Taylor expands its maple 600 series with a great-sounding dreadnought.
by Teja Gerken
December 23, 2015
Small-body acoustic-electrics may be what Taylor is primarily known for, but Bob Taylor’s first guitar, built while he was in high school, had a dreadnought body, and dreadnoughts are still an important part of the company’s line. Taylor began revamping its 600 series in early 2015 and has now added a dreadnought to that series. (For more extensive information on the 600-series redesign, check out this video of Taylor luthier Andy Powers discussing the instruments.)
Like all the new 600s, the 2016 610e is built with maple back and sides and a torrefied Sitka spruce top. Both are sourced in the Pacific Northwest, and the use of these materials is part of Taylor’s efforts to cut back on the use of endangered tropical hardwoods. The back and sides are stained a violin-like brown, and the wood’s beautiful flamed figure gives it a natural elegance. The guitar includes 600-series appointments like the “grained ivoroid wings” fretboard inlay, double ivoroid purfling around the top, an abalone rosette, wooden pickguard, and an ebony headstock backstrap.
As the e in the model number indicates, the 610e includes Taylor’s Expression System 2 electronics. Using a pickup that relies on a set of three piezo elements mounted behind the saddle, the system includes a custom-designed preamp with the familiar Taylor arrangement of controls for bass, treble, and volume in the side of the upper bout.
Maple has not often been used to build dreadnoughts, but part of Taylor’s effort with the 600 series is to change players’ perception of what maple can sound like. The 610e has a muscular voice, great dynamic range, and excellent tonal balance. The dynamic range was particularly impressive, offering tonal complexity whether the guitar was played fingerstyle or strummed with a pick. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini amp, the guitar’s electronics produced excellent string-to-string balance and a natural sounding attack, conveying the instrument’s acoustic voice with great accuracy.
Overall, Taylor’s 2016 610e is a great dreadnought with a versatile character, and it may just change your mind about maple-body flattop guitars.
SPECS: Dreadnought body with 14-fret neck. Solid torrefied Sitka spruce top. Solid maple back and sides. Maple neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Chrome Taylor tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,998 list. taylorguitars.com
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