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Big Island Waves

One of the unique strengths of the new Grand Orchestra has been its ability to coax greater complexity from the tonewoods that take its shape. Between its ample real estate, deeper body and innovative bracing, the guitar form seems to unlock hidden tonal colors in woods — a surprisingly warm low-end response from maple, or richer lows and highs from mahogany, for example. Credit the efficiency of the overall design, which tames the sonic chaos and enables more tonal detail to emerge in a clear, uniform way.

That same design sensibility helps extend the voice of our newest First Edition koa offering, the all-koa K28e, to greater heights and depths.

“You get that traditional sound of koa back and sides, which is similar to mahogany in that it has a pretty strong fundamental, but with a little more of the sparkle of rosewood,” says Taylor master luthier Andy Powers. “And with the koa top, you also get a unique sweetness in the attack that’s fun with the Grand Orchestra because of its powerful volume and dynamic capability.”

As a top wood, koa produces a unique compression, so it typically doesn’t pack as potent an attack as a spruce top. Instead, the tone tends to ring out at the same volume for an extended stretch, maintaining an even balance and sustain.

“It’s not so much a strong initial attack followed by decay before the note releases,” Andy elaborates. “It’s more like the note sneaks up on your ears and then stays there — it lets itself in the front door, hangs around for a while, and then leaves.”

Because the koa soundboard is stronger and heavier than spruce, it will benefit from having some time to break in.

“It has less stiffness but more weight,” Andy says. “That’s what contributes to the roll-in effect on the attack. Like any other guitar, it’ll get consistently riper, sweeter and quicker to respond as it ages.”

Among the premium touches on these First Edition GO models are AA-grade koa, a shaded edgeburst on the top, back, sides and neck, and Adirondack spruce bracing, which boosts the headroom, giving players extra dynamic range.

A total of 100 K28e First Edition models will be made. Like Taylor’s other First Edition models, these feature a custom label and case plate. Once the guitar is registered, the owner will receive a custom GO First Edition guitar strap, a numbered certificate of authenticity, and a special commemorative booklet. The K28e will eventually become a standard model within the Koa Series.

For full specs and details, please visit the model page at

For availability, check with your local, authorized Taylor Guitars dealer.

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