Here are some of my thoughts on the Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina after recording with it for a couple of months. For what I do (acoustic guitar instrumentals) – the Edwina is a great mic. On steel string I think it would pair a little better with a Martin than a Taylor, however I really enjoy it on my nylon string Taylor. The mike is crisp and clear with a high end bump that has a little body (not too thin). The bass is there, but it’s not boomy and you can get up close to the mic without too much bass from proximity effect (at least on my Taylors – maybe not with other guitars). I haven’t used it live, but it has a narrow / close pattern that along with its other characteristics would probably make it suitable for live use. Other pluses include: boutique mic made in Portland Oregon, not super pricey, and last (but not least) it looks cool.
Several people have asked me lately about upgrading to a bone nut/saddle, and specifically in relation to Taylor guitars. A drop in saddle can be an easy experiment, but if you’re looking at a nut/saddle replacement and set-up, I would say first (if your action / playability are ok) to try some different makes of strings and different alloys. Next, be advised that bone saddles often make a guitar sound brighter and more clear; Taylors already sound bright and clear so adding a bone nut/saddle may be “too much.” If your guitar is 5-7 years old a Tusq nut/saddle (or Tusq/Micarta) will probably do the job. That’s just my opinion; milage may vary.
With all of the major acoustic guitar builders coming out with ‘pre-aged’ tops, I thought I’d compare some of the benefits that come with torrefied versus naturally aged guitar tops. Many guitar builders are now baking their spruce top wood to accelerate the aging process – this goes by various names such as torrefied/torrefaction, thermal treatment, and thermo treatment. The idea is that new guitars with treated tops will sound more like vintage guitars right out of the box. While some people think a guitar has to age over 50 years to sound ‘vintage’, aging is not just a function of time but also of how much a guitar is being played. For a guitar that’s being played regularly, I think the first and most significant amount of break-in often occurs between 2 and 8 years – give or take. I hear an interesting sweet spot in a guitar while it’s in the middle of this transition, as the top ages but before the top would be considered fully aged. It’s a matter of taste, I know, but somewhere around the 4-8 year mark I think the guitar will have a good combination of ‘new’ and ‘old’ qualities to its sound. I understand the desire for a ‘broken in’ and ‘vintage sounding’ guitar and agree that torrefied tops sound good on some models. Generally, though, I would prefer to break in the top myself, naturally, so it can meld to my playing and I can meld to it. I enjoy the natural aging process of the top and hearing, at least to my ears, the sweet spot in the aging process that occurs before the top is fully aged. Of course, it also depends on your style of music. If you play old-timey string band music, bluegrass, or old school blues/folk, then a torrefied top could be a plus. I’ve also played some guitars with torrefied tops that I really like, such as Taylor’s 612ce. Overall, it’s probably best to go on a case by case basis and chose a guitar that appeals to you.