Taylor Guitars: El Cajon Models vs Tecate Models

A question we get asked all the time when customers are browsing through our Taylor Room is “What are the differences between Taylor guitars made in the USA and those made in Mexico?” In a nutshell, it’s this; American-built Taylors feature all-solid wood construction, whereas the Mexican-built guitars have a solid wood top, paired with layered back and sides. The American-made models are also more advanced in terms of the craftsmanship, such as detailed binding, inlays and finishes, as well as including a Taylor hard case (all Mexican models aside from the 200 Deluxe's come with a soft case). Recently, we’ve started seeing Andy Powers’ ground-breaking, patented V-Class bracing on a lot of American-made guitars, whereas all Mexican guitars feature X-bracing. It’s worth noting that, although there are differences, both Taylor guitars made in the USA and those made in Mexico share the same, incredible quality control as well as many of the manufacturing processes, including the drying of the wood and the construction of the necks and bodies. Whichever one you choose, you’re getting an incredibly well-made instrument. Apart from the many physical differences, the 200 series Taylor's and lower (meaning the GS Mini's and Academy Series) are built in their Tecate Factory in Mexico while the 300 series and higher are built in the El Cajon factory that's just 40 miles north above the border.

El Cajon Models

Every Taylor guitar made in the El Cajon, USA factory features all-solid wood. The back and sides contribute a lot to the guitar’s overall sound (combined with the top and body shape) – different woods can dramatically alter the sound of the instrument. For example, rosewood tends to wield a strong low end and a clear, crisp top-end, whereas mahogany has lovely warm, mid-range to it. The solid back and sides will mean the harmonics ring out differently resonate and respond better than the layered alternative. Over time, the tone actually improves the more you play it.

Tecate Models

In the case of Taylor guitars made in Tecate, Mexico, the privately held company took advantage of lower costs for labor and materials and it has been able to produce more affordable models to reach a broader audience of consumers. All models feature a solid wood top paired with layered wood back and sides and include ES2 electronics. The Deluxe collection sports a rich, full-gloss body. The Tecate factory is a modern facility. Taylor Guitars President Bob Taylor, who co-founded the company with partner Kurt Listug, put all Tecate operations under one roof to increase efficiency. These guitars exemplify the quality and efficiency of Taylor Guitars.



Adrian Gonzalez