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The new Taylor GT 811e starts off with a combination that can’t lose; a solid sitka spruce top, with Indian rosewood for the back and sides. The maple binding has black purfling details, while the abalone rosette is equally very nice, and completes the look of understatement being statement. With a 24-1/8” scale length the 20-fret tropical mahogany neck feels super smooth, along with the West African Crelicam Ebony fingerboard, playing any note is pure perfection. The inlays on the headstock and fingerboard are Taylor’s Element icon and are done in abalone.
Inside, the GT has Taylor’s C-Class bracing, and it allows the top to vibrate where it needs to, while maintaining its structural integrity. This also allows smaller bodied instruments to resonate in areas that they normally wouldn’t, bringing in a deeper bass response, and a focused clarity on the top end, and maintains an overall warmth that ties everything together. Normally thick glossy finishes diminish an acoustic’s ability to vibrate, but Taylor’s super thin finish allows the instrument to breathe and not be constricted.
Usually, smaller scale/smaller bodied instruments don’t get as big a tone as their larger siblings, it’s the compromise of the size. Not here — as soon as we hit our first chord, our jaws hit the floor. For players who love the classic sound of a larger bodied acoustic, but maybe aren’t sized for it, this could be the one you’re looking for. Long sessions with a big body can be tough on the picking hand, but the GT’s small size takes that issue out of the equation.▼ Article continues below ▼
The low end was quite robust, and it didn’t get boomy on the lower strings. Open chords were very rich and had a nice top end chime that stayed musical and not something to work around. Playability was phenomenal, as you would expect from Taylor; the ease of maneuvering around the fretboard was just a wonderful experience – so, for players who want an instrument to fight them, look elsewhere.
It sits nicely in the mix with other instruments as well; our tester played sets with his acoustic band, and the singer’s Taylor Grand Auditorium style guitar, and it was an excellent balance between the two instruments.
Electronics-wise it’s very basic, with a treble, bass and volume control, that runs Taylor’s Expression 2 System. Most acoustics place the pickup under the bridge, which means most of the sound being heard is just the string vibration. With Taylor’s system, the pickup is behind the saddle, which brings in the tone from the vibrations of the instrument as a whole.
For the player who wants that big and rich classic big-bodied sound, without the effort or any issue, and all the details that Taylor’s known for, this is the instrument that could change everything.
Excellent playability, beautiful tone, well-crafted and detailed