Purchased from: The Fret Shop
Sound — 9
My style is mostly acoustic and picking. My fingers don't support the typically larger nut size found on acoustic guitars. The T5 nut and strings are configured as an electric might be, suiting my stubby fingers and giving me the warm acoustic sounds I like, and the occasional electronic ones as well. The T5 typically runs through a Zoom A2.1u Acoustic Effects Pedal, then to a Fender Twin Reverb (1999 replica) amp. The guitar is clean and clear. On-guitar settings give it a range from warm to bright, delicate acoustic to harsh riffing electric. The number and variety of sounds with my combination of guitar, pedal and amp are about as broad as I can imagine for such a limited configuration.
Overall Impression — 10
I have been playing off and on for about 27 years, and almost every day since buying my Taylor T5. Of all my various guitars, the T5 suits me best and is by far, the easiest to play. It is not a replacement for every guitar but it is a solid, versatile one that can replace most common guitars, acoustic and electric. In addition to my Taylor T5, I also own a Taylor NS32 Nylon string acoustic, a Dan Electro DC-12 12-stiring cutaway electric, Ibanez Stratocaster, an Alvarez 6-string acoustic, a J.B. Player 6-string acoustic, and my oddest guitar, a Traveler Guitar Escape, I call my blunt instrument.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The T5 is built solidly. Mechanically, it will last without issues. Would I depend on it without a backup? I depend on no guitar without a backup. Even though the finish is durable, the T5 design doesn't support a pick guard so you can expect it to age with a lot of playing. I've had a single issue related to durability. My Taylor T5, in it's case, sat in the sun, in the back of a hot van while on the road. On arrival, the neck had torqued so much that the high e string fell off the frets on most cords. Also as you'd expect, the tuning it was nearly impossible. I had no options. I thought I'd ruined my T5 so I set it aside in lieu of another instrument. Within a few hours of exposure to normal temperature and humidity, the T5's problems resolved themselves, I was relieved.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Mechanically and physically, the guitar was prime. There were no flaws or issues of any sort. I had no intention of buying this guitar when I picked it up to try it. Its action was that of a high-quality electric, but it's sound included warm acoustic tones. I bought it on the spot and went home to ask forgiveness. Although the guitar was setup at the factory, The Fret Shop Who sold me the guitar doesn't put any guitars, new or used, on the floor without passing them through the shop for review, adjustment & tune-up. I have no knowledge of what they did with the T5 (if anything) to prepare it for sale. I later replaced the medium gauge factory Elixir Nanoweb strings with light gauge Elixir Nanoweb Ultra Light strings to support of my dirtiest electric playing. It's more a function of the string but the Ultra light strings on the T5 frets can go badly out of tune when pressing down to hard on a fret. This is an acoustic habit you have to get over if you setup your T5 as I setup mine. Even so, I'm sold on the Elixir Nanoweb strings. Taylor made a good decision standardizing on these.
Features — 9
My Taylor T5 is the T5-S (spruce) model, manufactured in 2005 by Taylor Guitars of El Cajon (San Diego), California. The T5 is a hollowbody thinline, cutaway, acoustic-electric with a solid Sitka Spruce top, Sapele sides & back, and a Tropical American Mahogany neck. The bridge, fretboard (21 frets) and headstock overlays are ebony. The headstock is outfitted with chrome-plated Taylor brand non-locking tuners. The guitar came Standard with a black hard-shell case. The electronics for the T5 are very versatile including both acoustic and electric pickups. An acoustic pickup resides inside the body, midway between the bridge and the end of the body provides a warm, natural acoustic sound. In addition, a hidden neck pickup and visible bridge pickup (Samarium Cobalt magnets and humbucker coils) are used to provide various electric sounds. A 5-way Switch configures the pickups in various ways to achieve a broad range of acoustic and electric sounds. Volume, treble and bass controls reside on the body. The pickups, controls, and Switch feed an active pre-amp, run by a 9-volt battery (good for about 20 hrs. of continuous play).