Taylor 656ce 12-string - Brown Sugar Stain

12-string Acoustic Guitar with Torrefied Sitka Spruce Top, Figured Maple Back and Sides, Maple Neck, and ES2 Electronics - Natural
Taylor 656ce 12-string - Brown Sugar Stain image 1
Taylor 656ce 12-string - Brown Sugar Stain image 1
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Taylor 656ce 12-string - Brown Sugar Stain
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Acoustic-electric 12-string Guitar with Cutaway

If you're looking for warm, rich tone, Taylor's 656ce 12-string acoustic-electric guitar is an excellent choice. With a 656ce, you get the combination of a gorgeous torrefied Sitka spruce top and a back and sides made of beautiful Big Leaf maple. Even unplugged, the 656ce gives you a bright and chiming tone, and thanks to its onboard Taylor Expression System 2 electronics, it also sounds fantastic when you plug in. A Grand Symphony body style perfectly compliments the selection of tonewoods, adding powerful projection and a natural treble emphasis to the Taylor 656ce 12-string acoustic-electric guitar.

Taylor 656ce 12-string Acoustic-electric Guitar at a Glance:
  • Choice tonewoods - Sitka spruce meets Big Leaf maple
  • Grand Symphony body style gives you balanced sound and incredible projection
  • Taylor Expression System 2 electronics deliver superior sound onstage
Choice tonewoods - Sitka spruce meets Big Leaf maple

The 656ce 12-string is a prime example of the high-quality tonewoods Taylor selects for their guitars. It features time-proven Sitka spruce as its top, which gives you wonderful projection with the perfect amount of sparkle, and the 656ce's Big Leaf maple back and sides give it an extra bright and snappy tone.

Grand Symphony body style gives you balanced sound and incredible projection

Taylor's Grand Symphony body style, featured on the 656ce 12-string, is a more modern take on the sleek Grand Auditorium shape, but with the waist moved up toward the neck. This gives the Taylor 656ce a slightly larger lower bout, giving you an excellent blend of power and projection, without losing the high-end definition of the Grand Auditorium body style. At Sweetwater we love expressive and toneful acoustic guitars, and the Taylor 656ce 12-string acoustic-electric definitely fits that bill.

Taylor Expression System 2 electronics deliver superior sound onstage

If you play plugged in, then you're going to love the Taylor Expression System 2 (ES2) electronics built into your 656ce 12-string acoustic-electric guitar. The key to this fantastic system is the 3-section proprietary pickup located behind the saddle. Because of where it's positioned and how it's integrated into the Taylor 656ce's saddle, the ES2 pickup provides you with remarkably clear and accurate sound. In addition to a master volume control, a pair of tone controls let you tweak your highs and lows to get the sound you need, and a discreet phase switch offers vital onboard feedback suppression.

Taylor 656ce 12-string Acoustic-electric Guitar Features:
  • A 12-string acoustic-electric guitar that's great for a wide range of playing styles
  • 600 series advanced performance bracing offers better vibration transfer and tone
  • Grand Symphony body style delivers huge, balanced tone, with a sweetly expressive upper register
  • Torrefied Sitka spruce top provides a light and expressive sound
  • Maple back and sides add chiming brightness to your sound
  • Onboard Taylor Expression System 2 electronics give you natural sound even when plugged in live
  • Hand-rubbed brown sugar finish on the back and sides
  • Includes hardshell case
If you're looking for an acoustic-electric guitar with extra bite, then the Taylor 656ce 12-string is just what you need!

Why Buy Your Guitar from Sweetwater?

See how Sweetwater goes to great lengths to give you the very best online guitar buying experience. From our online Guitar Gallery that allows you to see and select the exact instrument you want to our 55-point Evaluation process and our in-house guitar techs, we take the guesswork out of buying your next guitar online.

Additional Media

Acoustic Guitar Buying Guide

Tech Specs

Series 600
String Type Steel
Number of Strings 12
Body Shape Grand Symphony
Body Style Single Cutaway
Left-/Right-handed Right-handed
Color Natural top with Brown Sugar Stain back
Finish Gloss
Top Wood Torrified Sitka Spruce
Back & Sides Wood Big Leaf Maple
Body Bracing Advanced Performance Bracing
Binding Ebony
Neck Wood Maple
Fingerboard Material Ebony
Fingerboard Inlay Wing inlays
Number of Frets 20
Scale Length 25.5"
Tuning Machines Taylor Nickel
Nut/Saddle Material Tusq Nut/Micarta Saddle
Nut Width 1.875"
Body Length 20"
Body Width 16.25"
Body Depth 4.625"
Electronics Expression System 2
Strings Elixir Phosphor Bronze Light
Case Included Hardshell
Manufacturer Part Number 656ce

Customer Reviews

Based on 1 review
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Stands Out Even Among the Best

