Short Scale Guitar... Worth Buying? (Taylor GS Mini review, 3 Years Later)

Lesson #512 • Aug 31, 2023

Every few months I get an email asking about my Taylor GS Mini, which I picked up back in summer 2020. Why do I (sometimes) use it? Is it good for traveling? Can it work as your only guitar? In this video I’ll answer all these questions, going in-depth on the various things I truly love about owning it.

I’ll also touch on some of the disadvantageous you’re due to run into with any shorter scale guitar. And for good measure, I’ll show how it compares to my full-size Taylor 310 (with measurements and audio samples included). To all of you who are wondering, I hope you find this helpful!

  • 0:00 Intro & Quick Summary
  • 1:14 Good for Travel?
  • 3:04 Good for Main Guitar?
  • 8:34 Good for Tough Songs?
  • 12:59 Disadvantages
  • 15:06 Close-Up & Size Comparison
  • 17:21 Audio Comparison

Lesson Discussion

Jump in the conversation with other members of the Song Notes community! Post a comment about this lesson, ask a question, or even upload a video of your progress. All skill levels welcome!

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Questions I Answer

From Mike, who asks about travel…

David, I hope all is well. I was hoping that you could help me regarding a travel guitar. I believe that you sometimes use a Taylor travel guitar in your lessons. I am currently looking to purchase a travel guitar (I currently own a Taylor 214ce but want something smaller for travel) and was wondering what model you are playing. Any thoughts on a travel guitar that you might have would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely Mike.

From Fellipe, asking about comfort, and if a short scale guitar could be used as one’s main (and only) guitar…

Hey David —  Currently I own a 114e but I’m finding it just too big and I’d like a more comfy guitar. In your videos I see you playing the gs mini and it looks good! What do you think of the gs mini as the main (and only) guitar? Would you exchange a 114 for a mini? cheers, Fellipe

From Rob, asking about which circumstances I find myself using my short scale guitar…

Hi David — you appear to be playing a guitar with quite a short scale in your Graceland video.
In what situations do you choose to use it?
I wonder whether I might find one more playable. I often use a capo to make playing more comfortable on my GAC [Grand Auditorium Cutaway]. Keep up the great content. —Rob

Measurements (Taylor 310 vs. Taylor GS Mini)

Notice how the width of the fretboard is quite similar to my full-size Taylor 310 (only a 3-4% difference). The length of the fretboard, however, is where the small size really kicks in (13-14% difference). The frets absolutely feel easier to stretch to, but never cramped.

The depth of the body is likewise a fair bit less (8-9%) — which just feels right to me. This also likely contributes to the guitar altogether being easy to pick up, put down, get strap on & off shoulder, etc.

Short Scale Guitar Comparisons from Other YouTubers

As I state in my vieo above, I am not an expert when it comes to gear. The only two acoustics I’ve owned (since 2001) are my Taylor 310 and this Taylor GS Mini… so there are a ton of gaps in my knowledge re: finer details of different manufacturers, guitar sizes, and other such things. So — I leave it to these fine folks (who have actually played many, many of these guitars) to tell me what they think.

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