Taylor's maple/spruce Grand Auditorium has always been a versatile performer, and this edition boasts an array of tone-enhancing refinements that transform maple’s tone profile into a richer, warmer and more complex voice. As a result, players can expect an even more dynamic and expressive musical tool.
Design nuances include a maple-specific back bracing profile and a special seasoning process for the spruce top called torrefaction, a method of roasting the wood to produce an aged tonal character with greater acoustic resonance and responsiveness.
Other touches include the use of protein glues to optimize the tonal transfer between key wood components and an ultra-thin, 3.5-mil gloss finish to minimize dampening.
A new, hand-rubbed “Brown Sugar” stain on the back and sides gives maple’s striking figure a beautiful violin-hued appearance without adding extra thickness to the finish.
Featured appointments include ivoroid Wings fretboard inlays, an inlaid ebony backstrap, ebony binding with ivoroid purfling, an ebony/ivoroid rosette, and a striped ebony pickguard, along with Taylor’s Expression System® 2 acoustic electronics.
The guitar comes with a deluxe hardshell case.
Grand Auditorium Body Size
A versatile guitar shape equally suited for fingerpicking and strumming.
Body Length: 20" / Body Width: 16" / Body Depth: 4-5/8"
An original Bob Taylor design introduced in 1994
Full in the lower register, present in the midrange, and sparkling on the treble strings
Taylor's signature shape embodies the ultimate all-purpose acoustic
Their most popular shape and a good place to begin your search
As Taylor's most popular and versatile body shape, the mid-size Grand Auditorium arrived in 1994 bearing refined proportions that fell between a Dreadnought and Grand Concert.
While the bigger Dreadnought was traditionally considered a flatpicker’s guitar and the smaller Grand Concert catered to fingerstylists, the GA was designed to deliver on both fronts.
The shape produced an original acoustic voice that was big enough to handle medium-strength picking and strumming, yet with impressive balance across the tonal spectrum, especially in the midrange, producing clear, well-defined notes that suited both strumming and fingerstyle playing.
The GA’s overall presence tracks well with other instruments both in a studio mix and on stage, and singer-songwriters have embraced its utility both for composing and traveling with one guitar.
Many people want a single guitar that can cover a variety of styles, which is why the GA continues to be Taylor's bestselling shape. If you want a great all-purpose guitar, the multi-dimensional GA won’t let you down.
Sitka Spruce Top
The most commonly used wood for guitar tops, Sitka generates a broad dynamic range and accommodates numerous playing styles, from aggressive strumming to fingerpicking.
Origin: Northwestern North America (Coastal Rainforests of Alaska and Canada)
As a guitar soundboard, or top, Sitka spruce is the tonewood standard of the modern era.
It’s used on 85-90 percent of the guitars that Taylor makes. Its combination of strength and elasticity translates into a broad dynamic range, yielding crisp articulation and allowing for everything from aggressive strumming and flatpicking to fingerpicking.
Sitka spruce is Bob Taylor’s personal favorite for an all-around great guitar.
Goes Well With: All styles of guitars and players.
Maple Back & Sides
Maple has long been associated with a bright acoustic sound, but Taylor’s maple guitars are voiced to bring out greater warmth, richness and sustain. This broadens maple’s tonal range from a single-dimension sound to a more musical, more versatile voice.
Origin: Pacific Northwest
Used On: The 600 Series
Traditionally known for having a focused tone with a fast note decay that cuts through a mix, their maple guitars were revoiced for 2015 to produce greater warmth, complexity, volume, sustain and responsiveness, while retaining maple’s naturally clear, linear qualities.
The clarity of the high end is still there, but the bottom end has been extended. The result is a more multi-dimensional sound that gives players the kind of musical versatility of other classic tonewoods, making their maple models a compelling choice as a primary guitar, not just a stage guitar.
Taylor's maple guitars are voiced to be very reflective of the player’s technique, so a player with a dynamic playing style or someone who likes to vary their picking attack will appreciate how easily those playing nuances come through in the tonal response.
Goes Well With: Most playing applications. Taylor’s revoiced maple guitars respond well to a variety of playing styles and settings.
Expression System 2 (ES2)
The Expression System® 2 captures more of a guitar’s dynamic properties using a breakthrough behind-the-saddle design
The Taylor Expression System® 2 (ES2) is a revolutionary pickup design that delivers the latest in Taylor’s ongoing innovation in acoustic guitar amplification.
The heart of the Expression System 2 is Taylor’s patented behind-the-saddle pickup, which features three uniquely positioned and individually calibrated pickup sensors. The location of the sensors enables a more dynamic range of acoustic sound to be captured than ever before.
Together with Taylor’s custom-designed “professional audio”-grade preamp, this system produces exceptional amplified tone and responsiveness. On stage through a PA, plugged into your favorite acoustic amplifier, or direct into recording software, the Expression System 2 faithfully conveys the voice of your Taylor guitar.
Behind the ES2 Design: Rethinking the Piezo Pickup
For decades, piezo-electric transducers have been positioned under the saddle of a guitar based on the long-held belief that the string and top vibration cause the saddle to “bounce” up and down. But Taylor’s electronics team, led by developer David Hosler, discovered that the vertical movement is actually heavily restricted, and that the saddle gets “locked down” due to the string tension’s downward pressure.
That’s why a traditional under-saddle pickup with piezo-electric crystals often responds with a sound often characterized as thin, brittle, brash or synthetic, especially with more aggressive playing.
The saddle’s natural range of movement as the guitar is being played is actually back and forth like a pendulum. That revelation led Taylor’s design team to relocate the crystals from under the saddle to behind it.
The new positioning enables the crystals to respond more naturally to the guitar’s energy as it is transferred through the saddle. Three pickup sensors are installed behind the saddle, through the bridge, with three tiny Allen screws that calibrate the position of the sensors in relation to the saddle.
Like the original Expression System, the ES2 features the same volume and tone control knobs. The preamp is similar but with a slightly different gain structure. As a result it will be about 25 percent hotter, which is more in line with other pickups. This makes it plug-and-play friendly both for artists and live sound mixers.