|Body And Neck:|
A step up from the Academy Series and Baby Series, Taylor’s 100 Series is the first port of call for any guitarist wanting the true Taylor experience at an affordable price. And the 114CE is a staple of this collection, using quality woods and craftsmanship to develop a steel-string acoustic that offers the look and feel only a Taylor can pull off. Let’s see what makes this guitar so special…
The 114CE shows off a modern Grand Auditorium shape with a familiar 25.5” scale length, which is a popular style and touted as a great all-rounder. To this, Taylor adds – or, rather, takes away – a small portion for the Venetian cutaway, allowing for better access to the higher-end of the 20-fret ebony fretboard. Add in the satin-smooth playability of the slim sapele neck, and you have one superbly playable guitar.
The body itself is crafted from the popular Sitka spruce on the top. This is made using solid wood, with a forward shifted bracing pattern and matte varnished finish. The back and sides use the slightly lesser-seen walnut, which is laminated to keep this acoustic on the right side of $1000. The decoration is both traditional and minimalist with elegant black binding, a black pickguard and simple Italian acrylic dot inlays on the fretboard. Coming from Taylor’s Mexican facility, the craftsmanship is very admirable – it feels like a well-made instrument. Heck, it even smells good!
Look, feel and smell out of the way, and there’s a good selection of components on the 114CE to make it a reliable performer worth the asking price. Electronics-wise, it’s equipped with Taylor’s Expression System 2, which features a patented behind-the-saddle pickup, with three uniquely positioned and individually calibrated pickup sensors. This system has a built-in preamp offering subtle EQ controls on the upper bout – there are dials for volume, bass and treble.
On the headstock there’s a set of Taylor’s own sealed chrome tuners, which function very well and hold your tuning solid. As you work your way down the guitar, you’ll find a Tusq nut and a Micarta saddle sitting on a genuine ebony bridge. The 114CE comes strung with an nice light set of Elixir Phosphor Bronze strings and a padded Taylor-branded gig bag, which is a fine addition.
Unsurprisingly, the sound of the 114CE is unmistakably Taylor! Acoustically, it’s loud and very resonant, which works particularly well for fingerpicking and lighter strummers. The tone is well-rounded and gives a balanced blend of warmth and clarity – again, great for so many styles. The ES2 electronics produce a faithful replication of this guitar’s unplugged sound, with the improved pickup offering a better dynamic range, while the simple EQ controls give you a little versatility on board.
With the 114CE, Taylor shows you can find a handsome guitar with a pro-grade feel and tone at a price that doesn’t break the bank. For intermediate and experienced players looking for a versatile stage partner that will comfortably handle all kinds of performances, this one is well worth adding to the shortlist.