Taylor BT2 (Baby Taylor) Acoustic Guitar
The smooth and mellow tone of the BT2 gives it some appeal as a strumming acoustic, and with construction similar to the LXK2, it’s one of the few Taylor models that we think sounds “darker” than its Martin counterpart. It’s a fantastic 3/4 sized acoustic with relevancy far beyond the beginner stages.
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Like its predecessor (the BT1) the Taylor BT2 has an extremely soft tone profile and doesn’t sound quite as aggressive or as full as the LXK2. In some cases, it almost sounds like you’re playing nylon strings (though the guitar ships with Elixir acoustics strings). The left hand movement is smooth and easy, while the projection of the guitar seems to limit the emphasis and volume of finger scrapes and picking dynamics. The brighter side of the BT2 will come out more if you pick with your fingernails or use a heavier pick more aggressively, though it’s certainly not going to give you the same brightness you’d get from something like the Taylor 114ce.
Because of the smaller size, the projection will be a bit more isolated and mellow, though that’s not unusual for the 3/4 acoustic body size. We like the tone of the guitar for rhythm and inspiring practice. It doesn’t sound or play like a toy, at all.
Tone Highlights and Descriptors
- Chord and rhythm-friendly
- De-emphasizes right hand movement
It might be concerning to some who want a little more brightness out of their acoustic, but in our experience with the BT2, the mellow tone sounded so good that we didn’t really feel the need to tinker with the response we were getting. Moreover, it sounds like a Taylor and not just a cheap imitation. We love the tone for simple practice and even basic recording, if you’ve got a condenser or acoustic guitar mic for the job. There’s also an acoustic-electric version of the BT2 (more on that later).
We’ve gotten some conflicting reports on the top tonewood for the BT1 and BT2. While we know the BT1 is Spruce and the BT2 is Mahogany, we’ve heard the guy that runs the acoustic letter YouTube channel identify them both as solid tops. We’re fairly certain this is not the case as both product pages on Taylor’s website have no mention of solid anything for these guitars. This would make sense and would be consistent with the profile established by the LXK2. Thus, we’re fairly certain the BT2 is entirely laminate.
Bracing and Construction
The X-bracing used in the BT2 is similar to what we see in the the Big Baby Taylor and the 114ce, though as far as we can tell it’s non-scalloped, which is a more simplistic version of the scalloped bracing in the nicer Taylor models. It also uses a bolt-on neck joint, which actually exposes two screws on the fretboard at the 16th fret. To be honest the screws look strange and feel oddly cheap. Though since it’s not a cutaway, the screws are on frets that you wouldn’t really be using. Still, it’s weird to have screws going through any of your fretboard. In your hands the guitar feels solid and certainly doesn’t come off as weak or flimsy, despite the fairly basic construction standard.
There are two versions of the BT2, one without any electronics and one with the Taylor ES-B preamp and pickup system. The ES-B is an extremely simple preamp with a single-band EQ, volume, and a built-in chromatic tuner. Here’s what the system looks like installed on the side of the BT2:
The difference between the natural resonance of the 3/4 size body and the plugged in rendition is a little more pronounced than what you’ll get with larger guitars. Plugged in tones sound a little more “electronic
Value of the BT2
By Taylor standards the BT2 is budget-friendly, falling in line with the LXK2 and several other 3/4 body size acoustics landing in a similar price range. $200 to $400 is very typically for this type of acoustic guitar.
BT2 VS THE LXK2
Besides some minor differences in tonewood and EQ profile, the BT2 and the LXK2 don’t have a lot of differences from a value perspective. If we had to choose, we’d probably say the BT2 is a marginally better instrument, though an argument could be made for either one.
Best Fit and Context
The Taylor BT2 is certainly a viable beginner’s acoustic, though we wouldn’t say it’s limited to that context. Anyone that simply wants a smaller acoustic will be getting something that has the feel of a professional instrument, and the potential to be relevant far beyond the early beginner years. While we’d certainly recommend it for kids, beginners, or those buying for the physical size, it’s a trendy option that has the potential to be a great fit for a wide range of scenarios.
We’d like to see some solid wood and perhaps a nicer electronics system. For those that want to use it to perform regularly, we’d advice adding an acoustic floor preamp or pedal to give you more control over your tone. The ES-B system is good for getting a signal to your amp or PA system, but that’s about it. But for home practice, students, kids, and just getting started, the BT2 is good to go as-is, even shipping with Elixir acoustic strings which last a long time and are some of the nicest strings we can recommend. Buy confidently.