In the Hawaiian tongue, koa means “bold” and it’s an apt name for the wood known in guitardom for its bright tone and golden grain. In kindred spirit, the new Taylor 724ce has the rich look that comes with a koa top, back, and sides.
Visually, the acoustic/electric 724ce is a dazzler. Our tester had deep grain patterns, alternating gold with brown veins on bookmatched top and back, and sides. Add to the picture a stained-maple pickguard, matte-black headstock face with the Taylor logo and fountain inlay, rosewood-and-maple body binding, and an abalone rosette, and you have a knockout. An ebony bridge, black Tusq/micarta nut (1.75″), 25.5″ scale, and Grand Auditorium body with Venetian cutaway complete the package.
The V-bracing exudes a warmer, more-traditional sound compared to the trebly “Taylor sound” of the ’90s and 2000s. The 724ce delivers a balanced presentation with bright treble and midrange, and reasonable bass output – not boomy like a dreadnought, but sitting nicely in the EQ spectrum. Strumming or fingerpicking, low-end is nuanced with the upper strings for a sophisticated tone, especially for a cutaway (which typically offer upper-fret convenience at the expense of bass muscle).
Plugged in, its ES-2 electronics system becomes one of the stars of the show. With pickup sensors behind the bridge (instead of underneath), the unit delivers a surprisingly natural tone through an acoustic amp or PA. There’s little, if any, of the dreaded piezo quack. After decades of plastic-y sound from piezo pickups, the ES-2 is a revelation and, hopefully, a harbinger of more-organic acoustic/electric flavors. For playability, the 724ce has a comfortable, D-shaped mahogany neck with 20 frets on a West African ebony fretboard. In fine Taylor tradition, the guitar had a fast setup with low action, ready for quick licks up the neck.
The 724ce is a pricey, premium acoustic, but you get a sweet-sounding (and looking) instrument with a hardshell case. Perched on a stand, the guitar looks gorgeous and, on your lap, the tone and playability are top-notch. Beast of all, plug it in at a gig and dig that old-school miked sound with the convenience of acoustic/electric. In all, the 724ce has a “deep bench” of features that combine tone, looks, and stellar craftsmanship.
This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.