Taylor adds a Florentine cutaway to its rosewood grand symphony model.
by Teja Gerken
November 13, 2017
Taylor’s grand symphony body style is only slightly larger than that of the company’s best-selling grand auditorium models, but the grand symphony guitars typically have a more muscular and fuller sound. The grand symphony size has been part of Taylor’s 800 series since 2008, and this year the 816ce model has been upgraded with a Florentine cutaway (earlier versions have the rounded Venetian cutaway found on most Taylors built in the last two decades). We recently had a chance to check out the updated 816ce.
With a width of 16¼ inches at the lower bout, the grand symphony is similar in size to most “small-jumbo” guitars, but the body’s waist has less of a pinch, giving the top a larger active area. The 816ce is built with the same woods as standard 800-series guitars, Indian rosewood back and sides and a Sitka spruce top, and its maple binding and “Element” fingerboard inlay are also standard. Speaking of the fingerboard, the ebony on our demo instrument had beautiful coloring that highlighted the natural figure in the wood. And the quality of all the materials used in this guitar are indicative of the high standard set by Taylor’s 800 series. The guitar’s sharp Florentine cutaway harks back to a design that Taylor frequently used in the 1970s and ’80s, as well as on many special editions and custom guitars, and it’s cool to see it reappear on a standard model.
From the first note, the 816ce announced itself as a powerful guitar. With its strong lower mids and musical trebles, the guitar’s sound had great presence and volume. It’s an excellent strummer, but players who like a big sound when playing fingerstyle will also enjoy the guitar, and it would be a fine choice for many unamplified settings. Of course, it includes Taylor Expression System 2 electronics, so it is well-equipped for situations where even more volume is required. The guitar sounds great plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini amp, giving it the flexibility to work in virtually any performance situation.
Overall, the Taylor 816ce is a very cool guitar. Its powerful sound, along with Taylor’s legendary playability and Expression System 2 electronics, will undoubtedly please a wide variety of players.
SPECS: Grand symphony body with Florentine cutaway. Solid Sitka spruce top with Advanced Performance bracing and relief-rout. Indian rosewood back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Chrome tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,799 street. Taylorguitars.com
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