Are you aching for a high-quality acoustic guitar but not ready to fork out a thousand bucks or more? You’re far from alone. This Taylor 114CE review will help you determine whether getting that highly-sought Taylor experience at an affordable price is possible.
A long-time favorite of picky guitarists, Taylor has slowly expanded its lineup into the medium price range. If you’re looking to move on from, or bypass, that stereotypical cheap first guitar, the Taylor 114CE is a mouth-watering option. Let’s see how it delivers.
The Taylor 114CE is a 25.5” scale length Grand Auditorium guitar with a Venetian cutaway and electronics. It has a solid Sitka spruce top on a layered walnut body with a sapele neck. The fretboard and bridge are ebony. The Taylor 114CE has a Tusq nut which, like the neck, is a tiny bit narrower than average for more comfortable chord grips.
With materials like this, you can expect excellent performance and durability. A forward-shifted bracing strengthens the build. On the headstock you find sealed chrome tuners and an easy-access truss rod with an elegant, so you can count on it holding its tuning, and customizing the action is a breeze.
Under the hood, you’ll find Taylor’s ES2 electronics, co-designed by the legendary Rupert Neve. It consists of a triple-sensor pickup behind the bridge, and a preamp with volume, bass, and treble controls.
The Taylor 114CE has a clear satin varnish finish. In addition to looking elegant, this lets your hand move easier along the neck. There’s a black pickguard, a sleek ring rosette, and acrylic fretboard inlays. Overall, it’s simple and very stylish.
How the Taylor 114CE Plays
Being a grand auditorium, the Taylor 114CE sits better on your lap than a typical dreadnought guitar. Thanks to the Venetian-style cutaway, it’s easy to reach all 20 frets. A compensated saddle gives the strings a consistent feel.
All in all, the Taylor 114CE is a responsive and playful guitar that lends itself well to both fingerstyle and strumming. Barre chords are no challenge, due to the slim neck. The ebony fretboard gives a smoother slide than the usual rosewood. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced guitarist, you’ll appreciate the smooth playability.
If I didn’t know the specs, I could mistake it for an all-solid construction based on the sound. It’s warm and deep with a rich resonance, and it gets pretty loud. The materials sing together with an exquisite timbre. Thanks to its ebony fingerboard and Tusq nut, the Taylor 114CE has a vibrant shimmer of upper harmonics with a snappy attack. Notes ring out slowly, due to the lack of questionable, energy-absorbent materials.
When you plug it in, it has a very natural, unplugged sound. The unique and cleverly placed pickup is what causes this. And if you like a brighter or duller sound, the built-in EQ won’t disappoint.
What People Say
Buyers praise the Taylor 114CE for its beautiful tone, comfortable playability, and great value. When looking at user comments, there are none of the complaints you usually hear about entry-level guitars. It gets a whopping 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
With an MSRP of $899, it’s a bit above the typical entry-level guitar. However, in terms of value, the price is hard to beat. You get a lot of guitar for a small increase in cost, and it includes a high-quality gig bag. Whether you’re a serious beginner or an enthusiast, it’s a worthy investment. Check it out here. If you want a cheaper option, consider the Taylor Big Baby.
Taylor 114CE VS Yamaha A3M
Let’s compare the Taylor 114CE to a top competitor to get a better idea of how it delivers. They’re similar in price, and the build is comparable with a few key differences.
First of all, the Yamaha A3M has solid mahogany instead of layered walnut. The Spruce top is heat treated to give you a full sound right away with no break-in period. While the pickup is less elaborate, you get an option to blend it with a ribbon mic to taste for a very professional sound. While the materials are better, the Yamaha A3M is Chinese-built, whereas Taylor 114CE guitars come from Mexico and the USA.
Sound-wise, the Yamaha A3M is a bit rounder than the Taylor 114CE. It’s not quite as bright and punchy to my ears, but warmer in the mids. They’re about equal in general playability, but the deeper C-shaped neck makes the Yamaha a bit less suitable for small hands and beginners. If this piqued your interest, you can take a closer look here.
Pros & Cons
That covers the technical stuff. Let’s round this Taylor 114CE up and repeat the guitar’s highlights and drawbacks.
- High build quality
- Great price-to-value ratio
- Smooth, responsive playability
- High-end electronics
- Includes gig bag
The Taylor 114CE is good enough to satisfy a guitar enthusiast. More importantly, it makes an excellent first guitar, since you won’t risk learning bad form to compensate for the quirks of a budget guitar. It’s among the best guitars under $1,000.
- Not all-solid wood
- No onboard tuner
There’s not much negative to say about the Taylor 114CE. It’s entry-level by Taylor standards, so Taylor fans could possibly be surprised. It’s still not bad by any means.
Is Taylor 114CE Right for You?
The Taylor 114CE gives you that professional Taylor tone and feel without the typical Taylor price tag. It fits all playing styles and experience levels, both plugged and unplugged. If you’re upgrading from a budget guitar, it’s an excellent choice. If you’ve decided, you can find sweet deals here.
Taylor 114ce John Holloway Rating: 5 out of 5