Taylor T5 vs T5z: How Good These Guitars Are?

Taylor is widely known for acoustic guitars. So, when it’s about acoustic-electric guitars, you get to think of other brands. Yet, in the mid-2000s Taylor Guitars introduced their first electric guitars. T5 and T5z were among the best hollow body hybrid acoustic-electric guitars from the company. This article compares Taylor T5 vs T5z and explore how good these guitars really are.

T5 and T5z are Taylor’s Hollowbody hybrid guitar series. The T5 is especially designed for those who are seeking acoustic-electric guitars, while the T5z is for electric players. Tracing back the history, T5 guitars were released in 2004, while the T5z were brought to the market in 2014.

Today, these guitars are made available in various models. From the least to the most expensive, T5 has four models: Classic, Standard, Pro, and Custom. For the T5z, the least expensive is also Classic, then followed by Standard, Pro Denim, and Custom as the most expensive. T5z is available in both 6-string and 12-string models. For the purpose of this article, the Classic models of T5 and T5z will be compared.

Taylor T5 Overview

If you are a fan of Taylor acoustic guitars, you will also love the T5. It has a mahogany top with classic satin finish – giving it a bit of a dark, sophisticated look.

Since it’s an acoustic-electric guitar, you can find the three-pickup configuration, five-way switching, and onboard tone controls. All these features make this guitar perfect for any kind of performance.

Taylor T5z Overview

Although at first glance they seem identical, there are slight differences between the two. T5z is more compact than the T5. It appears to have rich grain of the mahogany top – giving it a bit of a vintage touch.

It still has the three-pickup configuration, five-way switching, and onboard controls. This is geared towards electric, but with some acoustic.

Design & Specifications

There’s not much difference with the design and appearance of the two. They are excellent and well-made. Both guitars have a mahogany top with satin finish, so, you got that vintage look. In order to determine in what aspect these two differ if they are almost identical, let’s explore their specifications.

TAYLOR T5 TAYLOR T5z
Scale Length 24-7/8″ 24-7/8″
Brand of Strings Elixir Medium Electric Elixir Medium Electric
Number of Frets 21 21
Nut & Saddle Tusq Tusq Nut/Micarta Saddle
Tuners Taylor Nickel Taylor Nickel
Neck Width 1-11/16″ 1-11/16″
Type of Neck Joint T Lock Neck T Lock Neck
Fretboard Wood Ebony Ebony
Fretboard Inlay Small Diamonds Small Diamonds
Bridge Pins Ebony Ebony
Buttons Nickel Chrome

The table above may not give you enough detail to distinguish one from the other. However, if you look closer, you can discover that T5 has a much larger body compared to T5z. T5z, on the other hand, is more compact but has jumbo frets to give more freedom to electric guitarists.

Performance & Playability

T5 is designed for acoustic guitarists who want to explore the world of electric guitars. T5z is the exact opposite. Therefore, by just holding the neck and checking the frets, you’ll know which is T5 and T5z.

The Taylor T5 has a 15-inch fretboard radius with much narrower frets. This means you can play cleaner and well-defined guitar sounds. However, depending on how well you play guitars, sometimes, string bending could be a problem with narrow frets.

The T5z has a smaller body with jumbo frets. Since it has only a 12-inch fretboard radius with jumbo frets, going up and down the fretboard could be smooth.

Sound

Taylor guitars are among the best in this market. With the T5 and T5z, nothing else has changed except that they offer acoustic-electric hybrid. They have the same electronics onboard, but they sound differently when plugged.

With the three-pickup configuration, you can access a much wider tonal capacity. You have the visible bridge humbucker, the concealed neck humbucker, and the acoustic body sensor in the soundboard. The acoustic body sensor, as the name suggests, allows you to get wonderful acoustic tones. The bridge and the neck pickup allow you to get a multitude of sounds ranging from pop, rock, blues, jazz, and more.

To appreciate the sound of these guitars, here’s a YouTube comparison. Though it compares the Standard T5z and the T5 Custom – Koa, at least you have an idea of how these two are uniquely brilliant in the sound department.

Price

As mentioned in the introduction, Taylor T5 and T5z are available in different models. While the cheapest of both is the Classic model, they are still over $1000. They are not the typical affordable acoustic-electric guitars. However, they have the best in both worlds – acoustic and electric.

Taylor is undoubtedly the leader when it comes to acoustic guitars. But, with these hybrid guitars, they have conquered both worlds. Buying either of these guitars is an investment. And, whether you want the T5 or the T5z, you’ll definitely get a world-class guitar.

Pros & Cons

Taylor T5

Pros

  • Gives great acoustic sounds without amplification
  • Extremely versatile, does really well with tubes
  • Plays nice with good action

Cons

  • Needs to adjust the truss rod on first use
  • Feedback problem – need time to correct it

Taylor T5z

Pros

  • Feels more comfortable – perfect size of the body
  • Very fun to play with Taylor quality
  • Great build – you can spend hours playing

Cons

  • Some aren’t satisfied with the electric sound from this guitar
  • Feedback problem, as well – need time to tame it

Conclusion

Neither of these guitars is superior to the other. They are uniquely made to fit the different preferences of guitarists. If you are geared towards acoustic, the T5 is your best choice. It’s designed to deliver the best of Taylor acoustic guitars, at the same time, giving you the option to learn the basics of electric guitars.

On the other hand, if you are looking for electric guitar, T5z is yours to take. It offers the nice feel of an electric guitar along with the loud output because of the electronics onboard. Since it also has an acoustic sensor, you can use it like an acoustic guitar. These Taylor guitars are not just good; they are great.