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Taylor T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition
 
A reverse-strung hollowbody 12-string electric.
January 3, 2024
 

Although they’ve created the unmistakable foundation for many iconic songs, 12-string electric guitars have always been specialized niche instruments. The most famous examples, as played by George Harrison, Roger McGuinn, and Tom Petty, were made by Rickenbacker, but other manufacturers have tried their hands at creating 12-string versions of their electric guitars. When Taylor introduced the original T5 electric in 2005, it not only caught most fans of the company by surprise, it also invited almost immediate speculation about when Taylor would combine its legendary experience building 12-string acoustic guitars with its newfound success in the crossover-electric world. The answer came in 2007, when Taylor introduced the first T5 12-string, which fused acoustic and electric elements and became an instant hit. When Taylor introduced the more compact T5z a few years later, 12-string models were part of the package, and at this point, it’s safe to say that the guitars have earned their place in the electric 12-string’s history. We recently received a new version of the guitar, the T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition, and in this video, I demo it in the Peghead Nation studio. 

The T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition we received has the black finish option (cherry sunburst and arctic white are also available), and the color is applied not only to the body, but also the neck and the peghead. Combined with the dark Crelicam ebony used for the fingerboard and bridge, this is a black guitar! Underneath the finish, the guitar is constructed with a sapele body and a mahogany top, as well as a mahogany neck. While the “Pro” and “Custom” versions of the T5z include more elaborate inlay, body binding, and transparent finishes, the Classic DLX Special Edition models are fairly austere in their appearance. Simple “spires” made of Italian acrylic serve as position markers in the fingerboard, and there is almost-invisible black fingerboard binding, but otherwise the guitar is unadorned. 

Like other T5 and T5z models, the T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition includes three pickups: two magnetic humbuckers (one visible in the bridge position, the other concealed near the neck joint) and a body sensor mounted inside the top, behind the bridge. A five-way switch in the side of the upper bout allows for tonal options that range from acoustic-electric to full-on electric.

One aspect that is unique to the T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition guitars is that they’re set up with “reverse stringing.” This means that rather than the octave strings in a pair being below the standard string, they’re above. Popularized by Rickenbacker, this configuration leads to a different sound and feel, as downstrokes hit the standard string in each pair first, resulting in a richer, less “jangly” tone than when the octave string is struck first. Of course different playing techniques will greatly affect how this plays out, but in general, reverse stringing often avoids the overly bright quality of some electric 12-strings. 

Coming to the T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition as an acoustic 12-string player (I’ve owned a Taylor 355 for more than 20 years) rather than an electric guitarist, I had a lot of fun with the instrument. The playability is unbeatable, and for players who plan to plug in anyway, I would recommend the guitar as an option if other 12-strings feel too difficult on the hands. But the real fun is in the instrument’s sounds. I played it through both a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge and a Fender Pro Jr. tube amp and, in both cases, I was greeted with a wide variety of sounds, ranging from passable amplified acoustic tones to classic, electric 12-string vibes. 

The T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition is a wonderful guitar that can do a lot more than fill the niche of familiar electric 12-string sounds. Most of its qualities can also be found on other T5z 12-string models, and it’s great to see Taylor expanding the T5 concept. 

SPECS: Hollow-body electric 12-string. Sapele body with neo-tropical mahogany top. Neo-tropical mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 24⅞-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. Nickel tuning machines. Active T5z electronics with two humbucking pickups and one body-sensor. Made in USA. $2,399. Taylorguitars.com

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© Copyright 2020 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 2020 PegheadNation.com