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Taylor Koa returned it am I alone?

echo44

Member
Messages
283
I bought A Taylor K24CE Koa
brought it home and after a few days couldn't bond with it?

Although it is an amazingly beautiful guitar and plays like a dream, I found the sound a little blah, almost too perfect? Just wondering what others think, do these guitars take a long time to break in. I currently have several martin guitars, a gibson guitar and a collings. To me the Taylor had a sterile feeling? Is it the KOA? I also felt the finish was way to glossed up and gave it a synthetic feel?

Just curious to see what other peeps experience has been with these guitars
especially other martin owners?
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
4,000
Koa takes quite a while to break in, which unfortunately means that a lot of players pass these guitars up. New Koa guitars tend to sound bright and maybe a little sterile too. Over time (can be 2+ years) they really open up and IMO they can sound incredible. I own a Taylor with a Sitka Spruce top and Koa back and sides that I purchased in 2005 and it's the most balanced guitar that I own. I feel like it can cover any style of music. Also, Koa guitars really benefit from being played a lot as this will speed up their break in period.

On a side note, why did you buy the guitar? I can usually tell if a guitar is "blah" from the first time I try it. You seem to have a fantastic collection of guitars though, was the Koa just a different tone wood that you wanted to try?
 

andersmv

Member
Messages
562
Koa Taylor's have been very hit and miss for me. As a disclaimer, I love Taylor guitars but usually gravitate towards the grand auditoriums without spruce (My first taylor was a 714 with cedar top). I've only played a handful of dreadnoughts that I liked. Years ago, I went in a store with 5 different full koa Taylor's and ended up buying the K20ce dread that was the most boring looking of them all aesthetically. Its still beautiful, but it sounds amazing, I have clients pick it out of the lineup to record with the majority of the time. But it is pretty neutral sounding as far as guitars go, balanced might be a better description. It's a 2001 model and has broken in really well over the years. Don't keep yours just because it looks pretty, you'll find the right one eventually!
 

s2y

Member
Messages
19,645
First off, a lot of this forum think that ALL Taylors sound sterile.

I've only played a few koa Taylors and can't say any of them blew me away. I knew a guy who had an older koa Taylor acoustic that still wasn't quite what I like in an acoustic tone.

Did you like the sound at the shop?
 

guitararmy

Member
Messages
2,823
I have two koa Taylors, one of which is all koa and very figured. It has an average sound, while the other one which is less figured sounds much better.
The experts on the Acoustic Guitar Forum have discussed how inconsistent koa is.....
 

GMGM

Member
Messages
1,402
First off, a lot of this forum think that ALL Taylors sound sterile.

I've only played a few koa Taylors and can't say any of them blew me away. I knew a guy who had an older koa Taylor acoustic that still wasn't quite what I like in an acoustic tone.

Did you like the sound at the shop?
I assume you're referring to mine, right? Anyway - I agree that the tone is probably not what most people dream of. The low end is a little damped, and it is definitely steeped towards a midrangy tone.

It's a 314-KCE from around 1999 or 2000, I think. It has Koa back and sides. I haven't played any of the more modern Koa builds, so I've always been curious how much of the tone loss is due to the Koa itself, and hoe much is due to the big old hole they cut in the side to install a big heavy Fishman preamp system.

At least I can take comfort in knowing that it looks pretty!

FYI - It sounded much more rich in the store, and the tone has improved somewhat over time. I've never liked Bronze strings due to corrosion, so I've always used the coated Elixer strings. But a few months back, I tried a set of the new Aluminum-Bronze strings - and they are still treating treating me pretty well, and it sounds much fuller.
 

Matt F

Member
Messages
870
I have a 1993 K12 Taylor with an engleman spruce top. I have owned it since it was new and it has only gotten better sounding with age. Tone is balanced across all strings and it's a great fingerstyle guitar. I own many other acoustic guitars and I play some more than others. However, that Taylor is still enjoyable to play and gets used several times a month. I use D'Addario EXP16 phospher bronze strings on it and they seem to work very well.

I have played other 'prettier' Taylors made of Koa that just didn't do it for me. I think it's just like everything else. Some are good and some are great and a few turn out not so great.

Don't worry. Our soul mates are out there. Keep dating and one day you'll bring the right girl home :).
 

echo44

Member
Messages
283
I initially bought the guitar on impulse, I played it for a short time in the store, I liked the way it sounded at low volumes. Than when I got home and played it side by side with some of my other acoustics, I couldn't image playing the taylor over the others.
 

royd

Member
Messages
2,039
I would not blame an ehh sound on the koa. One of the most inspiring guitars I've ever played was an all koa Martin from the late 20's. It was to die for.

I would characterize Taylors as having a simple tone. That works really well in a live band setting where a more complex sounding guitar would clash with the other instruments and sound muddy in the mix. When playing solo, lots of folk find them less inspiring than the more complex sounding guitars.
 

joeprs

Member
Messages
1,516
I bought a K26e a year ago and immediately bonded with it. But, I sort of preferred my BTO Cocobolo a little more. Both sound good, just different.

