Taylor Guitars Expression System 2 Upgrade

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Taylor Guitars Expression System 2 Upgrade

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Taylor's ES2 Pickup System is Mounted Behind the Saddle

Introducing The Taylor Guitars ES2

Taylor Guitars Expression System 2 (ES2) pickup design is the latest in Taylor’s ongoing innovation in acoustic guitar amplification. The heart of the Expression System 2 is Taylor’s patented behind-the-saddle pickup, which features three uniquely positioned and individually calibrated pickup sensors. The location of the sensors is designed with the intent of capturing more dynamic range vs other pickup types.

Like the original Expression System, the ES2 features the same body mounted volume and tone control knobs. The preamp is the same one formerly used with Taylors EST pickup system, sporting a battery indicator light on the preamp and an internal phase switch.

Rethinking Piezo Under Saddle Pickups

For decades, piezo-electric transducers have been most commonly positioned under the saddle of a guitar. Critics of traditional under-saddle pickups characterize their sound as thin, brittle, brash or synthetic, especially with more aggressive playing. Furthermore, many people feel that placing a pickup between the saddle and the bottom of the bridge can have a negative impact on the acoustic sound of the instrument.

In response, Taylor Guitars relocated the pickup from underneath the saddle to behind it. The new positioning enables the elements to respond more naturally to the guitar’s energy as it is transferred through the saddle. Three pickup sensors are installed behind the saddle, through the bridge, with Allen screw  adjustments to calibrate the position of the sensors in relation to the saddle.

ES2 Retrofit Requirements

In our shop, The Taylor ES2 upgrade is available for instruments that already have an earlier version of the Expression System. The body must already be cut for preamp controls and the power supply; This includes models that were factory equipped with ES1.1, ES1.2, ES1.3, or ES-T Expression Systems. If your guitar does not fit this description, please check out our article on the K&K Pure Mini to learn about another excellent pickup system that might be better suited to your instrument.

Please note: Taylor has made two versions of the ES2 available to accommodate legacy models utilizing either an AA or 9V battery box. If you wish to convert a guitar that is equipped with a AA box to a 9V box, Taylor Guitars recommends that the instrument be shipped back to the factory for modification of the instruments end-block. 

ES2 Upgrade Cost

Guitar Repair Long Island is the area’s preferred factory authorized service center for Taylor Guitars. Because of this special relationship, we are honored to be the only shop in the Long Island, NYC, Brooklyn, or Queens area that is able to offer this retrofit. You get the same quality of installation, at a fair price, without the added expense, risk, or wait time of shipping your guitar to Taylor. Please review our repair menu for pricing information.

ES2 Retrofit Installation

ES2 retrofit before:after
The Stock Bridge And After ES2 Pickup Installation With Saddle Installed

Drilling ES2 Mounting Holes

Drilling Jig Mounted On The Bridge

Before installation of the new ES2 system can begin, the strings, original electronics, and saddle must be removed from the guitar.

We then mount the jig provided by Taylor Guitars to assist as we carefully drill through the top of the bridge, creating three precision mounting holes for the ES2 pickup.

The Bridge After Drilling

Once the holes are drilled, we remove the jig and clean the debris left behind.

The holes are precisely drilled to hold the pickup assembly in position without any additional aid. The opening at the front, extending into the saddle slot, allows the pickups themselves to make contact with the saddle.

Mounting The New System

Preamp in Hand, Pickup on Guitar Top

Mounting the new electronics is a simple procedure requiring just a few minutes. The first step is mounting the pickup; Working through the soundhole, we gently slide it up into position from underneath the bridge. 

Next we mount the new battery box before connecting the cables of both items to the preamp. Finally, the preamp is placed inside the guitar and secured with the included threaded bushings. 

To wrap up installation, we affix the wiring using clips to keep them out of sight and prevent rattling during use.

With the pickup properly installed, it is the perfect time to preform a setup and or an NT neck reset on the instrument to ensure it is playing its best.

About Guitar Repair Long Island

Guitar Repair Long Island is the area’s premier destination for fretted musical instrument care and maintenance. Led by owner/head technician Erik Salomon, the shop is dedicated to providing quick, honest, and reliable service. Our vast experience in all aspects of instrument repair ensures that we can help with whatever your needs are. Contact us with any questions or book your appointment today.

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