NAMM 2018: Taylor Reveals Innovative V-Class Acoustic Guitars

Game changer and innovation do not get bandied around lightly, so we imagine you’ll be as excited as we are for Taylor’s new V-Class acoustic guitars, which have just been revealed at NAMM…

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Designed by master guitar designer Andy Powers, the patented V-Class bracing system promises to go a step beyond traditional X-bracing. “Think of it as a new sonic engine,” says Taylor. One “that optimises the response of an acoustic guitar in three key ways: by boosting both the volume and sustain, and by largely resolving the intonation issues that have long plagued acoustic guitars.”

V-Class bracing will feature in select Taylor Grand Auditorium models in 2018, with a special Builder’s Edition V-Class guitar with player-friendly features also planned for release, which Taylor refers to as “Andy’s ‘Director’s Cut’ edition.”

V-Class key features

A New Approach to Controlling Volume and Sustain

  • After years of refining Taylor’s X-bracing patterns to systematically revoice the entire Taylor line, Andy felt an entirely different bracing approach was needed to make greater improvements in sound
  • X-bracing by design has always had to strike a compromise between stiffness and exibility — i.e., sustain and volume — meaning one comes at the expense of the other
  • The V-Class bracing architecture orchestrates the top movement in a different way than X-bracing. This allows more independent control of stiffness and exibility, which has allowed us to increase both the volume and sustain

Improved Intonation for a More Orderly Response

  • One of the realities of modern guitar design is that equal temperament tuning created intonation imperfections, especially when playing up the neck
  • Typically intonation issues have been addressed with saddle adjustment or compensation, or by the fretting nuances of players (to compensate for “sour” notes), but it never fully resolves the issue
  • Andy discovered that controlling the top movement with a different bracing design could also fix intonation problems. The design goal was to resolve the conflict between the notes the player is trying to play and the way the top’s response interferes with them
  • V-Class bracing creates purer, more orderly notes that don’t cancel each other out or sound “off”; they have a clearer, more consistent response. It brings the whole fretboard into greater sonic alignment for a more musical playing/listening experience

Experiencing the Sonic Improvements

  • Guitars with V-Class bracing are easier to tune: the pitch sounds purer, more solid, so the tuner can locate the note more easily
  • Harmonics ring more uniformly down the neck
  • Notes are louder, with more projection and longer sustain
  • Notes are more consistent; upper register notes don’t get choked out or swallowed
  • Fewer “sour” sonic qualities with chords; a better, more familial relationship between notes even as they ripen, bloom, decay V-Class Model Offerings

Standard Models

  • Limited rollout to start / initially Grand Auditorium shape only
    • PS14ce: Striped West African ebony back/sides, sinker redwood top
    • K24ce: All-koa
    • 914ce: Indian rosewood back/sides, Sitka spruce top
  • Visually distinctive features of models with V-Class bracing: new back label, black graphite nut.
  • Other Grand Auditorium models to come later in the year

Builder’s Edition

  • Builder’s Edition K14ce: Koa back/sides, torrefied Sitka spruce top
  • Andy’s “Director’s Cut” edition with additional playing features and a different visual aesthetic
  • Exclusive features:
    • Beveled armrest & new beveled cutaway
    • “Silent” satin finish with Kona burst
    • Inlaid purfling body edge treatment
    • Paua fingerboard/peghead inlays & rosette
    • Paua edge trim (top & back)
    • Premium Gotoh 510 tuners (21:1 ratio)

Pricing and Availability:

  • Builder’s Edition K14ce – $4,999
  • PS14ce – £8,999
  • K24ce – $4,499
  • 914ce – $4,999

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