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The Taylor 410 Guitar and Ovangkol As A Tonewood

By Edited Apr 28, 2016 0 0

Taylor 410 With Venetian Cutaway
Credit: http://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/acoustic/410ce

What Makes The Taylor 410 Special?

Facts of the matter are, the people who own this guitar absolutely love this guitar, and play it over much more expensive guitars they might happen to also own.  What am I talking about?  Well, I'm a guy who truly loves flatpicking as a genre of music or style of playing, and I've been to the world's largest flatpicking contest 3 times in my life.  The contest is held in Winfield, Kansas the 3rd week of September every year, and is part of a much larger festival known as The Walnut Valley Festival[1].  I've seen men play in the flatpicking contest using their Taylor 410 while I know for certain I've seen them win much more expensive guitars in previous contests in earlier years.  Another thing, I've all three times I've been to the contests at the festival seen maybe more players playing a Taylor 410 than any other guitar.  Now, take in mind that flatpicking is a Martin D-18 and D-28 dominated genre of play, or is it?

What makes the Taylor 410 special?  Well, it's definitely different, that's what makes it special.  This is only a mass produced dreadnought that is anything BUT a competitor to the legendary D-18 and/or the D-28.  This Taylor 410 guitar is its own guitar all the way.

So why is the Taylor 410 special?  What makes the Taylor 410 different?

That's an easy question to answer, and the answer is as follows:  The Taylor 410 uses ovangkol as it's tonewood on the backs and sides.  This wood is what we might consider an alternative tonewood for acoustic guitars.  It's an African hardwood, and there just aren't a lot of flat tops out there featuring this wood.  That's one of the major things making the Taylor 410 such a special guitar.

Taylor 410 With Venetian Cutaway

The Backside And The Beauty Of Ovangkol

Credit: http://www.taylorguitars.com/guitars/acoustic/woods/body-woods/ovangkol

While makers like Martin and Gibson are generally busy being traditional, Taylor has been all about innovation.  The folks at Taylor sure introduced Ovangkol to the world of six string musicians, and 12 string musicians as well.  Ovangkol is a African cousin of rosewood, but it is ostensibly a more sustainable wood, so that makes all the environmentalists out there happy, if they can be happy.  Truth is, ovangkol is making lots of musicians happy, and when musicians are happy, they make good music.  Ovangkol has a similar appearance to East Indian rosewood insofar as grain pattern goes, but it is darker in color, and on a guitar, a more balanced sort of tonality is evident.

Not only is ovangkol related to rosewood and more sustainable to rosewood, it's more available than rosewood and so it is less expensive than rosewood.  The Taylor flagship guitar is the Taylor 810, and the 410 is less expensive; so if the price on the 810 is too much for you, if you play a 410, you may find the 810 wasn't what you wanted after all, as the 410 has a more balanced mid range, and costs less.

Ovangkol Guitars And Ovangkol Tone

The Taylor 410 Is Available With Venetian Cutaway, Electronics, or with Neither

Now with Taylor guitars one needs to realize that when they're out shopping in the big retailer guitar stores and music stores which also sell fine guitars, the most of the Taylor's you're going to see are going to be acoustic/electrics, and it could be that most of them you see are even acoustic electrics with Venetian cut-away as in the images I've provided above.  Taylor's acoustic/electric hardware and their guitars are both outstanding things, and why not combine them?  Lots of people shop and buy Taylor because of how wonderful their pre-amps and pickups are in combination with their already extremely fine guitars.

Myself, I don't play live, I'm not that terrific a guitarist, and I play to entertain myself.  I like a nice traditional guitar, and I don't truly need the cutaway.  The Taylor 410 is a terrific instrument, and one need not purchase it with electronics one won't be using; but it needs to be said that one would generally have to shop a bit more or more thoroughly to find a standard dreadnought without the cutaway and without the electronics.  Obviously, the instrument without those things is less expensive.  I'm pricing these instruments online at about $1,900 for the acoustic/electric with the Venetian cutaway, and at about $1,500 for the standard with no electronics and no cutaway, as pictured below.  Myself, I'm buying that standard model all day every day over the 410ce, but that's just me.

A Beautiful Standard Model Taylor 410 Without The Cutaway

Taylor 410 Standard
Credit: http://www.themusiczoo.com/product/17615/Taylor-410-Dreadnought-Acoustic-Guitar-/

As with all major Taylor models, they were re-voiced by the use of a new bracing pattern, and are continually re-voiced[2] as time goes on and innovation continues.  All new bracing patterns are used towards the creation of more volume, greater sustain, and balance.  The 410 over the years has evolved.  It is possible a person my prefer an earlier model 410 to a later model, or the opposite could be true.  There won't be a huge difference, but not everyone has the same tonal discernment as another, and a musician should always go with what he or she likes the best in the price range they can afford.  More information on Taylor guitar's bracing patterns and changes can be had on the forum post linked in my very short bibliography at bottom.

A Taylor 410 Demonstration

Taylor 410 Specifications

The Taylor 410 is a no frills guitar.  It's beauty is understated, and it's tone is truly unique.  The Venetian cutaway and electronics are optional  Here's the specs

  • All solid wood construction
  • Ovangkol back and sides
  • Sitka spruce top
  • American mahogany neck
  • Tusq nut and saddle
  • Ebony Fret board and bridge
  • Chrome plated Taylor tuning machines
  • Adjustable steel truss rod
  • Hard Shell case
  • Satin with gloss top finish
  • Dot inlay positioning markers
  • ebony bridge pins
  • Fat 1 and 3/4 inch neck width at the nut
  • String it with Elixir nanoweb strings for extreme long lasting strings


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  1. "Home Page." Walnut Valley Festival. 23/12/2013 <Web >
  2. " Taylor Bracing ...the changes?." Acoustic Guitar Forum. 24/12/2013 <Web >

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