Author Topic: Interesting Taylor Guitars development  (Read 2440 times)


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Interesting Taylor Guitars development
« on: July 09, 2003, 10:50:04 AM »
As many of you know, Taylor Guitars recently introduced their "Expression System" (ES) electric pickup on practically all of their guitars.  They've been touting this thing as the greatest advance in the amplification of the acoustic guitar since the invention of the resonator cone (or something to that effect).  The ES uses a magnetic pickup and two additional sensors mounted under the top of the guitar, with a low-voltage internal preamp designed by Rupert Neve (of great fame in preamps and recording gear).  It doesn't require a big hole in the side of the guitar like the previous Fishman systems they used, only three little rubber knobs on the base side of the guitar up near the neck heel.

I played one of these at Guitar Center a few months ago, and at the time I thought it was just about the best sounding acoustic/electric system I'd ever heard.  It seemed a lot more natural than the Fishman gizmo in my Taylor.  However, it hummed and buzzed like a Fender Telecaster plugged into a Twin Reverb under a Miller Lite neon sign.  The dude at Guitar Center explained it away as electrical interference from all the amps and wiring in the room at the store, but it had the same hum on two different amps I plugged into.

Turns out, my experience is not unique.  Many people have found these things to be plagued by wicked hum.  So much so, that Taylor has apparently changed the design of the magnetic pickup to incorporate a hum-cancelling coil (a humbucker equipped Taylor, who'd a thunk it).  They are also offering a retrofit to those who request it, but there is not a recall per se.

But wait, there's more!  Quite a few of the ES pickups have been DOA or have died a rather sudden death.  This has been blamed on the installation (apparently the solder joints) rather than the design.  Again, this supposedly has been fixed.  The unofficial word from Taylor is that yes, there have been some problems, but they've worked them out and will correct anything that's their fault.

There's not a lot of clarity on this issue.  I've cruised the Taylor Guitar forum, RMMGA, and the Acoustic Guitar forums, and I never found "the answer" as to what the specific problems are and what's being done.  The above is my understanding based on what I've read.  It may not be entirely accurate.   :unsure:

(Sigh.)  I just realized that I wrote all this, and nobody cares about it but me.  And I don't even have a dog in the fight.  I just figured, since we have an instrument discussion forum, we dang well ought to discuss instruments, shouldn't we?