Taylor’s entry-level nylon-string offers superb playability and warm tones.
by Teja Gerken
February 06, 2018
When Taylor Guitars introduced its Academy series last year (check out our demo of the Academy 10e and 12e models), it quickly received acclaim as an excellent choice for beginning players or anyone looking for a great-sounding guitar that is easy to play. Now Taylor has added a nylon-string version to the existing steel-string models in the series, and we had a chance to check the new Academy 12e-N in the Peghead Nation studio.
The Academy 12e-N is built with Taylor’s small grand concert body, and like its steel-string siblings, has a solid Lutz spruce top and layered sapele back and sides. The guitar also includes Taylor’s armrest bevel and ES-B electronics. Like other Taylor nylon-strings, the Academy 12e-N is designed as a hybrid guitar that combines features of nylon-string and steel-string instruments. The guitar’s neck is narrower and slimmer than a typical classical, and it has a radiused fingerboard, which gives it a feel more like a steel-string guitar than a classical. However, like a classical guitar, the Academy 12e-N has a 12-fret neck joint, a slotted peghead, and fan-bracing. A satin finish and simple appointments give it an understated appearance.
With its silky-smooth D’Addario Pro Arté nylon strings and superb setup, the Academy 12e-N takes the already impressive playability of the steel-string models up another notch. With its easy fretting, comfortable body size, and friendly neck shape, I can’t think of another guitar that would be more accommodating to a beginning player’s needs. Even better, the Academy 12e-N is a guitar that will accommodate a beginner’s developing skill. The tone is full, rich, and balanced, and I would also have no problems recommending it to seasoned players looking for a great, affordable hybrid nylon-string. Whether played acoustically or plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini amp, the guitar has straight-ahead nylon-string tones that would be at home in many styles, including Latin, jazz, pop, folk, and classical.
With the Academy 12e-N, Taylor has pulled off the difficult trick of creating a great beginner’s guitar that also can serve the needs of advanced players.
SPECS: Nylon-string guitar with grand concert body. Solid Lutz spruce top. Layered sapele back and sides. 12-fret neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1⅞-inch nut width. Armrest bevel. Slotted peghead with open-gear tuning machines. ES-B electronics with built-in tuner. Made in Mexico. $699 street. Taylorguitars.com
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