TaylorSense earns an Editors’ Pick award for being a neat piece of acoustic high tech, and for raising overall guitar-health consciousness.
- Easy to install and operate
- Provides guitar vital stats at your fingertips
What would your acoustic guitar tell you if it could talk? Taylor Guitars’ TaylorSense facilitates that proposition by gathering vital information about your instrument and sending updates to your phone. I tested it on a trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Wawona, California, in Yosemite National Park. As it turned out, the guitar had a lot of the same things to say that other family members might, like “It’s hot,” “I’m thirsty,” “Energy is low” and “Ouch, be more careful!” It was actually quite surprising to realize how much happens to one’s six-string travel companion on such an adventure.
TaylorSense is a “smart” battery box, plus an app for iOS or Android devices, that uses sensors to provide guitar health information to the phone via Bluetooth. It monitors humidity, temperature, battery level and impact incidents, and can send push notifications when issues arise as well as links to handy fix-it videos created by the tech team at Taylor. TaylorSense replaces any “current” Taylor nine-volt battery box, which means guitars featuring the proprietary Expression System 1 or 2, ES-T or ES-N onboard pickup and preamp systems.
Installation requires using a screwdriver and following some instructions, but it’s basic stuff. I’m no MacGyver and I was able to download the TaylorSense app onto my iPhone, follow the prompts to install the smart battery box into a Grand Theater 811e, and get them paired up in a matter of minutes while packing up a bunch of other stuff for the Yosemite trip.
Late summer/early fall is generally more temperate and humid near the California coast and warmer and drier further inland, so it’s normal for things to heat up and dry out along the way. But since the air conditioning was jamming upfront, I was surprised to discover the temperature got up to a whopping 93 degrees in the guitar case situated in the way back of the Toyota, and that the humidity level fell 20 percent from a relative 58 to 38 along the ride, only to climb back up a bit upon arrival in the cabin at Camp Chilnualna. It’s easy to tell because the TaylorSense app provides a current-status indication, as well as a timeline with peaks and valleys and a calculated average posted over the past 72 hours.
Due to severe drought, no campfires were allowed, so that situation never arose, but I did take the Taylor up a mountain to a favorite waterfall swimming hole for an afternoon that yielded interesting results. I’d already seen enough to utilize a D’Addario Humidipak System and keep the guitar in the case as much as possible where it maintains relative humidity in the best range at about 50 percent. After putting the phone away to serenade Mother Nature for a couple of hours, I was shocked to find not only had the temperature skyrocketed but humidity had plummeted to a dangerous 29 percent! That arid mountain air was literally sucking the Grand Theater dry, so it was quickly returned to the case with the Humidipaks for a drink.
After scaling back down the mountain, I was pleased to see no impact events registered despite some tricky cliff negotiation that took place. Side note: That Taylor AeroCase is robust! It sure is heavier than it looks, but the protection was worth the energy expended. Speaking of which, the GT wasn’t plugged in during testing, so battery usage was exclusively from the TaylorSense itself, and it only dropped about 10 percent over two weeks.
An older guitar came on the trip as well and it was safe to assume similar vital stats, so monitoring the Grand Theatre’s health was also beneficial to the ol’ dawg. I’d brought that poor thing to Yosemite repeatedly without truly understanding what it was going through. I was eager to try this, because I’d just witnessed a fellow acoustic player’s guitar top split in half out in the desert at Burning Man. Thanks to having TaylorSense in the GT, both guitars spent most of the Yosemite trip in their cases, with Humidipaks at the ready, rather than out on stands.
TaylorSense scored Summer NAMM’s Best In Show awards in the Best Add-On or Accessory category, and it’s easy to understand why. A healthier guitar is a happier guitar. Happier guitars have more consistent playability, which makes each experience more joyful. TaylorSense earns an Editors’ Pick award for being a neat piece of acoustic high tech, and for raising overall guitar-health consciousness.
For more information head over to Taylor Guitars (opens in new tab).
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