Taylor Expression System Parts and Service

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The Taylor Guitars Expression System

The Taylor Guitars Expression System is a series of proprietary electronics designed from the ground up to maintain the unique sound and aesthetics of Taylor Guitars. The expression system is fully optimized for the Taylor sound and is unlike any other guitar pickup system.

Taylor ES Versions and Variations

Since its introduction in 2003, the Expression System has gone through a few iterations as Taylor constantly searches to improve upon the state of the art.

The most recent version, Expression System 2 (ES2), was introduced in 2014 and represents a major change in technology while retaining much of the seamless exterior aesthetics that owners have come to love.

Taylor Guitars ES1.1

Taylor Guitars ES1.1 Preamp

The original version of the expression system was used from 2003-2006 and is most easily identified by a AA battery box with a CAT5 signal cable connection visible on the preamp.

Groundbreaking as it was at its introduction, this version of the system is considered obsolete and replacement components are no longer available. If any portion of the system requires replacement, the system will need to be replaced with one of the two retrofit options that Taylor Guitars offers. (See “ES1.1 Replacement options” below)

Taylor Guitars ES1.2

Taylor Guitars ES1.2 Preamp

The second iteration of Taylors Expression system is most easily identified by two key features:  The introduction of a 9 volt battery box and a preamp with two internal switches.

Peering through the sound hole, you should observe 2 switches on the preamp that allow for independent control of the systems two body sensor pickups.

Replacement Components for this system are available in store or via our online shop.

Taylor Guitars ES Blue

The ES Blue was a short lived “lite version” of the expression system. Discontinued in 2006, it was used on electrified versions of the 100/200 series models.  It utilized the same magnetic fingerboard extension pickup as the regular system, but lacked the body sensor or external controls found on the full system.  The system is no longer supported and replacement preamps are not available. 

Taylor Guitars ES1.3

Taylor Guitars ES1.3 Preamp

The third version of Taylors Expression system is most easily identified by noticing a single switch on the backside of the preamp with a red LED beneath on the same side.

This version of the expression system uses a single body sensor in conjunction with the fingerboard extension pickup.

Replacement Components for this system are available in store or via our online shop.

Taylor Guitars ES-T Pickup

Taylor Guitars EST / ES2 Preamp

The Taylor ES-T pickup was the second offering of an “expression system lite” It was widely used on instruments from the Tecate factory up until about 2014.

It represents a departure from other versions in that it utilizes an under saddle piezo pickup.It can be positively identified by removing the instruments strings and saddle and noticing the pickup underneath. 

For identification without removing the strings, after assuring that there are no pickups mounted behind the saddle, indicating Taylors ES2, users will notice a preamp with an 1/8″ jack and a phase switch protruding off of the back side.

Replacement Components for this system are available in store or via our online shop.

Taylor Guitars ES2

Taylor ES2 behind-the-saddle pickups

The Taylor 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.

Replacement Components for this system are available in store or via our online shop.

Taylor Guitars ESB

The ESB is the current “expression system lite” offering.  It features the same patented “behind the saddle pickup” design as the ES2 system, but with a small side mounted control panel featuring an onboard tuner.  

Expression System Parts and Repairs

Expression System Battery Box Repair and Replacement

Taylor ES1.1 Battery Box with corroded contact

One of the most common expression system repairs we perform is the removal of stuck, corroded batteries from the battery box. After a thorough cleaning, these boxes can usually be salvaged.

To avoid this issue, we recommend storing the instrument without batteries installed whenever the electronics will not be used regularly.

If a replacement box is required, 9-volt style boxes are available in store or via our online shop. For AA boxes see ES1.1 replacement options below.

ES1.2 / ES1.3 Ground Hum

The ES1.2 and ES1.3 versions of Taylor Guitars  expression system have a fused string ground to keep the system quiet and protect the player from shocks.

When exposed to current, this fuse will blow to protect the user. Once blown, the guitar may begin to hum while plugged in. If touching the jack lessens the hum, odds are the fuse is blown and needs to be replaced. Replacement fuses are available in store or via our online shop.

Battery Box for Es1.2/1.3 with String Ground Fuse

Expression System Scratchy Volume / Tone Controls

Taylor ES Volume and Tone Controls

The expression system uses sealed potentiometers to minimize the chance of dust or corrosion interfering with their smooth operation.

However, sometimes these controls wear out and become scratchy when turned, occasionally causing the instrument to cut out altogether.  

Occasionally the unit can be removed from the instrument and cleaned to be returned to full functionality.  If that fails, replacement preamps are available for most systems in store or via our online shop.

The Taylor Guitars ES1.1 Replacement Options

Groundbreaking as it was at its introduction, this version of the system is considered obsolete and replacement components are no longer available. If any portion of the system requires replacement, the electronics will need to be replaced with one of the two retrofit options that Taylor Guitars offers.

Complete system replacement components are not available to the public and the service must be performed by an authorized service center.

This offering is often best for users that were happy with the sound of their original system and wish to keep their guitar sounding as close to original as possible.

The ES1.3 retrofit adapts this later version of the expression system for compatibility with the AA battery box your instrument is routed for.  The redesigned AA battery box uses a molex signal cable and maintains the outward appearance of the instrument. It still uses a pickup under the fingerboard extension, but utilizes one body sensor pickup instead of the two in the original system.  You also get a redesigned preamp.

This option offers an opportunity for owners of legacy Taylor Guitars instruments to upgrade to a special version of Taylor’s current expression system. While it still uses AA batteries, the fingerboard pickup and body sensors are removed and Taylors pattered behind-the-saddle pickups are installed.  You can learn more about this option here.

Upgrade Your Guitars Electronics to the ES2 System

In our shop, The Taylor ES2 upgrade is available for Taylor guitars that already have an earlier version of the expression system installed. This includes Taylor guitars that were factory equipped with systems ES1.1, ES1.2, ES1.3, or ES-T.

We are the only shop in the tri-state area authorized to perform the upgrade in house. Click here for more information about upgrading to the ES2 in your guitar, click here

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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