Taylor Guitars 618e
Wildwood and SteelEvery year, Taylor Guitars puts out a magazine called Wood and Steel detailing all of the exciting new projects their company has embarked upon. It's always a great read, and it's a great way to gain insight into how the folks at Taylor are revolutionizing the world of acoustic guitars. For the last couple of years, they've been kind enough to let us have each and every guitar featured in the magazine. We've dubbed them "Wildwood and Steel" guitars, and we believe that they are exceptional examples of their various models--after all, they got chosen to be model guitars for a reason. Each guitar also comes with a Wood and Steel magazine hand-signed by the magician himself, Andy Powers.
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. One of his first projects 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 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.
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.
A V-ClassicSpeaking of redefining what is possible with an acoustic guitar with bracing, let's talk about the 618ce's V-Class Bracing. V-Class Bracing. 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 618ce 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 the 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 an 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 618ce sounds so in-tune that it's scary.
A Maple MonsterWe're proud to showcase such an inspiring instrument for our exceptional customers. Thanks to Andy Powers's redesign and subsequent development of V-Class bracing, the 618ce sounds like no maple guitar you've ever heard. We invite you to pick one up, give it a strum, and experience the magic of maple. Once you do, you'll be completely addicted to the 618ce's sweet sounds.
|Top Finish||Gloss Antique Blonde|
|Top Wood||Solid Torrefied Sitka Spruce|
|Back & Sides Wood||Solid Big Leaf Maple|
|Back & Sides Finish||Gloss|
|Neck Wood||Hard Rock Maple|
|Neck Shape||.820 1st - .850 9th|
|Fingerboard||West African Crelicam Ebony|
|Fingerboard Inlays||Grained Ivoroid/Mother-of-Pearl Shell/Celluloid Mission|
|Width at Nut||1 3/4”|
|Nut Material||Black Graphite-Infused Tusq|
|Electronics||Taylor Expression System 2|
|Bridge||West African Crelicam Ebony|
|Case||Taylor Deluxe Hardshell Case With Western Floral Pattern|
Click Here to learn more about what makes a Wildwood instrument so special...