phraseland 12/04/2008

Taylor T5-S1 : phraseland's user review


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The Taylor T5 I will be describing is exactly like the specified model but had a black transparent finish. I was very excited when these guitars hit the shelves and since I was working at a guitar store at the time I was already heavily endorsing Taylor guitars. These guitars are rather expensive as Taylor is the main distributor in the US but in other countries there is a middle man. As of recently this has become Fender Guitars - to the dismay of many shop owners.
Anyway - the guitar is indeed a gem. They are (like all Taylor guitars) built perfectly and have a very original design. The guitar wants to be understood as an electric-acoustic. This means that the construction is built like an acoustic guitar (with a hollow body and a free top) but it is intended to be used like an electric guitar.
To achieve this Taylor has given the guitar a small humbucker at the bridge and built in a magnetic pickup where the neck joins the body (the pickup is actually built into the neck). In addition there is a contact microfone attached to the top.
The neck is quite thin and definately wants to tell the player to approach it like an electric guitar. The sound can be controlled via three knobs (volume, highs and lows) which are mounted on the top. A pickup selector on the side lets you choose between combinations of different pickups.


The neck is - like on all Taylors - perfect! At first I didn't like the glossy finish but after it is broken in a bit it really plays quite smoothly. The upper range can also be accessed quite easily even though it is not as ergonomic as it would be on a solid body electric guitar. Playing e-minor or f#-minor is however no problem at all.
The guitar is pretty lightweight and feels quite well shaped. It is a little big as its size is almost that of a Grand Auditorium - just a lot slimmer.
When plugged in the guitar sounds very clean and bright right away.


I bought this guitar mainly because it promised to deliver a lot of sounds I was looking for. I am a singer/songwriter and I wanted to expand my acoustic sound with something more electric. I use a Fender Twin Reverb 1971 und play it through a Tubescreamer, Bluesdriver, Boss Twin-Pedal Delay and a Line6 Modulation Box.
I really like the different sounds and with some tweaking it can go from 'Piezo'-sound to almost LesPaul. This guitar is really thought through and I can't really say anything bad about it from a general point of view.
For me the many sounds became a bit of a problem because I quickly realized that I only need a few and those I would prefer to be the 'real thing'. So I would rather have an acoustic ready and play the electric parts with a Stratocaster or the likes. Why try to dial in a certain sound and still not get quite it when I can have just that for the same price? Instead of buying a T5 you can also just buy a good electric guitar and a decent acoustic with pickup. Again - this is my issue and for someone else this solution might be perfect.


I used this guitar for about two years and finally decided to sell it. I own another Taylor acoustic I absolutely love. I can also definately recommend this guitar and anyone should try it out for themselves. Taylor makes high quality instruments and in the end it is just a matter of taste.
One thing I will never understand is why they choose to use plastic bindings even on most of their expensive guitars. Maybe that is the taste of choice in the US - and it doesn't look all that bad - but for this price tag they could have afforded a more expensive look.