Taylor American Dream Series.

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Larry Mal
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Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Larry Mal » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:59 am

Hi everyone- not sure who cares about Taylor Guitars here or even acoustics anymore, but Taylor has some out with an entry level, American made, all solid wood line of instruments that look pretty exciting to me, actually.

It's their "Grand Pacific" shape, think a J-45, but with their V-bracing. That is kind of interesting in and of itself, since they originally had the V-bracing only on the high end guitars and now it seems that it is making its way across the whole line.

Anyway, I'm a pretty big fan of Taylor Guitars and think these look pretty good. Kind of makes their 100- and 200- series guitars more or less obsolete in my opinion, but I'm not really all that familiar with those so maybe there's something there I don't see (like laminate mahogany instead of solid ovangkol).
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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by wproffitt » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:54 am

Larry,
As someone who’s next gear purchase WILL be a nice acoustic, I’m intrigued by these. I did the no-nonsense looks, the way they are made, and, yes, the country of origin. This is a strong offering, especially in this price range. If I had to guess, I’d say the neck will be too skinny for me (the specs are up on the Wildwood site) but that’s just a matter of taste. If everyone liked vanilla ice cream, the world would be a boring place, right? I’d love to check one out in person, though.

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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:58 am

Yeah, I love Taylor necks, they play better than Gibsons, Martins, you name it. I don't find the necks to be really narrow at the nut, it seems like 1 11/16" to me, but they can have kind of shallow carves, no doubt.

Maybe I should say "easier".

I would probably recommend that you try one before you buy, because if you aren't familiar with that V-bracing (and I'm not) I have read that it's not for everyone, and can be very restrained in the bass.

Which can be a good thing and all- but, it seems like its own thing going on, so whether you would like it or not would be hard to say.

They'll be well represented in stores I would say, if you see one, check it out. I feel like a lot of lapsed Taylor dealers might get back on board with this strong offering at a profitable price point. They'll be flying off the shelves, I bet.
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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by mbene085 » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:42 am

Good for them for extending their range downward in price point.

It looks like these have the standard Taylor nut width of 1 3/4". Their old 100 and 200 series were the only full-size guitars that came standard with 1 11/16" nuts, the rest were always 1 3/4".

I always loved Taylor necks. I had a brief Taylor phase where I was obsessed with their guitars, until I found my way into the world of small luthier-built guitars at similar price points. Their necks are just the nicest C profile I've felt on a production acoustic, and their bolt-on necks are absolutely wonderful designs that lose nothing acoustically but save you $500 and an unsightly scar from the neck reset that becomes inevitable on any acoustic someday.

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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:27 am

mbene085 wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:42 am
Good for them for extending their range downward in price point.

It looks like these have the standard Taylor nut width of 1 3/4". Their old 100 and 200 series were the only full-size guitars that came standard with 1 11/16" nuts, the rest were always 1 3/4".

I always loved Taylor necks. I had a brief Taylor phase where I was obsessed with their guitars, until I found my way into the world of small luthier-built guitars at similar price points. Their necks are just the nicest C profile I've felt on a production acoustic, and their bolt-on necks are absolutely wonderful designs that lose nothing acoustically but save you $500 and an unsightly scar from the neck reset that becomes inevitable on any acoustic someday.
Good points- actually, I had forgotten that they use my preferred 1.75" nut width.

And yes, the bolt on neck construction is wonderful. I wanted to get the action of my Taylor 12 string down a little bit, which was child's play to have a technician shim that.

Granted, I could have sanded the saddle, but they recommend the shim, which is a better solution as it preserves the high break angle over the saddle. Not always possible with other guitars.

And I am also happy to see the downward price point. I think it probably is a response to Gibson, which has been very successful at their entry level acoustics, the G series and lower priced J-series guitars.

I should probably not forget Martin, with their very popular 17 series, which is every bit Martin quality except with the matte finish.

I'm loving the trend, and at risk of being slurred for mindless racism and patriotism again, enjoy that this is a guitar made in the States. I kind of refuse to acknowledge that American and Canadian laborers can make anything other than the most expensive possible guitars and that economy of scale can't still work here.

Regardless, these look like top quality guitars, with the exception of the finish not being full gloss. Great seeing the big three make guitars like this.
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Re: Taylor American Dream Series

Post by shadowplay » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:08 pm

My kids always get a Taylor Baby as their first decent acoustic, they particular liked having them because Marissa Nadler plays them live. I know yer guitar forum man thinks Taylor’s are effeminate and class with his sloppy guitar mercy tee, flip flops and cargo shirts equipe but I’ve always found them good sound and easy to play and Marissa is better than all the dad rawk shite forum man likes.

On the county of origin thing, I personally think that items should be made where they were made originally if at all possible. It’s a personal thing but I can’t think of one instance where an item went offshore and became better. From Doc Martens, to Converse , to Florsheim, to Levi’s, they’ve all shat the bed and destroyed all brand credibility search of cheap manufacture. Still it’s freed money for celebrity endorsements and Instagram campaigns, so not all bad. :D

I’d much rather a Chinese company designed their own original guitar and brand but there’s a big copy and counterfeiting side to manufacture there and they probably need to work this out the system.

