Taylor’s mahogany-top grand concert is updated with V-Class bracing.
by Teja Gerken
August 12, 2019
Taylor’s mahogany-top guitars (which can be identified by the “2” in the middle of the three-digit model number) are available as variations on the 300 and 500 series, and, with a different look and sound than instruments built with the more common spruce or cedar tops, they offer an interesting alternative to other Taylor models. The grand concert 12-fret model includes a slotted peghead, bridging the gap between vintage all-mahogany guitars and modern flattops. We recently had a chance to check out the latest version of Taylor’s 322e 12-Fret, which has been available for a few years, but which was updated with V-Class bracing earlier this year.
The 322e 12-Fret pairs a tropical mahogany top with back and sides made from Tasmanian blackwood. The guitar’s “edgeburst” finish contributes to its vintage-inspired vibe, and while the overall appointments, which include a black-and-white tree-ring rosette and “gemstone” position markers in the ebony fingerboard, are relatively simple, the guitar has a distinguished appearance. Taylor’s 12-fret neck feels much like the company’s standard 14-fret versions: a highly playable low-profile neck made for players who are used to contemporary guitars.
Tonally, the 322e 12-Fret imparts a solid dose of the warmth, natural compression, and sustain that hardwood tops are known for to the typical, balanced Taylor sound. Players who find some Taylors too bright or sparkly may take a real liking to this instrument, which sounded great whether I played it fingerstyle or strummed it with a pick. And when I plugged the built-in ES2 electronics into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp, the tonal friendliness of the guitar continued. As with previous hardwood-top Taylors we’ve checked out, the slightly stiffer top is a great match for amplified playing, yielding a controllable voice that may also have a higher feedback threshold than a similar guitar with a spruce or cedar top.
Overall, the 322e 12-Fret offers a unique sound within Taylor’s offerings and is definitely worth checking out. With its easy playability and versatile tonality, it could be at home in many different musical settings.
SPECS: Grand concert body with 12-fret neck. Solid mahogany top with V-Class bracing. Solid Tasmanian blackwood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Slotted peghead with open-gear tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $2,249 (street). Taylorguitars.com
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