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This article was originally published in issue #69
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Highly detailed and articulate 12-string tones.
Small form factor is very comfortable.
Grand Concert Size Body
Sitka Spruce Top
Sapele back and sides.
Taylor's Expression System 2 onboard
One of two Grand Concert 12-strings offered within Taylor's 300 Series, the Taylor 352ce features Sapele back and sides paired with a Sitka spruce top. The lap-friendly body is a welcome antidote to the bigger body styles traditionally used for 12-strings; the result is more physically accessible option, especially with the 12-fret neck and slightly condensed 24-7/8-inch scale length. Nick Jennison tells us more.
Playing a 12 string can be a very joyous experience indeed. Once you spend the thousand years it takes to tune one of these rare beasts, you're treated to a natural chorus that's highly addictive and extremely inspiring. 12 strings have been the secret weapon of session pros for more than half a century, and for accompanists and solo singer/guitarists the symphonic chime of a 12 string is hard to beat.
That said, they're not without their flaws. They're often cumbersome affairs with large bodies and clubby necks to accommodate the extra strings. This is definitely not the case with Taylor's new 352ce though. Sporting their immensely popular Grand Concert body style, along with a slightly shorter than usual 24-7/8 inch scale new that joins the body at the 12th fret, it's a much more intimate feeling guitar than many of the more bulky 12s on the market.
The smaller sapele body and solid spruce top produce a bright and articulate tone with vibrant highs and a lean yet present low end that sits beautifully in a mix, but still has enough authority to sound good solo. Where the thunderous low end of dreadnought-bodied 12 strings can sometimes mask the subtleties of the instrument, the 352's lighter delivery presents that glorious shimmer with focus and clarity.
As with all American made Taylors, the 352 features Taylor's V-class bracing. Essentially offering the perfect balance of sustain and projection, the V-class bracing also serves to improve intonation in subtle ways that are difficult to explain but very clear to hear. Every V-class Taylor I've had the pleasure of playing has sounded remarkably "in tune" all the way across the fretboard, but this is especially evident on the 352ce. Complex chord voicings sound fantastic in every register, and single notes lines are present and clear even at the dusty end.
Taylor's proprietary ES2 pickup system is included as standard on the 352ce, and it's the perfect compliment to the unplugged tone. It's natural and balanced sounding with no spikey upper midrange peaks or excessive dynamic range, and it reproduces all of the 12 string detail with perfect clarity. It's very at home on a live stage, and doesn't need anything more than a splash of reverb to sound magnificent.
The Taylor 352ce offers all of the magic of a 12 string acoustic with a super comfortable form factor. The smaller body shape and V-class bracing produce a very articulate tone that's perfect form recording, and the shorter neck is a dream to play.