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Taylor GTe Blacktop
 
A Grand Theater model built with walnut and spruce and featuring a black top finish.
April 13, 2022
 

Earlier this year, Taylor introduced three new additions to its relatively new line of small-body Grand Theater models. We’ve already featured demos of the new GT 611e LTD and GTe Mahogany, and in this video, I demonstrate the GTe Blacktop

Taylor has used a wide range of woods on the Grand Theater guitars, but the GTe Blacktop is the first model with walnut back and sides. Even though the company doesn’t currently offer a standard walnut line, Taylor has used the wood frequently in the past, and it’s great to see this tradition revived on the GTe Blacktop. Sometimes described as having tonal qualities that reside between those of mahogany and rosewood, this choice ensures that the GTe Blacktop offers an original voice in addition to sporting a unique appearance. As its name implies, the guitar’s Sitka spruce top is finished in dark black. While manufacturers sometimes use a heavy finish with solid colors, Taylor chose a matte finish that is so thin that the grain can be felt on both the spruce and the walnut. The GTe Blacktop takes its appointment cues from Taylor’s AD17 Blacktop, displaying simple dot position markers, a basic black-and-white rosette, and no body binding, though the clever way the black finish stops about an ⅛ inch from the top’s edge gives it the appearance of having light-colored binding. 

The GTe Blacktop has the same dimensions and general construction details as other Grand Theater models. Its body shape is derived from Taylor’s Grand Orchestra, but proportionally shrunk to a size of 15 inches across the lower bout, and matched with a short 24⅛-inch scale. The guitar has Taylor’s asymmetrical C-Class bracing and includes the company’s proprietary ES2 pickup system. 

Like all the Grand Theaters, the GTe Blacktop is a joy to play. I’d be hard-pressed to name any steel-string guitars that are easier to play than the GTs, making the entire range a fabulous choice for long practice sessions or beginning players. But I’ve also been impressed with the tones produced by these instruments, and the GTe Blacktop is no exception. The spruce top helps give the guitar a large dynamic range, and the walnut back and sides seemed to contribute to a balanced overall sound that doesn’t favor any particular playing style. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp, the guitar continued the impression left by other GTs I’ve played: its amplified performance doesn’t take a backseat to full-size Taylors with the same ES2 electronics. 

Between the original GT, the GTe Mahogany, and this GTe Blacktop, Taylor now offers three relatively affordable entry points for the Grand Theater line. Each one has distinct looks and tonalities, so the choice will come down to individual preference. I’d recommend finding a Taylor dealer that stocks the entire range to find the one that speaks the most to you!

SPECS: Grand Theater body. Solid Sitka spruce top with C-Class bracing. Solid walnut back and sides. Smoked eucalyptus fingerboard and bridge. 24⅛ -inch scale. 1²³/₃₂-inch nut width. Nickel Taylor tuning machines. ES2 electronics. Made in USA. $1,799 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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