The next month I attended the Taylor guitars roadshow and they had a Koa, not sure of the model, and I tried it and thought it was horrible. I thought mine sounds much better than that!

My K26e is now a year old and I am bonding with it more and more. Every time I pick it up I am glad I kept it. I guess it's starting to open up. Funny how sometimes I prefer it over the BTO, when it used to be the other way around. I do love both though. They're both good, just different, which is a good thing.

I've learned, if I don't immediately love an instrument, take it back, because even though it might improve over time, that doesn't mean I will bond with it. If I bond with it right from the start, over time I will love it even more.
 

Matt F

Member
Messages
870
I've learned, if I don't immediately love an instrument, take it back, because even though it might improve over time, that doesn't mean I will bond with it. If I bond with it right from the start, over time I will love it even more.

That is sound advice..
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
4,000
I would not blame an ehh sound on the koa. One of the most inspiring guitars I've ever played was an all koa Martin from the late 20's. It was to die for.

I would characterize Taylors as having a simple tone. That works really well in a live band setting where a more complex sounding guitar would clash with the other instruments and sound muddy in the mix. When playing solo, lots of folk find them less inspiring than the more complex sounding guitars.
This is definitely true and I think it's one reason why I have avoided buying a second Taylor. However, the new 800 series IMO completely changed the typical Taylor tone. I now find that all of the 800 series guitars, especially the 814 and 816 have an extremely complex tone and could easily work in a variety of settings.

I also wanted to say again that Koa takes a long time to break in, which is why a lot of people pass on them. I agree that you should like a guitar before buying because it will only improve a bit. However, Koa can have a fairly drastic tonal change over time when the wood opens up.
 

jay42

Member
Messages
7,077
This is definitely true and I think it's one reason why I have avoided buying a second Taylor. However, the new 800 series IMO completely changed the typical Taylor tone. I now find that all of the 800 series guitars, especially the 814 and 816 have an extremely complex tone and could easily work in a variety of settings.
Please expound on the new 800 series tonality. I've been wondering.

re:Koa, back in the late 80's, I missed out on buying a used spruce top/Koa sides & back Taylor dread. It seemed perfect.
 
Messages
5,170
I briefly owned a Gibson Custom Shop J-185 Koa. Didn't last long with me either. Just sounded bland. Why did I buy it? Beats me...
 

petty1818

Member
Messages
4,000
Please expound on the new 800 series tonality. I've been wondering.

re:Koa, back in the late 80's, I missed out on buying a used spruce top/Koa sides & back Taylor dread. It seemed perfect.
I should mention that the 800 series has Rosewpod back and sides so no Koa. Anyway, they completely redesigned the bracing and added a thinner glass finish. There are other changes as well but the bracing is the most dramatic.

In terms of tone, the new 800's, especially the 814 and 816, have far more projection, bass and overall character than any other taylor that I have tried. One strum is all you need to immediately feel the improved bass and projection. They take minimal effort to get a ton of volume. I would characterize them as still having the traditional Taylor clarity but they now have a complex
sound that to me sounds like a Taylor and Martin all in one.
 

joeprs

Member
Messages
1,516
I should mention that the 800 series has Rosewpod back and sides so no Koa. Anyway, they completely redesigned the bracing and added a thinner glass finish. There are other changes as well but the bracing is the most dramatic.

In terms of tone, the new 800's, especially the 814 and 816, have far more projection, bass and overall character than any other taylor that I have tried. One strum is all you need to immediately feel the improved bass and projection. They take minimal effort to get a ton of volume. I would characterize them as still having the traditional Taylor clarity but they now have a complex
sound that to me sounds like a Taylor and Martin all in one.
Having played both the 2014 814ce and 2014 816ce, I have to agree with the above post. If I were in the market for another acoustic, the 816ce would be my first choice by far. I like the 814, but prefer the 816 overall.
 

Tom60

Senior Member
Messages
719
I bought A Taylor K24CE Koa
brought it home and after a few days couldn't bond with it?

Although it is an amazingly beautiful guitar and plays like a dream, I found the sound a little blah, almost too perfect? Just wondering what others think, do these guitars take a long time to break in. I currently have several martin guitars, a gibson guitar and a collings. To me the Taylor had a sterile feeling? Is it the KOA? ?
No it is not the Koa, it is the Taylor :) I never took any Taylor home - just playing it in the shop was enough to know it is not for me....
But I'd love to own a Martin 20's Koa Authentic..

Bolt-on guitars never worked for me, I am a Martin and Gibson guy.
I'll never buy a Collings (for the crazy money to bot) for the same reason too.. to bright and harsh for my taste. IMHO etc...
 

s2y

Member
Messages
19,645
Bolt-on guitars never worked for me
There are more and more high end luthiers using bolt-on designs. You'd never hear the difference. Of course, everyone has played all guitars and has formed an unbiased opinion.....
 






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