Taylor ® Guitars is excited to unveil a groundbreaking innovation in acoustic guitar design: the all new V-Class TM bracing system , a powerful sonic “engine” developed by master guitar designer Andy Powers. The new bracing system marks an important advancement beyond traditional X-bracing, delivering an enhanced playing experience by boosting both volume and sustain while improving intonation. The introduction of V-Class bracing begins with select Grand Auditorium models to start 2018, along with a new Builder’s Edition V-Class guitar boasting exclusive new body features that elevate the playing comfort.
A HISTORY OF INNOVATION
Taylor Guitars is widely known as an innovation-driven company, producing an array of revolutionary improvements to the acoustic guitar over the company’s 43-year history. Since joining the company in 2011, Andy Powers has brought other game-changing modifications to the Taylor line, including a comprehensive redesign of Taylor’s flagship 800 Series , the introduction of small-body 12-string guitars, and a slew of nuanced bracing enhancements, implemented across the entire Taylor line. The sonic improvements have earned Taylor numerous industry awards along the way.
However, Powers felt that in order to continue making improvements in sound, an entirely different bracing approach was needed. Despite X-bracing’s effectiveness and enduring popularity, by design it forces a trade-off between volume and sustain, in which increasing one comes at the expense of the other.
MORE VOLUME. MORE SUSTAIN. BETTER INTONATION.
Inspired while surfing one day and watching waves rolling in on the San Diego coast, Powers conceptualized the V-shaped bracing design. It gave him the idea to position two longitudinal braces on the soundboard of the guitar in a V formation, with the top of the V splayed along either side of the soundhole, instead of arranging the main support braces as a criss-crossed X.
The new V pattern added stiffness lengthwise along the top, in the direction of the strings, creating longer-sustaining notes, while fan braces extending out from the lower part of the V controlled the flexibility across both sides of the lower bout, enabling the top to produce more volume.
Powers also realized that because the bracing pattern created a more orderly response from the top, it could also resolve intonation imperfections that have long-plagued the acoustic guitar, especially when playing up the neck. Essentially it puts the top more in tune with the strings. As a result, the new V-Class bracing system creates truer, more orderly notes that don’t cancel each other out or produce dissonance or a wavering, “beating” effect.
“ By modifying the bracing architecture to change the way the guitar vibrates, we can make the guitar respond more readily to what a musician brings to the strings ,” says Powers.
A MORE EXPRESSIVE PLAYING EXPERIENCE
In its completed form, V-Class bracing delivers a deeply satisfying playing and listening experience. Itbrings the whole fretboard into greater sonic alignment. Harmonics ring more uniformly down the neck. Notes are powerful and consistent in their tonal character across the guitar’s entire tonal register, without the erroneous frequencies that don’t belong. Chords are now a truer version of themselves harmonically. The natural overtones can be heard more clearly, intensifying the unique sonic flavors of the tonewoods used for each instrument with V-Class bracing.
A NEW GUITAR LABEL
For the first time in Taylor’s history, all Taylor models crafted with V-Class bracing will include a new guitar label featuring the signature of Andy Powers. Bob Taylor’s signature will still be incorporated in the background.
“ This is something I wanted ,” Taylor says. “ Andy is really at the forefront of our designs now. It’s a joy for me to be able to be a part of this while I’m alive. Andy’s design gets us into a whole new lane that’s wide open and goes farther . You can hear the improvements; they’re undeniable. And this is just the beginning. ”
Taylor is thrilled by what Powers’ new V-Class bracing architecture means for the future of guitar making at the company. As another truly original Taylor design, it reinforces the company’s unique identity in the guitar world and helps preserve its innovative drive to improve the music-making experience with inspiring new guitars.