A 12-string with a grand concert body and V-Class bracing.
by Teja Gerken
October 28, 2019
Adding a 12-string guitar to your guitar collection is a great way to expand your tonal palette. But while 12-strings have been used in many different styles, from rock songs to solo fingerstyle tunes, many players are afraid that 12-string guitars will be too hard to play, take too long to tune, and require too much of an adjustment to their playing technique. Taylor’s 12-strings have long been legendary as some of the easiest-playing instruments available, but when the company introduced a line of grand concert–size, short-scale 12-strings a couple of years ago, it lowered the threshold of effortless playability even further. Taylor recently used this line to introduced its first 12-strings with V-Class bracing, and I had a chance to check out the latest version of the 362ce.
Like the original 362ce (you can check out our demo here), the new guitar is built with Tasmanian blackwood back and sides and a mahogany top. The guitar has an “edgeburst” finish, and, in keeping with Taylor’s 300 style, the appointments are relatively simple, with black binding and black-and-while purfling, a three-ring black-and-white rosette, and “gemstone” fingerboard inlay. However, in a small, but visually significant tweak, the guitar now has black tuners, a black peghead overlay, and a black truss-rod cover, which integrate well with the guitar’s otherwise familiar look.
Besides V-Class bracing, which is based on a V-shaped bracing structure rather than the more common X-pattern, the 362ce also has a new bridge design with only six bridge pins. Using a single pin for each pair of strings gives all the strings the same break angle over the saddle, which Taylor says improves tonal balance.
I’ve owned a Taylor 355 for almost 20 years, and I’ve played dozens of other Taylor 12-strings, but even compared to those instruments, the 362ce still impressed me with its effortless handling. The small grand concert body is easy to hold, and the guitar is set up with Taylor’s low action, while the short scale and the 12-fret neck make fretting and stretches even easier.
While not as rumbling or powerful than some larger 12-strings, the 362ce offered beautiful clarity, excellent focus, and great balance, with more low-end and volume than might be expected from its small body. This also meant that the guitar’s onboard ES2 electronics, which I plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini amp, were easy to use, resulting in excellent string-string balance, a natural attack, and very pleasant overall sound.
The 362ce would be a great choice as a first 12-string, but it will also appeal to experienced guitarists who will find that the guitar allows them to play material that would be difficult to pull off on a typical 12-string.
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. 1⅞-inch nut width. Black tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $2,299 (street). Taylorguitars.com
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