acoustic

Taylor expands its koa models with these "select-grade" guitars featuring an organic aesthetic and punchy sound.

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Maple makes the dread grow mellower.

Exceptional playability and intonation. Sweet midrange focus. Records well in dense mixes.

Some will find the maple voice quirky. Not a lot of low-end resonance for a dread. Satin finish doesn’t suit a $2K-plus instrument.

$2,199

Taylor AD27e Flametop
taylorguitars.com

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One of the nice things about designing guitars for a company like Taylor is that you’re less burdened by tradition. Even though the builder is now nearly a 50-year-old institution—not to mention one of the biggest guitar makers in the world—to many acoustic traditionalists they are still very much the new kid on the block. While such fresh-faced “newness” may mean flattop classicists look askance at your every move, it also means you can introduce a design departure like the company’s V-Class bracing without risk of rebellion from your consumer constituency—or, for that matter, build a dreadnought with a top fashioned from big leaf maple.

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Chasny’s go-to acoustic for the last decade has been an Alvarez Yairi Bob Weir model. But after a rough life on the road, the guitarist is giving that instrument some much-deserved downtime and has moved onto a Martin 00C-16DBGTE.

Photo by Tim Bugbee

The psychedelic 6-stringer steps back from the musical fringe—where he’s helmed Six Organs of Admittance and a slew of noisy avant collabs—to create polite production music and release The Intimate Landscape, his first album under his own name.

Ben Chasny has spent his musical life firmly rooted in the undergound. If you’re an avant aficionado, you might be familiar with his project Six Organs of Admittance. Or his band 200 Years. Maybe Rangda, New Bums, Badgerlore, or even Comets on Fire?

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