Field Test: Taylor Academy Series 12e-N

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I had just envisioned a Nylon-string part for a recording session, and—shazzam—there was the Taylor 12e-N ($699 street) awaiting review. Gotta love it when the universe surprises you. Designed as comfy, playable, and affordable Taylors for new players—see our May 2017 review of the 10e and 12e online—Academy guitars are far from beginner’s instruments. The 12e-N certainly sounded like a champ for a fingerpicked melody and some chordal strumming, with a full, snappy midrange and a pleasing resonance. As the acoustic sound was so glorious, I opted to mic the 12e-N with an AKG C414 condenser, rather than use the ES-N under-saddle pickup and preamp—although I did avail myself of its accurate onboard tuner. The 12e-N’s sweet but articulate timbre worked beautifully for solo passages, as well as a texture under electric guitar tracks. While recording, the satin-finished neck and beveled lower bout almost made it feel like I was playing an invisible guitar constructed of lamb’s wool. I believe all guitarists should have a nylon-string in their toolbox, and the 12e-N provides the perfect means for expanding your tonal and creative options.

KUDOS Excellent sound. Comfy.