As Taylor Guitars’ master designer Andy Powers describes it, the GS Mini-e Bass started off almost as an acoustic bass guitar for guitarists who want a compact instrument with a familiar, relatable feel to Taylor’s popular GS-Mini guitars. But, as this short-scale bass developed in Taylor’s skunkworks, it became more apparent that this little bass was going to be something else—something that not only met those first ideals, but also would be an instrument that appeals to bass players everywhere.
In short, Taylor feels like it hit on something special with the Mini-e Bass.
Indeed, the GS Mini-e Bass is so special that Taylor decided to work with D’Addario & Co. to develop unique strings to work on this short-scale bass instrument, which is almost a foot shorter than a standard bass string scale. To make this 23 1/2-inch scale bass work, D’Addario designed a string that has a multi-strand nylon core wrapped in a phosphor-bronze winding (which is coated like other strings in D’Addario’s EXP line). The result is a string that has a little of the roly-poly feel of a wound classical-guitar string, but at a much thicker gauge. (String-swapping tone-seekers note: The Mini-e Bass is designed to work only with these strings; using any other strings may damage the bass.)
The Road Test
I used the Mini through an SWR Baby Blue bass combo amp, and because the bass features Taylor’s behind-the-saddle Expression System pickups, I wasn’t surprised at the solid, harmonically rich tone filling the room. There are no surprises and no bummers when it’s amplified, just complex harmonics laying over solid fundamentals in a feedback-resistant platform. It’s so good and competent that it might be boring if it wasn’t so, well, darned good. The GS Mini-e is the very definition of fuss-free plug-and-play and a big step up from clacky, plasticky, undersaddle pickup tones.
As you might expect from Taylor’s sophisticated CNC-powered construction techniques, the GS Mini-e Bass’ tight construction comes from a place beyond human ability. It’s flawless. From the purfling-inlaid top (no binding, just violin-style purfling to protect the edges) to the fretwork and setup, everything is just right.
By questioning and rethinking nearly every aspect of guitar building and design, Taylor has shown that it’s fearless when countering conventional wisdom with modern, innovative ideas that work. The new Taylor GS Mini-e Bass pulls some of the company’s best ideas together into a new, compact bass that is bound to find an audience of guitarists and bass players looking for comfort, quality, and tone.
At A Glance: Taylor Guitars GS Mini-e Bass
Body Grand Symphony shape; solid Sitka spruce top with purfling; GS Mini bracing with relief rout; laminated sapele back and sides; plastic tortoiseshell pickguard; ebony bridge with Micarta saddle and polycarbonate bridge pins; natural, matte varnish finish