Video: Taylor Guitars’ David Hosler Discusses the Expression System 2

In this video series, AN editor Laura B. Whitmore discusses the new Expression System 2 pickup design with Taylor Guitars' David Hosler.

As the successor to Taylor’s Expression System 1 which was introduced in 2003, the ES2 is a brand new innovation that faithfully conveys the voice of Taylor instruments.

For decades, piezo-electric transducers have been positioned under the saddle of a guitar, based on the long-held belief that the string and top vibration cause the saddle to “bounce” up and down.

But Taylor’s electronics team, led by Hosler, discovered that the vertical movement is actually heavily restricted, and that the saddle gets “locked down” due to the string tension’s downward pressure – resulting in a thin, brittle sound, especially with more aggressive strumming.

The saddle’s natural range of movement as the guitar is being played is actually back and forth like a pendulum. That revelation led Taylor’s design team to relocate the crystals from under the saddle to behind it.

The new positioning enables the crystals to respond more naturally to the guitar’s energy as it is transferred through the saddle. Three pickup sensors are installed behind the saddle, through the bridge, with three tiny Allen screws that calibrate the position of the sensors in relation to the saddle.

Below, Hosler explains the Expression System 2, and demonstrates how the pickups are built.

Part 1: We talk about how the new Expression System 2 is different and how it came about.

Part 2: More about pickups in general and how they affect performance.

Part 3:We build a pickup in the Taylor Guitars factory!

Find out more about the Expression System 2 and Taylor’s line of instruments at

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Acoustic Nation

Acoustic Nation is written by Laura B. Whitmore, a music industry marketing veteran, music journalist and editor, who has contributed to, Guitar World, and others. She has interviewed hundreds of musicians and hosts the She Rocks Podcast. As the founder of the Women’s International Music Network, she advocates for women in the music industry and produces the annual She Rocks Awards. She is the Senior Vice President of Marketing for Positive Grid, making the world safe for guitar exploration everywhere! A guitarist and singer/songwriter, Laura is currently co-writing an album of pop songs that empower and energize girls.