It's only once every now and again that you pick up a guitar, and just can't put it down again. All guitarists know the feeling well, the feeling when you play a new guitar and it feels like an extension of your limbs - maybe you feel like the guitar is playing you.
This is exactly how I felt when I picked up the Taylor GA8 acoustic, it really is a beautiful guitar. It's a luxury to have the combination of Mahogany, Sitka Spruce, Ebony, and Indian Rosewood in one guitar. It's not a luxury I can usually afford, so it's always a privilege to play on such a special product. The luxury doesn't stop at the choice of wood, a quick glance at the hardware specifications shows gold tuning pegs, a tusq saddle and nut, abalone fret inlays, ivoroid binding, and mother of pearl logo.
This is going to be a short review, because there is only a limited number of ways in which you can re-phrase the word 'perfect'. The guitar was set up perfectly when I bought it, it's actually the lowest action I've seen on acoustic without causing fret buzz. In terms of playability, I really just have to say that I couldn't ask for a better set up from the Taylor team. This is also down to the radius of the neck in relation to the size of my hands, I have fairly large hands and long fingers, so I like a round neck, but I don't like to have to work too hard to get my fingers around and on to the strings. There's no point having long fingers if you get a huge neck, unless you are just annoyingly talented.
Taylors and Martins are both a good choice of guitar for those who are after medium-sized neck dimensions. Taylors are actually well-known as a good choice for those who are more used to playing electric guitars, and the GA8 feels particularly catered to the needs of electric players. This is not to say that it doesn't feel like an acoustic though, it's just a little bit easier as a transition, which is good if you don't want to have to re-adjust your playing every time you go un-plugged.
The tiny details are all taken care of, right down to the size and spacing of the string slots at the nut. A really impressive feature is the tightness and clarity at both high and low frequencies when strumming chords on the GA8. Cheaper acoustics can sometimes be overloaded at the high-end, and lacking at the low-end, if you are willing to part with a bit more cash, you can usually find an acoustic that belts out warm low-end frequencies, perhaps at the expense of some of the high-mids and the sparkly treble. Because of the relatively compact size of the GA8, and probably due also to the broad range of materials used on the guitar, there is no frequency that seems to particularly dominate over any other. There are a couple of small booms in the low-mids, but it's always useful to have these, because they are necessary when you are playing an acoustic as a solo artist. If you are looking to use the GA8 as part of a band, then any good sound engineer will reduce these peaks and make sure you have your own place in the mix.
The clarity at the low-end is really where the warmth and response of the GA8 comes into play, I've never had an acoustic that offers the same response to dynamics and technique. Fingerpicking sounds soft and mellow (as it should do), but I think the GA8 is actually even better for those who are using plectrums. I was using a .88 mm Dunlop plectrum, and I managed to entice some rocky tones from the guitar, as well as getting a smoother jazz sound by very slightly altering the attack and velocity of my playing.
Really, these words mean nothing if you haven't at least heard the guitar in action, so please watch the review. More than that though, I encourage you to find a Taylor stockist, and just go and play on as many of them as you can. You will find that you will bond with your suitable acoustic very quickly, and even if you don't find the one that has your sought after looks or tone, then Taylor have a very good website for finding your perfect partner – TaylorGuitars.com
Prices start at: £2080 /$2998
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