I purchased my 656ce from Sweetwater in November of 2015, but since it was a Christmas present to myself, I started playing it in earnest a month later. It was hard to wait, and even now every time I pick it up I keep feeling tempted to try some other tune or play and hear again some song I've already played, just to experience the tone all over again. I have been playing acoustics now for nearly 50 years, and I am the proud owner of a Martin HD28, which was and is the last 6-string acoustic I feel I will ever need. It has a pure and silvery clear tone from the treble to the bass, and it has volume and power in reserve if you should ask for it. I've had it now for 18 years, so when I got the itch to get a 12-string as well, I wanted to find the best one. I had tried a couple of Taylor 12-strings over the years, and in particular a 150e at one store that I found had a satisfying sound and was easier to play than most, so looking at Martins and Taylors seemed natural, but when I went online to see what was available, I was fairly dismayed to discover how many different models there were, and how few examples the local retailers had in stock. There were three Martins and about eight Taylors I wanted to compare, so I called Sweetwater to see what their experts had to say. I wasn't able to learn much by phone, but the young man asked me where I lived, and then he told me that the online store also had a retail showroom at their home base in Fort Wayne, Indiana, about two and a half hours from me. They could bring out all the models I was interested in and let me compare them. That sounded fabulous.I found the store on the outskirts of Fort Wayne. My salesman's name was Greg and he was a very nice guy, with a lot of experience both with acoustic guitars and with recording equipment. First he got me the Martin D12-28 (rosewood back and sides) since it was the closest thing to my 6-string, and soon he had set up several stands with beautiful 12-string guitars all lined up facing me as I sat there and played. He left me there with the Martin, a Taylor 456ce (ovangkol back and sides), a 150e (layered sapele), a 656ce (maple) and a 756ce (rosewod), but he said he didn't have an 856ce (also rosewood), which disappointed me because it had received great customer reviews I had read online (for the Taylor models, c = cutaway, e = electronic pickup). I played these and others, including a thundering Martin D12-35, until the store closed, and I still hadn't made a decision, but the 656ce was the one that was leaving the most lasting impression. Even though in the showroom a few other guitars were usually being strummed, I felt as if I was playing the 656ce all alone, since its voice was so clear and resonant. One of the other customers came from across the room to remark on the sound, so it wasn't just me. Compared with the Martin D12-28, the 656ce has a ringing, bell-like quality, while the 28 had more of the steely-pure sound of a good Martin. Perhaps you could say that neither was better or worse, just different, but the 656ce sound seemed to stand out just a little more. It also had a surprising amount of volume and dynamics that I didn't expect from a maple-bodied acoustic. When I was playing with the flat pick, sometimes notes from the middle or bass ranges would startle me with their power. At those moments I could often feel the instrument vibrating in my hands, as if it was singing to me. I made the long drive a second time so that I could sample the 856ce, and make a final decision. The 856 was fine, but the sound of the 656 had more character. I also tried a custom Taylor Macassar ebony 12 guitar that was fantastic when plugged in, but in the end I settled on the 656ce because it was clearer and more dynamic in acoustic mode. At home, when plugged in to a good amp, it sounds remarkably like its normal acoustic self. It has the latest Taylor Expression 2 electronics, and Greg tells me that they are the best in the business. It also has the "pre-aged" torrefied spruce top. I can't say anything about how well this works, except that this was the guitar with the qualities that I ended up choosing. I have to confess that I never did sample the Martin GPC12PA4; that was just an oversight on my part. It might have been a better contender than the D12-28 and 35 because I wanted the cutaway and electronics that the 28 and 35 did not have. But that doesn't really matter. I found the one I wanted. It is a beautifully finished instrument as well, with ebony binding on the body and sound hole, and tasteful grained ivoroid and abalone inlays. The intonation is perfect and the strings hold their tune very well. After I got it home I took it to the local experts for a full adjustment. It sometimes feels easy to play, but not always. I am still getting used to having to curl my fingers around the bass strings so as to make sure I fret both the larger and smaller diameter strings consistently. However, playing solos is surprisingly easy. I don't know why, but I can run up and down the neck more easily on the 656ce than on my Martin 6-string. It's not a huge difference, but it has been a bit of a revelation. Greg told me that Andy Powers at Taylor would be pleased at my assessment of the 656ce, since for 2015 he had re-optimized the Taylor 600 series (maple back and sides) guitars to take best advantage of the qualities of the readily available broad-leaf maple wood. I gather that the goal had been among other things to achieve more dynamics and sustain than are usually associated with maple-bodied guitars. Clearly he succeeded at that. I sometimes have to damp out notes with my fingers to keep the next chord change from being audible before I want it to be, because the strings are still singing. I never noticed having to do that when playing the same songs on my Martin. I can finger-pick gently or use the flat pick very lightly and still have ample volume to sing with, and there is a beautiful kind of sheen or luster to the notes.It's fine with me if nobody reads this review and I end up being the only person in town with this prize. However, it would be a crime if it remained undiscovered forever. Of course instruments and sound quality are a matter of taste; I tend to have a light touch, so if you have a heavier-handed style you might not want to take my word for it, but my opinion is that even among the best of the best, this one stands out. I need to mention how helpful and patient Greg was during my time at Sweetwater. He stayed late on both days to make sure I was taken care of, and I enjoyed listening to his experiences with various well-known artists he had helped in the past, as well as his advice on recording equipment. Sweetwater seems like a great place with a great staff, and it is unfortunate that retail outlets with this kind of inventory are so few and far between.
Music background: 49 years of humming, strumming and picking
See also: Acoustic-Electric Guitars, Taylor, Taylor 12-string Acoustic Guitars, Taylor Acoustic / Electric Guitars