The Taylor Academy Series 10E is not a “dumbed down” inexpensive version of the more expensive models of the brand. Instead, it is a totally new design developed to produce the full potential for an acoustic guitar at this cost. In addition, they are designed brilliantly for maximum playing comfort with knowledge that first-time players are most likely to purchase these guitars and will be more likely to continue playing an instrument that sounds good and is easy to play. It is definitely among the top acoustic guitars.
Taylor Academy Series 10E Features
There are three models in the Taylor Academy Series; the nylon-string 12E-N, the 12E flattops and the steel-string 10E Dreadnought. The features of the steel-string models are explored below but it should be noted that the features of the 10E and 12E are almost identical. The exceptions are the neck material and the different body dimensions; the neck of the 10E is sapele, while the neck of the 12E is mahogany.
It has a Sitka spruce top and other materials include ebony bridge and fingerboard, Micarta saddle, Nubone nut and layered sapele sides and back. This consists of a three-layer configuration featuring outer edges made of sapele veneer and a center layer made of poplar. The specifications of the neck include its 24 7/8-inch scale length, 1 11/16-inch nut width, 20 frets and its slim profile with a slight hint of the center having a rounded “v” peak.
The guitar has understated aesthetics that are elegantly simple. No purfling or binding is anywhere; its visual decorative elements are the Taylor name on its headstock, Italian acrylic dot inlays and three-ring rosette. An unexpected feature is its armrest bevel, which is an ergonomic feature previously usually found on more costly custom acoustics. In a surprising departure from the usual Taylor acoustic-electric, the guitar features a new ES-B pickup/preamp system with a digital chromatic tuner and the standard tone and volume controls.
This guitar is not lacking the spruce top hallmarks that are synonymous with the Taylor brand; it has resonant and bright trebles with solid projection. Its low action is also tremendously welcoming across the ebony ‘board and aspiring players will find that it helps in opening boundaries. It provides an instantly pleasant playing experience when combined with the response of the guitar.
When plugged in, the qualities of the 10E really shine and it instantly sounds quite impressive. Its rich low-end and definition qualities are great; however, some players have to dial back the tone because the high-end is punchier when it is lower on the tone dial. Some users find that the frequency-shaping advantages provided from the EQ control by way of a pedal unit or PA’s mixing desk could be used to mellow things out.
Even at its fairly low cost by Taylor’s standards, the company has real competition in the market from more inexpensive models. However, this instrument tends to stand out because it feels and sounds acoustically superior than the majority of models in their class; this is also true when it is plugged in.
A very clear vision is represented by the Academy Series. In many ways, this instrument is a dream guitar for a beginner and it is also a potential upgrade for certain existing players. It can go the distance with a player from the bedroom to the stage.
- Remarkable playability
- Armrest heightens playing comfort
- Well-balanced across the spectrum
- Lack of bass control may be an issue for live players
- Somewhat odd battery situation for the electronics
Taylor is committed to ongoing and evolving building of high-quality, unique and playable instruments in this under 1000 acoustic guitar price point and this is a very cool thing. The 10E is clearly an imaginative instrument that leverages lessons learned from the already successful endeavors of the brand. As it relates to playability and comfort, Taylor deserves applause for stylishly and gracefully achieving their design objectives. The Taylor 10E also has admirable musical complexity and breadth. Similar to the GS Mini and Baby Taylor, it will likely amass fans who will play it in situations that are well beyond the realm of budget-minded players and beginners. We also have another article on Taylors under $1000 here.