Installing JJB330 pickup on Taylor Big Baby

Did a JJB330 installation last week on the Big Baby.


This guitar previously had an LR Baggs Element system in it but the owner wanted something that requires no batteries, so the passive JJB system seems the right choice. Here’s a well-used guitar that has really opened up. Plenty of marks on the top that kinda adds character.

Mounting the end jack.

Since the guitar already had a 12mm hole drilled due to the previous pickup, we can go straight to work without bringing out the drill.

I use a copper wire to enter through the base and exit the soundhole.


Here I attach the end jack of the JJB 330.


Pull out through the base again.


Okay, we got the end jack screwed in nicely.


Mounting the transducers

Let’s make a jig from the good ol’ cereal box.


Trace out the saddle line and punch through the bridge pin holes. Mark X on the spots the transducers are mounted. Note that one marking is a bit nearer to the high E to accentuate the thinnest string.


Use some blu-tak to mount the transducers on the jig. It’s a good idea to clean the shiny contact surfaces with Zippo fluid at this time.


Do many dry runs to ensure you get a good sensing of how the jig would fit before applying the glue. Once you’re confident, apply gel superglue on the shiny surfaces and stick it in!

When you see this, you know that everything is in the right place. No mirrors needed.


Hold the jog in place for a few minutes while the glue dries.

Bearclaw Special

It’s time to pamper the guitar. Let’s start with the fretboard and bridge.

Steel wool and Ax Wax to the party.

From this:


To this:


Bob was assistant today.


Pencil lead on nut slots and saddle crown.ย 

I also took time to tighten some of the tuner buttons. I actually find the Taylor stock tuners quite well-made.

Fresh Elixirs, what else?


Guitar was ready to go on stage. ๐Ÿ™‚

Cookie came out to pose.


Closing note:

The Big Baby is a fun guitar that can fill the gap between a full-sized dreadnought and a Baby Taylor/Little Martin genre. It’s main strength is the full 25.5″ scale. Some players may find the extremely cramped 22.5″ too uncomfy and the Big Baby fits the bill perfectly here.

In the tone department, don’t expect this to sound as full as a 110e. But hey, it still has decent bass and does have the dreadnought sound to it. I’d say it’s a better strummer than an OM or 000 type.

If you really need the smaller bodyshape, this is actually a good idea.

See some pictures for comparison with a regular dread. Here you see that it is just a bit shorter in terms of overall length.


The BBT is also shallower. However, the bowl back creates more volume and bass than you’d expect.


Perhaps the only thing going against the BBT is the $599 retail price here in SG. In today’s market, many full solid guitars (albeit China made) can be had for $699 onwards if one were to look beyond the brand name.

With the introduction of the Academy Series in 2017, one wonders if the Big Baby will be discontinued.




Taylor go with copafera in 200 Deluxe guitars

In yet another move to overcome the CITES regulation, Taylor has introduced Copafera as the body woods for the 200 Deluxe guitars sold outside America.


The new guitars will be coded with suffix CF to denote copafera for back and sides.


a look at the copafera grains on the 214e-CF DLX

Since the 200 series guitars have layered body woods, the move to include copafera should mean minimal effects on tone. If anything, it is the core wood poplar that we are hearing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Read more:

*photos from MusicRadar and Taylor Guitars

Taylor K26ce Setup

Did a setup for this gorgeous guitar last week.


This 2011 model is all-bling and exotic woods. One of those guitars when you buy in and just admire it for its beauty.


Sexy 3-piece back. Plenty of bling going on with all the abalone inlays and bindings too. Crazy level of bling.


Entire guitar is bound with flame maple. Even the sound hole is bound. Guitarbear was drooling profusely. Pardon the dust. Owner probably doesn’t believe in squeaky clean guitars.

Bearclaw Special

We start with some guitar TLC. Fretboard and frets shine. No prizes for guessing which part had some love from Guitarbear. ๐Ÿ™‚ The ebony fretboard and bridge just feel solid and smooth. Thumbs ups!



Brownie was helping me check the fretboard after oiling. It looks like he likes all the beautiful binding too.

