NAMM 2018: Taylor Guitars
Taylor Guitars is threatening to re-write the acoustic guitar rulebook this year with the launch of its exclusive new V-Class bracing. And if a change in bracing doesn’t sound so exciting, it will do by the time you have read the extensive documentation and watched the videos Taylor has prepared for this launch. At a stroke, the Californian guitar maker claims, V-Class bracing not only greatly improves the tone and projection of an acoustic guitar but it also solves many of the intonation problems associated with tempered tuning and which result in an acoustic guitar never being quite perfectly in tune. With V-Class, Taylor claims, even novice guitarists can hear a significant improvement in intonation and tonal accuracy.
Taylor’s designer, Andy Powers, a keen surfer, says he came up with the idea for V-Class bracing while contemplating the behaviour of ocean waves and relating them to the way a guitar’s soundboard vibrates but he admits he was surprised by the profound effect the changes he has made to what are essentially strips of wood beneath the soundboard have on intonation too.
Taylor says guitars with V-Class bracing are easier to tune: the pitch sounds purer, more solid, so the tuner can locate the note more easily
- Harmonics ring more uniformly down the neck
- Notes are louder, with more projection and longer sustain
- Notes are more consistent; upper register notes don’t get choked out or swallowed
- Fewer “sour” sonic qualities with chords; a better, more familial relationship between notes even as they ripen, bloom, decay
Taylor’s V-Class bracing is initially restricted to its top of the range Grand Auditorium models and will be rolled out across lower priced models in time. At Winter NAMM it will be showing a PS14ce: Striped West African ebony back/sides, sinker redwood top, a K24ce: all-koa and a 914ce: Indian rosewood back/sides, Sitka spruce top. Other Grand Auditorium models will come later his year, including a Builder’s edition K14ce: koa back/sides, torrefied Sitka spruce top and exclusive features including: bevelled armrest & new bevelled cutaway, “Silent” satin finish with Kona burst, Inlaid purfling body edge treatment, Paua fingerboard/peghead inlays & rosette, Paua edge trim (top & back) and Premium Gotoh 510 tuners (21:1 ratio).