There are times when a full-sized acoustic guitar is simply impractical, like when you’re packing a car up for a camping trip, or when you’re shopping for your kid’s first guitar.
It’s times like these when you want to look into ¾ size acoustic guitars like the Baby BT2 from Taylor.
This well-built, warm-sounding little instrument is not a toy like its name may suggest, but rather a performance-ready instrument that will stick with you for years to come.
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About Taylor Guitars
Founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, Taylor Guitars is an industry-leading guitar manufacturing company that makes hundreds of high-quality instruments every day.
Taylor is one of the leading manufacturers of acoustic (as well as semi-hollow electric) guitars today. I often think of Taylor being to Martin as what Fender is to Gibson; a modern-day classic company that pushes the boundaries of what acoustic guitars can do for musicians of every skill and budget level.
Whether you’re looking for a guitar with exotic wood choices, different body sizes/shapes, or a guitar with top tier electronics for the working musician, Taylor has every line of guitar ready for you.
Taylor guitars are played by the likes of Taylor Swift, Zac Brown, and Jason Mraz to name a few.
Taylor Baby BT2 Highlights:
Taylor Guitars celebrate the fact that their Baby model effectively launched the “travel guitar” style of instrument. It wasn’t the first ¾ size or smaller guitar ever (take a look at Parlor guitars), but it was the first small guitar to specifically be made in a dreadnought style with premium materials and redefined what a small guitar to do for the modern day musician.
I’ll be focusing on the Mahogany/Sapele model (BT2) in this review, while touching on the other tonewood options where necessary (BT1 and Taylor Swift model).
What We Liked
- Big, resonant sound for such a small guitar
- High Quality Materials multiple tonewood choices
- Attainable Price Point for the quality
- Gig Bag Included padded with front pocket
- Electronics Available for added fee
What We Didn’t Like
- Intonation/Tuning smaller instruments commonly suffer from this
- No Cutaways worth the improvement in sound, but accessing higher frets is difficult
Taylor Baby BT2 Review: Features & Specifications
- Taylor Expression System optional
- Mahogany/Sapele, Koa, Taylor Swift (Sitka Spruce), and Walnut options
- Ebony Fretboard w/ Perolid dots
- Adjustable Truss Rod
- Varnish finish
- ¾ Dreadnought Body Shape
- 19 frets
Taylor Baby BT2 Review: Our Insights
The Taylor Baby BT2 has been a staple in the Taylor lineup for over 15 years, and for good reason. I should know, as I’ve owned an original Baby Taylor for that long! Let’s take a closer look at some of the specs that make this guitar a life-long instrument.
One thing that has certainly made Taylor one of the leading acoustic guitar manufacturers today is their impeccable build quality across all of their lines of instruments. The Baby BT2 has received just as much attention to detail as their custom instruments to ensure that each instrument that comes off the assembly line is up to par.
This is especially useful when you’re considering the BT2 as a starter guitar. In my research on the BT2, I heard a quote from a Taylor representative that said “Your entry guitar is not a guitar you play for six months, throw away, and then buy a real guitar. The Baby Taylor is a real, performer’s guitar.”
I can attest to this first hand, as the Baby Taylor was my first guitar. To this day I still pick it up on occasion; the build quality is a major factor in its longevity within my personal collection.
Hardware and Electronics
The hardware used on the Baby BT2 is simple but well constructed, effective, and reliable.
Taylor uses an X-Bracing that is also found in their GS-Mini, Academy, and 100/200 series instruments. This refined classic bracing technique offers ample responsiveness, sustain, and volume that compliments the smaller body shape.
The bridge is made of ebony, like the fretboard, and is paired with a Micarta saddle to help produce a warm, yet clear resonance with the strings. The nut is made of tusq, while the tuning pegs are enclosed, die-cast machines that ensure years of continuous use.
The electronics are only found on the “ES-B” models, which incorporate Taylor’s Expression System 2 piezo pickup with a built-in preamp and digital tuner. This system is battery operated for up to 300 hours of playing time and has controls for Volume and Tone, making it the perfect system for those looking to jump on stage for the first time.
The Baby BT2 comes with a mahogany top and Sapele back/sides. While it certainly isn’t as loud as a full-size guitar, the BT2 has plenty of volumes and tonal richness to offer. As I mentioned before, I personally own a BT2 and can speak to its sweet, warm, and full tone despite its size.