However I also feel that China as a state should be subject to a boycott similar to the 80’s anti apartheid boycott because of Hong Kong and especially the monstrous treatment of the Uighurs which no cunt seems to give a shit about in the west beyond a few weasel words.

Folk are rightly outranked and disgusted with Trump but he’s like a gecko compared to the Godzilla of the Chinese dictatorship IMO.

D
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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by kamillebidan » Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:42 pm

Quick sort of related question to the acoustic experts.
I only have a single acoustic, a Fender CD-60SCE. It works, sounds pretty much like I expect an acoustic guitar to would, and is comfortable.
I feel this new Taylor American Dream series would pertain to someone like me who would want to upgrade to something a bit more substantial and of a higher quality.

Would you agree? Or are there alternatives (I hear the Martin Road series thrown around a lot)?
I did some research and stumbled upon the new Orangewood Sage Mahogany, which seems like a direct upgrade to what I already own.

I know there are (or at least it seems like) many variances in acoustic guitars, so in general terms, would you think someone in my situation who just wants to upgrade to something overall better, that this new lineup is something to look into?

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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by wproffitt » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:34 pm

kamillebidan wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:42 pm
Quick sort of related question to the acoustic experts.
I only have a single acoustic, a Fender CD-60SCE. It works, sounds pretty much like I expect an acoustic guitar to would, and is comfortable.
I feel this new Taylor American Dream series would pertain to someone like me who would want to upgrade to something a bit more substantial and of a higher quality.

Would you agree? Or are there alternatives (I hear the Martin Road series thrown around a lot)?
I did some research and stumbled upon the new Orangewood Sage Mahogany, which seems like a direct upgrade to what I already own.

I know there are (or at least it seems like) many variances in acoustic guitars, so in general terms, would you think someone in my situation who just wants to upgrade to something overall better, that this new lineup is something to look into?
Not an acoustic expert by any stretch, but I’d say that this new series from Taylor will represent a substantial step up in build quality and materials from the Fender. Will you like the feel and sound? That’s an entirely different question. I’d say give these a try, but if you don’t like them substantially more than what you’ve already got (and it sounds like you like the Fender) then I say stick with what you already have.

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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Telliot » Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:49 pm

I’ve never played a Taylor I liked. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but they’re always too bright to my ears (a pet peeve of mine is bright basses and acoustic guitars). They were also harder to play for some reason (of course this could have simply been bad setups). The ones I’ve played were also gaudy in their appearance, or somehow aesthetically overdone, which I’m not a fan of. At some point I kind of wrote them off as the ‘PRS of acoustics’, which I’m sure is a totally unfair assessment.
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:03 pm

kamillebidan wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:42 pm


Would you agree? Or are there alternatives (I hear the Martin Road series thrown around a lot)?
I did some research and stumbled upon the new Orangewood Sage Mahogany, which seems like a direct upgrade to what I already own.
Well, without my having ever seen a Taylor American Dream, I would imagine that it's a considerable step up.

Your Fender seems to be an all mahogany guitar, but which I don't mean to slam all mahogany, but that mahogany top certainly is a less popular sound than a spruce top is. The spruce is more bright, more lively, just an all around "more" wood for a guitar top than mahogany is.

Of course, there are a lot of great mahogany guitars out there, but they kind of have a specific sound rather than be a great all around sound. If you know what I mean.

Also, your Fender has laminate back and sides, so all solid wood would be an upgrade there.

Fender acoustics have never been held in high regard, really. They only rarely try and compete at the higher levels of acoustic guitar making and have never been successful there. They make student level acoustics for the most part.

Those Orangewood acoustics I would also be a little leery of, mainly just the business model more than anything else.
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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:08 pm

Telliot wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 1:49 pm
I’ve never played a Taylor I liked. I don’t know what it is, exactly, but they’re always too bright to my ears (a pet peeve of mine is bright basses and acoustic guitars). They were also harder to play for some reason (of course this could have simply been bad setups). The ones I’ve played were also gaudy in their appearance, or somehow aesthetically overdone, which I’m not a fan of. At some point I kind of wrote them off as the ‘PRS of acoustics’, which I’m sure is a totally unfair assessment.
"Bright" is the Taylor sound in a nutshell. They don't voice their guitars to emphasize the bass, like Martin tends to and Gibson to a certain degree. Taylor takes the, uh, high road.

This can be a positive or a negative, depending on how you feel about it. While they can sound a little thin on their own, the more restrained bass can help them be clear and sit well in a mix, whether onstage or in the studio.

And I say that with only being familiar with their older models, I am hearing that the V-braced guitars can emphasize that even more. I don't know, though.

And I can agree with you about Taylors, for one thing, I would never want an acoustic with a gross plastic plate cut into it for a stupid EQ. I would also never want a cutaway since I'm hardly going to be soloing on the damn guitar past the fifteenth fret and they just look stupid.

