So an update; taking a long weekend this weekend to unwind a bit, so I went to a few stores to try guitars; my quick take:
This one was beautiful; perfectly balanced, kept coming back to it. Played a 00 which was also nice, but I really latched onto the DSS-17.
Also really nice sounding guitar, but I slightly preferred the DSS-17 because the low-end was a bit more present there. Though this whiskey sunset finish is just beautiful. If I could have that on the DSS-17, I think I’ve found the one.
That being said, the Gibsons really blew me away:
Nice well-balanced sound, but a bit more on the low end, which I like
More low end and a touch warmer than the J15. This is a frontrunner with the Martin DSS17.
If money weren’t an option, I’d be all in on this. Really beautiful warm sound that I’m looking for. The guy the shop noted that he could get one in and cut the price down by a few hundred, so this is really tempting.
Taylor: I won’t even bother linking the ones I played, but aside from the really easy playability with the nice ebony fretboards, I was really irked by the tinny, flat sound these had. Quite a let down, since these are really beautiful in person. Even the Koa one I played just to see how it feels felt “meh” at best. But probably my favorite of the lot (played a 314, 324 as well). (In short, @highlife was right).
So I’m down to thinking about whether I want the Martin DSS-17 or the Gibson J45. If I get the Martin, I’d like to lower the action a touch since it was a bit high for my liking. I really can’t go wrong with either choice here, so this is going to be a lot of fun.
Thanks everyone for the input!