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Taylor 812ce
 
An iconic Taylor model gets a makeover.
August 2, 2021
 

Taylor’s 812 was among the first batch of grand concert–size guitars introduced in 1984, and it is one of the longest-running models in the catalog. Over the years, the 812 has evolved considerably. Most of the guitars have cutaways (making them 812c’s); 800-series appointments in general have received multiple tweaks; and the guitar has been adapted to Taylor’s V-Class bracing system. A few years ago, Taylor began offering “Deluxe” versions of several 800-series models, which include an armrest bevel and Gotoh tuners. Now, Taylor has added the armrest bevel to the latest edition of the standard 812ce, and since I hadn’t done a demo of the 14-fret version of the 812ce (I did, however, check out the 12-fret version of the guitar), I figured it was time to revisit the model, which I’ve been following since working at a Taylor dealer in the early 1990s.

Despite the many changes the 812 has gone through over the years, it has the same fundamental design concept as the guitar introduced almost four decades ago: a compact grand-concert body built with Indian rosewood back and sides and a Sitka spruce top. Residing toward the upper end of Taylor’s line, the guitar’s woods are top-shelf, and I like the model’s current combination of maple body binding and ebony fingerboard binding (some earlier incarnations have white plastic binding on the body and neck). As Taylor has done with several models in recent years, the 812ce has a highly figured and striped ebony fingerboard, which, with the “element” position markers and ebony peghead overlay, gives the guitar a distinguished appearance. While the current instrument swaps out Gotoh tuners that were part of the Deluxe edition for standard Taylor-branded tuning machines, the addition of an Indian rosewood armrest bevel essentially means that the standard model is now on par with the former upgraded version. 

I’ve played many 812’s over the years, and the model has always been one of my favorites in Taylor’s line. There’s no question in my mind that the current 812ce is the most refined version of the guitar yet. It’s incredibly easy to play and, as has always been the case with the model, it is able to cover a lot of musical ground. The V-Class bracing gives it great clarity and very controlled overtones, producing a precise tonal quality. While not as powerful or loud as some larger guitars, the guitar doesn’t sound small; it has great balance with a satisfying low end, and it never becomes woofy or muddy, even when playing big chords. The guitar is a highly capable fingerstyle machine, but it’s also fun to play electric-style leads and it easily handles most strumming duties. Plugging the guitar’s ES2 electronics into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp produces the same consistent results I’ve experienced with other Taylors, which is to say that the 812ce is a highly capable acoustic-electric that offers a great plugged-in sound right off the bat. 

Without a doubt, the current 812ce is the most advanced version of the model yet. Anyone looking for a comfortable guitar with a versatile and friendly tonal character would do well to check it out, and kudos to Taylor for bringing deluxe upgrades to the standard instrument!

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. Armrest bevel. Taylor smoked-nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,699 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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