Though not as broad in its EQ spectrum as the slightly larger GS-Mini guitars, the BT2 offers a substantial mid-range punch thanks to the mahogany top. It has enough volume to stand up to other acoustic instruments, including full-sized ones.
While the BT1 sounds bright with its spruce top, the BT2 has a slightly bluesier quality to it that lends itself well to strumming and dynamic fingerstyle playing.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the BT2 is its smaller body shape and how that affects playability, especially for those with smaller hands.
With a body measuring around 12.5” (W) x 3.38 (D) x 15.75 (L) and an overall scale length of 22.75”, the Baby Taylor is perfect for young guitarists looking to learn the instrument.
The 1.69” nut width makes grabbing chords easier, while still providing enough space so that your fingers don’t feel cramped or too awkward if you’re transitioning from a full-size instrument. The shorter scale length also makes pressing down and bending strings easier.
Another thing worth mentioning is the varnish finish, which lets the wood breathe and doesn’t leave a sticky residue/feeling if your hands start to sweat.
Picking out a starter guitar can be nerve-wracking, especially when considering the price point of so many different guitars. Thankfully, the BT2 offers an incredible value for the level of craftsmanship you receive.
Taylor is able to cut down on price by utilizing laminate Sapele back/sides. This offers similar tonal quality to mahogany while remaining stable and eco-friendly as a sustainable species. Taylor also makes their guitars more eco-friendly through their sustainable sourcing of ebony through the Taylor Ebony Project.
They then combine this with a solid mahogany top, which most starter guitars don’t feature.
The hardware/design is simple, but effective, which not only provides ample playability but also keeps costs down. I would personally recommend swapping out the tuners down the line for added tuning stability, but the included tuners are good for the price.
Considering that the Baby BT2 comes in at $379, you get great wood selection and reliable build quality well beyond other guitars in this price range. If you’re considering another guitar in the $200 price range, the added quality you get for just under $400 with the BT2 is well worth the price.
Taylor Baby BT2 Review: Buying Experience
One often overlooked feature when purchasing a guitar is the overall buying experience. This includes factors such as shipping, manufacturer warranty, return policy, and more. The buying experience is especially important when buying guitars online because you won’t have the opportunity to test out the guitar before purchasing.
All shipping from Sweetwater is free.
They also offer an inclusive 55-point inspection that covers handling, a cosmetic and construction inspection, hardware check, electronics testing, and playability check. This is especially important for acoustic instruments that are more fragile. With this free inspection, you can be assured that your guitar will arrive on your doorstep as advertised.
The BT2 ships in the included padded gig bag and typically arrives within five business days according to the Sweetwater website. This applies to all items over 13 ounces shipped via FedEx Ground or UPS Ground.
Taylor Guitars offer a two-year warranty from date of purchase to the original owner of the guitar only. This guarantees that the guitar will arrive without blemishes or other functional issues.
Sweetwater offers a free two-year warranty through their “Total Confidence Coverage”, but this coverage is superseded and limited by the Taylor warranty.
To read more about Taylor’s warranties, you can refer to their website here.
Every instrument dealer has a different return policy, but we at Guitar Advise are big fans of Sweetwater.com.
If you’re considering purchasing a Taylor Baby BT2 without playing it first, you can buy with confidence thanks to Sweetwater’s “no-hassle” return policy. As long as the instrument returns in the same condition as it was sent out, you have 30 days to try your new instrument and you can still return it for a full refund (minus the cost to ship back).
Should You Buy the Taylor Baby BT2?
I would recommend that you buy the Taylor Baby BT2 if one or more of the following apply to you:
- You’re a beginner guitarist looking for your first acoustic guitar
- You want a guitar to travel with
- You have smaller hands
Though ¾ size instruments are often advertised for beginners and children, the Taylor Baby BT2 is a real acoustic guitar that you can hold onto for a lifetime. I like to use mine in the studio for its warm, but the punchy tone, as it really stands out in a mix.
So while the Baby Taylor is an ideal instrument for kids, it’s absolutely worth considering if you’re an adult as well. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean that learning the guitar is any easier, and having that smaller body and shorter scale length is definitely going to help you feel comfortable on the instrument.
If you know that a goal of yours is to play at an open mic night or with a band where other, louder instruments will be present, you should look at buying the Baby Taylor ES-B model. This preamp will let you plug straight into a PA and be loud enough to be heard over drums, guitars, vocals, and other instruments.
