Taylor Guitars Builder’s Edition 816ce
Pure LuxuryThe new Builder's Edition 816ce 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 the sound port cutaway offers unprecedented access.
Speaking of which, the sound port in the cutaway is Andy Powers's latest bit of wizardry. It allows the 816ce's voice to fill the room with its beautiful tone, and it makes the guitar sound like a whole orchestra--appropriate for a Grand Symphony model! And anyone listening will be glad its resonance is so huge, because it sounds glorious thanks to its killer tonewood pairing of Lutz spruce and Indian rosewood. Lutz spruce is a hybrid between White spruce and Sitka spruce that only grows in the Alaskan panhandle and central British Columbia, and it exhibits what tonewood experts call “hybrid vigor.” This means that it is as stiff as Sitka spruce, but with the lower density of White spruce. So, the Builder's Edition 816ce has lots of power, projection, and headroom while remaining responsive and articulate. With the piano-like richness of imparted by rosewood, Lutz spruce creates an intoxicating sonic cocktail for your eardrums.
The 816ce is also remarkably comfortable--so much so that you might lose track of time. 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 816ce, 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 an 816ce, it feels so welcoming and inviting that it's almost like you're playing a wooden pillow!
Not that you'll be able to sleep, because they sound so good that you'll want to stay up all night playing them! Lutz spruce and rosewood would ordinarily form an addictive sonic cocktail, but Taylor pushed these guitars over the top by incorporating their revolutionary V-Class bracing!
We can't talk about how sweet these guitars sound without talking 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 K24ce 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!
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 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 816ce sounds so in-tune that it's scary.
|Model||Builder's Edition 816ce|
|Top Wood||Solid Lutz Spruce|
|Top Finish||Silent Satin|
|Bracing Style||V-Class with Relief Rout|
|Back & Sides Wood||Solid Indian Rosewood|
|Back & Sides Finish||Silent Satin|
|Neck Wood||Tropical Mahogany|
|Neck Dimensions||.830 1st - .870 9th|
|Fretboard Material||West African Crelicam Ebony|
|Scale Length||24 7/8"|
|Nut Material||Black Graphite-Infused Tusq|
|Electronics||Expression System 2|
|Tuners||Gotoh 510 in Antique Gold|
|Bridge||West African Crelicam Ebony|
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