The question is, which one is better?
We’ll be looking at both of these guitars in detail, including their main differences, features, pros and cons, and finally our verdict to answer that very question.
Let’s start with what sets them apart.
Main Differences Between Baby Taylor vs Little Martin
The main differences between Baby Taylor vs Little Martin are:
- The Baby Taylor has a dreadnought shape, whereas the Little Martin has a modified 0 shape
- The Baby Taylor has a heavier neck, whereas the Little Martin has a lightweight neck
- The Baby Taylor looks polished, whereas the Little Martin may have some cosmetic imperfections
- The Baby Taylor can be prone to warping, whereas the Little Martin is more hardwearing
- The Baby Taylor has a loud, deep tone, whereas the Little Martin has more of a crisp, traditional sound
There are a few things to focus on here. The sound is quite different, so if you’re after something deep and resonant, you may want to go with the Baby Taylor. If you prefer a classic tone, the Little Martin is worth a try.
The Baby Taylor looks great, which may be a consideration if you’re buying for a gift. The Little Martin has the benefit of having a lighter neck and being more durable overall.
Now, let’s take a look at them both in more detail.
|Baby Taylor||Little Martin|
|Body Shape||D-Shape||Modified 0|
|Body Material||Sitka Spruce, Layered Walnut||Sitka Spruce, Composite Wood|
|Neck||Tropical American Mahogany, X-Bracing Profile||Wood veneer, low oval profile|
|Frets||Ebony fingerboard, 19 frets||Rosewood, 20 frets|
|Warranty||Lifetime limited warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
|Latest price||See the latest price here||See the latest price here|
Baby Taylor vs Little Martin – the Main Features
Let’s check out the main features of Baby Taylor vs Little Martin.
Baby Taylor is an ideal starter guitar for young kids. Known for producing exceptional sound, Taylor is a great brand for all ages, and their guitars are durable, which makes them a good choice for younger players.
As the name suggests, it’s a ¾ size guitar, making it smaller than the average acoustic guitar. This means it not only suits younger players but also players with smaller hands or those who struggle to hold a regular-sized acoustic guitar.
However, due to the dreadnought shape (or D-shape), it feels slightly larger to hold than a ¾ sized C-Shape guitar. This gives it excellent sound and versatility (but more on that in a moment).
It does have a fairly high price tag for a kid’s guitar. There are cheaper options out there, so if you’re not sure your child will stick with it, it might be worth shopping around a little for something else.
- ¾ size
- Dreadnought shape
- Clear, loud sound
- Left-handed and electronic versions available
Size and Shape
The dreadnought shape (developed by C.F Martin & Company way back in 1916) is bigger than other shapes of guitar and provides a deep, loud tone. It has a square bottom and shoulders, making it slightly different than a c-shaped guitar.
If you would struggle to hold a regular-sized dreadnaught guitar, this could be a good option for you, as the sound quality is very good – unless you’re very experienced, it would be hard to tell the difference between this and full-sized dreadnaught.
It looks beautiful, too. The BT1 (still available on some online retailers) has a spruce top and layered walnut body, while the BT2 has a mahogany top. The die-cast chrome-plated tuning pegs look great, and it has the classic Taylor logo at the top.
The sound offered by the Baby Taylor series is impressive, especially given the size. The body shape compensates for the smaller side, which means you won’t have to worry about it being too quiet compared to full-sized guitars. It has a nice warm tone with plenty of definition and clarity.
There is a slight difference in terms of sound between the BT1 and the BT2. The BT2 has a mahogany top, instead of spruce. This gives it a slightly ‘mellower’ sound than the BT1. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re trying to decide between the two.
This is where the BT series may fall short slightly. Smaller guitars can be a bit more fragile thanks to the size. The neck can warp if you leave it in a room that is too damp. This is true of a lot of guitars, but it’s something to bear in mind. Loosening the strings a little after you play can help to combat this.
The other thing to note is that the bag it comes with is not going to protect your guitar if you plan to travel with it. While it does make a good travel-sized guitar, the case may not protect it against wear and tear, especially if you plan to fly with it.
It comes with a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner of the guitar.
There are a few options to choose from:
- BT1 – the original Baby Taylor, this can be harder to find now and has a spruce top
- BT2 – the updated Baby Taylor. It has a mahogany top instead of spruce
- BT1e/BT2e – both Baby Taylor guitars are available with electronics included for an extra price
- Left Handed – both are available in left-handed form, for no extra cost
The Baby Taylor comes with a soft case as we mentioned earlier. You can also purchase some great accessories by Taylor, including the Chocolate Suede Guitar Strap.
We also like the Taylor Collapsible Guitar Stand which is a great purchase if you do plan to travel with your guitar.
Martin is another excellent brand known for making great quality guitars. While the Little Martin is the smallest the brand has to offer, it still offers great sound, comparable to its full-sized counterparts.
Like the Baby Taylor, it’s ideal for younger players, those who struggle to hold a full-sized guitar, or those needing a reliable travel guitar. It’s also fairly expensive for a ¾ guitar, but it will last a long time.
- ¾ size
- Modified 0 shape
- Crisp, conventional sound
- Works well with vocals as well as on its own
- Reliable and durable
- Electronic versions available
Size and Shape
Like the Baby Taylor, the Little Martin is a ¾ sized guitar. There is a key difference in the shape, however. The Little Martin is listed as having a ‘modified 0’ shape, which is quite close to the shape of a parlor guitar.
Parlor guitars (which get their name from performances in smaller venues in the early 1900s) are narrower than regular guitars, which makes them ideal for traveling.
