Are you looking for an entry-level guitar with a powerful and clean sound with easy playability?
I know, it sounds like the dream guitar, but the Taylor Academy 10 dreadnought may be the exact right fit for you.
In my over 10 years as a teacher and 20 as a musician, this guitar is one I always recommend to my beginners. Though it’s Taylor’s entry level model, it doesn’t play at all like one.
In fact, this one is better than some company’s intermediate models! I’ll explain why as we dive into this Taylor Academy 10 dreadnought review.
Taylor Academy 10 Dreadnought
Since 1974, Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug have been making guitars for all kinds of players. Over these past almost 50 years, Taylor has risen to become one of the most respected guitar makers in the world.
Making acoustic and electric guitars, their focus has been on quality acoustic sound and it shows. Taylor hasn’t stopped to creating poor quality guitars for cheap to make a quick buck off of beginners.
The Taylor Academy 10 dreadnought is the perfect example of this. The Academy 10 is their entry-level guitar in the Academy series, but you wouldn’t know this by its sound.
What Taylor does is makes a quality acoustic guitar with beginner playability in mind. It helps the beginner get started, but the sound is good enough for most players.
This attention to quality materials, user-friendly construction, and clear sound make it one of the best acoustic guitars for under $500.
New players should check this out, especially if they’re serious about learning to play and not afraid to drop a little more cash for a stand-out guitar they’ll play for the rest of their career.
What We Liked
- Crystal clear sound
- Neck is thinner and fits into new players’ hands easily
- Good medium string action
- Rounded armrest makes playing more comfortable
- Sounds great with flatpicking and strumming
What We Disliked
- Missing some depth to the sound
- Not as good at fingerstyle playing
Powerful and Clean Sound
Taylor won’t sacrifice sound to get a lower price on their guitar. This is clear with the 10A.
The sitka spruce top is a step up from other entry level models from other companies. It gives the guitar more power and clarity.
Layered sapele back and sides is where Taylor saves some money, but even this wood choice doesn’t lessen the sound much. Sapele will deepen the sound and provide a little more power although not as much as more expensive woods such a mahogany.
All of this adds up to a clean sound missing from competitors.
Full Body, Acoustic Tone
Along the same lines, Taylor does everything she can to make sure the 10A has a full enough sound to be most people’s first and only guitar.
They use the dreadnought shape and absence of electronics to provide as much space for resonance as possible. This and the quality materials mentioned above help it sound as full as most higher-end guitars.
Still, for all these features, the 10A is an affordable guitar. It may cost more than other beginner guitars, but this is a safe investment.
Where most new guitar players will become dissatisfied with their guitar sound after a few months or years of practicing, those who buy the Academy 10 will most likely be more than happy with the sound for years to come.
The Distinguishing Feature: Easy Playability
The best feature of the Taylor Academy 10 dreadnought is how easy it is to play. New players and experienced ones alike will notice the guitar fits their hands well and has good response.
This is due to a number of design choices made by Taylor left out by other companies.
For one, the neck is a little thinner than most. This makes it easier to wrap your hands around.
The fretboard is made from West African ebony. This wood is hard and clean allowing for quick finger action when fingering chords.
The scale length is 24 7/8 inches which is a little shorter than many other acoustics. A shorter scale length helps the player by making the chords be a little closer together, but it sacrifices a little in the sound.
Finally, the armrest is a great bonus most other entry models don’t include. In fact, this is a staple of Taylor guitars, especially their higher-end guitars.
Basically, Taylor shapes the bottom of the guitar body where your strumming arm rests. The contour provides a gentle place for your arm to sit rather than the 90° angle of the guitar body typically there.
|Feature||Taylor Academy 10A|
|Top wood||Sitka spruce|
|Back and sides wood||Layered sapele|
|Neck wood||Hard rock maple|
|Fretboard||West African ebony|
|Nut width||1 11/16 inches|
|Nut and saddle material||Nubone nut, Micarta saddle|
|Scale length||24 7/8 inches|
|Number of frets||20|
What Customers Are Saying?
Don’t take my word for it. I spoke with and consolidated the reviews of players at all levels, and I noticed consistent comments they made. Here is what the customers said.
Easy to play
All customers made comments on how easy the guitar is to play. They noted the neck especially as having an easy shape to wrap your hand around.
Other customers also commented on the curved end of the guitar body which serves as an armrest for your strumming hand.
A few users told a similar story about how they’ve always struggled to pick up guitar because it was so hard to hold and finger. The Taylor Academy 10 was the guitar that finally helped them over the hump into learning the guitar.
Though the price is higher than other “entry” models, many users considered the Academy 10 a great value purchase. This is largely due to its good sound.
Many new guitar players will outgrow the beginner guitar sound as they improve, but the 10A doesn’t have this problem. It sounds good enough to stick with you for a long time.
Sounds like a full guitar
Customers were impressed with the full sound of the guitar. They were expecting an entry guitar to sound thin and weak, but the 10A has a strong sound.
Several said something to this effect: “I was so surprised; it sounds like a real guitar!”
This is because it is a “real” guitar. Taylor doesn’t mess around with quality and won’t make a guitar that doesn’t meet its standards.
Plays great right out of the box
Several users expressed joy at how easy the guitar was tuned and set up right out of the box. The strings were all set; all they needed to do was tune it up.
To hear these comments in action, check out this video.
I really hope you enjoyed this Taylor Academy 10 dreadnought review and decide to check the guitar out. For any newer player who is serious about learning guitar and only wants to buy one in their time, the 10A is going to get you where you need to go.
It’s full sound, easy playability, and great value make it an easy choice for new and intermediate players who want a good acoustic sound.