This is my review of the Taylor AD27e Flametop guitar.
I was very curious about the Taylor AD27e Flametop because the folks at Taylor say about it that it is a very different guitar than you would expect from Taylor. Taylor is pretty bold to say that their latest model “doesn’t sound like a Taylor”! What’s going on here?
I went to investigate and found the Taylor AD27e Flametop to be a well-built dreadnought, with plenty of tone and personality thanks to its maple top.
In this Taylor AD27e Flametop Review, I will analyze the materials, sound, playability and electronics. I will also describe customer reviews and potential alternatives for this guitar.
Let’s get started!
|Price range||$2000-2500 (Includes Taylor Aero case)|
|Top||Solid big leaf maple|
|Back and sides||Solid big leaf maple|
|Pickup system||Taylor Expression 2|
|Graph Tech Tusq nut||Increased harmonics and sustain, rich tone|
|Mahogany top||Warm tone with long sustain|
|Sapele back and sides||Rich, warm, and focused midrange; added sustain|
|V-Class bracing||V-shaped design; excellent projection and sustain|
Materials – Taylor AD27e Flametop
Like many other guitar manufacturers, Taylor has had to deal with difficult supplies of high quality wood in recent years. In many cases, those problems are not over yet. A company like Taylor can sit back and let the number of orders (and waiting customers) increase, but of course it’s better to come up with some creative solutions. And that is what Taylor did! The central question was: can we make something beautiful with the stocks of wood that we do have in house?
What was in stock? A large amount of fine quality maple. Entrust that to the vision and ingenuity of master builder Andy Powers and something unique emerges. Powers wanted to give maple a good chance for the guitar’s top. Maple is, in his words, “a little squirrelly” and therefore harder to fine-tune. But nothing is impossible and the wood turned out to produce a special, usable sound. A sound that was different from the typical hi-fi sound of the other Taylors, and proved to be a welcome addition to the sound palette of existing Taylor guitars. The sound can be described as husky and earthy, fitting Americana and Country Blues.
The model dovetailed nicely with Taylor’s alternative American Dream models. So the creative quest has resulted in a brand new Taylor with a cocky top and a big surprise when it comes to sound. Let’s dive in further…
Sound – Taylor AD27e Flametop
The idea behind the American Dream Series is that they are professional, still affordable instruments, without all kinds of extras that drive up the price. When we open the case we see an austere, 100 percent functional guitar. The flamed maple is a dark, smoky sunburst that allows almost no drawing of the wood through. The silk gloss lacquer finish gives the impression that the instrument has seen a lot of stages up close.
Maple was used for the sides and back of the guitar, with Taylor indicating that they treated the guitar in a way that improved the warmth, complexity and sustain of the sound. The maple on the top leads to a “dry sound with focus on the midrange,” according to Taylor. The guitar features Taylor’s signature V-Class bracing and is strung by Powers with D’addario Nickel Bronze strings 0.012 to 0.053.
It produces a “solid, rustic sound. Edorn was used for the neck and Eucalyptus was utilized for the fingerboard and bridge. Eucalyptus is not a protected wood species and fits Taylor’s ecological goals. It produces a sound with a strong middle and a high and balanced low.
Playability – Taylor AD27e Flametop
The instrument feels very comfortable, thanks in part to the silk-lacquer finished neck with its C-profile and 44.5mm wide nut.
A good test with dreadnoughts is to listen for the peak in the mid-frequencies that you often hear around the F and the F-sharp on the fourth string: does the sound get muddy here because of the accents on the low middle? With the AD27e, the answer is absolutely no! Across the board, the sound is clean and very clear.
Playability is excellent and the response is very balanced across the frequency range. You could summarize the sound of the AD27e as follows: Imagine the sound of a Martin at one end of the spectrum, versus, say, a Gibson J-45 at the other end. The AD27e tends more towards the Gibson: dry, woody, earthy. You’re going to instantly enjoy your favorite acoustic blues licks and chord progressions.
Electronics – Taylor AD27e Flametop
The AD27e features the well-known Expression System 2 pickup with preamp, perfect for use on a stage. This system is very easy to set up and very pleasant to use live. There is also a cheaper version available, without an element.
Love the design, simplicity and sound of this guitar. Taylor took their design successes and wrapped them in an all wood box and brought quality and good value together. This is a fun guitar to play not only in sound, but also in feel. It’s really light, but don’t let that fool you – it has bold, sustaining mid-range, rich sound to boot. If you want to fall in love with playing a guitar the first time again, this is the one. Very good electronics built in.
- A sturdy dreadnought with a distinct edge.
- lots of personality and tone.
- High-quality Expression System 2.
- Maple top is unusual and might scare traditional players.
Alternatives – Taylor AD27e Flametop
If the Taylor AD27e Flametop Review isn’t the right fit, several other similar guitars might interest you.
The D-18, a Mahogany dreadnought is part of Martin’s Standard Series of professional-level acoustic guitars.
The renowned D-18 recently received a makeover from Martin. It has a superb hand-crafted construction with high-quality materials.
The Taylor 327e has a lot of warmth by combining a Mahogany top with Tasmanian Blackwood back and sides, provide a deep mid-range. The compressed and dark tone of the guitar is complemented by a satin finish, minor edge burst, and dark hardware.
Thanks to Taylor’s bold choice of maple and to the craftsmanship of Andy Powers, a beautiful result has been achieved. The Taylor AD27e Flametop is a very good acoustic guitar with a character all its own. It is a perfect complement to the other models in the American Dream Series. How a maple top is going to develop in terms of sound I don’t know (as it ages, spruce is going to sound more and more open, for example), but my expectation is that the sound will only get better. In the price range, this Taylor will have a lot of competition, but if you are open to something different, the AD27e may be a very pleasant surprise for you.