This limited edition Grand Auditorium guitar features back and sides of solid Hawaiian koa, a solid Western red cedar top, and V-Class bracing. Standard specs include a scale length of 25-1/2", a nut width of 1-3/4", and a Venetian cutaway. Appointments include a single-ring rosette, binding of faux tortoiseshell and West African ebony, Century fre... Click To Read More About This Product
This limited edition Grand Auditorium guitar features back and sides of solid Hawaiian koa, a solid Western red cedar top, and V-Class bracing. Standard specs include a scale length of 25-1/2", a nut width of 1-3/4", and a Venetian cutaway. Appointments include a single-ring rosette, binding of faux tortoiseshell and West African ebony, Century fretboard inlays in grained ivoroid, a black graphite nut, and a glossy shaded edgeburst finish on the entire guitar. It ships with ES2 electronics in a deluxe Taylor hardshell case.
A Taylor original, the Grand Auditorium helped establish the Taylor acoustic sound. The popular body style makes for a versatile guitar that yields ample volume in response to light fingerpicking, and reacts to medium strumming and flatpicking with a clear, balanced sound across the tonal spectrum. If you want a great all-purpose guitar, the GA is an excellent choice.
Tone Wood Pairing
Though the tonewood pairing of Hawaiian koa and cedar isn't currently offered in Taylor's Koa Series, the two woods have a harmonious history at Taylor, a special sonic kinship that traces back to the early days of their Grand Auditorium body style in the mid 1990s. Andy Powers is excited to reunite these complementary woods on this limited edition offering, in the form of Grand Auditorium and Grand Concert models dressed in the 500 Series appointments.
"Those two woods are a heavenly match," he says. Though koa brings instant cachet thanks to its exotic beauty, Andy is quick to emphasize cedar's virtues: soft-touch responsiveness and broad, harmonically rich tone, which together have traditionally appealed to fingerstyle players. When you marry cedar's traits with koa's midrange mojo and then add V-Class bracing to the mix, you have a recipe for a new dimension of acoustic sound. Andy describes the impact of V-Class on a cedar top in terms of its ability to spread the soundboard energy in a way that allows a note to bloom and develop.
"We want the sound to disperse evenly over the top so that it vibrates in a cohesive way," he explains. "Cedar tends to be relatively stiff across then grain in proportion to its resiliency along the grain, which makes a mechanically efficient sound transmitter. As a result, only a little harmonic content is absorbed, making the overtone content rich and full. It feels like the guitar lights up without needing to hit it hard."
It's a "smoky, thick, complex" sound, to use Andy's words — a natural counterbalance to koa's sweet, bell-like response. The result is a beautifully dynamic sound in which overtones can resonate and sustain while the fundamental note remains clear.
"For me, the magic is in the midrange," Andy says of koa. "In a way, it sounds like the Hawaiian language: sweet, lyrical, melodic. The way the notes flow from the guitar makes them sound effortless."
The Grand Auditorium 514ce LTD, meanwhile, blends versatility with the modern-sounding clarity that you might expect from a Taylor, but with a bit of sonic sweetener added. Koa brings more presence in the midrange, and with the cedar top, players can expect a pleasing mix of warmth and sparkle.
Taylor's V-Class bracing is a fundamental innovation in acoustic guitar design. It marks an important evolution beyond traditional X-bracing, introducing an entirely new platform for acoustic performance. It is essentially a "sonic engine" that optimizes the response of an acoustic guitar in three key ways: by boosting volume, sustain, and by largely resolving the intonation (in-tune-ness) issues that have long plagued acoustic guitars. V-Class bracing creates purer, more orderly notes that don't cancel each other out or sound "off". They have clearer, more consistent response, and the whole fretboard is brought into greater sonic alignment for a more musical playing/listening experience.
Guitars with V-Class bracing are easier to tune; the pitch sounds purer and more solid, and electronic tuners can more easily locate notes for quick, precise tuning. Other benefits: harmonics ring more uniformly down the neck, notes are louder with more projection and sustain, and notes are more consistent, i.e., upper register notes don't get choked out or swallowed. Fewer "sour" sonic qualities exist with chords; a more agreeable relationship is created between notes as they ripen, bloom and decay.
Taylor's 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. Because the pickup doesn't sit under the saddle, the bottom of the saddle comes in full contact with the bridge, allowing all the nuance of the guitar's tone to come through clearly whether playing acoustically or plugged-in. The location of the sensors enables a more dynamic range of acoustic sound to be captured than ever before while playing plugged-in.
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. The Taylor Expression System 2 operates through a proprietary 9-volt battery compartment and easy-to-use volume, and active bass and treble controls.
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