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Acoustic Guitar Review: Taylor AD12e-SB with Lindsey Miller

Acoustic Guitar Review: Taylor AD12e-SB with Lindsey Miller

Lindsey Miller
  • Lindsey compares the AD12e to three other Taylor acoustics, which is helpful when understanding the difference to ensure you purchase the right guitar for the right context.

One of our new friends, Lindsey Miller, stopped by the studio to play the new Taylor Acoustic AD12e-SB Guitar, and she’ll make you want to take guitar lessons again. She compares the AD12e to three other Taylor acoustics, which is helpful when understanding the difference to ensure you purchase the right guitar for the right context. She says that there are three main things she assesses upon first picking up a guitar:

  1. The Feel – neck shape is huge, the balance, and the weight
  2. The Sound – is obvious, but the tone will influence the use case for the guitar
  3. The Intonation – does it stay in tune with and without a capo and as you move up the neck
Taylor American Dream AD12e Grand Concert Acoustic-electric Guitar – Tobacco Sunburst – $1999

Some guitars are best in the studio, some for songwriting or small groups, some acoustic guitars are meant for the auditorium, and some for playing for quarters on the corner of Main and Main. Lindsay says this of the Ad12e:

The overall tone and sound of the guitar is bright. I also look at intonation. Like not just that the guitar, the strings, open strings are in tune on open chords, which, this sounds great. But as I get up higher in the neck, you want the chords that are up higher to be in tune as well. So probably what I would do to check that out is just try some, like, major triads and it sounds pretty good. And then something else to consider is like a lot of worship leaders are going to be using their capo quite a bit and moving that around on the neck. So intonation then is also really important.

From Taylor

The AD12e-SB continues the American Dream Series tradition of high-performance, U.S.-made, all-solid-wood guitars that match great tone with an accessible price. This compact Grand Concert fits the bill with walnut back and sides, a spruce top and V-Class interior bracing, adding up to a warm, woody sound with bold volume, blooming sustain and a low-end response that will grow richer over time as the wood matures. Ideal for fingerstyle players as well as anyone interested in recording applications, this model matches its punchy sound with a comfortable feel thanks to accommodating dimensions and the slender Taylor Neck profile. Sparingly appointed to preserve its affordable price point, the AD12-e SB introduces a striking Tobacco Sunburst top color treatment to the American Dream family, accented with a thin matte finish, a firestripe faux tortoiseshell pickguard, black top purfling and satin black tuners. It ships with ES2 electronics and a lightweight, durable AeroCase.

Features of the Taylor AD12e-SB

  • Solid walnut body yields warmth and midrange punch
  • Spruce top for projection, power and clarity
  • Compact Grand Concert body offers relaxed feel, articulate sound
  • V-Class bracing generates rich volume and longer sustain
  • Ships with ES2 electronic and lightweight, sturdy AeroCase

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Transcript

Three things I’m looking for when I like, first pick up the guitar would be, first the neck shape for me because I have smaller hands than probably the average player. Usually the comfort of the neck is probably the biggest priority for me, and this one feels pretty good. Um, it’s pretty flat and I can get around on it pretty easily, especially up in the higher register, which is pretty important for some of the stuff I do, I end up playing kind of all over the neck, not just down at the bottom of the neck.

The second thing would be the overall tone and sound of the guitar. I like the brightness of this one. This is defintely pretty cool. It’s pretty punchy for, say, if you’re leading worship and you need your guitar to project more, you probably either need it to be really jangly sounding to give you the mix or you need it to be kind of like on muted stuff to really punch through in the low end. And I’m sensing that here.

And probably the third criteria is actually intonation. Like not just that the guitar, the strings, open strings are in tune on open chords, which, this sounds great. But also as I get up higher in the neck, you want the chords that are up higher to be in tune as well. So probably what I would do to check that out is just try some, like, major triads and it sounds pretty good. So.. so far so good. Sounds great. And then something else to consider is like a lot of worship leaders are going to be using their capo quite a bit and moving that around on the neck. So intonation then is also really important. As I move the capo around, I want to be sure that, you know, the chords up higher and higher on the neck are in tune. So I brought my capo and I’ll give it a try. It sounds pretty good if we move it up here, it still sounds really in tune, so I think that’s great, especially if you’re playing in a situation where maybe you’re modulating in the middle of a song or you just need to change the keys for your congregation. I think that this guitar would be a perfect fit.

