Back/Sides: Blackheart Sassafras
Top: Sitka Spruce
Models: 712-e 12-Fret FLTD, 714-ce FLTD, 718-e FLTD
The star of this series is rare and wildly beautiful blackheart sassafras selectively sourced from Tasmania. The wood’s “blackheart” name comes from its exotic variegation, specifically the appearance of dark striping caused by fungus that forms in the heartwood of the tree. The fungus typically forms from water that drips down within the tree as a result of branches that break off during storms. Even the sets cut from the same section of a log will differ in appearance, so no two sets from this select batch are visually alike. While sassafras is normally blond in color, the blackheart sets also showcase a kaleidoscopic mix of pink, red and purple hues, accented with bold lines.
A dense, slow-growing hardwood, sassafras’s tonal properties give it a truly unique sonic personality compared to other tonewoods. Players can expect a tone that blends warmth with a clear top end, producing strong focus and projection. Taylor’s Andy Powers describes it this way: “It’s got some of the dry, woody response of walnut or mahogany, with some of the note separation and focus of maple or myrtle, with a more articulated high-end overtone series like rosewood. In other words, it has a certain chime and breathiness up top, while also being really focused, and the low end has a warm dryness to it.”
The sassafras was paired with a Sitka spruce top and is offered in three models, a non-cutaway Grand Concert 12-Fret (712e 12-Fret-FLTD), a cutaway Grand Auditorium (714ce-FLTD), and a non-cutaway Grand Orchestra (718e-FLTD). The guitars feature some of the tone-enhancing refinements first introduced on Taylor’s 800 Series, including Advanced Performance bracing and protein glues, which give each model a rich, dynamic character. Between the unique tone profile of sassafras and Taylor’s other design features, each of these guitars may take on a chameleon-like tonal quality that will be highly reflective of each person’s individual style. “Depending on the player, a person might bring out more of a mahogany sound, or rosewood, maple, walnut or something else,” Andy explains. I think this will be really appealing to players.”