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Maple Magic

Andy Powers is a visionary, a genius, and possibly a wizard. Whether he has magic powers or not, he has revolutionized the world of acoustic guitar design as Taylor's master guitar designer. His first project was to redesign of Taylor's 600 Series guitars, and his enhancements put his brilliance on full display. Basically, Andy re-defined what a guitar with maple back and sides can be. The 612ce is a shining example of his genius, and it is one of the coolest Grand Concert guitars in Taylor's arsenal.

The 600 series features guitars with spruce tops and maple back and sides. This classic combo has produced many legendary sounds, but some guitarists are a bit leery of dipping their toes into the wonderful world of maple. Though maple-bodied guitars are renowned for their bright, clear, transparent tone and exceptional articulation, they can sound a bit strident and thin until the aging process mellows them out. Andy Powers sought to rectify this problem and craft a maple-bodied acoustic that everyone could love.

Torrefaction Attraction

In order to accomplish this Heruclean feat, Andy utilized the magic of torrefaction. Basically, torrefaction is when you heat a piece of wood to somewhere between 200 and 320 °C. At that point, the wood dries out and develops a cellular structure similar to an actual vintage instrument that has aged naturally.

More importantly, the torrefaction process imparts a vintage sound. Guitars with torrefied tops have a warmer, woodier timbre with a rounder attack and greater openness. All of these qualities are heavenly when paired with maple. You get crisp, quick response, fast decay, superb articulation, and a bright chiming high end from maple. Then, the torrefied top gives that sound a healthy sunny glow by smoothing out the harsh edges and providing balancing warmth.

Normally, maple guitars are bright and transparent. The redesigned 600 series still sounds transparent, but now the guitars mostly sit right in the middle of the spectrum between bright and dark. By using torrefied tops and tweaking the bracing pattern, Andy Powers has redefined what is possible with maple.

Grand Concert Greatness

Of course, the tonewoods are only half the equation. The other is body shape, and the Grand Concert body suits the 600 series extraordinarily well. It 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 V-Classic

Speaking of balance and note separation, let's talk about Taylor's new V-Class bracing, which is now available on 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 Station

V-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 612ce sounds so in-tune that it's scary.

A Small-Bodied Showstopper

We are proud to showcase the Taylor 612ce 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 tiniest 600 series guitar. It's pure maple magic!


Brand Taylor Guitars
TypeGrand Concert
Top FinishGloss
Top WoodTorrefied Sitka
Back & Sides WoodMaple
Back & Sides FinishGloss
Neck WoodMaple
Neck FinishGloss
Neck Shape.860 1st - .890 9th
Fingerboard InlaysIvoroid Wings
Scale Length24-7/8"
Width at Nut1-3/4”
Nut MaterialBlack Graphite
ElectronicsTaylor Expression System 2
TunersTaylor Slot Head
CaseHardshell Case
Stock CodeA601001111003697122

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Serial Number: 1106109119

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