Bracing is the internal architecture, featuring an arrangement of wooden struts, that strengthens the top and back of an acoustic guitar, creating a strategic balance between stiffness and flexibility. This helps translate the air movement produced by the vibrating guitar strings and soundboard into volume, sustain and other musical properties. The nuances of each bracing pattern help “voice” a guitar, working in concert with its body dimensions and tonewoods to flavor its sound.
In our ongoing drive to refine the tone of our guitars, our bracing designs have steadily evolved over time. Led by Taylor master guitar designer Andy Powers, our latest innovative bracing designs offer a rich and diverse musical palette for players to explore. Below are several types of soundboard bracing offered with our guitar line. (Note: Bracing patterns shown have been simplified to highlight the basic form.)
Our patented V-Class bracing is a revolutionary new pattern — a new sonic engine — that marks a major shift away from traditional steel-string bracing patterns. By allowing the soundboard to flex naturally while maintaining rigidity along the center (in the direction of the strings), V-Class helps enhance the volume and sustain. It also creates a more orderly response from the soundboard. Up and down the fretboard, notes are full, true and consistent, with more harmonic agreement. It represents an entirely new design platform that can be adapted to different body styles in different ways to infuse each with a unique sonic personality.
Developed for the smaller Taylor GT body shape, our proprietary C-Class bracing leverages some of the foundational, tone-enhancing ideas behind our V-Class design to boost the volume and sustain. Featuring an asymmetrical, cantilevered design (thus the “C” in C-Class), this unique architecture emphasizes the lower frequencies to produce a surprisingly powerful bass response from a smaller-bodied guitar. The overall sound is sweet, focused and responsive, with a tonal output that sonically punches above its weight class.
The “X” pattern provides a continuous flow of strength from the upper bout to the lower bout, which provides rigidity despite the soundhole’s location in the middle of the soundboard. Our refined interpretations of this traditional bracing style have been adapted to produce pleasing volume, sustain and responsiveness, with signature clarity and balance across the tonal spectrum that has long been associated with our guitars. X bracing is used on our Baby, GS Mini, Academy, 100 and 200 Series.
Fan bracing is a completely different bracing style used on our nylon-string models. It was inspired by patterns used by classical guitar builders. Because nylon strings generate less tension and energy, a nylon-string guitar typically has a thinner top and much lighter bracing. Fan bar styles come in different arrangements, and we use both five-bar and three-bar patterns. The three-bar pattern shown here (used for Academy, 100 and 200 Series nylon-string models) is a unique Taylor design that master builder Andy Powers adapted from his ukulele designs. It produces a signature Taylor nylon-string voice: clear, open, responsive to a light touch, and long on sustain.