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Taylor Academy 12E N: The Least Expensive

Taylor academy 12e n

The Taylor Academy 12e N is one of the most affordable members of the Taylor Academy family. According to my findings, it is a true gem for beginners seeking a high-quality instrument without breaking the bank. Despite its lower price point, this guitar doesn’t compromise on performance or craftsmanship. Check out the best 2023 Classical guitar in our blog.

Taylor Academy 12e N

Taylor Academy 12e N | Image by Taylor Guitars

Made InTecate, Mexico
Model Academy 12e N
Body Layered Sapele
TopSolid Spruce
Neck Maple
Nut Width 1-7/8″
Weight‎8.68 lbs
Fretboard West African Crelicam Ebony
BracingAcademy Series
Inlays4mm dot Italian acrylic
Truss RodAdjustable
CaseTaylor gig bag
DesignGrand Concert, Hollow Body


The fingerboard of the Taylor Academy 12e-N is made of ebony, which contributes to its overall playability and enhances the tone of the guitar. The low action on the ebony fingerboard makes it extremely welcoming for aspiring players, allowing them to navigate the frets with ease. The ebony wood also adds a touch of elegance to the guitar’s aesthetic.

Taylor Academy 12e-N
Image by Taylor

The radius of the fretboard is 16 inches, which is slightly less curved than a traditional flat fretboard. This makes it easier to fret chords and notes, especially in the higher registers. The fretboard is also made of ebony, which is a dense and durable wood that produces a bright, clear tone.

The nut width of the Academy 12e-N is 1.875 inches, which is slightly wider than a traditional classical guitar neck. This makes it easier to play fingerstyle arrangements, but it is still comfortable for strumming chords.

Shape and Size

The Taylor Academy 12e-N is truly a joy to play with, and its shape and size contribute to an exceptional experience. It showcases a grand concert body shape, characterized by its smaller size and intimate feel. 

With a scale length of 24-7/8 inches, the guitar offers a comfortable playing experience and ease of fretting, particularly for players with smaller hands or those transitioning from smaller instruments, such as myself. The reduced body depth adds to the comfort, allowing me to play for hours without any strain. 

Not only is it incredibly playable, but its portability is a bonus. I can easily take it with me wherever I go, making it an ideal companion for gigs or travel. The Taylor Academy 12e N truly delivers on its promise of a comfortable and immersive playing experience.

How Does It Sound?

The Taylor Academy 12e-N sounds excellent. When I first played the guitar, I couldn’t believe it was a guitar priced at around $500. Blindfolded, I doubt even the most experienced acoustic specialist would guess its affordable value.

Also, the bass didn’t have a booming presence, I found it to be a bonus. The midrange had a sweeter and more prominent character. That makes it perfect for rock rhythm playing without the need for a bass-cut filter. I couldn’t help but appreciate that twenty years ago, it was nearly impossible to find a new guitar under $1,000 with such a sweet tone.

The tone may not be as harmonically complex or resonant as guitars costing significantly more. But even as a discerning player, I found the core base tone of the Taylor Academy 12e-N undeniably attractive. It’s a remarkable instrument that defies its price tag and delivers a sound that can compete with guitars well beyond its class.

How Playable is Taylor Academy 12E N?

The playability of this guitar is incredibly comfortable, and its tone is better than anything else in its class. As I strummed the strings, the 12e-N delivered a classic acoustic tone with a surprisingly powerful and assertive voice, despite its shorter scale length and light-gauge strings. The 12e-N is a honey for fingerstyle players, with its rich midrange, unexpectedly voluptuous treble, and disciplined bass. It also shines as a rhythm guitar for solo singer-guitarists. 

It’s amazing how such a compact guitar can produce such a well-balanced sound. The mid-range frequencies are beautifully emphasized, giving my chords and fingerstyle playing a rich and expressive quality. The Academy 12e-N is a dream for intricate melodies and chord work, with each note standing out clearly.

Additional Features of the Taylor 12e N

The Taylor Academy 12e N comes equipped with the ES-B electronics system, which combines a pickup, preamp, and tuner for an all-in-one experience. While it may not match the sophistication of the Expression 2 System found in more expensive Taylor guitars, the ES-B system is highly functional and gets the job done. I appreciate having dedicated tone and volume controls, as they allow me to easily adjust the amplified sound to my liking. 

When I plug the guitar into an acoustic combo or my trusty Fender Acoustasonic amp, I’m delighted by the warm and realistic tones it produces. The ES-B system truly captures the natural essence of the guitar, faithfully reproducing its nuances and delivering an expressive amplified performance.

Although it’s not as complex as high-end systems, the ES-B system effectively enhances the versatility and amplification capabilities of my Taylor Academy 12e N.

Pros & Cons of the Taylor Academy 12e N


  1. Ergonomic Design: The inclusion of the armrest bevel on the lower bass enhances comfort and playability, reducing fatigue during extended playing sessions.
  1. High-Quality Construction: The guitar features a solid Sitka spruce top and laySapeleapele back and sides, along with an ebony fingerboard and bridge. These premium materials contribute to the guitar’s resonant and bright trebles as well as its overall sound quality.
Taylor Academy 12e-N
  1. Versatile Sound: The Academy 12e N, with its Grand Concert size, offers a warm and round tone that is well-suited for various playing styles, including fingerpicking, folk, and even fingerstyle jazz. It has a good balance between registers and strings, making it versatile for different musical genres.


  1. Limited Low-End Response: The streamlined EQ system of the guitar does not provide an effective way of boosting low-end frequencies. The tone control primarily acts as a treble roll-off, which may restrict the tonal options for players seeking a stronger bass response.

Taylor Academy 12e N FAQ

Sharif Leen
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