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Old 05-13-2021, 09:50 AM
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TDavis TDavis is offline
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Default 90ís Taylors

I’m in the process of buying a 1995 Taylor 512 from a longtime AGF member, partially because I’m curious…and partially because I’ve heard good things about Taylor guitars that have been built in what many call the “Golden Years” (1990-1999) of Taylor guitars.

Can I get some experienced opinions about small body Taylor’s built in that time period?
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:02 PM
4mykey 4mykey is offline
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Originally Posted by Ozarkpicker View Post
Iím in the process of buying a 1995 Taylor 512 from a longtime AGF member, partially because Iím curiousÖand partially because Iíve heard good things about Taylor guitars that have been built in what many call the ďGolden YearsĒ (1990-1999) of Taylor guitars.

Can I get some experienced opinions about small body Taylorís built in that time period?
I have a '96 Taylor 612c I bought new at the time. It's a nice sounding guitar. The tone is clean and well defined. It's also quite lively with an immediate response. Beautiful woods and craftsmanship too. It lacks a bit of depth for my preferences. It does have body to the tone, but being maple in a small guitar... It's not nearly as rich sounding as a Rosewood OM. Which is why I think they came up with the 614 that has a deeper body.

But it's still a good guitar and I'm about to make it my daily driver for going to the park, etc... I haven't played any of the newer ones so I can't compare.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:19 PM
tbeltrans tbeltrans is offline
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As I have posted in the past, I don't believe this "golden era" stuff about Taylor. To me, it simply depends on the guitar.

Several years ago, I purchased a used Taylor 912c that was built in that so-called "golden era". The guitar was rather a dud. I did try before I buy, as I always do, but thought that since it was from that "golden era" I kept reading about here, that it must be the strings or the set up, or something easily fixed. After attending to all that, it was still a dud.

There could be any number of reasons for that and I certainly wouldn't claim that any other guitars from that era are duds, just as I wouldn't say that all guitars from that era are great.

Guitars are individually what they are. Not too long ago (March-April 2021), I traded some stuff on a new Taylor 912ce. It is definitely not a dud. Again, that doesn't mean that all Taylors from this period are great guitars either. Some are, some aren't. The same can be said for any maker, whether a large factory, small factory, or individual builder.

Also, this one is what Taylor calls V-class, which is certainly controversial around here. But despite all the posturing and opinions, it simply comes down to the fact that guitars vary and need to be individually played to determine their worthiness to buy. Everything else is just forum talk.

So my advice is play it and determine whether you like it enough to buy it.

Tony
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:29 PM
Tahitijack Tahitijack is offline
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I have a 1999 Taylor 514ce and it is my go to of all the guitars I own. I purchased it new and at the time I thought it sounded beautiful...it still does today. It has warmed up over the two decades I've had it. It was easy to play when I first pulled it of the wall, and it is kind to my old hands. I remember the day I found it at the Guitar Shoppe in Laguna Beach. Did a little negotiation on price, but was not leaving without it. At the time Taylor was going to change the 514 on the next year, taking away all the things that made it so distinctive. The next model year would be plain. If I lost it I'd go looking for another.
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Old 05-13-2021, 05:35 PM
Steve DeRosa Steve DeRosa is offline
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If you're an acoustic speed-lead player who's not on the '1-3/4" prewar or death' neck bandwagon, and can't find a suitable instrument at a (for now) fair price, those early/mid-90's "playability of a fine electric" Taylors are the way to go...
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:10 PM
whvick whvick is offline
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I have a 1998 414 and it is a fine guitar. But I have never really bonded with it. Not the fault of the guitar...just me. I did go to Santa Cruz Parabolic this year and it really helped. Like the Taylor neck, but when I found a luthier that could give me the same set up, I have bonded with an Indonesian spruce / rosewood more so. I am waiting for an Eastman E OO10 to get finished with set up and repairs to see if it will be my favorite.
Cannot explain why not the Taylor. It is a great guitar.
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:36 PM
sstaylor58 sstaylor58 is offline
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Iíve posted about this before, but I have a friend who has a 1997 or 99 (canít remember now), 512. It is a lovely guitar, and Iíve always enjoyed playing it when Iíve had the chance. I have a Ď12 314ce, and that is really nice as well. I agree with other posters that just because it is from the Ď90ísĒ doesnít necessarily make it great...itís all about the individual guitar. Although 26 years of aging probably wonít hurt the sound!
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  #8  
Old 05-13-2021, 10:25 PM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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I wonder if the 96 512 you're buying might have been mine at one time. I have had six or seven 512s from that era, some cutaway some not. Sold most of them here over the last seven years....

You can expect some subtle differences compared to a newer post 2000 model.
All Taylor necks bolt on but this will have the fingerboard extension glued to the top. So a neck set is a bit more of an issue, but most Taylor certified techs can often finesse it without having to unglue and reglue.

