Taylor T5 Classic – The Review
Over the past couple of decades quite a few guitar companies have made forays into the hybrid guitar market, seeking to give full-time electric guitarists the option of an authentic acoustic tone. However, few have been as successful as the Taylor Guitar Company with its Taylor T5. This series includes the Standard, Pro, Custom and Classic; the last of which does away with the fancy binding and finishes of the rest, for a more straightforward and rustic looking guitar.
Taylor has a reputation for designing and building guitars that are both simple and beautiful; and they’ve truly hit the mark with the T5 Classic. At first glance the guitar looks deceptively simple, but at the same time retains an element of timeless elegance. Like something you’d expect to find lying around Steve Vai’s home studio.
The Taylor T5 Classic features a mahogany top and a Sapele neck and heel. The guitar’s back and sides too are Sapele and come in a beautiful satin finish. The fretboard, headstock overlay and bridge pins are all ebony and the guitar features a simple diamond inlay pattern. The T5’s top also features two leaf-like sound-holes which do an outstanding job of delivering the body’s natural resonance.
What’s great about the T5’s neck is that it’s thin enough to not give guitarists who primarily play electric guitars any trouble. Guitarists who predominantly use acoustic guitars, however, might find that the thinness of the neck takes a little getting used to. The 21-fret fretboard is also built to a 24 7/8” scale which achieves a perfect balance between the tension needed for true acoustic tones and the comfort needed for an electric feel. The Venetian cutaway also allows for easy access to the top frets.
What truly sets the T5 series apart is its three-way pickup system which incorporates a hidden neck humbucker, a visible stacked humbucker and a hidden body sensor which is mounted just behind the bridge. The T5 also features a five-way pickup selector, hence the guitar’s name.
The first position of the pickup selector activates the neck pickup and the body sensor, which delivers the guitar’s acoustic tone. And while this tone isn’t likely to fool a musician with a seasoned ear when played alone, when used in a band setting, it does a remarkably good job of sounding like a high quality acoustic guitar. The remaining four combinations of neck humbucker, bridge humbucker, neck and bridge humbucker in parallel, and neck and bridge humbucker in series function like any other solid-body electric guitar. The T5 also features two active pre-amp/EQ controls for treble and bass as well as a volume knob.
The build quality of the T5 is as great as you would expect from any Taylor guitar and the instrument really feels like it’s built to last.
Although the T5 Classic looks predominantly like an acoustic guitar, it is undoubtedly a finely crafted electric which truly delivers on its hybrid promise. Guitarists looking to invest in this instrument should also seriously consider investing in separate acoustic and electric rigs to get the most out of this guitar’s sonic capabilities.