Sponsored By
 
Taylor 858e LTD
 
A powerful 12-string from Taylor’s 50th anniversary collection.
July 10, 2024
 

Taylor’s 12-string guitars played a major part in the company’s early success. With their easy playability and balanced tonal qualities, the guitars were among the first Taylors used by mainstream artists. For example, Neil Young not only played his 855 on stage, he also prominently used it in promo photos for his 1979 Rust Never Sleeps tour, helping the still fledgling company gain recognition. A few years later, a Taylor 12-string not only brought Leo Kottke back to the instrument after not playing it for several years, it led to a long-running Taylor signature model. So it’s no surprise that Taylor included a 12-string in its line of special-edition, 50th-anniversary guitars introduced throughout this year. The 858e LTD harks back to the jumbo-style 12-strings of Taylor’s early days, and I recently had a chance to demo one in the Peghead Nation video studio.

In 2013 Taylor discontinued the jumbo body style it had used on its original 12-string, replacing it with a grand orchestra design used in this  858e LTD—as indicated by the “8” in the last digit of the 858e’s model number. (Although the 858 hadn’t been available in Taylor’s standard line for a while, it was offered for several years, and I demoed an earlier version in 2016.) With a width of 16¾ inches at the lower bout and a depth of five inches, this body has a lot of internal volume, making it an excellent choice for creating a thunderous 12-string. As an 800 series model, the 858e LTD is built with a Sitka spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides, and all the woods are of the high quality we expect from a top-of-the-line Taylor. In a nod to earlier 800s, the 50th-anniversary 858e has white binding on the body and fingerboard, rather than the flamed maple found on most current 800-series instruments. Combined with the “progressive diamond” fingerboard inlay, the guitar’s appearance pays tribute to Taylor’s early style. The guitar includes Taylor’s V-Class bracing (the 858e I demoed in 2016 was X-braced) as well as gold mini tuners and ES2 electronics. The guitar also uses the double-mounted string mounting method used on other recent Taylor 12-strings, with a single bridge pin for each pair of strings.

I’m a big fan of jumbo 12-strings, and I’ve owned a Taylor 355 for more than 20 years, so I looked forward to checking out the 858e LTD. The guitar’s powerful persona was apparent from the first strum. Beautiful low-end, great volume, and the gorgeous shimmer that only an instrument strung in courses can deliver presented themselves in an impressive fashion. I mostly play 12-string fingerstyle in alternate tunings, so I quickly tuned to CGDGBD tuning to play my Leo Kottke–inspired tune “Takoma.” In my experience, playing driving fingerstyle in lowered tunings requires a guitar that can keep up with the player. The 858e not only has a great, rumbling voice, it also has enough balance and dynamic range to let melodic passages shine and allow the music to breathe. I was curious to see how the guitar would sound in a strummed accompaniment role, so I returned to standard tuning and played some big open chords and single-note lines. Again, I was greeted with lots of power, but also with a delicate response. Most players are likely to only own one 12-string, so having one that is a joy to use in any setting is a major bonus, and the 858e LTD more than delivers in that respect. The fact that it’s easier to play than some six-string guitars and includes Taylor’s acclaimed ES2 electronics is icing on the cake.

The 858e LTD is a testament to the fact that Taylor knows 12-string guitars better than most. Having it be part of the 50th-anniversary line makes it even more special, but it also means that production is limited to 1974 guitars world-wide. Anyone looking for a high-end 12-string shouldn’t hesitate to check out an 858e LTD!

SPECS: 12-string guitar with grand orchestra body. Solid Sitka spruce top with V-Class bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1⅞-inch nut width. Enclosed gold tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,999 list. taylorguitars.com

Related New Gear Posts
 

Taylor Builder’s Edition 314ce LTD 50th Anniversary Collection

A limited-edition grand auditorium with urban ash back and sides and high-end features

Read More

 

Taylor 117e

Taylor’s round-shoulder Grand Pacific style is now available in a highly affordable version.

Read More

 

Taylor 50th Anniversary AD14ce-SB LTD

This limited-edition grand auditorium is the first American Dream model with a cutaway.

Read More

 

Taylor 50th Anniversary 314ce

A special edition of one of Taylor’s most popular models features a torrefied Sitka spruce top.

Read More

 

Taylor 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce

Read More

 

Taylor T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition

A reverse-strung hollowbody 12-string electric.

Read More

 

Taylor 112ce-S

Taylor’s most affordable grand concert model is an incredible value.

Read More

 

Taylor 212ce and 222ce-K DLX

A new pair of Grand Concerts expands Taylor’s 200 series.

Read More

 

Taylor 110ce-S

A new variation of Taylor’s popular entry-level dreadnought is the most affordable 100 series model.

Read More

 

Taylor 814ce Blacktop

A great-looking variation of Taylor’s most popular model.

Read More

 
Sponsored By
 
 
 
Peghead Partners
 
Jake Workman, “Wheel Hoss” | Collings Guitars
The flatpicking virtuoso performs the Bill Monroe classic on a Collings D2 A Hill Country.
 
 
 
 
 
  Follow Us:  
 
  About Us       Shop         Support         Contact Us         Email Sign up         Advertise         Sitemap         FAQ         Privacy         Terms         Subscribe   Sign In  
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2024 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● 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 2024 PegheadNation.com