Over the past four-plus decades there’s a resounding theme from Taylor Guitars: passion for improving the guitar-playing experience. As a company that’s passionate about exposing more players to the pleasures of making music, Taylor isn’t content to see people throw in the towel before they have a chance to get their groove on. The Academy Series, which includes the Academy 10 Dreadnought acoustic, represents Taylor’s effort to support the development of the entry-level guitar player. Taylor believes that in many respects a player who is just beginning deserves the best-playing guitar.
Most newcomers to the instrument — and parents buying for their kids — are understandably reluctant to pony up for a more expensive, “nice” brand of guitar without knowing whether the interest will last. So the approach tends to be: start with an inexpensive, “good-enough” guitar, and if things progress, upgrade to something better. But all too often this ends in hand-wringing frustration, where would-be music-makers walk away from the instrument blaming themselves for not having enough musical talent or physical dexterity, when in fact the real culprit all along was the guitar.
The Playing Experience
Academy Series guitars, like this Academy 10 Dreadnought acoustic, was designed to offer enough immediate gratification to encourage a new player to keep playing. To do so, the playing experience was Taylor’s priority:
• Easy to hold and play: the body is comfortable and lightweight. The guitar is easy to strum and fret.
• Rewarding sound: this guitar yields a good sound easily in the hands of a newer player.
• Not too precious. Durable. Minimal. A guitar that’s too precious can be intimidating for a novice to play and care for.
• Broad appeal: it covers a broad range of music preferences.
Function and Form
The Academy Series begins with the classic dreadnought body shape, in part because it’s a widely-recognized guitar shape that makes a good strumming and flatpicking guitar. Taylor borrowed the slightly smaller footprint of its famous Big Baby Taylor for comfort, but opted for a body depth that’s three-quarters of an inch deeper to give the guitar a fuller voice with more low-end response. The wood pairing is a solid spruce top with layered sapele back and sides. Genuine African ebony – not man-made substitutes – is used for the fingerboard and bridge, just as with all other Taylor models.
The neck is a fully engineered version of Taylor’s patented design, allowing for precise calibration of the neck angle and smooth serviceability throughout the guitar’s life. To enhance the handfeel and overall playability for entry-level players, Taylor chose a 24-7/8-in. scale length with a 1-11/16-in. nut width. The guitar’s top bracing and other internal architecture were optimized for volume and projection. It has full-size guitar dimensions. It has the right depth and width for the right internal architecture, with a seriously straight and true neck on it. These things were meant to go together as a whole without compromising musical function.
Although an armrest is normally reserved as an ultra-premium feature of Taylor’s top-end models, Taylor’s Andy Powers developed a greatly simplified version, produced with function in mind. “It’s important to give a beginning player the most comfortable, gratifying experience to make a welcoming ￼first impression,” he says. “If the guitar is comfortable, plays well, and has a pleasing sound, then a player will have an easier time staying with the instrument.”
The Taylor Difference
The Academy Series also introduces players to the best of what Taylor Guitars brings to the guitar market. Unmatched build quality, the most stable and playable necks, a vast array of tonal options, eco-conscious and ethically-sourced raw materials, and a lifetime of service and support.
Body Body type: Taylor A10 Dreadnought 15/16th-Scale Cutaway: No Top wood: Solid Sitka Spruce Back & sides: Layered Sapele Bracing pattern: Academy Series Bracing Body finish: Matte 2.0 Varnish Orientation: Right handed Neck Neck shape: Taylor Standard Profile Nut width: 1.69 in. (43 mm) Fingerboard: Genuine African Ebony Neck wood: Saplele Scale length: 24.87 in. Number of frets: 20 Neck finish: Matte 2.0 Varnish Electronics Pickup/preamp: No Brand: Not applicable Configuration: Not applicable Preamp EQ: Not applicable Feedback filter: Not applicable Tuner: Not applicable Other Headstock overlay: Lexan Tuning machines: Chrome Tuners with Chrome Buttons Bridge: Genuine African Ebony Saddle & nut: Micarta "Wave"/NuBone Nut Number of strings: 6-string Special features: None Case: Deluxe Taylor Gig Bag Accessories: None Country of origin: Mexico