The Acoustic Guitar Forum

Go Back   The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 10-28-2020, 09:33 AM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 1,099
Default NGD: 2015 Taylor Custom GA: cedar and cocobolo with koa accents

As some of you know, I'm no Taylor apologist. Traded in a 2015 714ce a few years ago which never opened up. My first "high money guitar" was a 914ce v-class which was great when I didn't know what else was out there, but was traded in for my SCGC OM when in a head to head, the SCGC appealed to me way more, and thus started me down the path of small builder guitars. H&D and Collings soon followed, along with custom shop Martins and a MD. Played dozens of fine Taylors in the last 2 years, most v-class, some x-class, but none pulled at my musical heartstrings. I thought I was simply past my Taylor days and that my tastes now ran more towards the vintage-voiced and Martin-inspired builds.

A few weeks ago I bought a K14c BE because it was surprisingly resonant, projected well, and had a pleasing tone that was still Taylor but with a twist, due to the Koa b/s. I very much like it and am happy to have added it to the arsenal. It's held its own in my stable and is a solid addition, a nice change of pace from its more vintage voiced siblings, but it’s definitely got plenty of Taylor DNA in it’s sound.

But my newest addition is something else entirely.

First: a shout-out to Ted at L.A. Guitar Sales. He’s an awesome person to do business with (heck he’s just a great guy, period, and his wife Helene is also wonderful). If you’re in the market for a brand he carries, I highly encourage calling him. If you’re in the area, once the pandemic ends (or if you want to set up a by-appointment) you owe it to yourself to visit at some point. He’s located across the street from The Roxy on Sunset Boulevard. Yup. Can’t get more rock-n-roll iconic than that. Bring your leather pants and ripped rocker t-shirts.

I contacted him regarding a Taylor Custom Grand Auditorium he ordered back in 2015/6. Because guitars that MSRP for nearly 5 figures sit on shelves for a while due to a limited buyer base, then v-bracing debuted, and finally the pandemic shut us all down, this one has sat in his inventory. It's new, flawless, not even shopworn. Because it's a 5-year old guitar, I got it for a significant discount. No, it wasn’t a special price for me; until I bought it, the sale price was on his site, so anyone could have scored that deal. Fortunately, that someone turned out to be me.

I am about to surprise myself by writing this sentence, given the guitars I own. This Taylor is now my most versatile guitar.

Let me be clear. It's not necessarily the best at any one thing, or even “the best” overall. The TD-R goes deeper and gets boomier. The D-18 gets louder. My 'hog backed guitars have a bit more mid-sweetness. The smaller bodies respond a little better to light touch. The Collings and SCGC are a smidge more articulate.

But this Taylor is now my answer to the hypothetical question, "If you could only take one guitar to a show, which would it be?”

Well, as of now, I have an answer: it’s this Taylor. Due to the combination of tone, playability, ergonomic comfort (for my body size), upper fret access via the cutaway, and built in electronics. As I said, it’s not the best at any one thing, but it’s the most versatile one I own.

Tonally, it can reproduce low notes well, likely due to the Cocobolo. It projects well due to Taylor’s GA dimensions and depth, and the choices Ted made in spec’ing Adi bracing to add some volume to the cedar top. Cedar’s known for warmth, and the mids from this guitar reflect that. A bit of the Taylor DNA sneaks in to account for more highs than one would expect from cedar, but is tamed by the wood so that it doesn’t sound as bright as standard Taylors.

Speaking of the cedar top, this is my first one so I had to do some research on its tonal properties. I have read it has a lower volume ceiling than spruce. That doesn’t feel to be the case here. I can dig in very hard, and this baby just pushes out more dBs without sounding harsh, breaking up, or compressing. It is crisp and responds quickly to a sharp pick attack. Volume-wise it stands toe-to-toe with my torrefied Sitka and Adi topped OMs (update, as most of this text was written a week ago, it now is louder than all of them due to "waking up" from being stored in a case for several years).

