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“Best Of…” Awards : Best Hybrid Guitar

1_taylor_t5 copy

We set out this month to find the answer to a couple of questions:

“The best acoustic guitar for a worship leader/acoustic worship musician is a ___________________?”

“The best electric guitar for a worship musician is a __________________?”

When Taylor Guitars was bold enough to think that they could answer both questions with one guitar…we laughed. When we played the Taylor for the first time, however….it was Taylor who had the last laugh…and one of the best guitars for the buck.

The Taylor T5 put us in a series of ups and downs within the first few moments. Playing it as a standalone acoustic had a decent sound for a guitar that is not at all an acoustic guitar. It still has the true Taylor feel and lacks nothing in the beauty of the neck. We were amazed that the guitar played with such a solid sound for a guitar purported to perform so many different roles. My first attempt at playing the neck, however, as a lead guitar without any amplification left me doubting it’s ability, however. When I think “electric”, I think “Strat”…and this neck was not my Strat. Thinking I Taylor had struck out…I put it away.

It wasn’t until the next day that I decided to take the T5 out for a spin in the studio. I decided to record one of my favorite Jars of Clay songs just to play with it’s ability to be both an acoustic guitar and an electric guitar. Without any mastering or a ton of over-production…I was pleased with the results.

The next stop was to have it played in a few different live venues. It was played all day for a major youth/college worship conference as an acoustic only run without the aid of any effects. With the sound going straight from the guitar to a simple LR Baggs direct box to the board – the sound was pure Taylor acoustic.

The final step was to test its versitility in switching on the fly. During a live worship set, we began with God Is Alive by Fee. The Taylor played as a true rhythm guitar played with a nice and crunchy tube overdrive. I would have thought I was playing a Telecaster with a Cadillac for a neck. From there, we moved right into down songs that required a pure acoustic sound like How He Loves by John Mark McMillan. The transition was simple…a flip of a switch and removing my distortion from the mix – and I was ready. The sound was perfect.

The guitar has three pickups to give its unique sound – a neck pickup, a body-sensor pickup, and stacked humbucker combined with a five-way selector switch gives me the ability to select between a ton of sounds. To hear more about those sounds, we’ve linked a simple video direct from Taylor to demonstrate.

So, what’s the bottom line? At a retail price around $2,300 (prices vary) it sounds steep…but how much do you have invested in your acoustic AND your electric? That’s the selling point for me – this is really two guitars wrapped up in one package. Never have we played a guitar that is more versatile than this. It is, in our opinion, a must have for worship leaders who lead with a guitar. You have the versatility in your hands to widen your song selection without carrying tons of extra equipment or finding “creative” ways to “pray” while switching your guitars between songs. Switching from electric to acoustic or vice-versa is easier than changing positions with a capo. The T5…is a dream come true. It is so good…we had to create a new category for it…because it truly stands in a category all by itself.

Pros: two guitars in one, great Taylor feel, great Taylor sound, great looks, versatile, no need for adjustments to the action from factory

Cons: strings that come from the factory (Elxirs) are perfect…but I had to restring with a new set to “get the slack out” of the factory setup.

More Info: Taylor Guitars website