While not the most affordable guitar the Taylor 214ce is definitely playable and comfortable enough for even the most inexperienced players. The 200 Deluxe Series from Taylor is one of their best lines if you are looking for playability, nuanced tone and comfort. Of course, you probably have to cash out a little bit more than with the “affordable” guitars but that is going to be a decision you will have to make and probably be happy about if you choose this one.
The 214ce has a Grand Auditorium body which is pretty similar to the more widespread dreadnought body style. The main difference lies in the more tapered and contoured shape of the grand auditorium which allows for more comfort without compromising the loud and rich sound. The top on this guitar is solid Sitka spruce. On the sides and the back we have layered rosewood which is not as great a the solid Sitka but as long as the top is the best quality, back and sides do not have as much effect on the tonality. The neck is made of Sapele which for me is kind of a surprise. The 214ce is a “deluxe” guitar and while sapele is not an awful material, some more high end and better quality tonewood that ages better would not have been a big problem (and the price of this guitar probably would allow for a better tonewood). Overall, there are certain advantages to the construction- like the Taylor Standard II Bracing and good quality top tonewood but the neck is a downside for me. Even so, the slim neck is still pretty good for comfortable grip.
With Chrome Tuners, Chrome Buttons, Micarta “Save” saddle, and Tusq nut the 214ce brings a very standard assortment of hardware. That being said, it is nothing special. Maybe I am being a little bit too harsh with this model, after all, I do not think that Tusq is a bad material for the nut or that Micarta saddle destroys the playability and sound. That is definitely not the case and if a $500 guitar has those specifications I would say it is a great bargain. But with a guitar that costs over $1000 I usually expect the highest quality material no matter if it actually affects the sound or not (yes, call me a snob).
I might have been a bit harsh in the build and hardware sections of this review because those specifications do to not really warrant such a price but when it comes to the sound that is definitely where the guitar proves it might be worth the cost. Taylor’s tonal clarity and extreme playability are not lost on this model. The solid Sitka spruce top (my main favorite part of the build) yields great projection and tonal balance. Overall, as much as I might whine about Tusq nut or this and that the sound is what really matters in this case and the Taylor 214ce definitely delivers on that front.
Okay, let’s talk a bit about electronics, after all, that is kinda 50% reason why we are here. The Expression System 2 “professional audio”-grade is Taylor’s way of innovating and dipping their feet into electronics. The innovation lies in the behind-the-saddle pickup which has three uniquely positioned pickup sensors for capturing dynamic range to perfection The volume, bass and treble control are pretty basic but easy to maneuver. One thing that this system lacks is the tuner which is pretty much a necessity for a lot of people. All in all, this system is good at reproducing the authentic sound and tone of the guitar.
I might have a bit of a problem with the use of Sapele neck and Tusq nut on an acoustic-electric guitar that is far over $1000 but apart from that this is a high quality, a well-built instrument with innovative electronics that perfectly reproduce the sound on stage. I would say the 214ce Deluxe Grand Auditorium is a good option for intermediate and professional musicians who are looking for well-performing instruments on stage.
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