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Taylor GTe Urban Ash review

Equipped with C-Class bracing and Taylor's phenomenal ES-2 electronics, this compact acoustic is a heavyweight performer

Taylor GTe Urban Ash
(Image: © Taylor)

Our Verdict

With its comfortably compact size and buttery playability, the Taylor GTe Urban Ash plainly begs to be your “get-up-and-go” guitar for a variety of performances.

For

  • Compact body and shorter scale length enhance comfort.
  • Eco-conscious build.
  • C-Class bracing is a winning formula.
  • It's uncanny how big and bold its voice is.

Against

  • Some people will need a larger-bodied acoustic.

It's no stretch to say Taylor Guitars is a visionary company. With the many setbacks and challenges presented around the world last year, Taylor moved forward with enterprising ideas and some of their most innovative designs. 

It all started with Taylor’s Urban Wood initiative – where select trees in need of removal from California cities were reclaimed and given a second life as premium instruments – which in turn, culminated in the discovery of an alternative and newfound tonewood dubbed “Urban Ash” and utilized in Taylor’s spectacular Builder’s Edition 324ce and 326ce acoustics. 

In response to the many hardships people faced during the pandemic, Taylor also launched an affordable upscale line of acoustics in the American Dream Series

And in case you weren’t aware, Taylor, in one fell swoop, transferred ownership of the company to its employees via a newly formed ESOP. Needless to say, Taylor has been laying the groundwork for the future of acoustic instruments and the people who make them.

Taylor GTe Urban Ash

(Image credit: Taylor)

Sandwiched between all of this, Taylor hosted the aptly nicknamed “Taylor Guitars Biggest Little Virtual Launch Event” where reviewers like myself received a Taylor AeroCase fastened with a travel lock whereupon the combination would only be revealed during the live stream.

Clever, for sure, and after opening the case I was greeted with the Taylor GTe, a pleasantly scaled-down acoustic with a new body shape and constructed with one of my favorite aforementioned tonewoods – Urban Ash.

Features

The non-cutaway GT body designation is short for Grand Theater, and its dimensions intersect right between Taylor’s full-size Grand Concert and GS Mini body shapes. If you’re familiar with Taylor’s body curves, the GT is essentially their jumbo Grand Orchestra model shrunken to Goldilocks proportions.

The GTe’s width measures 15 inches across the lower bout and 4-1/4 inches deep, and its scale length is a limber 24-1/8 inches, which, according to Taylor, approximates the tension of a 25-1/2 scale length guitar with a capo on the first fret.

That shorter scale length coupled with a 1-23/32 inch nut width, slim neck carve with a slight V profile, and condensed fret spacing on its tropical mahogany neck all contribute to the GTe’s spry playability by bringing your hands closer to feel more connected to the instrument.

Taylor GTe Urban Ash

(Image credit: Taylor)

The GTe features a solid spruce top with a beautifully wide wood grain, but for its back and sides, Taylor uses Urban Ash, sourced from removed Shamel ash trees in California, and which happens to share similar tonal properties as high-grade Honduran mahogany.

Borrowing from their American Dream series, Taylor employs Eucalyptus for the fingerboard, bridge, and peghead overlay, as an alternative to ebony with comparable weight and density.

Other complimentary appointments include Urban Sienna wood stain on the back and sides, black purfling on the body’s edges, three-ring koa rosette, faux tortoise pickguard, and Italian acrylic “Pinnacle” inlays. In place of Taylor’s game-changing V-Class bracing, master guitar designer Andy Powers created C-Class bracing for the compact dimensions of the GTe.

This new cantilevered, asymmetrical bracing pattern adopts much of V-Class’s sonic and functional advantages, reinforcing the GTe with a more articulate bottom-end voice along with increased sustain and pitch-perfect intonation. Finally, the “e” in this GTe refers to Taylor’s built-in Expression System 2 electronics.

Taylor Bracing Patterns

Taylor's C-Class bracing helps the GTe Urban Ash project a sound that belies its compact frame. (Image credit: Taylor)

Performance

It’s best to consider Taylor’s GTe as an overachiever compared to other smaller-body and parlor acoustics because it stands to compete more closely with full-sized instruments but with all the inviting playability of a compact, short-scale acoustic.

The GTe imparts a thumping bass without the boom and bears a brightly crisp top end that projects an impressive able-bodied voice that puts it sonically closer to Taylor’s very own Grand Auditorium and Grand Pacific models – and plugged in, using its excellent onboard ES2 electronics, that contrast becomes harder to distinguish.

Either picked or strummed, it’s a genuinely punchy tone with a brassy shimmer where notes and chords linger just a little longer than expected, which makes it uncannily striking for its size.

The GTe is also designed for comfort, and I love its raw wood feel by way of its ultra-thin finish together with the slim and soft “V” neck profile that yields effortless playability.

For sure, the GTe fits the mold of a travel guitar, but really it’s one of those instruments that lets you breathe a sigh of relief if you’re unexpectedly asked to play a song in a room full of people because it’s so enjoyable and easy to play.

Specs

  • PRICE: $1,599 / £1,619
  • ORIGIN: USA
  • TYPE: Mid-scale electro acoustic 
  • TOP: Solid spruce
  • BACK/SIDES: Solid Urban Ash
  • MAX RIM DEPTH: 115mm (4.5”)
  • MAX BODY WIDTH: 380mm (15”)
  • NECK: Mahogany
  • SCALE LENGTH: 645mm (25.4”)
  • TUNERS: Taylor nickel mini
  • NUT/WIDTH 44mm
  • FINGERBOARD: Eucalyptus, Italian acrylic 'Pinnacle inlays, 406mm (16”) radius 
  • FRETS: 20, medium
  • BRIDGE/SPACING: Eucalyptus, 55mm
  • ELECTRICS: Taylor Expression System ES-2 with treble, bass and volume controls 
  • WEIGHT (kg/lb): 1.72 / 3.8
  • OPTIONS: None
  • RANGE OPTIONS: The non-electro GT Urban Ash is £1619
  • LEFT-HANDERS: No
  • Case: Brown AeroCase
  • FINISH: Matte 2.0 mil
  • CONTACT: Taylor Guitars