So what do you do? You are recognized as one of the top acoustic guitar manufacturers in the world, and you have a complete range of guitars.
One thing you can do is to bring out a scaled-down version, which they did, the Baby Taylor.
Designed for a learner maybe, as a travel guitar possibly. It became popular for a number of reasons, the least of which was not that people loved to play it.
They did, and they still love to play Taylor’s ‘little baby.’
How about introducing its big sibling and see what the world makes of that. And here it is…
Baby Taylor’s big relative, the ‘Big Baby,’ the Taylor BBT Big Baby Acoustic Guitar.
The baby Taylor was three quarter sized, and the Big Baby takes its styling from the full-size dreadnoughts, so what size is it?
Well, it’s 15/16 sized. Bigger than the Baby not quite the size of a standard dreadnought. It sits in the middle between them.
Taylor has to be careful not to cause confusion with all this. Because they also have their GS range of smaller sized instruments. There is much discussion about which is a better guitar, the Big Baby or the GS mini, and we are not getting into that argument. So, let’s concentrate on the Big Baby.
The Big Baby has been around for a few years now and is certainly not a new addition. It has, therefore, had time to be played and considered, have opinions on it well aired and its got its devotees. There is no doubt it is a special and unique guitar and being a Taylor, also a very good one.
So, let’s take a closer look at the…
Taylor BBT Big Baby Acoustic Guitar
The back and the sides are constructed from layered Sapele. There are several advantages to layering the wood on the sides and back, and it’s not seen on all instruments. The main advantage is that it forms a sturdy construction. And that is less likely to be affected by changes in temperature.
The top is made from a single piece of Sitka Spruce. The top, in terms of sound and resonance, is the important area as the top is essentially the distributor of the sound. A good top is therefore vital to overall sound production, and Sitka Spruce is one of the most widely used today because of its natural properties.
As mentioned, the body shape is that of a dreadnought but is 15/16th of the size. And, it has no cutaway.
Inside it benefits from Taylor standard X-bracing and it has an arched back which adds to the depth of the tonal quality while the body is completed with a tasteful tortoiseshell pickguard, a plastic rosette around the sound hole and has a matte finish.
It is a very attractive looking guitar.
It benefits from a bolt-on neck made from Maple and an ebony fretboard. It is 25 and a half inches long with 20 frets, though as there is no cutaway, the higher frets are awkward to reach. It has Italian acrylic dot inlays.
The neck shape is standard Taylor design, which lends itself to comfort and ease of playing.
The nut width is 42.8mm, and there is no truss rod.
Hardware And Fittings
The headstock has a Lexan overlay. Lexan is a thermoplastic that is tough and resistant to any external issues like heat. And it features enclosed die-cast chrome Big Baby tuners and buttons. It has an ebony bridge with Micarta saddle and Nubone nut.
It is evident then that all the materials used in body and neck construction are of high quality.
The body is 19 1⁄2” inches, and the guitar itself is 40 1⁄4” inches, and it is made in Mexico.
Having established that the Big Baby is made from quality materials, what about how it plays.
There is a thought that the smaller the guitar, the easier it is to play. That is true to a certain extent, but then there are issues like the size of the fingerboard to contend with. The Big Baby though has no such problems. It is only just short of a full-size Dreadnought, but there is a size difference, and it is worth looking at.
For example, it has a depth of only 4 inches, which is going to make it easier and more comfortable to hold seated and the body size itself is 15 inches wide by 19 1⁄2” inches. Just a little smaller than the real thing but a difference that will show when seated, especially if you are a learner.
The neck itself is well made and has the traditional Taylor slim feel to it. This will encourage new players as well as benefit existing players who want to play for fun and not work too hard at it.
It plays nicely, and for those learning, it will be easy to hold. It’s probably more suited to the, shall we say, more mature learner, rather than the smaller variety. But, even for the younger ones its fare more manageable than the full-size version of anything.
So, it’s made well, plays ok, now on to what some will see as the real issue.
Well you could probably skip this part and just say ‘it’s a Taylor, what do you expect,’ but we should discuss it a little more.
The interesting thing about this guitar is that there is very little difference between it and the full-size Dreadnought. Maybe a little at the bottom end but not much else. It has a lovely resonance, achieved in no small measure by the quality of the materials and the workmanship, and a crisp top end.
Compare it to the full-size version, and there is a difference, there is bound to be, but only really a minor one. Compare it to the Baby Taylor, its younger sibling, and again there’s not much difference. The Big Baby is just a little warmer and deeper.
Compare the Baby Taylor to the full-size Dreadnought, there is a clear difference, and that tells us why Taylor produced this acoustic guitar and where it fits in their product line.
The sound of the Big Baby is amazing and quite a surprise at first. Then you get used to it you forget it’s actually not quite full size. It hardly matters, it sounds better than many that are.
Its versatility is also evident. Easy and comfortable to fingerpick where the sound is stable across all the frequencies or give it a bit of elbow and strum hard, and it sings at you.
It is a great sounding guitar, and that’s all that needs to be said.
By now you will probably have gathered we are sold on this one. It has just about everything. It’s a great looking guitar, designed and created with being eye-catching and it certainly is.
It’s well made in Taylor’s Mexican factory using materials that could hardly be bettered with a finish that is superlative.
It plays beautifully. Smooth, with an easy and comfortable neck that doesn’t make you work too hard, and it sounds like a Taylor, and you don’t need to say too much more than that.
Inevitably it will be compared to the GS, but they are different animals made with different aims and having different sounds. There will be converts to both causes, but we are only interested in the Big Baby at the moment.
We have made reference to it being an ideal guitar for a learner and just perfect for an experienced player to play around with at home, even though there is no reason why this would not be usable on stage. It would be.
There is also another potential use, and that is as a travel guitar. It’s only a fraction smaller than a full-size Dreadnought, but it is smaller and lighter. So maybe that is an option for some.