A lot of this may be due to Ted’s wood choices, which he hand-picked the pieces while at Taylor. He told me “normally I spec out Sinker Redwood/Cocobolo for our custom builds, but at the time Taylor didn’t have any usable sinker sets. The standard redwood they did have was not visually attractive, so I selected this great piece of cedar instead. I wanted to turbocharge the cedar a little bit by using Adirondack for the bracing. In the end, it turned out this combo may be a better redwood than actual redwood!”

What may also be at play is the Taylor’s “old” C/V bracing with relief routing. The final refinement of Bob Taylor’s last brace design before Andy Powers introduced his Advanced Performance bracing, followed by his oft-debated V-bracing. I’m not going to chalk it all up to X vs V alone, as Ted did a great job spec’ing the tone woods and bracing.


Tone aside, let’s talk about that edgeburst: it’s color matched to the beautiful Cocobolo back and sides, so it looks like the Coco’s color is bleeding past the binding and into the cedar top. Tight, uniform grain with great silking on the cedar makes this the most beautiful top of the guitars I own, and I’ve been fortunate to own some great ones.

I will admit what made me inquire with Ted about this Taylor was its visual appeal and its wood-focused look. Full Koa binding (top, back, fretboard, armrest bevel, and headstock). Cocobolo rosette and headstock overlay. Edgeburst satin finish on the back of the neck and headstock, a nice touch to match the top’s gloss. And not one hint of abalone, which only adds to the wood-focused visual theme. Nothing shiny/blingy to distract, not even on the fingerboard. I kind of wish the Taylor pearl logo wasn’t on the headstock.


All of this yields something that is not a classic Taylor sound. Sure, there’s still elements of Taylor to it, it didn’t suddenly sound like a Martin or Gibson. But it has tamed that “sparkle/brightness” that is a Taylor signature. This Taylor sounds very earthy, woody, with surprisingly deep and articulate bass to complement a sweet midrange and present but not overbearing highs. And, this is with Elixirs on it.

This Custom GA is a great sounding guitar. I do not hesitate to play it alongside my SCGC, Collings or H&D, and I would proudly bring it to a player’s circle with boutique names on the other players’ headstocks. The limiting factor would be my skill, not the guitar’s tonal inferiority to the smaller builders’ model.

Once I’m able to get a decent recording setup (waiting for some GC rewards to activate so I can purchase a Focusrite Scarlett interface and a matching set of Røde NT5) I will take a page from Kinnaird’s playbook and post some blind sound samples of my various guitars. I’m going to bet people will have a hard time identifying this guitar as anything other than a great sounding instrument, as opposed to “oh, there’s the Taylor in the bunch!”. I’m not sure that there’s a “Taylor for people who don’t like Taylors”, but if there is, this would be on a short-list of candidates.

Just realized, I keep referring to it as “This Taylor”. It doesn’t have a model number, the label simply says “Taylor Custom GA” so I don’t know what to call it. Guess I’ll have to name her sooner rather than later. Oh, and that label...it only has one signature.

Maybe I'll just call her “Taylor”. Yeah, that’ll do for now. With apologies to Ms. Swift. Hopefully this one won’t break up with me and write a hit song about it.

Full image sizes here for those interested (the back has great figuring, but is very hard to photograph so it didn't come out well): https://imgur.com/a/9Ps5ntj

Quick 40 second sound sample, added February 10, 2021 see this post for signal chain details. I edited this post to include this clip in case people are discovering this thread for the first time and don't see post 29.
__________________
Collings OM2H (Baked Sitka/EIR), Huss & Dalton TD-R (Baked Adi/EIR), Lakewood M32 (Sitka/EIR)
Martin D-18 MD (Baked Sitka/Mahogany), Santa Cruz OM (Adi/EIR) & OM/PW (Redwood/EIR),
Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret LTD (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)

Last edited by LakewoodM32Fan; 02-10-2021 at 07:44 PM. Reason: spelling/grammar/clarity
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-28-2020, 10:09 AM
mouks mouks is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 61
Default