Let’s work on the setup.ย 

Saddle needed some sanding for lower action. The base was sanded with 100 grit sandpaper and final sanding with 2000 grit for a baby smooth finish.


I also gave the truss rod a 1/8 turn to straighten the neck a lil’.


Restrung with Elixirs (what else?), and ย we got a really low action here just slightly above 1/16 inch on 12th fret capo on one.

I gave the whole guitar a good clean and polish. It’s a world of a difference from what I received. All the dust and grime had gone and we now have a shiny clean guitar.

The kids came out to pose with it. They love guitars.


Closing notes:

The K26ce is what a high-end guitar is all about – exotic wood (as can be seen), great fretwork (action was low without buzz) and total eye-candy.


Sure, the koa construction meant that it doesn’t sound as punchy and direct as a spruce-topped guitar. But the warmth and slight “reverb” (akin to mahogany) make this guitar a joy to play. It still responds very well to strumming because the GS body is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Guitarbear can see why the GS shape hasn’t been too popular in this part of the world. The wide lower bout may cause some smaller players to struggle. There’re also players who’d choose the GA and D shapes for reasons ranging from comfort to familiarity.


Having said that, this K26ce is still a great guitar and would probably justify its price tag for being so beautiful in both looks and sound.


Taylor 2017 Limiteds

It’s been a while since Taylor Guitars release Limited Edition guitars. This time round, the four models are spread across different series.


914ce LTD



The ultra lavish 914ce gets sassafras back and sides for this limited edition. Add that to the gorgeous ebony armrest, ebony bindings and gold Gotoh 510s, this is a truly flamboyant and luxurious guitar.

752ce LTD

The new 700 series introduced in 2016 distinguished itself with Lutz top and Taylor has now introduced a 12-string.


The GC body seems to be quite low-key in this part of the world so it remains to be seen if this one will reach us.

410e Baritone-6 LTD


The 410e Baritone sports an ovangkol body matched with spruce top. The 27 inch scale (B to B) gives a deeper tone, so perhaps the shaded burst top suits this guitar.

314ce LTD


The re-worked 300 series introduced Australian Blackwood into the range but this time it is paired with the more popular spruce top for more punch. Only this time, Taylor has used Lutz instead of the usual Sitka variant.


Nice looking “twisted ovals” fingerboard inlays found on this one.ย This seems like the guitar that 300 series buyers would have been asking for.

*photos from Taylor Guitars



GS Mini Mahogany Bone Saddle Upgrade

Worked in this GS Mini mahogany a few weeks back. The guitar was buzzing due to an overly low saddle and the owner needed to get it fixed for his upcoming gig.


Here you can see that there is almost no break angle at the saddle so it’s no wonder the guitar buzzed when strummed even moderately. The saddle looked really dirty here due to the rust caused by sweaty palm.


The idea here was put in a bone saddle and get the optimum saddle height for best playability and tone. We got some Hosco Japan bone saddle for this project.


Carefully shaped to match the Taylor 15 inch radius and to fit the saddle slot.


Bearclaw Special

TLC for all nice guitars. Who likes shiny frets and moisturised fretboards? Wombat was my assistant here.


Pencil lead on nut slots and cleaned up the whole guitar. This was a gigging guitar and it needed some effort to clean off those beer stains. ๐Ÿ™‚

Adjusting truss rod to add relief

I used the Taylor truss rod tool to get it a quarter turn. The GS Minis come stock with 13s so going to 12s will require a bit more relief for the thinner strings. (Note that this is a staged photo.)


Some final adjustments to the saddle height and we’re good to go. Action is now around 3/32 inch at 12th fret.


Roger came out to pose with the guitar. Let’s hope the gig goes well for the owner.



Closing notes:

This particular Mini sounds really good here. It’s got lots of presence and it’s one of the most lush sounding GS Mini I have worked with.

Guitarbear suspects this is due to the fact that it gets played all the time (owner is a gigging musician and doesn’t own too many guitars). So it is true that a played-in worn-in instrument sounds and feels better.