The Grand Symphony shape of the 356ce 12-string delivers a rich, powerful acoustic voice. Sapele’s clear, balanced tonal properties are well-suited for a 12-string. The cutaway acoustic/electric 356ce delivers plenty of midrange and octave shimmer, balanced by the low-end power of the Grand Symphony body shape. An ultra-playable neck delivers an effortless fretting experience.
Appointments include black binding, a black pickguard, Italian acrylic small diamond fretboard inlays, a 3-ring rosette, and a satin-finish sapele body with a gloss-finish spruce top. The guitar features a Venetian cutaway and Taylor’s Expression System 2 pickup for a smooth plug-and-play experience, and ships in a Taylor deluxe hardshell case.
Grand Symphony Shape
Think of it as a Grand Auditorium with a turbo boost, thanks to expanded physical dimensions, including a slightly wider waist and a bigger lower bout. Strummers and pickers with a driving attack will love the fullness, volume and sustain. Yet for such a robust voice, the GS is also clear and responsive to fast picking runs or a light fingerstyle touch, so if you’re a dynamic player, this shape is a true contender. And the big voice doesn’t come at the expense of balance. The piano-like bass, meaty midrange, and thick, shimmering highs blend seamlessly. These traits also make the GS a great vehicle for 12-Strings. If you like a lush, potent guitar tone that has the horsepower to compete with other acoustic cannons out there, the GS shape is a worthy choice.
With a slightly larger footprint than the Grand Auditorium, the GS yields a slightly more potent and dynamic all-around sound. Players can expect deeper bass, thicker trebles, and increased volume and low-end sustain, all without disrupting the tonal balance and clarity of the guitar..
Expression System® 2
The Taylor Expression System® 2 (ES2) is a revolutionary pickup design that delivers the latest in Taylor’s ongoing innovation in acoustic guitar amplification. The heart of the Expression System 2 is Taylor’s patented behind-the-saddle pickup, which features three uniquely positioned and individually calibrated pickup sensors. The location of the sensors enables a more dynamic range of acoustic sound to be captured than ever before. Together with Taylor’s custom-designed “professional audio”-grade preamp, this system produces exceptional amplified tone and responsiveness. On stage through a PA, plugged into your favorite acoustic amplifier, or direct into recording software, the Expression System 2 faithfully conveys the voice of your Taylor guitar.
Behind the ES2 Design: Rethinking the Piezo Pickup
For decades, piezo-electric transducers have been positioned under the saddle of a guitar based on the long-held belief that the string and top vibration cause the saddle to “bounce” up and down. But Taylor’s electronics team, led by developer David Hosler, discovered that the vertical movement is actually heavily restricted, and that the saddle gets “locked down” due to the string tension’s downward pressure. That’s why a traditional under-saddle pickup with piezo-electric crystals often responds with a sound often characterized as thin, brittle, brash or synthetic, especially with more aggressive playing.
The saddle’s natural range of movement as the guitar is being played is actually back and forth like a pendulum. That revelation led Taylor’s design team to relocate the crystals from under the saddle to behind it. The new positioning enables the crystals to respond more naturally to the guitar’s energy as it is transferred through the saddle. Three pickup sensors are installed behind the saddle, through the bridge, with three tiny Allen screws that calibrate the position of the sensors in relation to the saddle.
Like the original Expression System, the ES2 features the same volume and tone control knobs. The preamp is similar but with a slightly different gain structure. As a result it will be about 25 percent hotter, which is more in line with other pickups. This makes it plug-and-play friendly both for artists and live sound mixers.
Standard on “ce” models in the 300 Series and up, the Venetian cutaway is known for its soft, round lines. The sloping peak of the cutaway will vary depending on the shape of the guitar. The Grand Concert, Grand Auditorium, and Grand Symphony have a steeper slope, while the Dreadnought is a bit flatter.