Beautiful! Congrats!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-28-2020, 10:13 AM
BlackKeys36 BlackKeys36 is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Rockwall, TX
Posts: 147
Default

Beautiful! Congrats on the new guitar! I love that finish and burst.
__________________
- john

2021 Wilborn Nautilus (~March)
2020 Kinnaird Deep OM Student Build
2016 Wilborn Patros
2011 FE Tellier SJ Lutz/Bubinga
2004 Taylor 414CE Limited
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-28-2020, 10:46 AM
Cool555 Cool555 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 1,762
Thumbs up

Gorgeous indeed! The burst is beautifully done! Congrats! Enjoy playing this guitar!
__________________
Martin 00-15M (2019)
Yamaha FS5 Red Label (2019)
Faith Venus Blood Moon Burst (2018)
Taylor GS Mini Koa (2017)
Yamaha CSF3M (2018)
Lava Me 2 (2019)
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-28-2020, 10:48 AM
letterk letterk is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 127
Default

Beautiful guitar and description. I could see how using cedar on a Taylor would make for a fantastic tone. Love the burst. Fantastic!
__________________
2020 Furch Red Master's Choice Gc-SR SPA - 1994 Guild D4-NT - 2016 Fender American Elite Tele - 2019 PRS SE Paul's Guitar - 2019 Partscaster Tele - Cordoba 20CM Uke
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-28-2020, 10:48 AM
jweave69 jweave69 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: OKC
Posts: 399
Default

Great guitar and review. Congrats! She's a real beaut!
__________________
2018 Larrivee D-40 SOLD
2020 Martin DJR-10 Sapele
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-28-2020, 03:00 PM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 1,099
Default

Thanks all, I do agree the finish is amazing, and as I said was a big reason I was even drawn to the guitar in the first place. Ashamedly, I even told Ted "I really like the look of this, it just needs to sound decent and you probably have a sale."

I was not prepared for how great it ended up sounding. That made the purchasing decision a no brainer.

And one quick update: I said that my dreads get louder. I may have to amend that. My D18 is in Dave Neely's shop for a full setup, but my TD-R is still here. I brought that out to back-to-back with the Taylor. Without bringing out my SPL meter, the Taylor can get pretty darned close dB wise to the TD-R without breaking up or sounding harsh. None of my other 000, OMs or GAs come as close as this one.

I feel a lot of sonic improvement has occurred over the past 2+ weeks I've owned it. Since it's basically been kept in its case for most of the five years of its life, I think it's woken up in a very big way.
__________________
Collings OM2H (Baked Sitka/EIR), Huss & Dalton TD-R (Baked Adi/EIR), Lakewood M32 (Sitka/EIR)
Martin D-18 MD (Baked Sitka/Mahogany), Santa Cruz OM (Adi/EIR) & OM/PW (Redwood/EIR),
Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret LTD (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-28-2020, 03:19 PM
zmf zmf is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 6,543
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by LakewoodM32Fan View Post

What may also be at play is the Taylor’s “old” C/V bracing with relief routing.
Congrats! The GA is indeed a versatile model. And that relief routing was one of Taylor's better ideas.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-28-2020, 04:53 PM
jricc jricc is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Jersey Shore
Posts: 2,025
Default

Stunning! Congrats on your new "Taylor"
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-28-2020, 04:59 PM
Organic Sounds Select Guitars's Avatar
Organic Sounds Select Guitars Organic Sounds Select Guitars is online now
AGF Sponsor
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Orange County, California
Posts: 1,516
Default

What a NGD post! Enjoy that beautiful Taylor!!
__________________
Larry

Organic Sounds Select Guitars
YouTube
Facebook
Instagram
(Previously known around here as LWSog)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10-28-2020, 05:44 PM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 1,099
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by zmf View Post
Congrats! The GA is indeed a versatile model. And that relief routing was one of Taylor's better ideas.
Your comment got me curious, so I went on a deep dive on both the C/V bracing, and the relief routing, as I had no clue what either was (in terms of Taylor's application of it, I know what routing is in the woodworking sense).

