Taylor V-Class Bracing

BIG announcement from Taylor at NAMM. Andy Powers has stated that this could be a game-changer as the new bracing produces more volume, more sustain, well… more everything.


Lauded by Taylor as the “new sonic engine”, the V-Class bracing, as the name implies, moves away from a more usual X-bracing and this transforms the way a guitar top vibrates.

The new bracing guitars find their way into top range Taylor models along with the new Builder’s Edition K14ce (pictured below).

Taylor-Builders-Edition-K14ce-fr-2018.pngThe Builder’s Edition K14ce features a spruce top on koa body and premium appointments such as abalone bindings and Gotoh tuners.

Other models to receive the new V-bracing are the 914ce, K24ce and the stunning PS14ce with Sinker Redwood top and Ebony body (pictured below).


Taylor-PS14ce-v-class-AfrEbony-bk-2018.pngIt is also worth noting that the V-Class models will bear an inner label with Andy Power’s signature instead of Bob Taylor’s signature that we’ve seen on all Taylor guitars until now.


It’s clear that the torch will be passed on to the new man.

The internet has been abuzz with mixed feelings towards the new bracing since it’s being announced a few days back, with some saying that it’s pure marketing and koyok, while others put ample trust and faith in Andy Powers and Taylor.

Regardless, Guitarbear is hopeful that new bracing will garner some benefits and it adds value to Taylor products.

Read more:


*photos from Taylor


Installing JJB 330 on Taylor 714ce

Did an installation on this older Taylor guitar last month.


This 714ce has various features that are very different from current guitars. It has dot inlays and the ancient ES System that uses AA batteries.


The ES System has failed and owner wanted to have a passive pickup which doesn’t require any batteries. Of course the JJB 330 is a good choice. There are some opinions on such passive pickups but I reckon they sound very natural and great when paired with a DI/EQ.

Removing the ES System


The first hurdle would be deciding what to to do with the existing ES System. There is no way the current end block can be used to install the new end-jack, and drilling a separate hole would be nothing short of a disaster cosmetically.

So, we had to purchase a set of ES Plug. This thing costs US$35 but the shipping was about US$46 (ouch!!). Full marks to the guys from Stratosphere Part who shipped this to SG in record three days.


We”ll see why these two pieces of wood are so important later. Now, we need to remove the ES System.


After unscrewing the end-jack and removing the battery cover, gently pull the plastic frame which is attached via double tape. Yes, this thing was fixed at the factory using double tape.


The four screws holding the end block are now visible so we gotta remove those.


The entire end block will slide out nicely after the screws are removed. Bear in mind that the RJ19-looking connector can be disconnected, so DO NOT cut anything here.


WHOAA!!! We got a huge gaping hole in the guitar now.


So that’s where the Plug comes in. You need to replace the end block and also provide the screw holes and a 12mm hole for the new end-jack which could be of any pickup you like.


Lousy photo showing the body sensor mounted under the guitar top. Simply pull and wiggle gently for it to come off. They come off fairly easily.


Next, we gotta remove these knobs which are also linked to the preamp unit. Pop off the rubber knobs (just pull them off).


These collars must be unscrewed and NOT pulled out. They are screwed in, so if you try to yank them out with pliers, good luck. Upon unscrewing the collars, the entire preamp assembly can be removed from the inside. Here we need to disconnect some cables as well.


At this point, Guitarbear reckons those three little holes make a nice soundport. But owner thinks it’s better to just use the plug to fill them up. There are also two loose cables coming from the neck pickup sensor that needed to be anchored.

A look at all the ES components are were removed.


Absolutely no cutting of wires in such projects. You either remove cleanly or you tape them down. No butchering allowed in Guitarbear’s work ethics.


I used thick foam double tape for mounting the plugs.


This is how it looks with the holes plugged.

Installing JJB 330 pickup. 

We start with installing the end-jack. There is no drilling required as the plug already has those holes drilled out nicely.


Insert the sensors from the end. (Staged photo here, I’m very much right-handed)


Screw in the end plate.


Mounting the sensors

Use some old cardboard to prepare the mounting jig.


Mark the spots where the sensors will be. After many dry runs, use gel superglue to mount them.

A detailed post on this can be read here:



Once the anchors are in place, we know for sure the sensors are also in place.

Bearclaw Special

Gave the guitar a good clean and polish. This is a player’s guitar so there’s quite a bit of “mojo” to clean up.

Scotty helped with oiling the fretboard.


Restrung with fresh Elixirs and guitar was good to go. It weighs much lighter now that the ES components are removed.

Edward and Clover posed for this.


A look at the rosewood back.


Owner was happy to do away with all the hassles of the previous pickup.

Taylor T5z Classic DLX LTD

Great Ltd Ed colours for the T5z Classic DLX.

3055-T5z LTD-FR-AW-SB-50-50

Arctic White, Fiesta Red and Sonic Blue are familiar colours from the 50s (and notably on many F brand guitars).


The Sonic Blue (Retail US$2199) just looks mouth-watering.

It’s a pity that the Taylor hybrid guitars haven’t been popular in SG. Perhaps the term “best of both worlds” doesn’t really exist in guitar playing.

Read more:


*photos from Taylor


New Taylor Limited Editions

Taylor has added some new limited edition models to their lineup.

514ce LTD (Retail US$2799)


Taylor has continually swapped the tonewoods being used in the 400/500 series and this time, the 514ce LTD has a torrefied Sitka top paired with walnut body. Perhaps a move to use more North Amercian woods in order to work around the CITES situation.


Good looking grains on the walnut and new inlays for this one.

K24ce LTD (Retail US$4499)



The Byzantine abalone inlays are undoubtedly the highlights. Also retails at a very small premium over the regular production K24ce. This could be a fun collector’s item.

PS14ce 12-Fret LTD (Retail US$8999)


The quintessential high-end model, this one comes with full luxurious/bling appointments such as Nouveau pua inlays, ebony bindings and Gotoh 510 tuners.


Tonewoods are Sinker redwood paired with West African ebony. Really stunning looks with all that streaking. Wow.

*all photos from Taylor Guitars

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. 

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. 🙂

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.