Baja California factory for their budget line guitars.
Gibson, meanwhile, makes its acoustic guitars in its dedicated facility in Bozeman, Montana.
According to the company, the Bozeman facility is in a consistently dry climate ideal for building acoustic guitars.
In this factory, they continued the tradition of building guitars since the late 1800s, including hand-fitting dove joints on each guitar.
For their finishes, Taylor Guitars uses polyester for a modern take.
On the other hand, Gibson Guitars uses traditional methods of nitrocellulose lacquer, which has been used on vintage guitars for a while now.
Taylor and Gibson: Electronics
Both Taylor and Gibson have you covered for those looking into using their acoustic guitars in a live situation.
Many of their models have built-in systems that allow you to amplify your acoustic guitar in a live situation.
Taylor Guitars use its proprietary ES2 system.
The ES2 is an acoustic guitar pickup mounted behind the guitar’s saddle with calibrated pickup sensors.
One thing to love about this system is that you can adjust the pickups easily, even with the strings on it.
Each ES2 has a preamp that allows you to plug directly into an acoustic amp, PA system, or recording interface.
You also get bass, treble controls, and an in-built phase switch to reduce feedback.
Gibson, meanwhile, uses LR Baggs Element VTC Active system.
Unlike the plain Element Active system from LR Baggs, this under-saddle system features an additional tone control that helps you adjust the tone of your guitar based on the venue’s acoustics.
A 9V battery powers this under-saddle system.
Taylor Guitars vs Gibson Guitars: Price
The price is one of the most important deciding factors in choosing between the two brands.
Taylor and Gibson are often seen as premium brands, which would turn off some consumers.
But looking at the little details might make anyone choosing between the two reconsider this misconception.
Taylor Guitars have guitars that go as low as $400 and can go up to $5800+.
Gibson Guitars have a more expensive lower-tier guitar, priced at around $1,000.
However, their standard guitar models can go as high as $8,000+.
Of course, both brands offer novelty instruments with prices that far exceed the prices mentioned here.
But generally speaking, these are the price ranges you can expect for these brands’ acoustic guitars.
Taylor vs Gibson: Which is best for you?
To help you decide, consider the following.
If you’re a session player or hired gun for an artist or band, a Gibson acoustic guitar might be a better choice than a Taylor, considering their versatility in tones.
It has a good mid-range, which makes it ideal for cutting through a mix in a band setting.
Taylor guitars work well also for session work, but there’s a better chance of it shining when playing tracks that rely heavily on acoustic guitars.
It has a mid scoop, which might struggle in a band mix, but as a solo instrument can do a lot.
For construction purists, Gibson acoustic guitars are a wise choice, considering how they still integrate traditional methods of building acoustic guitars.
For those open to change or more modern methods, you may lean towards Taylor, which uses advanced techniques and machinery to build acoustic guitars.
On the aesthetic side, for those who want a finish that lasts longer through time, Taylor guitars are the way to go with its polyester finish.
But if you want that vintage look, especially the relic look, Gibson’s nitrocellulose finish should be your choice.
If you have yet to decide what acoustic guitar size will suit you best, check Taylor guitars, as they have a wider variety of acoustic guitar shapes, including 3/4 and travel-sized acoustic guitars.
On top of that, Taylor guitars have a lower-tier selection, which is far cheaper than Gibson.
For those who want dreadnoughts, jumbos, or super jumbos, go for Gibson, which specializes in these models.
And if you’re willing to spend more, Gibson’s premium line is cheaper than what Taylor guitars have on hand.
In a gigging situation where you need to plug your guitar into the PA system or an acoustic amp, go for the Taylor, which has an edge with its two-band EQ on the ES2 system and a phase switch to reduce feedback.
But if you want an industry-standard pickup system for acoustic, Gibson is a wise choice, with its LR Baggs pickup.
Lastly, if you’re also considering the electric guitar market, there is no doubt that Gibson is the way to go, considering all the electric guitars it has in the market today.
Meanwhile, Taylor only has one electric guitar, a hybrid acoustic featuring a single coil pickup on the bridge.
In your search for the right acoustic guitar, it ultimately comes down to your personal preference.
The best way to decide which one works best for you is to try out as many acoustic guitars from these brands, as well as other prominent brands, to see which one feels most comfortable in your hands.
For that, I recommend stopping by your local guitar shop or Guitar Center and trying out as many models as they have on hand or that you are interested in trying.
Nothing beats trying something for yourself!
I hope this article has given you a better sense of the differences between acoustic guitars made by Taylor and Gibson and each brand’s strengths and weaknesses.
But if you have a question that I didn’t cover in this post, feel free to message me in the comments below!
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