Taylor Guitars Builder’s Edition 324ce
The Height of ComfortThe new Builder's Edition 324ce may very well provide the most luxurious playing experience of any acoustic guitar in our shop! Andy Powers designed the Builder's Edition guitars to be as comfortable as humanly possible, and they have rolled out the six-string equivalent of a red carpet for players who demand exceptional ergonomics as well as spectacular sound. Like any Taylor, it has exceptional handfeel and it plays easy like Sunday morning--especially on the high frets, where a reshaped cutaway with a finger bevel allows for unprecedented upper-fret access.
Speaking of bevels, the wizards at Taylor have taken their beveled armrest concept and expanded on it, and the results are extraordinary! We Wildwoodians have loved Taylor's armrests for years, because they allow for maximum comfort AND they allow the top to resonate more freely because your arm doesn't rest directly on the soundboard. On the Builder's Edition 324ce, Taylor has beveled the edge of the ENTIRE guitar. When you combine this smooth feel with Taylor's "silent satin" finish--a thin finish meant to cut down on incidental noise--you get a guitar that provides world-beating comfort. Basically, when you pick up a Builder's Edition 324ce, it feels so welcoming and inviting that it's almost like you're playing a wooden pillow!
The Next Great TonewoodNot that you'll be going to sleep any time soon, because the 324ce sounds so gorgeous that you'll want to play until the wee hours of the morning. It has a solid mahogany top, which produces a warm, round, even, punchy sound while imparting a sweet, organic brand of compression. The back and sides are made of a fresh, exciting tonewood called urban ash. Urban ash (also known as evergeen or Shamel ash) comes from trees within urban environments that had to be chopped down because of age and/or public safety. Before Taylor started using them, most of these removed trees wound up in landfills, which is a crying shame, because urban ash is a world-beating tonewood! It sounds very similar to Honduran mahogany, one of the most sought-after tonewoods in the world. It produces a supremely powerful, warm, clear fundamental, and it is incredibly articulate. If you're looking for a clear yet lively acoustic tone unfettered by too many overtones, urban ash will get you there. It cuts through a mix like a wooden Ginsu, too!
Thankfully, our friends at Taylor realized that these trees held untapped potential for sweet tone, and they partnered with West Coast Arborists to secure a supply of this beautiful-sounding wood. Urban ash may very well be the high-end tonewood of the future, which is good news, because it is incredibly sustainable. Paired with mahogany, it produces clear, punchy midrange, beefy lows, and deliciously sweet, crisp highs. It's a fresh, exciting tonewood pairing, and it is sure to inspire boundless creative inspiration.
A Magnificent WorkhorseThe Builder's Edition 324ce makes it a do-everything all-terrain vehicle. The Grand Auditorium body is particularly cool because it's a Taylor original without too many antecedents or influence from "traditional" acoustic guitar design. Size-wise, it lands somewhere between a dreadnought and a grand concert, so it is supremely comfortable to play. Being an in-betweener, it responds equally well to fingerstyle and pick playing. It captures all of the subtleties and nuances of the player's attack, yet it also sounds full and satisfying when you strum a big chord. And, it has Taylor's killer ES-2 pickup system, so you can be certain that you'll get excellent sound whether you're playing a solo set or a gig with a band.
A V-ClassicWe if we didn't talk about Taylor's new V-Class bracing. 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 Builder's Edition 324ce 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 Builder's Edition 324ce sounds so in-tune that it's scary.
|Model||Builder's Edition 324ce|
|Top Wood||Solid Mahogany|
|Finish||Silent Satin Tobacco Kona Burst|
|Bracing||V-Class with Relief Rout|
|Back & Sides Wood||Solid Urban Ash|
|Neck Wood||Tropical Mahogany|
|Neck Dimensions||.840 1st - .870 9th|
|Fretboard Material||West African Crelicam Ebony|
|Fingerboard Inlays||Italian Acrylic Compass|
|Nut Material||Black Graphite-Infused Tusq|
|Binding||West African Crelicam Ebony|
|Rosette||Single-Ring Faux Pearl|
|Electronics||Expression System 2|
|Tuners||Gold Gotoh 510s w/21:1 Ratio|
|Bridge||West African Crelicam Ebony|
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