Make sure the neck angle is correct! Proper geometry is NOT a given on ANY used instrument. It will sound its best when a straightedge laying centered on the frets just meets the top corner of the bridge. So level with the bottom of the showing part of the saddle.

The neck will have 25.5" scale, unlike the new GCs at 24.75" (I think), and yours will most likely have a 1.75" Nut

The build will be a bit lighter in weight than a newer Taylor, and yours will probably have an Engleman top and sure to have real Mahogany back and sides.

The neck will have a bit less mass than a newer Taylor, with what they would now call the "slim carve". Which helps make fretting a bit easier with the Long scale than it would otherwise be.

The famous "electric neck" that helped Taylor snag so many electric players.
If you have smaller hands this may be a big help. If you have bigger mitts YMMV.

If you want comfort this will be SWEET! If you crave more volume acoustically you might want a 514. Which will be 16" across the LB and a bit deeper, versus your GC at 15".

If it does not have a pup I suggest a K&K and then it can sound as big as you want when you plug in.

The normal Grovers can be lightened considerably by swapping to wood or resin buttons.

Hope this helps

I LOVE these 94-99 Taylors and bet you will be quite pleased.

PM if you have more ????s

Salud

Paul
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Last edited by Guitars44me; 05-14-2021 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 05-13-2021, 10:29 PM
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Brucebubs Brucebubs is offline
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As mentioned above ... pre 1999 Taylors do not have the NT neck join system - the fretboard extension is glued to the top so don't be mistaken thinking a neck re-set is a quick and easy process like the NT Taylors.

I had a beautiful looking 1996 Taylor 422 Quilted Maple Grand Concert that I just couldn't bond with. Small, shallow body, small, shallow, sound I'm afraid.

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Last edited by Brucebubs; 05-13-2021 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:19 PM
Ken Carr Ken Carr is offline
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I used to have a Taylor 810 I bought new in '95. I kept it for seventeen years and sold it to help me purchase a used Martin D-18GE. The Taylor was okay as far as dreadnoughts go, but it didn't ever inspire me. To be honest it had a dull and flabby bass end, and as I was playing in a bluegrass group at the time, it didn't satisfy. Now I play fingerstyle mostly, and whenever I pick up a new Taylor in a guitar shop, they rarely ever give me G.A.S. enough to want to spend the premium money to buy a new one.
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Old 05-13-2021, 11:21 PM
Taylor Ham Taylor Ham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guitars44me View Post
Make sure the neck angle is correct! Proper geometry is NOT a given on ANY used instrument. It will sound its best when a straightedge laying centered on the frets just meets the top corner of the bridge. So level with the bottom of the showing part of the saddle.



Paul


This works for bridges with a radius that matches the fingerboard, but Current Taylor bridges are flat. I wonder if this one is as well? I know the latest Taylors are setup with the line at the edges of the fingerboard projecting to the top of the bridge. If you measure in the center it will seem overset on a flat bridge.
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Old 05-14-2021, 08:56 AM
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Guitars44me Guitars44me is offline
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Smile Oops!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor Ham View Post
This works for bridges with a radius that matches the fingerboard, but Current Taylor bridges are flat. I wonder if this one is as well? I know the latest Taylors are setup with the line at the edges of the fingerboard projecting to the top of the bridge. If you measure in the center it will seem overset on a flat bridge.
My bad! It will have the usual flat bridge, so measure at the edges of the FB.

Cheers
Paul
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2016 552ce 12X12
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A few choice 90s Taylors
budget electrics, and reso
Still Too many, but why not one more?
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Old 05-14-2021, 01:57 PM
vindibona1 vindibona1 is offline
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I can't tell you about Taylor's small body guitars, but I have a '95 910 and it is a very sweet guitar. It's got a glued in neck and a traditional nut width of 1-11/16" with about the same narrow profile depth as latter day Taylors. Even though it is 26 years old now there is no sign of needed a neck reset or any other work needing be done.

I'm gigging more bass these days, have two other Taylors a Martin and a bunch of others, so will probably want to sell one of them. If anyone is interested in the 910 we can talk. It would be great for someone wanting a Taylor but the 1.75" nut width might be a bit too wide for them. I also have a 2011 614CE that covers a lot of the ground that my 814ceDLX does... or is it the other way around . All of my guitars are in excellent+ to near mint condition.
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Old 05-14-2021, 03:35 PM
Hank T. Tone Hank T. Tone is offline
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I owned one and it was a great guitar. Packed a powerful punch for a small-bodied guitar, plenty loud, and easy and fun to play.
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Old 05-14-2021, 07:17 PM
alnico5 alnico5 is offline
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I have a 1996 412, khaya back/sides, pinless bridge, and sitka top. I have not owned any other Taylor guitars for comparison, but I am happy with my 412.
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