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Old 12-14-2017, 09:16 AM
ncognito1 ncognito1 is offline
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Default Taylor 1.3 Expression System

The original expression system in my 2004 Taylor 12 string no longer works. It is not repairable and replacements, new or used, are no longer available. According to Taylor, there is a 1.3 ES available. Has anyone had one of these installed and if so, are you happy with it?
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Old 12-15-2017, 09:56 PM
BT55 BT55 is offline
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Taylor will upgrade any ES equipped guitar with their ES2 system. I believe the installed price is in the $450 range.
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Old 12-16-2017, 08:16 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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If I had one of the earlier ES versions and it croaked I would be happy going to the ES 1.3.

i have not had one retrofitted to a guitar but my 2011 Taylor 354ce 12 string came with the ES 1.3. Frankly, I deliberately didn't buy an ES-equipped guitar during the first and second pickup versions because I didn't like their sound. ES 1.1 had problems with hum and the sharp upper midrange honk. ES 1.2 fixed the hum but still had the bright metallic sound due to phase issues between the magnetic sensor and the body sensors. The ES 1.3 addressed all the issues. There's no hum and they dropped the body sensor that was causing phase issues that in turn caused the bright, sharp, honky sound.

In my opinion, the sound of ES 1.3 is pretty darned good. As a recording engineer, that is the gold standard for live equipment: pretty good. All live gear is a compromise between good sound and deleterious effects. A pickup system that doesn't contribute problems such as hum, feedback, and sharp response humps, can be made to sound pretty good on a P.A.

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Old 12-16-2017, 09:09 AM
j3ffr0 j3ffr0 is offline
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I agree with Bob. It is not by accident that all three of my Taylorís have ES 1.3 as opposed to any other version. It has itís limitations, but I have not found anything I like better outside of a mic.
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Old 12-16-2017, 04:59 PM
Steely Glen Steely Glen is offline
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Personally, I would opt for another system. I finally gave up on the ES at version 1.3 because of how magnetic it sounds as you climb the neck. It's pretty good in first position chords, but gets pretty gnarly (not in a good way) past the fifth fret or so. ES2 does sound better to me based on demos I've heard, but I'm done with proprietary pickup systems, especially those with as much hardware inside the guitar as the Expression System.

My "go to" now is a K&K Pure Mini into a Fireye Red Eye preamp. No batteries inside the guitar and the results are absolutely stellar to my ears. Far more accurate than any of the versions of the Expression System I ever played. You can retrofit a K&K into an ES-equipped guitar using the TruPlug system.
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Old 12-17-2017, 10:23 AM
ncognito1 ncognito1 is offline
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Thanks for all the advice. I went to a local shop asnd tried two Taylor 12 strings, both with the ES2. I was very impressed so I will be having the ES2 installed this week.
DAVE
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Old 12-18-2017, 08:22 AM
pieterh pieterh is offline
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I went from ES1.1 to ES1.3 in my 414CE and although, as Bob says, they smoothed out the sound generally with the tweaks to the preamp and the removal of one sensor, the system has/had a serious magnetic, electric guitar quality to it as soon as one plays up the neck. I play a lot of fingerstyle and solo stuff and as soon as I went above the 5th fret the guitar's electric neck pickup quality became more and more intrusive. It's not really surprising given that the main signal source is the magnetic pickup under the neck.

I tried a 614 with the ES2 in Frankfurt in 2015 and that was all the incentive I needed to pay for a second upgrade. These days I find it very easy to just plug and play and generally am very happy with the tone - as are engineers who do the FOH sound. The only downside for me was that Taylor changed the saddle from Tusq to Micarta. It may only be my imagination but I feel the acoustic tone has suffered SLIGHTLY with a small reduction in low end response. Given that my Taylor is almost always used amplified it's something I can live with - though I would be curious to know what effect returning to a Tusq saddle would have on the amplified sound...
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Old 12-19-2017, 11:23 AM
ncognito1 ncognito1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pieterh View Post
I went from ES1.1 to ES1.3 in my 414CE and although, as Bob says, they smoothed out the sound generally with the tweaks to the preamp and the removal of one sensor, the system has/had a serious magnetic, electric guitar quality to it as soon as one plays up the neck. I play a lot of fingerstyle and solo stuff and as soon as I went above the 5th fret the guitar's electric neck pickup quality became more and more intrusive. It's not really surprising given that the main signal source is the magnetic pickup under the neck.

I tried a 614 with the ES2 in Frankfurt in 2015 and that was all the incentive I needed to pay for a second upgrade. These days I find it very easy to just plug and play and generally am very happy with the tone - as are engineers who do the FOH sound. The only downside for me was that Taylor changed the saddle from Tusq to Micarta. It may only be my imagination but I feel the acoustic tone has suffered SLIGHTLY with a small reduction in low end response. Given that my Taylor is almost always used amplified it's something I can live with - though I would be curious to know what effect returning to a Tusq saddle would have on the amplified sound...
Thank you. You just brought up a consideration, that being the saddle material. I have had a bone saddle made for my 12 string, and this has improved bass and articulation. Also, the saddle has been modified because I now have 2 .023 G strings eliminating the octave G. The ES2 gets installed on Friday so I will talk to my luthier about this then.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:14 PM
MattM MattM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BT55 View Post
Taylor will upgrade any ES equipped guitar with their ES2 system. I believe the installed price is in the $450 range.
Actually, they will upgrade you to either the latest version ES1 or ES2 for $300. I just got a quote from Taylor yesterday for this.
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