Quick Review - Taylor T-5z Pro
Quick Review - Taylor T-5z Pro
To open this review with a couple of caveats.
1) I am at best an amateur guitarist so take what I write here with a grain or two of salt (maybe some lime and tequila will help as well!).
2) I prefer acoustic guitar so some of my opinions may be a bit biased. I will get to why I don't feel this is an "acoustic" despite the "Acoustic? Electric? Yes" tagline later on.
3) I posted a few links to video reviews that go a bit further in-depth below so I will try to be brief.
So, what the heck is it?
In addition to it's regular line of acoustic guitars Taylor has dabbled with electrics like the T-3 and the T-5 range of "hybrid" guitars. The T-5 and T-5z come in four levels (The "Classic", "Standard", "Pro", and "Custom"). The only difference between the models being appointments like binding and top woods etc. and price of course. Both the T-5 and T-5z are fully hollow thin bodied "acoustics" with the Expression System from the acoustic lines and a stacked bridge humbucker. The original T-5 (released in 2005 I believe) has an auditorium sized body with a 15" radius bolt on neck and standard frets where the newer T-5z has a more "Les Paul" sized body with a 12" radius neck and jumbo frets the theory being that the T-5 was mainly for the acoustic player wanting some electric while the T-5z was the opposite. Both versions are available in 12 strings as well.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am not a Taylor fan generally. While I have played many at many different price points I have never walked out of the store with one. They check all of the right boxes (good fit and finish, great playability, attractive, well balanced, good note to note seperation etc.) but I always found them to be a bit lifeless and thin in the tone department and I am NOT a fan of the Expression System to be honest. All of that is subjective however and most of the tone is in the fingers after all (hence my caveat above). Also I think Taylors are very overpriced.
So, if that is how you feel about Taylor why did you buy one dummy?
Well simple really, because it is quite an interesting beast. With this guitar you can practice scales or write melodies and lyrics without plugging in or waking the baby. It has a good tonal range and is quite flexible. Playability and fit and finish are great and the blue matches my truck.
So, You love it so much you sleep with it and are a huge Taylor fan now right?
Errr, no (that is just wrong on too many levels). I DO like it a bit however. After trying to go the electric route for a while now one of the things I found was that I just didn't like how my electrics felt with daily playing and the T-5z "feels" like an acoustic and is able to cover "some" of the areas that both electric and acoustic cover.
So, you said earlier that it was not an "acoustic", make up your mind.
It isn't in the tone department, even though it has some OK acoustic sounds. I have played it through my Fishman Loundbox Artist and my Takamine and Breedloves blow it away acoustically. Now, to be honest, they are full sized acoustics and the Taylor is a maple topped thin body so that was to be expected. Also you will NOT be practicing your harmonics and full tone quality on this guitar, or recording it with mics, without plugging it in to some amplification device. There is only one of the five positions that utilize the soundboard (not under saddle) transducer and that is in a blend with the hidden magnetic humbucker, all of the other sounds are just the humbuckers. It is better I suppose than an actual electric with a piezo bridge due to being constructed like an acoustic so you tend to play it that way in "acoustic" mode but to me it seems to be a hollow body electric with an added transducer. With an A/B pedal you can go between a PA or acoustic amp and an electric amp however and the guitar actually does sound quite nice. The tone shaping with the active EQ is pretty good and you can get a wide range of decent sounds, just gotta watch the feedback when you go to position 1 (do NOT do that with a drive pedal and your Peavey Valveking turned up, trust me!).
Playability - I'll give it a 6-7. The neck feels nice the action is good for me but I have a light touch and it feels good in the lap and is really light. But for the electric player who is used to adjusting intonation, pickup height, saddle height etc that won't be happening here.
Build quality and fit and finish - It's a 9-10, Taylor does do very well in this department and is pretty consistent.
Tone - I'll give it an 8-9 here. While I am not totally won over by the acoustic tones on this guitar it kind of has a tone of it's own and a great deal of flexibility with some limitations.
Price - Got a spare kidney? Just sayin' it aint' cheap.
All of the above said Taylor guitars are everywhere and if this model piques your interest you should easily be able to find one to play somewhere close by. It's not for everyone but is worth a look to be sure.
Taylor T5z Custom hybrid hollowbody guitar review demo (Guitarist review)
Taylor T5z Live Sound Demo (Zzounds preview video)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=19&v=OtcIDr96A1I (Taylor T-5z sneak preview)
Taylor T5z Guitar Review (AGM sound demo)
Taylor T5z Guitar Range Review - Time to challenge those preconceptions! (Andertons review)
Taylor T5 Acoustic-electric Guitar Demo - Sweetwater Sound (Sweetwater review of the original T-5)