In an aim to provide an affordable guitar with good quality craftsmanship and ease of playability, Taylor launched for 2017 the new entry-level Academy Series. I am testing out their 2017 model Taylor Academy 10e acoustic/electric guitar featuring a dreadnought body, solid Sitka Spruce top, layered arched laminate Sapele back and sides (similar to Taylor’s GS, Baby, 100, and 200), African ebony fingerboard and bridge, Nubone nut, and Micarta saddle.
The neck specifications include a shorter 24 7/8-inch scale length, 20 frets, 1 11/16-inch nut width, and a profile with a hint of a rounded “v” peak at the centre. The body shapes for this series resemble the ideas developed with their GS-Mini, but are deeper for a bolder sound whilst retaining the look and feel of a smaller-bodied acoustic.
It has an onboard ES-B pickup/preamp combo with a built-in chromatic tuner system and a LED display powered by two 3v lithium batteries. One of the most surprising features on this guitar is the beveled mahogany armrest, something you would only usually find on more high-end guitars. It also comes with a lightweight padded gig bag. Taylor’s Academy Series was designed with entry-level players in mind.
My first impression on playing the guitar was how lightweight, comfortable and easy it was for fretting, strumming, bending, and flat picking. The set up and intonation are really good, and it sounds great with a capo, too. This instrument plays, feels, and sounds like an expensive guitar. It is more of a mid-range sounding guitar and this is more apparent when using the preamp, but it still has some nice warm bass tones and cuts through well in the top end.
For the price, the tone of the guitar is way ahead of their competitors. It really shines when you fingerpick, but also is pleasing as a rhythm guitar, too.
As a guitar teacher, I’m often asked by students or their parents what kind of acoustic guitar should they purchase for themselves or their children as they begin their journey towards learning to play. More often than not, they do not want to spend a lot of money on their instrument until they decide if this is something that they will pursue, especially when it comes to parents buying for their children as they may lose interest and be left with an expensive guitar collecting dust.
The problem with this is that with most cheaper guitars, they are not that well-crafted, the necks can be wide, and the action can be too high making it extremely difficult for a beginner player. Often times, this can prevent them from learning as it is really difficult and painful to play. I usually try to encourage them to spend a little more and test out the guitars before they buy, finding one that is comfortable for them to play with a good low action and a neck that is not too wide, especially for younger players.
Although there, fortunately, are plenty of affordable decently made guitars out there these days, the Academy series is extremely comfortable and easy to play; and I would recommend it to students that can afford to spend a little more than a cheaper guitar, but don’t want to purchase a super high-end guitar just yet.
The 10e would make an excellent guitar for beginners and more experienced players alike, and I would definitely consider adding one to my collection.
Priced at $599.00 online.
- Body type:Taylor A10 Dreadnought 15/16th-Scale
- Cutaway: No
- Top wood:Solid Sitka Spruce
- Back & sides: Layered Sapele
- Bracing pattern:Academy Series Bracing
- Body finish: Matte 2.0 Varnish
- Orientation:Right handed
- Neck shape:Taylor Standard Profile
- Nut width:1.69 in. (43 mm)
- Fingerboard:Genuine African Ebony
- Neck wood: Saplele
- Scale length:24.87 in.
- Number of frets:20
- Neck finish: Matte 2.0 Varnish
- Brand: Taylor
- Configuration:Behind the saddle transducer
- Preamp EQ:1-band
- Feedback filter: No
- Tuner: Yes
- Headstock overlay:Lexan
- Tuning machines: Chrome Tuners with Chrome Buttons
- Bridge:Genuine African Ebony
- Saddle & nut:Micarta “Wave”/NuBone Nut
- Number of strings:6-string
- Special features:None
- Case:Deluxe Taylor Gig Bag