I don’t use 12-string guitar much, but when my old Yamaha seemed to finally give up the ghost, I found that I sorely missed having one. 98% of my acoustic needs are covered by a regular steel-string, with the remainder equally divided between nylon and 12-string. Actually, the old Yamaha spent much of its life converted into a six-string. I removed the octave strings in early 1989 if I recall correctly, and didn’t add any back on until the summer of 2003. When I did, it hit me what I had been missing. But unfortunately, I have only recently been made aware of how a dry climate can punish a wooden instrument, and when I finally started treating the guitar the way it deserved, it was too late. The neck and top had warped, the truss rod had got stuck, the intonation was way off above the second fret, and the tech in the music store basically declared it DOA.
Enter the Taylor 150e. I was already familiar with the Taylor 100 series through the selection process that led to the purchase of my 214 six-string. I found the 100 series inferior to the 200 in most respects, but I figured that with twice the amount of strings, it would be apples vs. oranges anyway. When I found out what it cost, I was immediately intrigued. And when I finally tried one in the store, I was so impressed that it took only 10 minutes to decide to buy it. I didn’t even put it down!
The 150e is a dreadnought 12-string guitar with a built-in pickup and preamp (the -e suffix). It is made in Mexico and is obviously intended as a budget instrument, which is also evinced by the 6000-crown price tag. I have yet to find anything budget about the guitar, however. This is mostly because of my approach to guitars in general and acoustic guitars in particular. I can appreciate the finer aesthetic details of guitar-making, I can respect the workmanship, but I am perfectly all right admiring it from afar. I do not need it on my own instruments, and therefore it is something I do not necessarily wish to pay for. I have absolutely nothing against unadorned, meat-and-potatoes instruments, so long as they sound good. That’s why I prefer the Les Paul Studio, and that’s why I don’t regard the Taylor 150e as having cut any corners. After all, I spend most of the time playing the thing, and therefore I don’t need elaborate binding or decorative fingerboard inlays or anything like that. I appreciate that they scaled back on the visuals to keep costs down, and at any rate, from my eyes, the guitar is just as beautiful to look at.
I’d say that the 150e is 12000 crowns’ worth of guitar in a 6000-crown package. It completely redefines my expectations from a 12-string guitar. I was able to sit around and play it for hours on end without experiencing the slightest bit of left-hand cramp. Barre chords work fine even high up on the neck, intonation is just about perfect, and the neck is wide enough that my meaty fingers have no problem whatsoever with finding the correct strings. It can handle everything that one could conceivably expect it to play, and does so at a bargain price. There was not the slightest hesitation before buying it, and I have not regretted the purchase in the least. Now I have a real 12-string! Incidentally, I showed it to my dad, and he almost didn’t want to give it back. In fact, he ran out the next day and bought his own! Yes, it is that good.