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Taylor 722ce
 
A revamped 700-series grand concert now features Hawaiian koa wood.
June 1, 2022
 

Taylor’s 700 series has been around almost as long as the company itself. Originally conceived as a more affordable alternative to the flagship 800 series, the guitars were typically made with Indian rosewood back and sides and Sitka spruce tops (some models had cedar tops during certain periods). Business-like in their appearance, Taylor 700s have been popular with players who prefer more austere looks and value bang-for-the-buck, but there has also been frequent confusion about why there are two seemingly similar lines in Taylor’s catalog. Taylor chief designer and luthier Andy Powers (who was just promoted to President and CEO of the company!) has revisited many of Taylor’s existing models and series in recent years, and he has now turned the 700 series into a line of guitars made of koa wood. If you’re thinking, “But Taylor already has a koa line,” you’re right, of course, but these new 700s are different. In staying with the series’ tradition, they have a lower price, less-elaborate appointments, and an ultra-thin matte finish, all of which help these new instruments stand on their own. I had a chance to check out one of the grand concert–size 722ce models in the Peghead Nation studio, and we’re going to have one of the grand auditorium–size 724ce versions on hand in the near future. 

As a grand concert, the 722ce conforms to Taylor’s familiar specs for this body style, which include a body size similar to a 00; a short scale, 14-fret neck; and a nut-width of 1¾ inches. Taylor began a Hawaii-based partnership with wood supplier Pacific Rim Tonewoods in 2015. As part of the company’s efforts in reforestation and other forest stewardship efforts, it is allowed to cut a certain amount of koa trees (which only grow on Hawaii), and this has allowed them to offer more koa instruments in the 700 series. The wood used on the 722ce, which Taylor calls “select grade,” was beautiful While not as flamed or otherwise dramatically figured as some of the koa found on Taylor’s higher-end instruments, it displayed attractive striping and rich color. The guitar’s thin, open-pore finish gives it a warm appearance, and it also has a tactile feel that is different from a thicker, high-gloss finish. Rosewood body binding, a paua-shell rosette, and a new “fountain” inlay pattern in the 722ce’s fingerboard give it a distinguished appearance. Naturally, the 722ce has Taylor’s V-Class bracing and includes ES2 electronics. 

Anyone who has played other Taylor grand concerts will be familiar with the 722ce overall feel: it is incredibly comfortable to hold and easy to play. But the guitar definitely offers its own take on the grand concert sound: I found it to be incredibly lively, with a quick response and an overall tonality that is far more balanced than my own 1994 712c (a guitar made with Indian rosewood and Sitka spruce). And while I didn’t have a standard koa-series Taylor on hand for a direct comparison, I’ve played a lot of them over the last 25 years, and the 722ce struck me as being more dynamic and sonically elastic, with less of the tonal compression that hardwood tops are typically associated with. The guitar is a great companion for  fingerstyle playing and has an assertive voice when strummed. As usual, plugging it into our Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp led to a confident amplified sound.

While some Taylor fans might miss having a more stripped-down rosewood option in the line, revamping the 700 series with this select-grade koa and fresh appointments creates not only a more affordable all-solid koa line, it also results in an expansion of Taylor’s available tonal options. And players who hadn’t considered a koa guitar before may find themselves drawn to the 722ce’s organic feel, beautiful look, and flexible tonality. Nice job, Andy Powers!

SPECS: Cutaway grand-concert body with 14-fret neck joint. Select-grade koa top, back, and sides. V-Class bracing. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Taylor polished bronze tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,499 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
 
 
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