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Limited edition of Taylor’s popular 516ce sports Tasmanian blackwood and a sunburst finish.

by Teja Gerken
October 27, 2014

For many years now, Taylor has introduced special runs of limited-edition models each spring and fall. These instruments typically feature different woods and appointments than those used on guitars in Taylor’s standard line, and provide a great opportunity to own a unique Taylor without having to place a custom order.

For the Fall 2014 limiteds, Taylor is offering special runs of its 300, 500, and 700 series, as well as a koa version of its GS Mini. We had a chance to check out a 516ce-FLTD. As the “16” in its model designation indicates, the guitar is based on Taylor’s Grand Symphony (GS) body, which is slightly larger than a grand auditorium, and falls within the popular “small-jumbo” dimensions. The 500 series Fall 2014 limiteds are also available in all of Taylor’s body shapes. While a standard 516ce would be built with mahogany back and sides, the FLTD uses Tasmanian blackwood, which Taylor says combines elements of the tonal qualities found in koa, mahogany, and rosewood. The edition includes a sunburst finish, which, combined with the darker wood on the back and sides (compared to the usual mahogany), creates a striking appearance.

The 516ce-FLTD is equally suited to fingerstyle or flatpicking, producing excellent volume and rich tone with either approach, whether in a solo context or as an accompanist (check out the video for examples of both, played in standard and D A D G A D tunings). While it has the overall shimmer and robust high-end response that Taylors are known for, the FLTD is not as bright as some Taylors I’ve played, with the trebles producing a nice, clear roundness.

The guitar includes Taylor’s new Expression System 2 electronics. Using a newly designed pickup that relies on a set of three piezo elements mounted behind the saddle (rather than under the saddle), the system replaces the magnetic sensor approach of the original Expression System. Taylor pairs the pickup with a custom-designed preamp that uses the familiar arrangement of controls for bass, treble, and volume in the upper bout area of the guitar’s side.

The 516ce-FLTD is a very cool guitar that should be considered by anyone in the market for a versatile mid-size flattop.

SPECS: Grand Symphony body with 14-fret neck. Solid Sitka spruce top. Solid Tasmanian blackwood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25½-inch scale. 1¾-inch-inch nut width. Enclosed chrome tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,398 list. taylorguitars.com

Category: Instruments & Gear

Comments and Discussion

Posted by Scottnyg on
Hey Dave, That wasn't really a song of any sort. Just a chord progression I came up with on the spot. --Scott
Posted by Dave Edwards on
Thanks for a great review of the Taylor guitar. I have been looking for something to "reinvigorate" my playing and had read the article by Jenny Reynolds. The content in the Taylor review got me going again. I found the sheet music for 5927 California St. and plan to start working on it. I was curious about the song the Scott Nygaard played. What is the name of it and is the sheet music available or a lesson? Thanks in advance.
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