I have played dozens of acoustics over the years, and the Big Baby Taylor easily sounds better than a lot of guitars that are more than double its price. This guitar gives you all of the playability and durability of premium Taylor guitars without the typical $1000+ range of Taylor prices. Whether you’re a homebody or a vagabond on the road, the Big Baby Taylor is an unbeatable guitar at its price point.
The Big Baby Taylor
Built at the Taylor Guitar Factory in Tecate, Mexico, this guitar houses a lot of great features in a relatively small package. The guitar is just shy of a full-sized dreadnought. Sitting at 15/16th scale, the guitar is 15 inches from bottom to top instead of 16 inches. It still sports a great tone and crisp, resonant sound despite being smaller than a full-size. This means you get the best of both worlds: a portable, travel-friendly design while still maintaining the great sound quality of a Taylor dreadnought.
- Very portable and comfortable, just shy of a full size guitar at 15/16th scale
- High-quality gig bag included with purchase, well-suited for travel
- Electroacoustic version available from Taylor, BBT-e model
- Premium brand with superb Taylor craftsmanship
- Excellent sound quality for the price
- Solid sitka spruce top for warm, full-bodied sound
- Gorgeous matte finish
- Solid, slim neck profile makes for easy playing
- Stays in tune with die-cast chrome tuners
- Arched back for added strength
- Lacks the full projection and bass of a full-sized dreadnought
- More expensive than other entry-level guitars aimed at beginner players
- Neck is not one piece, with two screws holding in place
- Flat finish leaves guitar slightly more vulnerable to scratches
The first thing that immediately stands out is the simplistic and superior craftsmanship of the guitar. Its unmatched build quality from an elite brand like Taylor truly shines through on all fronts. The guitar features layered sapele back and sides and a solid sitka spruce top. The layered sapele wood means the guitar is less susceptible to the effects of temperature and humidity, another reason why this guitar is such a great traveler option. The slim neck profile along with the feel of the ebony fretboard adds to the guitar’s fantastic playability and comfort. Additionally, the heelless neck design allows easy accessibility to the upper frets.
The guitar flaunts a gorgeous dreadnought body with a nice matte finish. The arched back contributes to durability and strength for a lifetime of use. It is also equipped with Taylor’s X-Bracing which gives the guitar its signature brand look. Chrome die-cast tuners sit on a black headstock with a Nubone nut. A micarta saddle is expertly placed on the ebony bridge with black bridge pins.
Don’t be misled by the word “baby” in the title, the sound is anything but. The guitar has a rich, full, crisp sound with an impressively strong mid-range and high volume output. It also has an impressive sustain and resonance for a body just shy of a full-sized dreadnought.
A guitar’s topwood is the primary distributor of string energy in the guitar, which means this wood is the main contributor to the guitar’s sound quality. The tonewoods present in the Big Baby Taylor perfectly balance stiffness and elasticity to create a well-balanced, dynamic sound. While the guitar sounds great for strummers, it is particularly attractive for fingerpickers who like to clearly hear each note.
The solid sitka spruce will age like a fine wine, adding to deeper and warmer tonal qualities as the guitar matures. Heeding the company’s advice, the deep rich sustainable tone is maximized with the use of light gauge Elixirs strings
The Big Baby Taylor Specs
|Number of frets||20|
|Top||Solid Sitka Spruce|
|Back and Sides||Layered Sapele|
|Fingerboard and Bridge||Genuine African Ebony|
|Saddle and Nut||Micarta Saddle and Nubone Nut|
|Body and Neck finish||Matte|
How does it compare to its older sibling, The Baby Taylor?
The Big Baby is the bigger and newer predecessor of the Baby Taylor. The Baby Taylor, made in 1996, is a ¾ size dreadnought guitar. The Baby Taylor is a great purchase if you want an acoustic guitar on the smaller side for traveling or for young students of the guitar, but still with great sound and playability. Although many of the same materials in the Big Baby Taylor are present in the Baby Taylor, if you’re after a bigger guitar with a richer and louder sound while still aiming for portability, the BBT is the better investment.
More Awesome Features
Included with the Big Baby Taylor is the Taylor gig bag. What immediately stands out is the quality of the bag. There is definitely enough padding to feel comfortable taking it on long distance trips. Taylor also offers an electroacoustic version of the Big Baby Taylor called the BBT-e. It sports Taylor’s built-in ES-2 system, having an under-saddle pickup powered by an onboard preamp with a handy tuner built in.
What Customers Are Saying
Based on a thorough analysis of customer reviews from online retailer sites and other BBT guitar reviews, the Big Baby Taylor is almost universally loved by both brand new beginners, live-performing professionals, and everyone in between. Many customers appreciate the portability of the guitar while at the same time still preserving great tonality and projection. A lot of online reviews mention the guitar is great for almost any genre of music. Many also appreciate its nice, short action, how light it is, and how well it stays in tune. Some reviewers wish there was a different option for the finish beside the natural varnish, and some were slightly put off by the bolt-in neck design and the simplistic dot inlays on the fretboard.
Here is a video of the Big Baby Taylor in action:
Backed by one of the most trusted and reputable companies, the BBT is an excellent beginner or intermediate purchase. While pricier than the average beginner guitar, it is much more cost-effective than a 300 series Taylor while still backed by high-quality Taylor standards and a lifetime of great Taylor customer service.
If you already have your dream acoustic, this guitar makes for an amazing spare to take to gigs or on the road. If you’re looking for an upgrade, this guitar easily takes spot number one in overall quality among acoustic guitars under $500. Overall, Taylor delivers a high-quality guitar with durability, portability, and great even tonality at an unbeatable price.
If you are still not convinced and looking for an alternative, the GS Mini is another Taylor acoustic guitar under $500 with comparable sound quality and build design to the BBT. The GS Mini is a shrunken version of the Grand Symphony body at 23.5” scale length, making it another ideal travel guitar. If you’re looking for close to full-size dreadnought shape and a bigger sound, the Big Baby is the way to go. However, the GS Mini does offer a heel block which adds to neck stability that isn’t present in the Big Baby Taylor.