V-Class bracing arrives at Taylor’s entry-level 300-series
by Teja Gerken
July 30, 2018
Taylor Guitars introduced its revolutionary V-Class bracing system on several of its high-end models earlier this year, promising that the design would eventually trickle down to more affordable models. The wait is now over, as Taylor announced at the Summer NAMM show earlier this month that all its grand auditorium size models from the 300 series on up will now have V-Class bracing. We were able to check out one of the first 324ce models to come off the line.
The Taylor 324ce is built with Tasmanian blackwood back and sides and a mahogany top. An “edgeburst” finish enhances the dark hue of the top, and combined with a black pickguard, black-and-white binding, and a multi-ring black-and-white rosette, the guitar has a striking appearance. Even though the 300 series is the entry point into Taylor’s El Cajon, California-made instruments (the company’s Baby, GS Mini, 100, and 200 series are made in Mexico), our demo guitar served as a reminder that Taylor applies the same high level of craftsmanship and setup work throughout their line.
Mahogany top guitars are known for having great sustain and a naturally compressed tone, different from the inherent sound of spruce or cedar-top guitars. I’ve played many mahogany top Taylors, but the 324ce just might be my favorite yet. It seemed that the V-Class bracing (which uses two long braces that form a “V” shape, starting on each side of the soundhole to a near-point at end block) allows the hardwood top to respond with a rich, balanced, and full voice, especially when it was played with a little force. I felt that the 324ce was a bit more dynamic and expressive than other mahogany top Taylors I’ve played, and I also enjoyed its sustain when playing slower fingerstyle material.
Like most Taylors, the 324ce includes the company’s own ES2 electronics. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp, the guitar offered the transparent performance that the ES2 has become known for.
The 324ce is a great guitar that is now the entry-point into Taylor’s V-Class instruments. Players who prefer a spruce top may want to check out the 314ce, which now also feature V-Class bracing construction.
SPECS: Grand auditorium body with cutaway. Solid tropical mahogany top. Tasmanian blackwood back, and sides. V-Class bracing. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $2,199 street. Taylorguitars.com
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