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Guitar Musician   e-zine     04/20//05

In This Issue:

  "Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought."

                                   - E. Y. Harburg quotes (American lyricist, librettist and song writer, 1896-1981)

Some Humor

A senior citizen in Florida bought a brand new Mercedes convertible. He took off down the road,

flooring it to 80 mph and enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left on his head. "This is great," he thought as he roared down I-75. He pushed the pedal to the metal even more. Then he looked in his rear view mirror and saw a highway patrol trooper behind him, blue lights flashing and siren blaring."I can get away from him with no problem" thought the man and he tromped it some more and flew down the road at over 100 mph. Then 110, 120 mph!

Then he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for this kind of thing." He pulled over to the side of theroad and waited for the trooper to catch up with him. The trooper pulled in behind the Mercedes and walked up to the man. "Sir," he said, looking at his watch.

"My shift ends in 30 minutes and today is Friday. If you can give me a reason why you were speeding that I've never heard before, I'll let you go."

The man looked at the trooper and said, "Years ago my wife ran off with a Florida state trooper, and I thought you were bringing her back."

The trooper replied, "Sir, have a nice day."



Click here for all products by Taylor.

Taylor 100 and 200 Series Guitars

Precision production and heavenly tone at a way-down-to-earth price.

By Nadine Brockmeir

Taylor has tooled up their precision technology to produce two lines of guitars that combine flawless construction, select woods, and revolutionary design for that inimitable genuine Taylor tone with a very friendly price tag. The 100 and 200 Series guitars give budget-constrained players an opportunity to experience Taylor's unique sound and satin playability.

Hands-On Product Review: Taylor 100 and 200 Series Guitars Adolescent crush
When I was eleven, my older brother traded his motorcycle for a Taylor dreadnought. I was green with envy. Of course I couldn't play a note. But it was such a beautiful instrument and my brother made it sound so sweet I wanted it badly. I used to take it out and try to play a few chords when he wasn't around. That was the start of my musical career. It was 13 years and seven day jobs before I could afford a Taylor of my own.

Now that I've played the Taylor 110, 210, and 214 models, I'm kind of irked that they didn't come out with them when I was in college playing the local coffee houses. The same money in those days bought me a clunky beater that sounded OK but had such terrible action I couldn't play bar chords after the first three songs. If you're still not rich and have been waiting to get your hands on a really excellent guitar, your time has come.

21st century luthiery
In 1990 Bob Taylor's passion for precision drove him to incorporate computer-controlled milling machines into his California workshop. This enabled his team of master luthiers to create ever-more sophisticated construction processes, using machinery to do perfectly what human hands will invariably do imperfectly. The result is a level of accuracy in manufacture unmatched by any other luthier.

With the 100 and 200 Series guitars, Taylor has put all this technical manufacturing experience to innovative use. They've invested the lion's share of skilled luthiery up front in setting up the largely automated production lines. This saves labor and results in guitars that are very well made but not very expensive. Musician's Friend sent me three guitars to review: the 110 Dreadnought, the 210 Dreadnought, and the 214 Grand Auditorium.

110�elemental excellence
The first thing that struck me about this guitar was its light weight and natural feel. Its great resonance comes from an organic unity of structure. Its feather weight is made possible in part by the sapele back, which is deeply arched to avoid the need for back bracing.

The mahogany neck features a great-looking and smooth-playing satin finish. The fretboard is a thick, beautiful slab of ebony. In addition to its terrific looks, ebony's greater density provides a sleeker-feeling neck and adds tonal crispness. The ebony bridge features Taylor's distinctive curvaceous design and adds visual appeal. The bookmatched solid Sitka spruce top resonates brilliantly and shines particularly for fingerpicking. The spruce on the guitar I received for review is gorgeously figured, one might even call it flamed.

One of the most unique features of this guitar�and all modern Taylor guitars�is the neck joint. While it appears to be a normal set-neck joint that feels exceptionally tight and resonant, it is actually a unique bolt-on system�the New Technology neck joint. The neck and fretboard comprise a single unit that is bolted to the body with a locking "interference" fit that's machined to a thousandth of an inch and uses deliberate tension between the parts to create phenomenal transference of vibration. The advantage is that there's zero fretboard warpage at the joint and the neck angle can be adjusted with extreme precision.