Taylor Baby BT2 Alternatives
Taylor clearly makes quality instruments and the Baby BT2 is no exception. That being said, it isn’t the only small-bodied acoustic guitar on the market anymore.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the other options there are for starter acoustic guitars and how they compare to the mini guitar that started it all.
Taylor Baby BT2 Vs Taylor GS Mini-e Koa
If you like the way Taylor guitars look, sound, and feel, and you’re able to double your budget, then the GS Mini series is worth looking into.
As much as I love my Baby Taylor, the small body shape has some limitations in terms of sound that the GS Mini-e Koa makes up for. What makes the GS Mini-e Koa worth the extra investment is the combination of its Grand Symphony (GS) body shape, exotic Koa tonewoods, and the included ES-B electronics that are otherwise an upgrade with the Baby BT2.
The GS body shape allows for more depth and resonance while offering the feel and playability of a smaller guitar. The koa top is also stunning, compared to the modest BT2.
The Taylor GS Mini-e Koa is an appropriate option for professionals looking for a smaller guitar to have around the house for capturing quick ideas, or for taking on tour and writing on the road. Even though the GS shares some similarities to the BT-2, it’s a significant upgrade and is one of Taylor’s most innovative designs.
Taylor Baby BT2 Vs Martin LX1E Little Martin
At a glance you can tell that the BT2 and the LX1E are similar guitars.
Both guitars are travel guitars that come in at the same price point. Each guitar has the same size nut, same tuners, x-bracing, similar scale lengths, and both come with a gig bag. Choosing the guitar that’s right for you will come down to personal preference amongst the subtle differences between these models.
The LX1E specifically comes with a spruce top and high-pressure laminate back/sides. Spruce tops are available in the Baby Taylor, but it will be paired with laminate Sapele back/sides. The Little Martin has a plastic nut, weighs more, and has a rich, but mellow tone.
While the BT-2 has a dreadnought body shape, the LX1-E has an OM shape, where the bottom is slightly larger and more curved than the top portion.
The Martin has Fishman Sonitone pickups installed. Both the Taylor and Martin pickup systems accurately represent their guitars, but they achieve this in different ways. To learn more about the pickups, watch this video.
Taylor Baby BT2 Vs Seagull S6
If after all of this you’re wondering if a smaller bodied guitar is really right for you, and you are considering a full-size guitar within the same price range as the BT-2, the Seagull S6 is a viable option.
Your cost jumps up to about $529, but that extra cash affords you a full-sized instrument with the great build quality. Seagull Guitars are built in Canada and are owned by Godin guitars, which are famous for both their electric and acoustic guitars.
The S6 has a unique wood combination with a cedar top and laminate cherry wood back/sides, compared to the traditional mahogany BT2. This is shaped into a modified dreadnought, so if you like the feel of the BT-2 but want something larger, the S6 can offer that.
Tonally, the Seagull S6 is going to be slightly brighter than the mahogany BT2, delivering more volume and low-end thanks to its larger size. The nut width is slightly larger at 1.8”, but is still small enough for beginner hands to feel comfortable. You also get an additional two frets with this instrument.
I would recommend this guitar if you are a beginner adult or teenager looking to work with a full-size instrument that offers a similar high level of build quality and innovative design concepts.
The Bottom Line
Anyone who has gone through the gift section at Cracker Barrel or looked at guitars in a toy store can attest to the low-quality that kid’s guitars have to offer. This isn’t the case with the Baby Taylor BT-2.
What’s great about the Baby Taylor is that for over fifteen years these guitars have shown that they are great for beginners and can continue to serve musicians as they advance. If you are looking to buy a starter guitar for yourself or for your child, any of the BabyTaylor guitars are sure to be a sound investment, while not hurting your wallet too much in the process.
Because of the quality and sound that the Baby introduced to the world, there are more options than ever before for smaller-bodied acoustic guitars. Some of these options even come from Taylor. Whether or not the Baby is the best choice for you is going to depend on how the neck and body feel, and how the guitar’s sound resonates with you.
That being said, Taylor has proven for years with this design that great guitars can come in small, affordable packages. And they have only improved the guitar since its inception.
Take it from me as an owner of this guitar – this is a great model and one that you won’t regret buying.