Price paid: £ 1166
Purchased from: Express Music Coventry
Sound — 9
A lovely tone with a surprisingly deep base and decent treble. Some people describe the Ovankol 400 series as where Taylor meets Martin. I play finger style and this guitar certainly delivers, it also has lots of sustain and a good bloom when strummed. It is a very loud guitar so you if you pick lightly its perfect. The range of this guitar gives it good base and good treble. It is the guitar in the Taylor set up that has the widest range according to the Taylor comparisons from rose wood, maple to mahogany.
Overall Impression — 9
Good for a finger picking strummer. I play acoustic blues and like to put rock classics to a finger style acoustic arrangement. Great guitar and Ovankol as a wood is very, very under rated. Ovankol is likened to rosewood, but it has a wider range from base to treble so an excellent choice for finger picking and palm mute/release of base notes. Really good guitar. Would replace if stolen but would go for the short scale Taylor neck because of less string tension for finger picking and fretting ease. Taylor say the Grand Auditorium is a "swiss army knife" do everything guitar. It gives a great sound for finger picking and strumming type playing. Rolling Stones "Angie" sounds amazing on this guitar.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Last for ever if looked after. Good quality instrument. I use only at home so don't know about gigging. The build looks robust and the case that comes with the guitar is extremely well made. Have not tried to jump on it so could not testify to extreme durability but for every day transport and useage I would say it is fine. The top will ding the same as any other softwood top. I have knocked the back and sides against some furniture and it has left no marks so it seems really robust and well made.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Finish is excellent. I did have some problems with the action which Express Music solved for me, but I am positive from asking other Taylor owners and playing the same guitar in many music shops that this was a one off. The finish quality on this guitar is excellent from the binding to the fretwork. The tuners are really solid. They are made of chrome and I have had no issues with them at all. There is no electronics but fitting an after market pickup should be easy for any good tech. The ovankol sides look absolutely fantastic. The only real thing that I think the guitar could do with is a gloss finish on the back and sides. The top is gloss but doing the back and sides would really bring out the beautiful wood which you can compare to stripes of dark to light brown, sometimes with a green hue (which I like) when it catches the light.
Features — 8
A 2011 GA4 made in the Taylor factory in USA. Grand Auditorium body with a sitka spruce top and Ovankol back and sides. Rosewood neck with an ebony fretboard. No electrics, pure acoustic. Comes with hard case. The neck is extremely playable. Other reviews have said that if you are coming from an electric guitar to an acoustic it is the perfect width. The tuners are chrome and excellent quality. There is no pick guard on my guitar which I really like. If you order one from Taylor you have the choice of tortouse shell, clear or no guard. I think that without a guard looks fantastic, however I play without a pick so really suits me. If you are a heavy strummer go for the guard option.