Guitar News

Taylor 400 Series Acoustic Guitars

Taylor's 400 series acoustic guitars are another best-selling group of acoustics in Taylor's lineup. These "middle ground" guitars represent the most ideal marriage of value and tone. And throughout their life, Taylor has found ways to pack even more value into these instruments.

Pictured is the 416ce-R - with rosewood back and sides. Click on a photo for a hi-res version!

History

The first Taylor 400 series guitar was introduced in 1991, a 410. Originally, before 1998, these guitars were crafted from Sitka Spruce and Mahogany, but since about the turn of the millennium, you'll find them built with either ovangkol or rosewood. They are cosmetically simple yet classy, with still all solid tonewoods.

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2016 Updates

From 1998 up until 2016, ovangkol was used almost exclusively on the 400 series guitars. But now they are offered with rosewood as well, and both examples feature full gloss bodies - many earlier examples only had gloss top finishes.

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Optimized features for the new 400 series guitars included:

Bracing

Just like the higher end Taylors, the 400 series guitars use the Performance Bracing pattern. In fact, Performance Bracing is really several bracing patterns in one, each tweaked and customized to the shape of the guitar!

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Tonewoods

Previously only offered as an "upgrade", the 400 series guitars now offer both Rosewood and Ovangkol as standard features. While these woods have similar tonal properties, rosewood is a bit stronger in the high and low end, while ovangkol has a bit more midrange oophm. Visually, rosewood is darker, while ovangkol usually has a brown/reddish tint, with wider striping patterns. 400 series models that end in "R" are made from rosewood.

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Aesthetics

The new rosewood 400 series acoustics boast a new great looking Renaissance fingerboard inlay that looks like it came off a 900 series guitar! The bodies of these guitars are also finished in full gloss, an upgrade from the satin back finished guitars from previous model years.

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Taylor NT Neck:

The NT neck has long been one of Taylor's crowning achievements. Introduced in 1999, it solves a pair of the most long-standing acoustic guitar problems ever - neck angle and 14th fret hump. With a traditional set neck, it's just a foregone conclusion that one day, it will require an expensive neck reset, and because the fingerboard extension is usually glued directly to the top (which is constantly moving) it will eventually shift and cause a hump/crooked angle, when compared to the neck angle before the neck meets the body.

Taylor's NT neck is made from 1 piece of wood that extends all the way up to the 19th fret - including the fingerboard extension, so no part of the neck is impacted by top movement and it's completely secure. The neck joint itself is also proprietary - it's easy to remove and action can be set with spacers. There's a perfect neck angle for each guitar and each set of wood, and the NT neck allows these precise adjustments to occur like no other.

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Electronics

 New 400 series models include the Expression System 2 preamp and pickup system. Not quite an "under-the-saddle" pickup, the revolutionary ES2 system is placed behind the saddle. Taylor discovered that the saddle doesn't really move vertically when the guitar is played, but in a pendulum like motion, so an under the saddle pickup wasn't receiving tonal pleasing vibrations. ES2 boasts three carefully positioned sensors with allen screw adjustments, and an audiophile grade preamp with slightly more headroom than the original Expression System.

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