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Overview Video

The Magic of Solid Koa

Few tonewoods have a more storied history than Bob Taylor's personal favorite, Hawaiian koa. When King Kamehameha I conquered all the islands of Hawaii and unified them under his rule, his warriors rode in koa canoes and did battle with koa weapons outfitted with shark teeth and marlin bills; heck, his class of highly-trained warriors were called the na ali’i koa! Once the islands were united, Hawaiians built everything from traditional umeke bowls to surfboards to furniture to fence posts with the strong, sturdy wood. Eventually, someone said "what if I make an instrument out of this stuff?" and thus began koa's storied history as a tonewood.

Perhaps koa's storied history imbues it with a bit of extra mojo, but you don't need to ponder the past to understand why koa is Bob Taylor's favorite tonewood and why these limited-edition 424ce-Ks are such special guitars. Simply put, it is one of the most beautiful woods in the world when it comes to both sound and visuals. It has a gorgeous earthy color with entrancing grain patterns, but its powerful voice is its most alluring feature.

Right out of the box, koa sounds glorious. There is simply nothing in this world like playing a solid-koa guitar. It is an utterly magical experience. Koa guitars produce a strong, woody, warm midrange response with sweet, sunny, sparkling highs and tight, well-defined bass. And, the more time you invest into playing the guitar, it sounds better and better. As the woods vibrate more and more, the guitar opens up. The midrange becomes richer and warmer, the highs become lusher and more three-dimensional, and the bass response deepens. So, the Wildwood-Exclusive 424ce-K LTD will grow with you as you grow as a player!

Koa Collaboration

Of course, such a prestigious tonewood often comes with a hefty price tag, mostly because it is illegal to cut down a koa tree. Manufacturers must wait until a koa tree falls down or dies of natural causes to purchase koa. As a result, it is quite rare, and it commands a premium on the open market. Of course, it's well worth it for wood of such incredible quality because it has the power to inspire incredible musical joy and creativity. But, we wanted to make the wonderful tone and stunning looks of koa more accessible to more players, so we asked our friends at Taylor if they would let us hand-select the woods for a series of exclusive 400-series koa guitars.

Because they are some of the coolest people in the world, they said yes! They turned out better than we could have ever imagined. As a result of Acoustic Overlord Brian's expert eye during the wood-selection process, the koa looks magnificent, and the natural finish highlights the drool-inducing grain of the wood perfectly. While they may not have the same level of cosmetic bling as other high-end koa Taylors, they have a simple, elegant aesthetic that prompts a different sort of sensory delight. And, of course, they harness every bit of koa's horsepower, which makes them true sonic titans.

We believe that the fruit of our collaboration, the Wildwood-Exclusive 424ce-K LTD, offers players the opportunity to experience the glory of koa at the best possible value. We are proud to present these koa killers, and we have no doubt that they will inspire you to embark on all sorts of exciting adventures across the fretboard and beyond. Read on for more about how their body shape and bracing help them achieve sonic titanhood!

A Magnificent Workhorse

The Wildwood-Exclusive 424ce-K LTD's shape is also part of the reason why it's such an 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-Classic

We can't talk about sweet sounds 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 Wildwood-Exclusive 424ce-K LTD 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 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 Wildwood-Exclusive 424ce-K LTD sounds so in-tune that it's scary.


Brand Taylor Guitars
ModelWildwood-Exclusive 424ce-K LTD
TypeGrand Auditorium
Top WoodSolid Hand-Selected Hawaiian Koa
BracingV-Class with Relief Rout
Back & Sides WoodSolid Hand-Selected Hawaiian Koa
FinishGloss Natural
Neck WoodNeo-Tropical Mahogany
Neck Dimensions.840 1st - .870 9th
Fretboard MaterialWest African Crelicam Ebony
Fingerboard InlaysItalian Acrylic Dots
Scale Length25.5"
Width at Nut1.75"
Nut MaterialBlack Graphite-Infused Tusq
ElectronicsTaylor Expression System 2
TunersTaylor Nickel
BridgeWest African Crelicam Ebony
CaseTaylor Hardshell
Stock CodeA404002111002090000

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