There aren't many sights in the world of acoustic guitars as stunning as a koa top; bold flame abounds, but the tonality can be just as impressive. Especially now two all-koa models have been added to Taylor's 700 series in a big way.
The 700 guitars were previously exclusively a rosewood / spruce affair, so the Auditorium 724ce and Grand Concert 722ce guitars bring a bold new Hawaiian flavour to the line. And with the exception of the Builder's Edition 717, the new koa 700s will replace the rosewood/spruce 700 Series models.
These new electro acoustic models feature new 'select-grade' Hawaiian koa wood and Taylor master builder Andy Powers designed the guitars with ultra-thin matte finish and a modified back bracing pattern too to produce a "punchier, more vibrant and player-reflective koa guitar."
“For almost 40 years, Taylor has built a reputation crafting beautifully figured Koa Series guitars,” says Powers. “But a lot of fantastic-sounding koa wood comes from trees that don’t have deeply figured grain.
“If a Koa Series guitar is a perfectly prepared cappuccino, these new all-koa 700s would be more like a great pour-over coffee with well-roasted beans, presented in the most direct way possible for the purest koa experience. You get all the flavour, with minimal filtering.”
We'll drink to that! The select-grade sets of koa featured on the 700 Series come from trees that grow straighter and contain 'variegated hues and beautiful striping'. So how is Taylor getting all these special trees? Well, as we already know, Taylor is heavily invested in conservation and sustainability.
Its Hawaii-based forest stewardship partnership with longtime supply partner Pacific Rim Tonewoods in their joint venture, Siglo Tonewoods, works with large landowners in Hawaii through stewardship conservation contracts, which enable Siglo to then harvest a select number of koa trees. And in return, Siglo invests the dollar-for-dollar value of that wood in improvement projects to restore native Hawaiian forests.
Stunning guitars, that are also an investment in the envionment. For Andy Powers, these guitars are all about celebrated koa.
“I was thinking about these guitars from the outside in,” he explains. “With the ultra-thin finish, you can feel the actual wood texture, the grain structure, the pores. You’ll also hear more of the tactile elements of your playing — more of your fingertips, a pick touching the strings, the subtle nuance of a guitarist’s natural sound. I think of this as a player-reflective version of a koa guitar — you get more control over what you sound like.”
The decorative elements that build on that foundation are still natural materials. Both the 724ce and 722ce feature rosewood binding (including a bound soundhole), a paua shell/rosewood rosette, maple/rosewood top edge trim and a dark-stained maple pickguard.
The guitars also feature an understated new 'Fountain' inlay motif in mother-of-pearl. The tuners are Taylor polished bronze.
The 724ce Grand Auditorium is $3,499 and the 722ce Grand Concert is also $3,499. Both guitars are fitted with Taylor's Expression System 2 and come with Taylor Deluxe hardshell brown cases.