A Twelve-Fret You'll Never Forget
Wildwoodians, we are proud to present you with a true twelve-fret terror: the Taylor 312ce 12-fret with V-Class bracing. Twelve-fret concert-bodied acoustic guitars have an incredible historical pedigree that begins in the earliest days of steel-string guitars. Here, Taylor has taken the iconic 12-fret concert and given it a facelift for the modern era. They have tweaked the tonewood formula for extra resonance and switched up the bracing to give it more volume and sustain while maintaining the classic 12-fret response. As a result, this guitar's feet are firmly planted in the past while its eyes are affixed on the horizon.
Grand Concert Greatness
Taylor's Grand Concert body shape offers a host of strengths to both fingerstyle players and strummers. Guitars with this shape produce punchy midrange response, well-defined low-end, and plenty of that classic Taylor sparkle and chime. Their articulation is incredible, and their woody attack captures every detail and nuance of your right-hand dynamics. When you dig into them, more and more overtones pop out of the top as the sound becomes more piano-like and full, like a box full of lush resonance. This is because the Grand Concert's smaller body has less headroom, which makes it easier to get the top moving and get some natural-sounding compression.
A Twelve-Fret Terror
A guitar with a 24 7/8"-scale 12-fret neck always has slinkier handfeel than its 14-fret cousins. There's less tension on the strings, which reduces the player's left-hand effort and makes bending much easier. But, a 12-fret neck doesn't just affect feel. To make it work, the luthier must position the bridge in the sweet spot where the top is most flexible. This makes the top vibrate in a different way, and it gives the guitar exceptional punching power, projection, and responsiveness.
Terrific Taylor TonewoodsThe 312ce 12-fret's top is made of solid Sitka spruce, and its back and sides are made of solid sapele. Sitka spruce produces a strong fundamental, has a good amount of headroom, and sounds quite focused. Sapele is a hardwood similar to mahogany with a couple key differences. It has mahogany's roundness, midrange warmth, and natural tendency to compress the attack, but it produces a bit more top-end chime and sparkle. It's also a bit snappier.
In a Grand Concert body, these woods give the 312ce 12-fret a balanced voice that manages to sound sunny without being overly bright. The midrange is warm and punchy, the highs have just the right amount of sparkle, and the string-to-string balance and note separation are impeccable. It has a truly amazing combination of fullness, warmth, clarity, and articulation that lends itself perfectly to the nuances of fingerstlye playing. but, if you dig punchy, bright, boxy acoustic sounds, it sits wonderfully in the mix as a strummer. It is quite a versatile beast!
A V-ClassicSpeaking of balance and note separation, let's talk about Taylor's new V-Class bracing, which is now available on 12-fret Grand Concerts! It's an elegant solution to a problem that has plagued luthiers for decades. For years, acoustic guitar builders had to compromise between volume and sustain. Flexibility equals volume, and stiffness equals sustain. Obviously, a piece of wood cannot be rigid and flexible at the same time, so builders had to go for one or the other.
Andy Powers wanted to have his cake and eat it, too. After much tinkering, V-Class bracing was his elegant solution to the problem that has plagued luthiers for centuries. As the name implies, V-Class bracing features two long pieces of wood that make a "V" shape together. The bracing is quite thin and flexible near the rear bout, but it becomes thicker as you get closer to the soundhole.
So, you get volume from the flexible parts of the bracing, and sustain from the rigid parts! Many areas of the guitar neck that typically sound weak (ninth fret on the G string, for instance) have just as much presence, resonance, and sustain as the low E. As a result, the 312ce sounds supremely balanced and sculpted. When you hear one played live in the room, you'd swear a mix engineer had already done a bunch of post-production work on it. And, it gives the guitar piano-like note separation and crystalline clarity even when you play fancy jazz chords!
Intonation StationV-Class bracing also does wonders for the guitar's intonation. Are you ready to have your mind blown? When I visited the Taylor headquarters El Cajon, Andy Powers explained that an acoustic guitar's intonation is not necessarily just the sum of the typical adjustments like saddle height, nut slots, and neck angle (though they do a play a part). The way that the actual guitar itself vibrates also has a lot to do with how in-tune it sounds.
Andy told me to picture it like this: when you take close-up slow-motion footage of a guitar's top with a high-speed camera as someone plays it, you can see the top move vividly. On a traditional X-braced guitar, the top vibrates in a disorderly, disjointed manner. This can cause a guitar with perfect saddle height and neck angle to sound out of tune when you play a big open chord.
By contrast, guitars with V-Class bracing vibrate in a much more orderly manner. The graduated braces compel the energy from the player's attack to move from the thin outer part of the bracing to the thicker inner part in a efficient manner. If you were to take a high-speed shot of a V-Class top, you would see it rock back and forth evenly in a pleasing pattern. Because of that V-Class magic, the 312ce 12-fret sounds so in-tune that it's scary.
A Small-Bodied ShowstopperWe are proud to showcase the Taylor 312ce 12-fret for our exceptional customers. We believe its intelligent body design, resonant tonewoods, and marvelous new bracing give it the sort of spectacular tone that compels you to play for hours and hours. We invite you to take one for a spin and get inspired by Taylor's 12-fret terror. It's scary good!