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Become a Taylor Guitars Worship Insider

Get access to the latest tone tips and tricks, gear demos, worship leader interviews, and other exclusive content from worship musicians. Taylor product specialist Marc Seal explains.

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The Taylor T5z and the Modern Worship Guitarist

Thu, December 15th, 2016
 

In 2005, Taylor Guitars released a revolutionary new guitar, the hollowbody hybrid T5. What makes the guitar unique is the ability to switch between authentic amplified acoustic sounds and a myriad of electric guitar sounds. All of this is done without the use of software modeling, but rather with a sophisticated design of magnetic pickups and a high-definition preamp located in the guitar, along with five-way switching and simple yet elegant controls.

Fast-forward to 2014 and the release of the newest addition to the T5 Series, the T5z. The T5z has all the same electronics, sounds and versatility of the popular T5, but in a smaller body. It also features a more radiused fretboard and the addition of jumbo frets. All of these changes make this a more “electric-feeling” version of the T5, while maintaining a legitimate amplified acoustic sound.

The T5z is ideal for worship leaders, as the modern worship guitarist is often required to play a variety of different parts and create a variety of sounds — everything from natural acoustic to warm and clean ethereal parts. Sometimes we may even be lucky enough to get the nod from the leader to launch into a searing guitar solo! The T5z can easily handle all of these demands and really brings a lot of versatility to your worship set.

Recently, my T5z Custom (featuring a Hawaiian koa top) accompanied me at a worship service I played in Southern California. The moment I took it out of the case, the rest of the worship team took notice. Several of them are guitar players and wanted to check it out, while the others simply acknowledged how beautiful the guitar was with its stunning koa top. 

This was an exciting evening as I was using this T5z for the first time with a Fractal AX8 processor and Ultimate Ears UE18s. I had spent a little time earlier in the day programming the AX8 to be able to go from warm acoustic sounds to some really nice clean and dirty tones should the night warrant it. During soundcheck, I was seamlessly switching from sound to sound and thoroughly appreciating all that the T5z had to offer. I was able to play really melodic acoustic fills with bends and slides and then quickly switch to some fat overdrive sounds while playing power chords. The result was a lifting of the overall dynamics of whatever song we were playing. There were a few opportunities to play some solos, and when some distortion, delay and reverb were added, the T5z responded with David Gilmour-esque tones. The sound was most pleasing! 

When all was said and done, I felt as though something magical had just happened. It was quickly obvious that others had the same experience as several people approached the stage to tell me much they enjoyed the sounds that came out of the T5z. A couple of people came up to ask me how I was getting electric sounds and acoustic sounds out of the same guitar. I simply smiled as I explained how T5 worked. 

When guitars play and sound great, they can remove the distractions that can hinder worship. The versatility of the T5 enabled me to be more expressive sonically. This felt very freeing as a player, and ultra-conducive to an authentic worship experience.

Take a moment to watch the T5z videos in this edition of the Worship Insider and then make some time to go to your favorite music store and sit down with one. Be prepared to be inspired to create and to worship. Blessings to you all!

 

T5z Acoustic/Electric Guitar - Overview (Marc Seal)

T5z Overview:

T5z Acoustic/Electric Guitar - Overview (Marc Seal)

T5z Overview:

Like its larger sibling, the T5, the hollowbody T5z packs a dynamic range of electric and amplified acoustic tones into one guitar.

T5z position 1 (Marc Seal)

Position 1: Neck Humbucker and Body Sensor

T5z position 1 (Marc Seal)

Position 1: Neck Humbucker and Body Sensor

The position closest to the neck, this is the cleanest, most acoustic voice of the T5. If you dig in a bit, the body sensor responds with all of the snap and sizzle you need.

T5z position 2 (Marc Seal)

Position 2: Neck Humbucker Only

T5z position 2 (Marc Seal)

Position 2: Neck Humbucker Only

Without the body sensor, the tone will sound warmer and rounder. Rolling back the treble darkens the tone and is great for comping along with a big-band.

T5z position 3 (Marc Seal)

Position 3: Bridge Humbucker

T5z position 3 (Marc Seal)

Position 3: Bridge Humbucker

With a chameleon-like quality, this is the most powerful and versatile pickup on the T5z. Whether you’re playing through an acoustic amp/PA or an electric amp, the tone can range from bright acoustic to solid-body twang to high-gain overdrive, and all points in-between. Add an overdrive pedal to the equation on the electric amp side for even more rock horsepower.

T5z position 4 (Marc Seal)

Position 4: Neck and Bridge Humbuckers in Parallel

T5z position 4 (Marc Seal)

Position 4: Neck and Bridge Humbuckers in Parallel

This will take you back to ’50s hollowbody world, or add some chorus for a big, wet, clean L.A. tone, a la Michael Landau.

T5z position 5 (Marc Seal)

Position 5: Neck and Bridge Humbuckers in Series

T5z position 5 (Marc Seal)

Position 5: Neck and Bridge Humbuckers in Series

This will give you the fullest, fattest sound, ideal for players who like thick leads. You can also play with the voicing’s mood, using the Volume control.