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NAMM 2016: Taylor Guitars Debuts Redesigned 500 and 300 Series Models

Following Taylor's recent voicing and design refinements on its 600, 800 and 900 Series models, Taylor Guitars Master Guitar Designer Andy Powers has introduced fresh designs to the company's 500 and 300 Series.

The transformative revoicings include new tonewoods, unique new models, and within the 500 Series, tone-enhancing bracing, making for a thoroughly retooled collection that delivers expansive musical diversity to the Taylor line.

One of the central design upgrades of the 500 Series is new Performance bracing. The guiding philosophy was to optimize the bracing based on body shape and tonewoods, incorporating subtle adjustments in shape and placement to give players a richer musical experience.

Other updates to the 500 Series include the debut of Lutz spruce on the Grand Symphony 516ce and Dreadnought 510e. Lutz, a naturally occurring hybrid of Sitka and White spruce, produces a strong dynamic response comparable to Adirondack spruce. The 510e is accompanied by another Dreadnought, the all-mahogany 520e. New design specs on both models include a 24-7/8-inch scale length, a V-carve neck profile, and a slotted headstock.

The geometry of the scale length reduces the string tension to create a more comfortable handfeel. Two other first-time designs that promise to make a strong impression are a pair of 12-string/12-fret Grand Concerts: the mahogany/cedar 552ce 12-Fret and the all-mahogany 562ce 12-Fret. The compact body size offers players a more accessible 12-string option. Together with the 12-fret neck design, players can expect a slinky feel and a voice that's surprisingly warm and powerful.

For the 300 Series, Powers has introduced a sonically appealing new tonewood option: Tasmanian blackwood. From the acacia family, blackwood is enjoyed by guitar players for its strong midrange focus, with a touch of top-end shimmer and richness reminiscent of koa and rosewood. Paired with a mahogany top, blackwood responds with a husky, powerful voice, especially on the new 12-string Dreadnought 360e. Other new models include a pair of 12-fret guitars: the sapele/spruce 312ce 12-Fret and blackwood/mahogany 322ce 12-Fret.

Both the new 500 and 300 Series also enjoy an aesthetic refresh. The 500 Series update includes the addition of faux tortoise shell binding with matching rosette and pickguard (mahogany-top models are pickguard-free), and a shaded edgeburst body and neck on mahogany-top models.

The 300 Series features an Italian acrylic small diamonds fretboard inlay, a shaded edgeburst and all-satin finish on mahogany-top models, and satin-finish back and sides with gloss-finish top on models featuring Sitka spruce. Each of the new models features Taylor's award-winning Expression System 2 pickup and arrives in a hardshell case.

To experience the new guitars at the Winter NAMM Show, visit the Taylor Guitars Showcase at the Anaheim Convention Center in room 213 ABC.

For additional news from Taylor Guitars, visit

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Guitar World Staff
Guitar World Staff

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