|Body And Neck:|
When looking for something in the higher end of the mid-range steel string acoustic market, most guitarists will end up checking out Taylor’s 200 Series – one of their strongest and most recognized guitar series, with an aesthetically diverse range.
And this gorgeous all-koa 224ce-K electro-acoustic is certainly one of the series highlights. Made in Taylor’s excellent Tecate factory in Mexico, this acoustic shows off great craftsmanship, stunning colors, and very bright sounds. Let’s see how it shapes up.
As we’ve already highlighted, this delightful guitar is made entirely of responsibly-sourced Hawaiian koa – a dense and dark tropical hardwood that grows in tone the more it is played – and looks all the better for it!
The top of the guitar is crafted from a solid piece of koa, with a slight shading around the edges to add a little vintage style, while the back and sides are made from layered laminate Hawaiian koa, all finished in gloss. The guitar features Taylor’s slightly pinched Grand Auditorium shape, with a 25.5” scale length and a Venetian cutaway on the treble side.
The neck, which joins the guitar at the 14th fret, is made from satin-finished solid sapele, which suits the guitar’s style well and is a pleasure to play. This is home to a genuine African ebony fretboard, 20 frets, and attractive Italian acrylic small diamond inlays.
The 224ce-K comes loaded with Taylor’s Expression System 2 (ES2) electronics, with a patented behind-the-saddle (instead of under-saddle) pickup, featuring three uniquely positioned and individually calibrated pickup sensors, as well as their custom-designed professional audio-grade preamp, with volume, treble and bass controls, and phase filter.
Elsewhere the guitar features six chrome tuners on the Taylor-branded headstock, as well as a Tusq nut for added tone consistency and tuning stability, while on the ebony bridge you’ll find a Micarta saddle. Finally the guitar is shipped with some long-lasting Elixir Phosphor Bronze light gauge strings, as well as a stylish and rugged brown Taylor Deluxe Hardshell case, with plush interior.
The first thing you notice when it comes to the sound is how bright it is. Almost too bright for some guitarists. This is a characteristic of the koa, which is typically crisp and bright, and not too dissimilar to maple in tone. However, the more it is played the more it opens up, and becomes warmer and richer. Its natural brightness makes it excellent for fingerstylists. Through the ES2 electronics, the natural sound is amplified well, and the controls allow you to tweak the sound to your preferred levels of brightness.
First and foremost, we can all agree that this is a stunning guitar. To find an all-koa model – with its complex dark style – in this price range is rare, and Taylor’s Mexican craftsmen do the exotic woods justice. Aside from its beautiful looks, the sound really sparkles – providing you can get over the initial brightness, this guitar will develop very well with age. For under $1500, its well worth checking out.