I wasn’t aware that Taylor was refining their 800 series. Thanks for the heads up on that. I have a Taylor 810 (1993 model , same year my son was born). I looked up the new ones and they’ve made some changes since my 21 year old 810 was made. The best change is the 1 3/4" nut width. Mine is 1 11/16" and the string spacing is too crowded. Unlike most folks such as yourself the only complaint I have about mine is the playability. The sound is the best part. The action is the best I’ve seen with a ton of saddle left to lower even more, but it’s just that narrow neck and string spacing. Not only is it too narrow, but it’s also too shallow.
You hit the nail on the head when you said to close your eyes and listen. I think when some people “see” a Taylor in a band (especially bluegrass), they’ve already made their mind up that it’s not going to sound good before the music even starts. I’m not really a Taylor guy, But I happened upon this one and bought it because it sounded and played better than the D28 I was comparing it to. I think it was an early seventies which may not have been a good comparison.
I’m going to look for one of these new ones to compare mine to. I’m interested now in seeing how they’ve changed and what it sounds like compared to mine. I wonder if they build them with Adirondack or German Spruce as an alternative to Sitka?
In My opinion, I don’t think any guitar other than a Martin style will be making it’s way into Bluegrass circles anytime soon and I believe it’s all because of looks and tradition. Oh, they’ll be a few, but I don’t see it really changing which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I was at Smoky Mountain Guitars about a year ago looking at different guitars: Collings, Bourgeois, Altman (which are fantastic), a couple I’d never heard of and some vintage Martins. I asked Dan why do all the builders copy Martin? Why don’t they make their own headstock and pickguards instead of copying Martin? His answer was simple: “Because that’s what everybody wants”. I left with a Collings.
Thanks for the post Jerry