It has an interesting neck, made from composite wood which has the advantage of being lightweight. It’s durable, but it feels light and comfortable to hold, which is great for beginners or younger players.
It looks great too. It has a classic look, and it looks just as stylish as regular Martin guitars. The nickel hardware looks smart too. Martin has stated that the Little Martin series ‘is not meant to be cosmetically perfect’, which is something to keep in mind. You might notice a couple of imperfections.
The sound that comes from the Little Martin series is great considering its small size. It has a conventional sound, with a nice crisp edge to it.
It suits classic traditional fingerstyle playing, and it won’t be drowned out by vocals or other instruments. It doesn’t have quite the same volume as the Baby Taylor, but it still sounds great – very crisp.
The bracing pattern is the same as you’d find in full-sized Martin guitars, and it feels comfortable to play whilst still proving excellent sound.
As far as reliability is concerned, we think that the Little Martin is very reliable. While you might notice a bit of wear-and-tear in terms of the outer veneer, the materials used are durable. You can expect the same high quality from the Little Martin as you would from any other Martin guitar – the sound will remain great, even after a lot of use.
It comes with a soft gig bag, which again, is great for more local travel, but may not be able to keep the guitar safe on a plane. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty for the original owner.
There are several variations to the Little Martin guitar series:
- LX1RE – This is the right-handed electronic version with a laser-etched herringbone rosette
- LX1R – This is a right-handed version without electronics, but includes a laser-etched herringbone rosette
- LX1 – This is the classic Little Martin guitar without electronics
- LX1E – This is the same as the LX1, but with electronics included
- LX Black – This is the same as the regular LX1, but it has black sides and top
- LXK2 – This has slightly darker Koa wood sides and top (this is the version you can see in our Little Martin LXK2 Review).
Little Martin guitars come with a soft gig bag. If you’re looking for Martin accessories, we’d recommend the Martin #1 Guitar Pick Pack, which comes with 12 picks.
We also like the Martin Instrument Polish and Cleaner, which is great for keeping your guitar looking new.
Baby Taylor vs Little Martin – Pros and Cons
Here are the pros and cons of both:
Baby Taylor Pros
- Deep, loud sound
- Classic dreadnought shape
- Looks beautiful
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
Baby Taylor Cons
- Fairly high price tag for a small guitar
- Can be prone to warping in damp conditions
Little Martin Pros
- Lightweight neck for easy playing
- Clear, crisp sound
- Durable materials used
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
Little Martin Cons
- Pretty big price tag for a smaller guitar
- May have some cosmetic imperfections
Alternatives to Try
Not convinced by the Baby Taylor or the Little Martin? Here are some alternatives to check out:
- If you have a child wanting to learn guitar, why not check out the Loog Acoustic Guitar? It has just three strings, so it’s ideal for younger kids who want to learn the basics without getting too overwhelmed. You can see more about it in our Loog Guitar Review.
- The Eastman E10P is a high-quality parlor guitar that is durable and great for those with smaller hands. You can read about it in our guide to the Best Guitars for Small Hands.
- The Yamaha JR1 is a great gig guitar that also suits smaller players. It has a pretty low price point in comparison to the Baby Taylor and Little Martin, so if you’re on a budget, it’s worth checking out. You can read more about it in our guide to the 14 Best Guitars for Kids.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Baby Taylor and Little Martin:
It depends on what you’re after! Taylor and Martin are both great brands, but they do have differences. Taylor is a little more modern in terms of the sound their instruments produce, with some innovations that make them exciting to play. Martin, meanwhile, creates classic, durable guitars that have more of a traditional sound. So, it’s up to you to choose what to go for.
Again, this depends on a few factors. If you think that guitar playing is a bit of a ‘fad’ for your kid, it may be better to buy a cheaper guitar to start with an investment in a more expensive version if they get on well with it.
On the other hand, the bonus of spending more on a guitar for a child is that it can double up as a guitar for an adult. Both the Baby Taylor and the Little Martin work quite well as gig guitars too.
Or, you can invest in a more expensive ¾ guitar and learn with your child, if you’re new to guitar playing yourself. In that case, a good-quality guitar is going to serve you both well.
There are a few ways to can go about learning guitar. Looking for a real-life tutor is always a good option if possible, as you can learn from their own experience, but this does tend to be the most expensive option.
Learning online is a great choice if you’re on a tighter budget. There are a lot of courses ou there to help you learn the basics as well as some more advanced skills – our guide to the Best Online Guitar Courses can point you in the right direction.
There are also apps you can subscribe to. Yousician is a fun app for adults and kids – you can find out more about it on our Yousician Review.
Storing your guitar properly is important, as poor storage can lead to warping and other types of damage. It’s worth keeping your child away from high temperature and humidity, as well as loosening the strings slightly to prevent warping. You can find out more in our guide on How To Properly Store Your Guitar here.
To Sum Up … Which is the Better ¾ Guitar?
We think that the Baby Taylor and the Little Martin are both excellent quality ¾ guitars. They’re not cheap, but they’re worth the investment, especially if you plan to use them for a long time to come.
If we had to pick, we’d probably go for the Little Martin. While the cosmetic imperfections are a bit of a shame, this is far outweighed by the benefits – including the lightweight neck (great for kids or those with smaller hands), durability, and excellent sound.
However, the Baby Taylor also has a great sound with a deeper, louder tone. So, if that’s what you’re after, it’s worth checking it out too.
If you’ve used either one, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Jodie is a trained classical guitarist. She is also a full-time blogger and loves to write about different types of guitars. Just give her 60 seconds of your time, and she’ll tell you all that you need to know about any guitar of your choice.