New entry-level steel-strings offer great sound and playability.
by Teja Gerken
March 13, 2017
Taylor’s new Academy series guitars are designed specifically for beginning and developing players. Available in three models (two steel-string and one nylon-string), the guitars feature easy playability and an affordable price as well as Taylor’s well-known high-quality construction. The series was introduced at this year’s NAMM show (check out our video of Taylor’s Andy Powers discussing the design), and we were happy to have a chance to check out the Academy 10e and 12e steel-strings (watch for a demo of the Academy 12e-N nylon-string in the near future).
The two Academy steel-strings are based on standard Taylor body sizes: the 10e uses the company’s dreadnought body, while the 12e has the smaller grand concert body. Both are built with solid spruce tops and layered sapele back and sides, as well as Taylor’s bolt-on NT neck, short 24⅞-inch scale, and onboard ES-B electronics with built-in tuners. While the guitars’ appointments are kept to a minimum, Taylor included an armrest bevel in the lower bout. Previously only found on some of Taylor’s high-end instruments, the bevel greatly increases playing comfort, and is virtually unheard-of on instruments at this price.
Both of our Academy series guitars were incredibly easy to play. The 12e grand concert would be a great choice for a smaller player or someone playing primarily fingerstyle, while the larger 10e dreadnought offered more volume and low-end. Both instruments had the Taylor-typical tonal balance with a slightly bright sound. This positive impression continued when we plugged the guitars into a Fishman Loudbox mini amp: both models offered excellent acoustic-electric sounds.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for a first guitar or an experienced guitarist hoping for a more affordable full-size Taylor, you’d do well to consider the Academy series guitars.
SPECS: Dreadnought (10e) or grand concert (12e) body. Solid Sitka spruce top. Layered sapele back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. Chrome tuning machines. ES-B electronics with built-in tuner. Made in Mexico. $798 list. Taylorguitars.com
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