This guitar is made of a Sitka spruce top, walnut back and sides, mahogany neck and eucalyptus fretboard. This guitar also has a tortoiseshell pickguard, v-class bracing, which is specific to Taylor acoustic guitars, and it also has the expression system which has volume and tone control. If you’re planning to be a worship leader or play on the road, that’s specifically important because you want to be able to plug your guitar into a PA or a DI for volume.

I kind of like specifically the sort of vintage-y look of it. It kind of has those like older Gibson vintage vibe to it. I personally like really like vintage looking gear, so I kind of like the sunburst type of thing they have going on here. I like that you can see the grain in the wood and the finish. Both are really cool.

It’s more top heavy. So the neck weighs- feels like it weighs a lot more than the actual the body. The body feels pretty light. For me. That’s really important because the weight of the guitar itself kind of really affects how I play it, how I perceive how difficult a part is to play. So having it feel so light in the body just makes it feel much freer to strum and play without too much force or too much effort.

For me, playability is more like a freeing thing when you first pick it up and play the first couple notes. I just feel very free to play anything on the guitar without a lot of force or effort or feeling like I’m having to like pull sound out of the guitar. The tone of this guitar, it seems like it really kind of blossoms and punches through and projects really well. So I feel like I can probably execute most stuff without too much effort or really having to force something something out of it.

The setup of this guitar, the action, which is the space between the strings and the fretboard, is actually great. It’s fairly low, but not so low that the strings are buzzing. Like every string still sounds really clear when I’m playing the notes, but it’s not too high to where it’s difficult to press down the notes or it affects your intonation or your tuning. It’s just the right amount to where I can play really freely without any like buzzy sounds or any tonal or tuning problems.

So this guitar is about $2,000. That’s a pretty big investment. But my argument for investing in more expensive guitars is that you get more craftsmanship and more attention to detail the make of the guitar, the detailing, and like I said, the playability, like the tuning. If you get a guitar straight off the factory line, the tuning might not be completely precise, but when you’re paying this much, you’re getting a lot of detail to things like tuning and playability, action, set up. That’s why I think spending that- this much is worth it for a guitar like this.

I would probably- definitely consider using it on the road. It seems pretty durable with how it’s built and the wood, which I know it could stand hard travel situations, you know, being on a bus or on a plane and I know it can stand the wear and tear if it got bumped into or, or heaven forbid, dropped or anything like that, that it would it would survive and it would still play great and wouldn’t be compromised. This guitar has a lot of punch and a lot of high end to cut through mixes. So I think it would be great for large settings, large stages using it for worship, leading worship, as opposed to a more mid-range-y guitar that blends a lot more. That would be good in a recording setting. The high end sound kind of reminds me of, at my church I play guitar at Brentwood Baptist Church here in Brentwood, Tennessee, and we play Glorious Day quite a bit, where it starts with the guitar intro that’s very like jangly sounding and needs to be really upfront in the mix. So like, it kind of, I just hear that intro when I play it. It’s like, So you just know that that intro is going to be really up front and your front of house engineer is not going to have to push you or like EQ your sound, you’re going to be there and present for that particular intro.

Every time I hear tropical mahogany, I think of something exotic. So I always want to think of, like, probably Thai food or sushi, maybe, or Indian food. Even though it doesn’t necessarily sound like we’re playing Indian music. I just, like, feel that every time they say tropical mahogany.

It definitely has a lot of presence. It doesn’t get lost in a blend. Like it definitely just cuts through the mix. It, surprisingly, the neck for how wide it is, it actually feels really good and the playability is great on it. Sometimes it’s cool to like test it out on the higher end, so I like to play like, it still sounds pretty jangly, even when you’re not necessarily playing like super open chords, which I kind of dig that. Like I’m not losing any resonance, even though I’m not necessarily playing like any open strings on it. I’m playing some like expensive sounding jazzy chords and not losing any of the resonance with it. And the coolest thing is that I don’t really have to force anything physically. Like everything just kind of naturally flows out with like- fret the notes, especially up, up higher. The action is great, the playability is great. So nice.

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