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Taylor 412ce-R
 
A high-value rosewood and spruce grand concert guitar.
December 21, 2021
 

Ever since it was introduced as an entry-level model in 1991, Taylor’s 400-series guitars have been an incredible value. Originally featuring a simplified design, instruments in the series have been built with a variety of woods over the years; their appointments have become more elaborate; and overall, the gap between 400s and models further up Taylor’s line has closed to the point where the guitars are merely a different flavor, rather than a stripped-down alternative. However, while other models have taken over as the entry point into Taylor’s catalog, the 400 series continues to deliver a lot of bang for the buck. Although the 400 series has included models in all of Taylor’s body sizes, most recently with ovangkol back and sides, the company currently only offers two models in the line: a grand auditorium 414ce-R and a grand concert 412ce-R. I recently had a chance to check out the latter of the two in the Peghead Nation video studio.

As the “R” in the model name indicates, the 412ce-R is built with Indian rosewood back and sides. This is significant because it puts the guitar on a par with Taylor’s 712, 812, and 912: legendary models that are also built with rosewood back and sides and spruce tops (check out my recent demo of the 812ce, as well as a demo of my personal 1994 712c). Looking at the 412ce-R, there is nothing that remains from the entry-level position that the series once held. The guitar’s woods would not be out of place on one of the more expensive models; it has a full gloss finish (early 400s had satin finishes, followed by a period with satin back and sides and gloss tops); and it includes the ES2 electronic system found throughout Taylor’s line. Specific details in 400-series appointments have evolved over the years, but the 412ce-R has retained the distinctive white body binding and multi-ring black-and-white rosette. The fingerboard includes Taylor’s “Renaissance” position markers, with a similar design on the face of the peghead. 

From the first note I played on the 412ce-R, it was clear that, from a purely utilitarian perspective, it operates in the same league as the higher-end models built from similar woods. I’ve always felt that Taylor’s rosewood grand concerts offer a tonal richness and larger sound than you would expect from the grand concert’s compact dimensions, and the 412ce-R works well in many musical contexts. It’s a well-balanced fingerstyle guitar; it offers a lovely richness when strummed; and its easy playability makes it a great guitar for playing electric guitar–like lead lines. Sure, it’s not as loud as some of Taylor’s larger guitars, but, especially in the context of amplified performance or studio recording, you never think “small guitar” when listening to the instrument. Speaking of amplifying, I plugged the guitar into a Fishman SA330x mini PA and was greeted with a natural, yet punchy sound that I wouldn’t hesitate to use in performance without further processing. 

Overall, the 412ce-R is a worthy representation of a classic Taylor concept. The fact that it is currently the most affordable all-solid rosewood and spruce Taylor grand concert takes nothing away from its pro-level vibe and tonal potential, making it a must-try model for players of all abilities. 

SPECS: Cutaway grand-concert body with 14-fret neck joint. Solid Sitka spruce top with V-Class bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Taylor nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $2,599 street. Taylorguitars.com

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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com