Hands-On Product Review: Taylor 100 and 200 Series Guitars 210 and 214�affordable luxury
The 210 Dreadnought and 214 Grand Auditorium are identical in construction except for body shape. Aside from their price tags, these are premium guitars in every way, starting with select woods. The bookmatched solid Sitka spruce tops feature very fine-grained spruce that sports a satin finish to make the wood really pop visually. I don't know whether the tops on these guitars are representative, but they're both impressively figured�unusual for spruce.

Sides and back of solid sapele lend warmth and clarity to the tone generated by that gorgeous top wood. Sapele resembles mahogany, but this stuff is more beautiful, with a pronounced and radiant grain. The thick fretboards, like the headstock overlays and bridges, are solid ebony with a little variegation in the color for a very exotic look. The ivoroid logo headstock inlay is, of course, perfect. It is carved by a computer-controlled laser, no doubt.

The black top and back binding plus heelcap are likewise flawless. In fact I couldn't find a single manufacturing flaw in any of these guitars. The tropical American mahogany necks have a very comfortable profile and are set up with low action and no buzzing. They are very easy on my smallish left hand. One slick feature I like on all Taylors is the tiny bevel on the edges of the fretboards. This provides a very smooth feel and clean visual lines.

The expansive top on the 210 Dreadnought yields a loud, full, and punchy tone with the characteristic Taylor brilliance and tightness. If you play a lot without a bassist, this guitar's fuller low-end tones would be a good fit.

For my stage act�a five-piece with bass, percussion, another guitar, and violin�I found that the 214 Grand Auditorium's brighter tone really cut and made its own space in the mix. The tone is extremely well defined without being tinny. I tried it onstage and in my home studio. The results were great in both contexts. The 214's narrow waist is very comfortable for me as I normally play seated and it rests easily on my thigh.

Home run
All in all, I'm very favorably impressed by Taylor's 100 and 200 Series guitars. Rather than going for flashy looks, Taylor has focused on the two critical elements in a guitar�tone and playability. As it happens, the guitars look great, too�a result of elegant design, very good woods, and flawless construction, rather than flamboyant appointments. These guitars are supremely playable, great sounding, sharp looking, and very reasonably priced. After a long and distinguished record of success, Taylor has hit it out of the park again.


Features & Specs:

Taylor 110 Dreadnought: Taylor 210 Dreadnought and 214 Grand Auditorium:
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Laminated sapele back and sides
  • Mahogany neck
  • Ebony fretboard and bridge
  • Enclosed die-cast chromeplated tuners
  • Black plastic top and back binding
  • Tusq nut and saddle
  • Scalloped X-bracing
  • 25-1/2" scale
  • 1-11/16" nut width
  • 20 frets
  • Adjustable truss rod
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • Solid sapele back and sides
  • Tropical American mahogany neck
  • Ebony fretboard and bridge
  • Ebony headstock overlay
  • Pearloid dot fretboard inlays
  • Black plastic top and back binding
  • Tusq nut and saddle
  • Enclosed, die-cast chromeplated tuning machines
  • Scalloped X-bracing
  • 25-1/2" scale
  • 1-11/16" nut width
  • 20 frets
  • Adjustable truss rod

For more info on ordering this product email us

Guitar Q & A

  Undersaddle Compensation

Q I have a Martin 000C-16RGTE with a Gold Plus undersaddle pickup. The Acoustic Guitar Owner�s Manual suggests using copper-foil tape under the saddle to increase the pressure and compensate for an otherwise �weak� string. Can I use self-adhesive copper circuit tape? Might the adhesive have any effect on the undersaddle pickup if I stick the adhesive side to the saddle (away from the pickup)?

Jojit Paredes
Encino, California

You�ve got it right on the money; this is basically the stuff I use, and I apply it as you suggest: to the bottom of the saddle. I can�t think of any long-term ill effects from this material. The copper-foil tape is made by 3M and is the same stuff that many stained-glass workers use to edge pieces of glass that are soldered together in the �Tiffany� technique. I happen to use a tin-plated version of the copper tape, which doesn�t tarnish like the pure copper stuff and also has slightly better shielding characteristics (though at frequencies you probably needn�t worry about).

�Rick Turner