Small-body 12-string offers great tone and effortless playability.
by Teja Gerken
May 23, 2016
Considering the variety of models that Taylor has produced in its 40-plus years, you might think that the company had already come up with every possible combination of body styles, wood combinations, specs, and features. But when Taylor introduced the 562ce at last winter’s NAMM show, it was clear that this new 12-string was the most original and unusual guitar the company had offered in many years—all without straying from existing templates. Dreamed up by Taylor’s designer Andy Powers, the 562ce uses multiple elements that Taylor had never used on a 12-string: a grand concert body, 12-fret neck, short scale, and mahogany top. While Gibson and Martin have used short scales and 12-fret necks on their 12-strings, and other brands have used small bodies, the specific combination of elements used to construct the 562ce makes it quite unusual even in a greater historical context. Of course the point of Taylor’s new design wasn’t just to come up with something that hadn’t been done before, but to create a 12-string with a new level of playing comfort and a voice with more detail and responsiveness than most larger-body 12-strings.
When we had the opportunity to check out the 562ce more closely, it immediately became evident that Powers’ idea of fusing this particular combination of specs was a brilliant one. First off, the guitar is incredibly easy to play. Taylor’s 12-string playability is already legendary, but the 562ce’s short scale makes it effortless. Not only is the string tension lower, but stretches and tricky chords that might be hard to pull off on other 12-strings aren’t any more difficult than they are on most six-strings. The 12-fret neck design not only moves the bridge farther into the lower bout, which increases the bass response, it also creates a more ergonomic guitar because the player’s fretting hand doesn’t have to stretch as far to reach first position.
Whether played acoustically or through a Fishman Loudbox Mini amp using the onboard ES2 electronics, the 562ce impressed with great balance, excellent note separation, and a dynamic range that responded well to different playing techniques. These qualities make the guitar an intriguing option for players who have been on the fence about adding the sound of a 12-string guitar to their tonal palettes, as well as to those who have played larger 12-strings and are looking for more playing comfort and a more refined sound.
SPECS: 12-string guitar with grand concert body. Solid mahoganytop, back, sides, and neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 12-fret neck with 24⅞-inch scale. 1⅞-inch nut width. Enclosed nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,538 list. Taylorguitars.com
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