Taylor's 900 series acoustic guitars represent the upper echelon of the acoustic guitar world. Packed with lavish visual and tone enhancing features, these 900 series guitars are as much a work of art as they are a premium and toneful acoustic guitar.
Pictured is the 916ce - with Florentine Cutaway! Click on a photo for a hi-res version!
First widely available in the early 90s, Taylor 900 series acoustics were similar to the 800 series offerings, with even more luxurious features. They were some of the first guitars to carry complex fingerboard inlays, the first named after Bob Taylor's wife "Cindy". Built from the classic pairing of spruce and rosewood of the highest grade, these guitars are not only the best looking, but usually the best sounding Taylors too!
In 2015, The Taylor 900 series acoustic guitars followed in the footsteps of the 800 and 600 series, and received an impressive redesign on both a visual and tonal front, courtesy of Andy Powers.
Optimized features for the new 900 series guitars included:
The bracing pattern of a guitar will make or break it's tone. Two identical looking guitars with different bracing will have a completely different sound. In the 2015 redesign, Taylor used Advanced Performance bracing - and the patterns were specifically optimized for reach guitar shape. Side braces were also added to increase rigidity, while helping the top and back vibrate in a musical way. Taylor also uses their Relief Rout, a thin groove carved around the edge of the top, which increases musical vibrations, without compromising structural integrity.
2018 V-Class Upgrade: In 2018, Andy Powers is at it again, this time revolutionizing guitar bracing! The new 914ce model is one of the first to receive 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!
Developed in harmony with the bracing patterns, these guitars also boast wood thicknesses that are optimized for each guitar shape - a Grand Auditorium performs a different musical function than a Grand Orchestra, so differing wood thicknesses help tonal "efficiency".
A refined appointment package is offered for the new 900 series. A new "Ascension" inlay of pink paua abalone and mother of pearl is featured, as well as contrasting koa and paua edge trim and ebony binding. Plus, a beautiful ebony armrest has been beveled out of the top for supreme comfort. These guitars are also available with a Tobacco Sunburst top finish, and boast brushed gold Gotoh 510 tuners.
Earth-friendly sourcing and features are a common theme among newer Taylor guitar designs - thanks to Bob Taylor's insistence on leaving a brighter future for guitar building. True to form, 900 series acoustic guitars use a special pink abalone that was sourced from a sustainably operated fishery co-op in Baja Mexico.
Glue joints between tonewoods on an acoustic guitar are also part of the tonal recipe. Synthetic glues can make a guitar sound...synthetic, but an animal glue like Protein Glue, used on the Taylor 900 series guitars, is the opposite, and helps resonance, attack, and tone.
With guitar finishing, less can be more. Striking the balance of protection and tone has always been a dilemma, and the new Taylor 900 series models use a thinner "3.5 mil" gloss finish to solve this exact catch 22.
900 series guitar use the new 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.