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Thread: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

  1. #1

    Default Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Here's a question for you luthiers out there:

    I find that the Mexico-made Taylor GS-Mini guitar has the ideal dimensions for me. I'd like to have a replica higher-end one-off built, say in the range of $7K - $9K at a roughly Collings build-quality or better.

    I'm looking mainly for sound (i.e., louder than it's smallish size would suggest), so I don't need any bling, but I would like high quality tonewood and some basic trim. Given it's unique specs, I'm assuming that whatever patterns are built for it would not be particularly reusable.

    I've contacted several custom builders, in addition to Taylor, without success.

    What's the feasibility of a project like this?

  2. #2
    Mandolin & Mandola maker
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    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    I make a small guitar exactly as you describe. Same body size, same scale length, but slightly different body shape and wider fingerboard. I was not impressed with the few Taylor's I came across so decided to start making one. One led to two, then three and so on. It is not really a replica, sounds like a seriously good guitar.

    Finished this one around 3 weeks ago.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Peter Coombe - mandolins, mandolas and guitars
    http://www.petercoombe.com

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  4. #3

    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Santa Cruz Guitar makes a Firefly model. Build quality would be on par with what you are looking for.

    https://santacruzguitar.com/firefly/
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  5. #4
    Registered Muser dang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobar View Post
    Santa Cruz Guitar makes a Firefly model. Build quality would be on par with what you are looking for.

    https://santacruzguitar.com/firefly/
    I played one of those Firefly’s about six years ago and can still remember it being one of the best guitars I’ve ever played, despite me being one of the worst players.
    I should be pickin' rather than postin'

  6. #5
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Awhile back my wife was in the same boat and brought me along with her to Heartbreaker guitars to compare the SCGC Firefly (The all mahogany HBG exclusive) to the Wee Lowden. Both guitars were great but I preferred the Wee Lowden suggesting that I thought it was the more versatile of the two. She took home the Firefly. I found it great for Fingerstyle especially Robert Johnson and Charley Patton tunes. A few months later she traded it in for a used Wee Lowden she found at Dream Guitars.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Having said that, I think the Taylor GS Mini is one of the most versatile small guitars currently available.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    I have a Wee Lowden. Bit bigger than the firefly, but it’s sweet.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

  8. #7

    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I had a Firefly and sold it in favor of my (cuirrent) SCGC PJ parlor, which is a 12-fret with incredible sound, especially for the size. I played a Wee Lowden at local Dusty Strings a few months back and was not overly impressed, especially for the price tag.

    My attraction to the GS-Mini is purely dimension(al). As a guitar, per se, it is not anywhere near the class of an SCGC or a Lowden.

    My question has to do with how a professional luthier would approach a project of the sort that I am proposing, if at all.

    Thanks again for the replies.


    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    Awhile back my wife was in the same boat and brought me along with her to Heartbreaker guitars to compare the SCGC Firefly (The all mahogany HBG exclusive) to the Wee Lowden. Both guitars were great but I preferred the Wee Lowden suggesting that I thought it was the more versatile of the two. She took home the Firefly. I found it great for Fingerstyle especially Robert Johnson and Charley Patton tunes. A few months later she traded it in for a used Wee Lowden she found at Dream Guitars.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	0F9A2C75-3A8A-41B0-8CE2-CECCE98F7762_1_201_a.jpeg 
Views:	26 
Size:	843.7 KB 
ID:	188709

    Having said that, I think the Taylor GS Mini is one of the most versatile small guitars currently available.

  9. #8
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by wsugai View Post
    Here's a question for you luthiers out there:

    I find that the Mexico-made Taylor GS-Mini guitar has the ideal dimensions for me. I'd like to have a replica higher-end one-off built, say in the range of $7K - $9K at a roughly Collings build-quality or better.

    I'm looking mainly for sound (i.e., louder than it's smallish size would suggest), so I don't need any bling, but I would like high quality tonewood and some basic trim. Given it's unique specs, I'm assuming that whatever patterns are built for it would not be particularly reusable.

    I've contacted several custom builders, in addition to Taylor, without success.

    What's the feasibility of a project like this?
    A friend of mine just acquired a Collings Parlor 2H-T and it is an amazing guitar. Very small parlor but deep body. The tone is to die for. It is definitely in your range, maybe slightly less in price since it would not be a custom unless you requested certain features. Not the same body shape as the GS-Mini but an exceptional guitar for the sound and quality.

    There is a used sunburst one here.
    Jim

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  10. #9
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Quote Originally Posted by wsugai View Post
    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I had a Firefly and sold it in favor of my (cuirrent) SCGC PJ parlor, which is a 12-fret with incredible sound, especially for the size. I played a Wee Lowden at local Dusty Strings a few months back and was not overly impressed, especially for the price tag.

    My attraction to the GS-Mini is purely dimension(al). As a guitar, per se, it is not anywhere near the class of an SCGC or a Lowden.

    My question has to do with how a professional luthier would approach a project of the sort that I am proposing, if at all.

    Thanks again for the replies.
    wsugal,

    You're welcome. IMHO, they are all good guitars regardless of what class one ascribes to them. I admit to being a little more simpatico than perhaps I let on. I'm currently considering commissioning Devin Champlin to build me one of his Parlor sized Archtop guitars:
    https://www.champlinguitars.com/archtops

    We're so lucky to have so many options to chose from these days compared to twenty or thirty years ago.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    Scotter,

    Thanks for the lead on Devin Champlin. Didn't realize he was in Bellingham (I was just up there a week ago selling my Stan Miller A-model). I have been looking for a good repair person in the area since my go-to repair woman left town a couple of years ago. I'll contact him and see what he has to say about my project. -Wayne in Edmonds


    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    wsugal,

    You're welcome. IMHO, they are all good guitars regardless of what class one ascribes to them. I admit to being a little more simpatico than perhaps I let on. I'm currently considering commissioning Devin Champlin to build me one of his Parlor sized Archtop guitars:
    https://www.champlinguitars.com/archtops

    We're so lucky to have so many options to chose from these days compared to twenty or thirty years ago.

  12. #11

    Default Re: Building a higher-end replica Taylor GS-Mini guitar (NMC)

    The problem with building a different sized body is the amount of work that goes into designing and setting up forms, bracing patterns, etc. You need to find someone who either builds a body style and size close to what you are looking for, or someone who builds free hand, like Michael Millard at Froggy Bottom. Michael is about to retire and hand the reigns over to Eric and Andy, but perhaps they would be interested in taking this on. Although their pricing structure may very well be out of your price range.
    There's nothing better than first-hand experience.

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