Hello and welcome to my Taylor 322e review, the latest of my reviews of acoustic guitars in the less than 1500 price bracket.
This review will look at Taylor’s 322e in terms of:
- The Tone;
- The Playability;
- The Materials the 322e is made from;
- Who the 322e is best suited to;
- The 322e’s value-for-money
I’ll also provide video of the 322 in action so that you can get an appreciation of the tone for yourself and some user reviews so you can read about other people’s opinions.
I was instantly infatuated with the tone of this guitar.
It has a nice warm, balanced, even tone and just made everything that I played sound nice and mellow and warm – but it had a character to it as well.
It was definitely mid-range heavy – which was no surprise given the Mahogany top and Blackwood back and sides – but the lows and highs were there enough – that Blackwood is just enough to bring a little bit of shimmer to the warmth of the Mahogany (compared to if the back and sides were also Mahogany).
It has a kind of compressed sound to it – not so much that it sounds muffled but just enough to give it a subtle soft sound.
Being a grand concert shape, the volume isn’t huge but there is still some really good sustain and projection and it responds really well to a light touch. Even though it has a volume ceiling (if you give it too much the top will distort a bit) to get it to that volume ceiling isn’t difficult – to get good volume out of it only requires a light touch – very responsive.
The guitar has no cutaway (though you can get a cutaway version) so that helps to make for a fuller sound. This is also partly down to the bracing, which adds volume and bass.
On a scale of warm to bright with the warmest possible being 1 and the brightest possible being 10 I say the 322e is a 3.
Top: Solid Mahogany
Back & Sides: Solid Tasmanian Blackwood
Bracing: Standard X Bracing with Relief Rout
The 322e uses Taylor’s expression system 2 electronics. Check out the video below to hear how it sounds plugged in and unplugged. The video also explains the electronics system in more detail.
Check out the video below to get an idea of the sound for yourself. This is for the older model (which had Sapele back and sides). Once I find a video for the new model I’ll out it up here.
As well as loving the tone of this guitar it was also really pleasant to play.
It was set up ever so slightly too high for me – but I’m pretty fussy. To be honest I might not even adjust it if I bought it. It’s close enough and it was smooth to play and I didn’t experience any fatigue at all whilst I was playing it.
The 322e has a 1 ¾” (44mm) nut width. This is a nice versatile width that makes playing in any style – finger-picking, flat-picking and strumming – nice and easy and fun.
The 322e features an ebony fingerboard. This is my favorite type of fingerboard so I really liked this about the 322e.
Being a grand concert the 322e naturally has a smaller scale length. The advantage of this is that it reduces the tension on the strings which makes it nice and easy to play and also makes things like bending and virbrato nice and easy too.
The scale length is 24-7/8″ (631mm).
Who this Guitar is Most Suited to
The overtones are very subtle (partly due to the mahogany and partly due to the smaller sized body of the guitar) so it’s very good for stage work (feedback issues are less likely and it has a focused sound that won’t get lost in other instruments) and for recording.
It’s definitely a great choice for playing the blues – but it’s not just limited to that.
It’s really ideal for playing fingerstyle too – but is also a good strummer and flat-picker if that’s something you throw in there but is not your mainstay.
Because of the smaller size it would be a great guitar for kids and smaller players.
It would be an awesome beginner guitar except for the price tag – but otherwise it’s easy to play and easy to hold.
For that tone alone I give this a big yes. It’s not the cheapest guitar in the world – but definitely not the most expensive either.
But what you do get for your investment is a quality built instrument, built with quality materials and a tone that is soft and warm yet resonant and dynamic.
I played 2 other guitars in the same session including a Martin.
This was my favorite in terms of tone. Usually tonally I would prefer Martins because in general they are warmer sounding to my ear and I prefer that warm sound. However, the 322e mahogany has a nice warm tone – largely due to the mahogany top of course – but that Blackwood just tempers the warmth a little bit and adds just a touch more shimmer.
This guitar was also extremely nice to play. I would probably tweak the action just a little bit just to be fussy – but would also happily play it as is. It was nice and smooth and also I never felt any fatigue in my hand which I sometimes do with cheaper guitars that have actions that are too high.
More Info and Where to Buy
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If you are looking to weight up your options with other guitars in this price range, then check out the link below.