Taylor Guitars founders, Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, launched their company 40 years ago in 1974 in Lemon Grove, Women’s hairstyles curly hair California. Never one to rest on his laurels Taylor, along with lead luthier Andy Powers, decided to bring new changes and innovations to the series of guitars that they are best known for – the 800 series. Some name brand guitar companies and boutique builders would cringe at the idea of changing a product that has proven to be their top seller and the guitar they are most known for. But Taylor Guitars has a unique culture and mission all its own.
For the purposes of this article Taylor sent me the 816ce Grand Symphony acoustic electric guitar in natural finish for review. Standard features on this model include a Sitka Spruce top, Indian rosewood back and sides, mahogany neck, ebony fret board and Expression System 2 (ES2) electronics. From the outside it really didn’t look much different from other Taylor 800 series guitars I had seen and played over the years besides the addition of a wooden pick guard and different fret board inlays, but differences are on the inside. First off, Taylor changed the bracing so that it is matched to the specific body style to provide more warmth and balanced tone, plus they added braces to the sides.
Next up, the finish is thinner, the industry standard was a finish of 1mm Taylor has now cut that by 40% to 3.5mm in an effort to provide less dampening to the tone of the wood. This is the same reason why a vintage instrument sprayed in thick nitrocellulose sounds better than one painted with a thick coating of polyurethane paint.
As they were re-imagining their 800 series, they also felt the need to tweak the string selection so Taylor reached out to their long-time string partner Elixir Strings. What evolved was a new custom set of strings called Elixir HD Light, which combines strings from their light and medium set with a custom .025 G string, and they are now Phosphorus Bronze.
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