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Review: Taylor 352CE And 362CE - GuitarPlayer.com

Review: Taylor 352CE And 362CE

More compact and easier to get around on than traditional big-bodied 12s, the 352ce and 362ce ideal for recording and performance situations where you don’t want to overpower a mix. Our review here.
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The two 300 series 12-strings featured here are new models for Taylor, and they represent the luthiery prowess of Andy Powers, who is now head of guitar development for the California-based company. More compact and easier to get around on than traditional big-bodied 12s, the 352ce and 362ce also intentionally deliver a less booming sound, which makes them ideal for recording and performance situations where you don’t want to overpower a mix. These guitars are identical in size and shape, both measuring 19 1/2” long x 15” wide x 4/38” deep, and their necks feature a slightly shorter scale length of 24 7/8” and 12 frets clear of the body. The latter point is important because a 12th-fret joint moves the bridge into the center of the soundboard, which warms up the response. The smaller body also facilitates getting the strings in motion, and the net result is a guitar with enhanced dynamic response and touch sensitivity.

The key physical difference between these two models is their body woods: The 352ce has sapele back and sides and a gloss-finished Sitka top, whereas the satin-finished 362ce has blackwood sides and back (a tonewood native to Australia) and a hard mahogany top. They weigh 4.74 and 4.68 lbs respectively, and both have inviting neck shapes and silky smooth frets. They arrived with excellent setups that provided low action without buzzing, and the intonation was good throughout the reaches of the fingerboard. The guitars also came up to pitch easily and stayed in tune well, which is always a plus when there’s 12 strings to manage.

I can’t emphasize enough how comfortable these guitars are to play. The necks are so accommodating that you can almost forget you’re playing a 12-string, and the shorter scale produces a little less string tension as well. Even playing a barred F in the first position is effortless! Students at a friend’s teaching studio found these guitars very easy to get around on, and that’s not usually the deal with small hands and 12-strings. So Powers has indeed created a more player-friendly instrument, and one that compromises nothing on the sonic side.

The 352ce has a crisp, deep sound that blossoms beautifully in an acoustic setting. Whether playing with a flatpick or fingers, the response is very tactile, and there’s plenty of sustain to let notes ring to their fullest. It’s a richly detailed and lively sounding guitar, and that chorus-y color with 12 strings chiming in harmony is downright inspiring. By contrast, the 362ce is browner sounding and has a bit softer response; and while the righteous 12-string majesty is fully present, the 362 compresses more readily than the 352, and you have to pick a bit harder to make lead lines pop. Nevertheless, it sounded very deep and full-bodied in a mix with fiddle, mandolin, and solidbody electrics, making it highly useful in a variety of situations.

We also played these guitars through a Fishman SA-220 system and a Vox VX50 AG acoustic amp, both of which did a good job of preserving the characteristics of these different sounding guitars. Taylor’s ES 2 system, which combines a behind-the-saddle pickup with three individually calibrated pickup sensors and a pro-audio-grade preamp, make it so easy to plug-in and get happening sounds that you’d likely never need to do anything other than aim a good studio mic in the vicinity of the soundhole when recording.

In terms of which to buy, I’d say try them both. The brighter sounding 352ce is a fabulous guitar that has versatility written all over it, but the 362ce has its charms as well, and would be a great choice for recording or performing in an acoustic combo. Either way, these ultra playable guitars are real gamechangers, and should be on the A-list for anyone shopping in the 12 zone.

CONTACT taylorguitars.com

352ce

PRICE $1,899 street, Taylor Deluxe hardshell case included
NUT WIDTH 1⅞" Tusq
NECK Mahogany
FRETBOARD West African ebony, 24⅞" scale
FRETS 18 medium jumbo (12 clear of the body)
TUNERS Taylor Nickel
BODY Sapele back and sides, Sitka spruce top
BRIDGE West African ebony with Micarta saddle
ELECTRONICS Taylor Expression System 2
CONTROLS Volume, Bass, Treble
FACTORY STRINGS Elixir Phosphor Bronze Light
WEIGHT 4.74 lbs
BUILT USA
KUDOS Superb playability. Compact feel. Gorgeous sound.
CONCERNS None.

362ce

PRICE $2,099 street, Taylor Deluxe hardshell case included
NUT WIDTH 1⅞" Tusq
NECK Mahogany
FRETBOARD West African ebony, 24⅞" scale
FRETS 18 medium jumbo (12 clear of the body)
TUNERS Taylor Nickel
BODY Blackwood back and sides, hardwood mahogany top
BRIDGE West African ebony with Micarta saddle
ELECTRONICS Taylor Expression System 2
CONTROLS Volume, Bass, Treble
FACTORY STRINGS Elixir Phosphor Bronze Light
WEIGHT 4.68 lbs
BUILT USA
KUDOS Superb playability. Compact feel. A warm sounding guitar with abundant complexity and depth.
CONCERNS None.

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