New acoustic bass guitar offers big sounds from Taylor’s compact GS Mini body.
by Teja Gerken
April 17, 2017
At the January 2017 Winter NAMM show, Taylor Guitars’ new GS Mini-e Bass was the talk of the show. Most acoustic bass guitars have used jumbo bodies and long scales to deliver low-end tones, but the GS Mini-e Bass uses the small body and short 23.5-inch scale of Taylor’s GS Mini guitar body, as well as a specially developed set of D’Addario strings, to producing an astonishing bass sound and incredible playability.
Taylor’s GS Mini line of guitars measures just 14⅜ inches across the lower bout and its 23.5-inch scale length is, of course, short for a full-size guitar, but practically unheard-of for a bass guitar. While the GS Mini-e Bass uses the same woods and general construction as the GS Mini guitar (a solid Sitka spruce top, and layered sapele back and sides), it, of course, has a different bridge, a peghead with four tuners, and some internal tweaks that make the GS Mini guitar body more suited to the low frequencies of four-string acoustic bass guitar. One of the keys to unlocking the functionality of an acoustic bass with an ultrashort scale (most bass guitar necks have a 34-inch scale) is the new set of strings designed collaboratively by Taylor and D’Addario. Using a nylon core and phosphor-bronze windings, these new EXPPBB190GS strings have a soft feel and a rich tonality at low tension. The GS Mini-e Bass also includes Taylor’s ES-B electronics, which combines the company’s Expression System 2 pickup (a piezo design mounted behind the saddle in the bridge) and a side-mounted preamp with controls for volume and tone and a built-in chromatic tuner.
Playing the GS Mini-e Bass is nothing short of astonishing. Not only does it match the volume and low-end output of many full-size acoustic bass guitars, it is among the easiest-playing basses ever—acoustic or electric! This makes it the perfect bass for a guitarist: No long finger stretches are required, it’s loud enough to hold its own in many acoustic playing situations, and it packs up small enough in its included gig bag to bring along to any jam. Plugging it in further extends its usefulness, and even when played through a small Fishman Loudbox Mini amp instead of an actual bass rig, it produced a healthy growl that is bound to appeal to bass players as well as guitarists. Without a doubt, Taylor’s GS Mini-e Bass is a winner that is certain to find legions of fans among a wide variety of musicians.
SPECS: GS Mini body. Solid Sitka spruce top. Layered sapele back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 23.5-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. Chrome tuning machines. ES-B electronics with built-in tuner. D’Addario EXPPBB190GS strings. Made in Mexico. $918 list. Taylorguitars.com
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