Inspired Designs: The New 2012 Taylor Line

Wednesday January 11, 2012
By: chalise.zolezzi

With each new year, Taylor unveils a retooled guitar line that showcases our latest inspiration. From groundbreaking designs to ongoing refinements, our efforts draw from a wellspring of creativity that starts with Bob Taylor. Under Bob’s stewardship, our development team is fueled by a passion for crafting — and playing — great instruments.     

For 2012, we proudly introduce a raft of new aesthetic treatments across much of our acoustic/electric line. We also debut new mahogany versions of our Baritone and 12-Fret models, unveil a mahogany-top GS Mini, and aesthetically align our nylon- and steel-string series.

The integration of the nylon-string models means they’ll share the same appointment package as the steel-string models within each Taylor series, from the 200 through 900 Series. The move reflects the natural affinity that Taylor’s modern-day nylon-strings have with steel-string designs, featuring comfortable necks, cutaways and onboard electronics. It also speaks to the growing appeal of the nylon-string sound as an expressive tonal flavor in popular music.

“After years of building hybrid nylon-strings that are geared toward the modern steel-string player, we felt that they belong together,” Bob explains. “Now you’ll have a choice of more wood pairings for nylon models.”

Among the new developments for our acoustic/electric models, the most visually striking is the revamped Koa Series, which now showcases an all-wood appointment package to mesh with the natural beauty of Hawaiian koa and its homeland. The centerpiece of the design, created by Taylor luthier Andy Powers, is an elaborate Island Vine fretboard inlay in koa and maple, which features plumeria flowers as position markers within the flowing motif.

“The koa we have is just spectacular, and we wanted to create a whole new inlay that was worthy of the wood,” Andy explains.

Other design makeovers within the line were driven by a desire to give each guitar series a distinctive personality, featuring appointments that complement the character of the tonewoods used. The new rosewood 700 Series, for example, projects a throwback vibe, with a dark Vintage Sunburst Engelmann top, ivoroid binding, and engraved ivoroid Heritage Diamonds fretboard inlays. “We wanted to build something that’s a nod to the old rosewood guitars we love,” Andy explains. “We designed an inlay that looked straight out of the 1930s, with traditional material.”

The performance-friendly maple 600 Series incorporates a new Koi Blue color option and a Twisted Ovals fretboard inlay.

“It has a clean, contemporary look,” Andy says says. “We thought it was a great fit because it has a modern persona and because it’s the perfect stage guitar, between maple’s tonal crispness and the way the light-colored woods are compatible with all kinds of eye-catching colors.”

The 500 Series honors mahogany’s classic heritage with an engraved pearloid Deco Diamonds fretboard inlay design that progresses from a square form into a more elaborately flared diamond. Another touch was to visually interpret mahogany’s warm tonal character with a dark brown stain on the back, sides and neck, accented with faux tortoise shell binding.

The contemporary 400 Series receives a style update with a Progressive Dots inlay motif. The 300 Series welcomes new GS 6-string and 12-string models and refines its pearloid Dot inlay to be more understated. The 200 Series debuts two colorful model additions: one with a tobacco sunburst top, the other all-black.

The popular GS Mini is now available with a mahogany top. “You’ll have this incredible blues machine,” Andy says. “It’s like the old mahogany-top guitars from the Depression era that have this burly, punchy quality that’s perfect for ragtime or blues.”  

Another change within the Taylor line is a refinement of our 12-string model selection. We’ve decided to make the GS the predominant body shape for our 12-strings, based on the natural compatibility of the body shape with our current 12-string design.

“We’ve found that the GS makes a great 12-string because the waist has been shifted a little higher and pushed out a little more than a traditional Jumbo, so the top is a bit more flexible in some of those curves,” Bob Taylor explains. “Players get a more resonant, colorful sonic picture. It turned out that the GS shape delivers a lot of what players want to hear from a 12-string guitar. You have this beautiful, rich low end, with an even balance from the low to the high that gives it a pleasant ringing quality.”

In Taylor’s electric line, the T5 Custom sports a new Spires fretboard inlay, while an update to the semi-hollowbody T3 expands its tonal palette with two new pickup options: mini humbuckers and vintage alnicos.

“Our mini humbuckers are fantastic pickups,” Andy says. “They’re really balanced with a pretty character to them but also have this bold and punchy quality. At times they have almost a single-coil-like character in their clarity, with the power and noise-cancelling of a humbucker. These are unique, wonderful sounds that you can use to play rock, rockabilly, surf music, Merle Travis-style country, all kinds of stuff.”

We invite you to survey the new models here on the website and visit your local Taylor dealer to take them for a test-drive.

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