Taylor's 500 series acoustic guitars strike a great balance between affordability and classic Taylor tones. Mahogany is the wood-feature on the 500's - a warm and earthy tonewood with a defined midrange. Like all Taylor's offerings, these guitars have their own charm - with an appeal to all players.
Keep reading for an in depth breakdown of these guitars, and don't forget to check them out on our website!
Pictured is the 510e ! Click on a photo for a hi-res version!
The 500 series is about as old as the history of Taylor - they were introduced shortly after the original 800 series guitars, along with the 600 and 700 series. From the start, these were the "mahogany guitars" - a change of pace from the rosewood and maple tonewoods of the 800, 700, and 600 series. 500 series acoustics were originally offered with spruce or cedar tops, and more recently in all-mahogany and burst finish variants.
2016 Redesign Features
The recent 500 series redesign is closely related to the 700 series refresh. The spruce topped variants use the same Lutz spruce, and the all-mahogany versions boast a warm Shaded Edgeburst finish. They are also offered with Western Red Cedar tops.
Optimized features for the 500 series guitars included:
Like the 700 series guitars, the 500 series acoustics use Performance Bracing, an X-brace inspired pattern tweaked specifically for each guitar shape. The Relief Rout is also featured - a small and shallow groove carved around the underside edge of the guitar, to facilitate more vibration and resonance without compromising rigidity. These new addition add volume and low end, two areas where mahogany tonewoods could use a boost !(though not fatal flaws)
2018 V-Class Upgrade: In 2018, Andy Powers is at it again, this time revolutionizing guitar bracing! New 514ce models (and eventually all shapes) will ship with V-Class bracing - A shape that uses a large V, inspired by a wave crashing against a jetty that Andy experienced one surf-filled morning. V-Class bracing offers the perfect hybrid of rigidity (volume) and resonance (sustain) - two important buzz words that were always difficult to equally idealize without one negatively impacting the other. V-Class solves this and more - it also optimizes intonation too!
The mahogany back and side tonewood will always be the star of the 500 series guitars, but the new redesign also adds a new Lutz spruce option. Lutz is a naturally occuring hybrid of Sitka and White spruce. One of Andy Powers' favorite tonewoods, it evokes shades of both Engelmann and Adirondack spruce, both visually and tonally. This wood is available on Dreadnought and Grand Symphony shapes.
Western red cedar and solid mahogany tops are featured on the other 500 series shapes. The cedar provides even more midrange richness, and the all mahogany examples not only look great, but are more powerful and responsive than ever before.
The 500 series cosmetic enhancements lean toward the classy, minimalist approach, with hints of vintage inspiration. Tortoise binding and matching rosette top this list, paired with a plethora of contrasting grained ivoroid features, new Century fingerboard inlays, and a dark shaded edgeburst finish on the all mahogany models.
500 Series Dreadnoughts
Just like the 700 series examples, the 510 and it's permutations offer the cool and unique short-scale (24-7/8"), slotted headstock, V-neck configuration. The shorter scale gives these dreadnoughts a uniquely balanced tone, not usually typical of a dreadnought.
12 Fret 12 String Grand Concert
A new model introduced as part of the 500 series, these 12-string, 12 fret Grand Concert guitars might make you raise an eyebrow at first, but one strum and you'll understand what they have to offer. Taylor is crushing the societal norm that a 12 string guitar has to be a big boomy dreadnought with nearly un-playably high action. With this new Taylor, action and playability are some of the best in the 12-string world, and the intimate sound of the Grand Concert is elevated impressively with the chorusing of the doubled strings.
New 500 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.
Hear one in Action: