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Double-Course Duo: Introducing the 657ce Bajo Quinto and Doce Doble

Taylor is excited to unveil a new category of double-course instruments inspired by the rich Latin/Mexican musical influences of our regional culture. As a cross-border manufacturer based in San Diego County (El Cajon, California) with a closely connected factory just 50 miles away in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico, we are truly a blended U.S./Mexican operation. The cross-pollination of traditional Latin music with other popular genres presents an exciting opportunity for us to offer our take on two popular instruments in our region, infused with Taylor’s standards of playability and craftsmanship.

The two new instruments are a 10-string bajo quinto (translation: “fifth bass” or “low five”) and a 12-string doce doble (translation: “double 12”). Crafted with solid maple back and sides, a Sitka spruce top, and a hard rock maple neck (14-fret), the two instruments boast a Florentine-style cutaway, a striking black glossy finish and other shared aesthetic details. Based on the maple body and Mission inlays, we’re grouping them within Taylor’s maple 600 Series family. Both instruments feature our Grand Pacific body style, so the model names will be similar in number (657ce) but will include either Bajo Quinto or Doce Doble in the name to distinguish them.

One side note on the numerical model naming convention: While the middle “5” has traditionally referred to a 12-string guitar with a softwood (e.g., spruce) top, it now refers to any double-course instrument, hence the 5 for the 10-string double-course bajo quinto. (A bajo quinto with a hardwood top in the 600 Series would be designated as a 667ce.)

What is a Bajo Quinto?

It’s a Mexican stringed instrument in the guitar family featuring 10 steel strings in five doubled courses. It’s tuned in fourths; from lowest course to highest: A D G C F. The A and D are paired an octave apart, while the G, C and F are tuned in unison.

In various traditional Mexican musical genres, the bajo quinto often accompanies a bass guitar and accordion. (It originally took over the accompaniment role on the lefthand side of the button accordion.) It’s an instrument that evolved from the bajo sexto, which features 12 strings in six double courses. With the emergence of bass guitars, the lowest course on the bajo sexto became less important, which led to the removal of the low E course and the emergence of the bajo quinto. It’s a central instrument in Norteño music. The body and build are similar to that of a guitar.

657ce Bajo Quinto

Taylor master builder Andy Powers has applied the same fundamental design standards that Taylor is known for in the acoustic guitar world — easy-playing necks, clear, balanced sound, consistently high build quality and reliable performance — to craft a bajo quinto that delivers a fun and inspiring “Taylor-grade” playing experience.

Andy leveraged some of Taylor’s existing body design architecture to craft a premium-performance edition of the bajo quinto. It incorporates Taylor’s Grand Pacific body style and V-Class internal bracing. Beyond V-Class’s voicing benefits, it’s also structurally stable enough to support the top with the extra string tension without the need for additional reinforcement.

One unique design innovation is an offset bridge pin/string ramp setup that allows each string course to be paired together for optimal touch response and resonance but without the strings interfering with each other. The body also features our Florentine-style cutaway (making it our first cutaway Grand Pacific body), which is stylistically in line with the look and functional upper-register access associated with traditional bajo quintos, though our version is a more modern interpretation.

Between the unique voice and the signature Taylor playability, we think players of various styles will be intrigued by the possibilities of our bajo quinto, and we encourage players to explore its musical personality.

The guitar is strung with D’Addario bajo quinto strings (.026-.078), comes with a Fishman Rare Earth magnetic soundhole pickup (producing an amplified acoustic tone that will be familiar to bajo quinto players)

Distinctive aesthetic details include white binding that outlines the body, fretboard and peghead, a white pearloid double pickguard (another nod to traditional bajo quintos) with a matching truss rod cover, a single-ring green abalone rosette with black and white purfling, mother-of-pearl Mission inlays outlined in grained ivoroid, ebony bridge pins with green abalone dots, and gold Taylor mini tuners. The guitar is strung with D’Addario bajo Quinto-10 strings (ball end, wound: .026/.026, .036/.036, .046/.046, .062/.030, .078/.036). It also comes with a Fishman Rare Earth magnetic soundhole pickup (producing an amplified acoustic tone that will be familiar to bajo quinto players). You’ll find more on the appointments, specifications and Taylor dealers who have the 657ce Bajo Quinto in stock here.

657ce Doce Doble

Another instrument voicing commonly associated with different regional Mexican and other Latin music genres (including Norteño, Tejano and conjunto) is a modified, unison-strung 12-string guitar. It’s sometimes referred to as a requinto-style setup or a Mexican 12-string, but it doesn’t have a formal name, so we’re referring to ours as Doce Doble, which translates into “double 12.” It produces a bold and resonant double-course voice.

Traditionally, players wanting a unison 12-string would take a standard-strung 12-string guitar and then have it modified by a luthier — typically with bridge reinforcements needed to support the added string tension — but in our case, the strength and stability of our V-Class bracing architecture parallel to the strings eliminates the need for further modification. That structural integrity, together with the other tonal enhancements of V-Class and our signature playability, make the 657ce Doce Doble a fantastic plug-and-play option for players looking to explore the sonic flavors of a unison 12-string guitar. Because the tuning is accessible to all players, we think it will have broad appeal, and we encourage players to take one for a test-drive.

For more details, including availability at authorized Taylor dealers, visit our 657ce Doce Doble product page.