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Taylor GT 811e
 
An upscale version of Taylor’s new Grand Theater model.
February 1, 2021
 

Introduced in the fall of 2020, Taylor’s new Grand Theater (GT) design fills a gap in the lineup of Taylor’s body sizes, falling between the company’s GS Mini and Grand Concert models. But it accomplishes something much more significant than simply being a larger GS Mini or smaller Grand Concert. With a width of 15 inches at the lower about, the GT’s body is about the same width as Taylor’s Grand Concert, but because it’s shorter and has different proportions, it feels much more compact. Combined with a short 24⅛-inch scale, the GT offers a unique playing experience that combines a surprisingly full and powerful tonality with incredibly easy playability. The original GT model (check out our demo here) is a relatively affordable instrument with simple appointments, but players looking for a more high-end version of the design should be pleased that Taylor has now introduced two new models that integrate the GT into its 800 and koa series. I recently had a chance to check out the GT 811e in the Peghead Nation video studio, and we’ll also feature the new GT K21e in coming weeks. 

The GT 811e is built with the standard 800-series wood combination of Indian rosewood back and sides, Sitka spruce top, and ebony fretboard and bridge. The guitar also has appointments that are similar to other current 800’s, including maple binding, an abalone rosette, and “Element” inlay in the fretboard. The GT 811e also has a gloss finish, and overall, it comes across as much more sophisticated than the standard GT. Naturally, all GT models share the same body and neck dimensions, as well as the new “C-Class” top bracing, which is a new variation of Taylor’s V-Class bracing that includes a cantilevered portion of the brace design. 

The GT 811e was an incredibly fun and satisfying guitar to play. While there are many parlor-style guitars with similar overall dimensions, most are based on vintage designs and tend to have traditional tonalities. But the GT 811e sounds like a thoroughly contemporary guitar, with a rich bass, incredibly even balance, and the clarity that Taylors have always been known for. The guitar’s sound doesn’t feel like a compromise, and it’s a superb choice for physically smaller players or those with small hands who have had difficulty finding a modern-sounding steel-string flattop with compact dimensions. But players who have no problems with larger guitars may also want to check out the GT 811e. For one thing, it’s ideal for playing on the couch at home, but it also makes playing difficult material easier, and players of all levels will appreciate how it facilitates breaking into new musical territory. Does the GT 811e do everything a larger guitar can do? No. Naturally, its volume reserves are a bit more limited, though the instrument is far from quiet and could hold its own in most acoustic jam situations. There is also a price to pay for the easy playability of the short scale, as the guitar sounded best with a somewhat restrained picking hand (though I suspect that slightly higher action would make it more suitable for aggressive strumming). However, the guitar also includes Taylor’s acclaimed ES2 electronics, and plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge, it was difficult to distinguish the resulting amplified sound from a full-size guitar with similar electronics. 

Overall, I predict that the GT 811e will find a lot of fans. By taking the original GT up a notch in both appearance and sound, Taylor has created an instrument that has few peers in the market, and that just might create a significant “need” factor for many players. 

SPECS: Grand Theater body. Solid Sitka spruce top with C-Class bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⅛ -inch scale. 1²³/₃₂-inch nut width. Nickel mini Taylor tuning machines. ES2 electronics. Made in USA. $2,999 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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