You've Heard of Rosewood and Mahogany, but Do You Know What Urban Ironbark Is?

Taylor Urban Ironwood 512ce and 514ce
(Image credit: Taylor Guitars)

Taylor has unveiled their new Grand Concert 512ce and Grand Auditorium 514ce Urban Ironbark acoustic-electric flat-tops – instruments the guitar building pioneer calls the “new heart" of their acclaimed 500 Series.

Utilizing responsibly sourced Urban Ironbark tonewood, Taylor promises the 512ce and 514ce will introduce the acoustic guitar world to an entirely new flavor of tone they describe as, “bold, rich and sweet” with “remarkable balance and clarity.”

Taylor 500 series Urban Ironwood

(Image credit: Taylor Guitars)

Urban Ironbark appears following the introduction of Urban Ash – Taylor’s brand of Shamel/evergreen ash instruments born from their much lauded urban wood initiative.

These guitars, such as the GTe Urban Ash, have received high praise for their outstanding tone and playability.

Working in collaboration with Californian tree management specialists West Coast Arborists, Taylor president and CEO Andy Powers explored the viability of recycling a number of urban wood species.

Much like Urban Ash, Urban Ironbark introduces a tonewood with distinctive properties. 

Otherwise known as red ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) this hard, dense timber has previously been used in the railroad and construction industries.

The voice is bold, rich and sweet. It has that bell-like amplifying response of a dense wood – it’s vibrant and dynamic

Andy Powers

“The red ironbark has a tone-shaping quality where it produces the deep, clear sound of rosewood,” says Powers, “but with just enough of the damping effect of ebony or mahogany that helps smooth out the sharp edges of the sound.

“The voice is bold, rich and sweet. It has that bell-like amplifying response of a dense wood – it’s vibrant and dynamic. 

"Imagine if you could take the traditional sound of a rosewood guitar, while filling and warming the midrange. It has a very piano-like character.”

Launching with two different body styles in the form of the Grand Concert 512ce and Grand Auditorium 514ce, Taylor hinted that other Urban Ironbark models are likely to appear next year.

Paired with torrefied spruce tops, both models are said to produce a “mature, played-in” tone likened to vintage guitars.

Featuring a New Aerial inlay pattern, both the 512ce and 514ce are finished with a subtle stain that shows off the reddish hue of Urban Ironbark while a light ‘burst around body and neck adds extra dimension.

“With the ironbark’s density, the guitar sound is what I would describe as muscular and strong,” elaborates Powers.

“The sensation I get when I play it is like the guitar is amplifying everything I do. It’s giving me back more than I put into it – like the notes want to jump out of the guitar.

“These are guitars I’m really excited to get into people’s hands.”

Visit Taylor Guitars for more information.

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar WorldGuitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.