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Taylor Serj Tankian T5 Signature Model Acoustic-Electric Guitar
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The Taylor Serj Tankian T5 Signature Model Acoustic-Electric guitar boasts a sapele body, a maple top, and a black-stained a gloss finish. Custom fea...Click To Read More About This Product
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The System of a Down frontman's signature guitar features solidbody performance with Taylor acoustic and electric tones.
The Taylor Serj Tankian T5 Signature Model Acoustic-Electric guitar boasts a sapele body, a maple top, and a black-stained a gloss finish. Custom features include red purfling that outlines the body, fretboard, and headstock; unbound f-holes; and a red energy wheel inlay for the fretboard and headstock based on a design provided by Serj. Taylor equips the Serj Tankian guitar with standard T5 electronics. Each signature Taylor Tankian guitar includes a certificate of authenticity signed by the System Of A Down frontman himself.
The Hybrid Body
Three-plus decades of acoustic guitar expertise informs the way Taylor shapes the hollow body hybrid T5. You can hear the tonal character before you even plug it in. Taylor T5 guitars boast a fully hollow body and an active soundboard with a compound radius. The top is a flat piece of wood braced into an arch to capture acoustic resonance. The f-holes in the top are specially designed and voiced to further enhance the resonance of the body chamber, and to allow the top to breathe in relation to a guitar player's dynamic attack.
But despite the f-holes and the slight arch in the top, the Serj Tankian T5 is not an archtop guitar. Its acoustic tone is more akin to a flattop sound, as opposed to a carved top instrument like a violin, viola, archtop guitar, or mandolin.
Taylor wrote the book on straight, easy-playing guitar necks. The innovative T-Lock neck joint brings Taylor's trademark consistency and comfort into electric guitar players' hands. The T-Lock employs a neck joint and a precisely milled pocket spacer to dial-in the perfect neck angle. As the neck bolt is tightened into place, it pulls the neck both down and back toward the bridge for perfect alignment and stability. It's simple to put on or take off to switch out spacers for angle adjustment. And once in place, the fit is perfect, with no side movement.
Inspired by Taylor's Expression System pickup for acoustic guitars, the STSM-T5 guitar's pickup is yet another Taylor breakthrough. Thanks to its humbucking pickups and proprietary body sensor, the STSM-T5 acoustic-electric guitar produces a versatile range of pure analog tones from strumming acoustic to crunchy electric and everything in between. A hidden neck humbucker, a visible bridge humbucker, and a body sensor mounted to the inside surface of the top take advantage of the latest technology, utilizing samarium cobalt magnets and humbucking coils. The body sensor reads the movement of the top, adding even more warmth to your acoustic tone.
The T5 electronics were inspired by the revolutionary Taylor Expression System, and then were custom designed to bring out the best electric and acoustic tones from the guitar.
In addition to the 5-way switch, two active preamp/EQ tone controls and a volume control ” incorporating the same soft-touch rollers as those used on the ES ” allow for a wide range of additional tone-shaping within each switch position. Located on the soundboard near the upper left shoulder of the guitar are the Volume (set apart from the other two controls), Bass (the middle control), and Treble (closest to the fretboard).
Like the Expression System, all 3 controls have a center detent, which can be felt as a slight "bump" when you roll the control to the center position. For Bass and Treble, the center detent indicates the "off" or "flat" mode. The center point of the Volume knob indicates half of the highest volume output.
Also, keep in mind that despite the lack of a Midrange control knob, you can still easily boost or cut the mids by rolling the Treble and Bass controls past the center detent in either direction, then adjusting the volume. Turning both the Bass and Treble controls up effectively dips the mids, while turning them below the center detent boosts the mids.
Position 1 is where you'll find the most acoustic-like tones. This is a great position for solos and a good place to experiment with the tone controls. Position 3 will go from "spanky" and clean, all the way to "full-tilt crunch." In position 4 you might find it reminiscent of a '50s hollowbody with a slight scoop. Position 5 creates a full and bright sound that's great for thick lead tones.
Under-Fretboard Humbucker and Body Sensor in series
Activating the hidden neck pickup and body sensor, Position 1 is where you'll find the most acoustic-like tones.
Suggested amps: Acoustic or PA, Electric/clean only (to prevent high-gain feedback in this position).
The body sensor is switched off, leaving only the neck pickup active and yielding warm, round tones. This is a great position for solos and a good place to experiment with the tone controls. Try rolling back the Treble knob for darker tones.
Suggested amps: Acoustic or PA, Electric/clean or Electric/overdrive.
