That is the million dollar question for acoustic guitarists: Taylor or Martin? Each company has its perks. Both are very different from the other, which is the main reason behind this endless debate. C.F. Martin & Company was founded in 1833; Taylor was not founded until 1974. Martin, being the older of the two, has had thousands of die-hard players for almost two centuries, while Taylor acts as the newborn that stole a bit of the spotlight.
Each individual guitar will surely have its own idiosyncrasies that makes it unique, but there are some very distinct differences between the two brands in general.
Martin guitars are known for having a very full-bodied, rich, earthy sound. They are great for playing alone, because the middle and bottom end sound that Martins provide makes up for the lack of other instruments. Martins can be played in rhythm and lead roles, but are best suited for the foundation of the music, rather than the head of it.
On the other hand, Taylor guitars are known for their bright, crisp sound. They play a little smoother than Martins, and usually sport a skinnier neck that makes it easier to move around the fretboard. Taylors sound great when played in a lead setting; its sharp tone stands out, above the music. When played alone they do sound empty or stale compared to a Martin, but nonetheless, they are of the highest quality.
The only sure fire way to know what’s for you is to try them yourself. Only you know what fits you best, so try them side by side and see what feels right.