Wednesday, October 20

New Gear: Taylor 314ce-LTD, and Bonus Gear Review: Fishman Aura much for having a lot to write about, huh?

Seriously though, this month has been crazy busy. The biggest thing has been, in the last two weeks I've played in two weddings while attending three (including one that was my best friend). That's a lot of extra stuff to do when you already don't really have a weekend. I've got another wedding this weekend, and Halloween coming up the week after's a good thing I don't have a day-job, because I'm exhausted!

Anyway, all that is a big fat excuse, which I don't like doing. What else have I been doing with my time? Playing with my new child. Meet the Taylor.

Solid (Sitka Spruce) top, solid (Brazilian Rosewood) back and sides. Ebony fretboard. Built in November of 2001. It's got the older pickup system which actually sounds pretty darn good with no effects. Satin finish which is not perfect, but nothing more than a ding or scuff which is probably pretty good for a nine-year old guitar. Speaking of the age, it's in a great place for an acoustic guitar; the neck is still perfect and the tone woods have really opened up. Great depth of tone fingerpicking, flat-picking or strumming. Definitely brighter than my Breedlove (I mean, it's a Taylor), but that helps it play even better in a full-band setting. And as much as I try to not be the guy who's affected by the name on the headstock, you can feel the quality in this guitar as you play it. I'm not sure quite how to describe it; "delicate" would be the wrong word, but maybe "fine"? The wood resonates together so that you can feel it in the guitar, against your hands and in your gut.

And it only cost me my ASAT. Sad to see it go since it was my first "real" electric guitar, but I honestly can't justify having a premium Telecaster that never gets played. This gives me two acoustics so I can have a backup (you know, when I'm wrecking it for 20,000 fans), and in fact was quite a bit in the black for me, as trades go. I just couldn't pass it by. Plus, I LOVE (in case you haven't figured it out yet) the Squier CV Telecaster if I ever need a Telecaster, which is a bit more cost-effective. I'm thinking I need an ES-335 of some kind first, though...

But anyway, the second half: Fishman no longer sells their Aura pedal in a locked-in flavor, like the "Concert" model that I bought sometime last year. Instead, they sell a one-size fits all pedal that comes pre-loaded with some Dreadnaught images, but comes with access to the entire library of images. Big bonus: if you have a Dreadnaught guitar, a Concert guitar and a nylon-string guitar, you don't have to buy three pedals. You can customize your one pedal to have any images you need. I thought that they should have done that immediately, but the fact that I could upgrade for really cheap is just as good. A bit more exciting is that there's a whole set of images for the Taylor 314ce, which means I didn't have to fiddle around too much to find some images that really make my guitar sound like my guitar. It's also great because there's no practical reason to have more than three or four images per guitar; I mean, how many different situations are going to come up where a different shade of tone is going to be just perfect? I've settled on a solo-acoustic tone, a band tone, and two different finger-style tones, but I can't think of any other needs. 16 presets is nice, but I only need like 3.

All in all, it's great having a brighter guitar that I can play with in a band and a more balanced guitar that I can play in a solo-acoustic situation. Or, having a backup acoustic that can be tuned to something crazy to make things go smoother when I play out. I keep telling myself that my Breedlove is going to be my workhorse guitar and my Taylor is going to be my "nice" guitar, but I can't seem to put the Taylor down...

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