I found none other than a near-beardless Tony Polecastro doing a video on the various Taylor bracings back in 2012 when he was still with Acoustic Letter/Music Villa. He explains both the C/V and RR, I found it educational:


So apparently the relief routing helps the top vibrate more (as it's applied at the outer edge of the top soundboard) and the C/V has "additional hand shaped scalloping" applied to the braces. So both features allow the top to vibrate more which is likely why this guitar can get loud and project so well compared to other GAs and OM/000 I own. It's officially my loudest non-dread, and it approaches their volume and projection.

Now I have to find a video on Taylor's Performance bracing which is on my K24ce.
__________________
Collings OM2H (Baked Sitka/EIR), Huss & Dalton TD-R (Baked Adi/EIR), Lakewood M32 (Sitka/EIR)
Martin D-18 MD (Baked Sitka/Mahogany), Santa Cruz OM (Adi/EIR) & OM/PW (Redwood/EIR),
Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret LTD (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10-28-2020, 09:12 PM
FOG01 FOG01 is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Southwest OH
Posts: 658
Default

Congrats on a great looking NOS Taylor. Cedar and Coco, that's an interesting combo! Looking forward to hearing your sound clips.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 10-28-2020, 09:49 PM
Bear Davis's Avatar
Bear Davis Bear Davis is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: WA state
Posts: 1,114
Default

Sweet looking armrest!
__________________
Music is life and here is my spice |Huss & Dalton| |Bent Twig| |Henrik Norlund| |Martin| |Santa Cruz| |Taylor| |Eastman| |Goodall| |Yamaha| |R. Taylor| |Lowden| |Tacoma| |Alhambra| |Mcpherson| |Cordoba| |Guild| |Froggy| |Bourgeois| |Fender| |PRS| |Alvarez| |Larrivee| |Collings| |Maestro| |Gibson| |Godin|
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 10-29-2020, 05:31 AM
MickZ MickZ is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 237
Default

The cedar tops work really well on Taylors. I have a 514 cedar/hog and it sounds great. I too was pleasantly surprised at how well it strums, since I originally thought it would excel mostly at finger style. Congrats on your new guitar -- it looks great!
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 10-29-2020, 10:21 AM
LakewoodM32Fan LakewoodM32Fan is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 1,099
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organic Sounds Select Guitars View Post
What a NGD post! Enjoy that beautiful Taylor!!
Thanks Larry...with any luck I'll be writing a NUGD for one of your guitars in the future

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear Davis View Post
Sweet looking armrest!
The koa binding (blending into the bevel) and going all up the fretboard and around the headstock was an extremely visually appealing aspect of this guitar for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MickZ View Post
The cedar tops work really well on Taylors. I have a 514 cedar/hog and it sounds great. I too was pleasantly surprised at how well it strums, since I originally thought it would excel mostly at finger style. Congrats on your new guitar -- it looks great!
Yeah I had historically stayed away from cedar thinking it was a fingerstyle only type of topwood, but obviously Taylor (and the Adi bracing Ted spec'd) can make this top ring out with the best of my spruce tops!
__________________
Collings OM2H (Baked Sitka/EIR), Huss & Dalton TD-R (Baked Adi/EIR), Lakewood M32 (Sitka/EIR)
Martin D-18 MD (Baked Sitka/Mahogany), Santa Cruz OM (Adi/EIR) & OM/PW (Redwood/EIR),
Taylor Custom GA (Cedar/Cocobolo/Koa)
, K24ce 12-fret LTD (all-Koa) & K14c (Baked Sitka/Koa)
Reply With Quote
Reply

  The Acoustic Guitar Forum > General Acoustic Guitar and Amplification Discussion > General Acoustic Guitar Discussion

Thread Tools





All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:13 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum
vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=