We move into the bridge pickup zone and one of the most versatile tonal ranges. Position 3 will go from "spanky" and clean, all the way to "full-tilt crunch." Start out with the Volume at the detent (center) then roll it up to "push" the amp.
Suggested amps: Acoustic or PA, Electric/clean, Electric/overdrive, or Electric/high-gain.
Bridge Humbucker and Under-Fretboard Humbucker in parallel
The neck pickup is re-activated and runs in parallel with the bridge pickup. You might find it reminiscent of a '50s hollowbody with a slight scoop. In Position 4 you'll find one of many unique T5 tones.
Suggested Amps: Acoustic or PA, Electric/clean, Electric/overdrive, or Electric/high-gain.
Bridge Humbucker and Under-Fretboard Humbucker in series
The neck and bridge pickups are now running in series, creating a full and bright sound that's great for thick lead tones. Change the Volume settings and watch its "personality" change.
Suggested Amps: Acoustic or PA, Electric/clean, Electric/overdrive, or Electric/high-gain.
About the artist
One of rock's most compelling frontmen, Serj Tankian helped propel the band System of a Down to multi-platinum success from the late '90s through 2006. The band's exotic musical influences, which drew in part from the members' shared Armenian-American heritage, filtered into their hardcore/thrash metal/avant-progressive rock sensibilities. Their resulting sound was fiercely original, marked by dynamic mood shifts that juxtaposed ethereal melodies with pummeling speed riffs. Together with Serj's socially conscious lyrics and soaring vocals, System's mix of tension and release connected deeply with listeners and earned widespread critical acclaim. The band's five studio records have sold more than 16 million copies, and their prodigious artistic output peaked with the double studio releases Mesmerize and, later, Hypnotize in 2005, making them the first rock act in chart history to debut two No.1 new studio albums in a calendar year.
The band went on hiatus in 2006 to allow members to pursue other artistic projects. Since then, Serj's diverse creative energies have found outlets through his work as a singer-songwriter, composer, poet and humanitarian activist. He and guitarist Tom Morello formed the nonprofit grassroots political organization Axis of Justice to increase awareness of human rights and social justice issues; he started his own music label, Serjical Strike Records; and he released his first solo album, Elect the Dead, to favorable reviews in 2007. He also continued to write poetry, having published his first collection, Cool Gardens, in 2002. A follow-up is on the way.
In 2009, Serj expanded his arrangements from Elect the Dead for an orchestral performance with the Auckland Philharmonic in New Zealand, and a live DVD and CD of the performance are in the works.
Serj's main Taylor acoustics include a 410, a 710ce-L9, a custom myrtle/Engelmann GA, and a 12-string 654ce. He started playing the T5 on stage in 2007 and loved its performance versatility.
"It's light and thin, so you can stand in front of the mic and just rock out," he says. "For a stage environment, the T5 works great."
- Type/Shape: 6-String T5 Thinline
- Back and sides: sapele
- Top: maple
- Neck: sapele with gloss finish
- Fretboard: ebony
- Fretboard inlay: Serj Tankian energy wheel
- Headstock overlay: Serj Tankian energy wheel
- Binding: black
- Bridge: ebony
- Nut and saddle: bone
- Tuning machines: chrome-plated Taylor tuners
- Strings: medium-gauge (.011-.049) electric Nanoweb® coated Elixir® strings (light-gauge acoustic optional)
- Hardware: Taylor Chrome-plated
- Scale length: 24-7/8"
- Truss rod: adjustable
- Neck width at nut: 1-11/16"
- Number of frets: 21
- Fretboard radius: 15"
- Bracing: T5 custom bracing
- Finish: gloss
- Color options: black (opaque)
- Cutaway: venetian
- Pickups: three magnetic pickups: an under-fretboard neck humbucker, a visible bridge humbucker, and an acoustic body sensor mounted to the inside surface of the top.
- Pickup switching: 5-way-Position 1: Under-fretboard humbucker + body sensor in series (acoustic); Position 2: Under-fretboard humbucker (dark & round); Position 3: Bridge humbucker (twang to crunch); Position 4: Bridge humbucker + under-fretboard humbucker in parallel (50's hollowbody); Position 5: Bridge humbucker + under-fretboard humbucker in series (thick, bright & full)
- Body width: 16"
- Body depth: 2.35"
- Body: 20"
- Overall length: 40-3/4"
- Case: Taylor T5 hardshell (black)
- Unique features: black with maple top, red purfling, unbound f-holes, certificate of authenticity.