But the simpler Taylors are pretty beautiful. Funny you say that about the playability, though- they are always held in very high regard for being exceptionally easy playing guitars, and my own limited experience will bear that out. I had a hard time selling my 410 because it just played like a dream, but when it came down to selling that or my J-35 I just had to go for the sound over the action.
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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by mbene085 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:08 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:08 pm
And I can agree with you about Taylors, for one thing, I would never want an acoustic with a gross plastic plate cut into it for a stupid EQ. I would also never want a cutaway since I'm hardly going to be soloing on the damn guitar past the fifteenth fret and they just look stupid.
Funny you should say that, because out of all the major brands, it was Taylor who switched a couple of decades ago to using three small knobs for on board electronic controls instead of cutting a giant rectangular hole in the side to mount a preamp.

Image

For live purposes at small venues where people need controls at hand, I think that's quite a reasonable compromise. Notably, or a number of years, you've been able to order their electronics with only an endpin jack and no holes in the wood at all.

I'm clearly on the other end of the spectrum, tone preference wise. I'm nearly exclusively a fingerstyle guy, and love a detailed and bright high end with a lot of harmonic content. I find Martins very muddy and indistinct for my purposes, and particularly difficult to record because of that. Totally depends on the style. If you were playing early 20th century acoustic blues, you'd want the sound it evolved alongside.

Also, Taylor was one of, if not the first company to put Elixir strings on every single guitar it shipped, because it guaranteed that their guitars sounded fresh when demo'd, no matter how many months it had been since it arrived. Elixirs are bright strings and not everyone enjoys their tone, so sometimes the Elixir sound is mistaken for the Taylor sound. The last time I went comparison shopping for acoustics was about 10 years ago, and it made for an especially big contrast if I lulled a Martin off the wall with 2 month old, grungy, corroded, dead strings and A/B it next to a Taylor with 2 month old, grungy, but still zingy Elixirs. I was the annoying customer who would ask them to restring the acoustics I liked with fresh strings so I could tell what they actually sounded like.

There are definitely different types of acoustic players out there though. I literally only have one acoustic that I commissioned without a cutaway, because it was made of some Brazilian Rosewood that David Webber had kept his entire career, purchased from a retiring cabinet maker in the 80's, and we didn't want to risk breaking it while bending. I don't "solo" at all, but I do capo a lot and play solo acoustic fingerstyle where I frequently do travel into cutaway territory on a regular basis. I recognize that what I look for functionally and tonally in a guitar is not what the average buyer does.

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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:29 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:08 pm


Funny you should say that, because out of all the major brands, it was Taylor who switched a couple of decades ago to using three small knobs for on board electronic controls instead of cutting a giant rectangular hole in the side to mount a preamp.

Image

For live purposes at small venues where people need controls at hand, I think that's quite a reasonable compromise. Notably, or a number of years, you've been able to order their electronics with only an endpin jack and no holes in the wood at all.
Yeah, they do use the three knobs now, I was kind of trying to get into Todd's mind about what he might not like about Taylors by talking about what I grew very leery of with Taylors back in the day.

Still, even the three knobs is not acceptable to me, but like you point out, I'm not playing in a live venue with the things. If I was, then a Taylor would be a great guitar, especially since the bass is so controllable on a Taylor that it's very good for live use. There's a reason you see them onstage so often.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Taylor has very distinct eras to them, which I'm sure you know, and I'm not all that strong with them personally.

There's the earliest Lemon Grove era , pretty handmade stuff for Taylor. Then there's where I come in, the mid 90's stuff, which I really liked.

At some point they then changed the bracing and then changed the bracing again, you read about the "Standard II" bracing and the "CV bracing" and such.

Of course, now they have Andy Powers seeming to be the guiding philosopher at Taylor, and he developed the newest V bracing, so there's yet another very distinct era.

Quite a lot going on there to keep track of, but a very dynamic company that does not look back a whole lot, and who believe in innovation over slavish devotion to heritage. I've always liked Taylor a lot.

I hate Elixir strings, though.
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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by mbene085 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:25 pm

Yep, you're absolutely right about the different eras there. They are definitely forward-thinking, and Bob Taylor has actually been a huge positive force for change in the industry, as well. He bought a huge controlling interest in ebony sawmills, if I'm not mistaken, and pushed forward with a message of "your guitar's ebony fretboard and bridge may have streaks. That's OK. It's pretty, in fact."

Before he did so, something like 70% of trees were left to rot after they were felled, once they were discovered to be too streaked with brown to appeal to the markets they normally sold to. The pessimist could say he bought into an industry and convinced people to buy 3x more logs which increased profits, but this is a case of capitalism as a force for good, because he reduced logging by 2/3rds by creating demand for the previously undesired trees. It took guts to say "our ebony isn't going to be pure black anymore" when the industry still expected it. I'm ok with him making money off it when he made significant environmental progress.

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Re: Taylor American Dream Series.

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:28 pm

I'm part of some Facebook group dedicated to Taylors, and someone just the other day posted their guitar with streaked ebony (well, really just "ebony") asking how such a defect could have been allowed to leave the factory. Some people are slow to get the message.

What a sadness to think of all that wasted wood.
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