FULL TAYLOR 114CE Review
Taylor 114CE Acoustic Guitar
This guitar has been completely ideal in every musical circumstance we've encountered. The Taylor 114ce is one of the most versatile and accommodating acoustics available, good for all types of music and playing styles.
In my experience Taylors are some of the absolute best acoustic guitars available.
In particular, the mid-range lines, where the Taylor 114ce makes a living, give you a ton of guitar for the money. I've actually owned the Taylor 114ce for several years now and it's still my go-to acoustic.
Having put it through plenty of work, both in a performing and recording capacity, this guitar has been completely ideal in every musical circumstance I've encountered.
This is my Taylor 114ce review.
Point Value (%)
The 114ce Score
1. Overall Tone Grade
6. Features Overall
8. Tone Quality Bump
Compare to Similar Acoustics
Martin Road Series
The Taylor 114ce has really good sustain for an acoustic guitar, as heavily bent notes will ring for upwards of 10 seconds without weakening or drowning out, even on the higher frets. Low barre and open chords sound full and thick, while higher frets and lighter strings have a bright, chime-like quality, as I've already mentioned.
I also love the response you get when finger-picking. It picks up even the most nuanced scrapes from my fingers, giving those patterns an extremely organic and natural resonance. It also plays surprisingly fast, with a neck that feels very accommodating to speed. The cutaway helps with this as well.
Basic pentatonic soloing feels much easier than I would have expected, right down to the bends and vibrato.
Since I’m used to solid body electrics, it makes the migration back and forth a lot easier for me. The 114ce could benefit other guitarists who have to switch between acoustic and electric regularly.
Tone Highlights and Descriptors
- Good sustain
- Thick, full open chords
- Emphasizes the picking hand
The tonewood mix includes the Sitka Spruce top we've already mentioned, which teams up with layered Walnut on the back and sides. The Walnut is a break from traditional tonewoods we've seen in similar acoustic models (usually some type of Mahogany) but the response you get with the solid Spruce top is nicely balanced and puts out a voluminous natural resonance. For what it's worth, I also noticed that the top and sides seem particularly resistant to scratching and staining. I used a Planet Waves soundhole cover that smears a black residue from pick scrapes, but even that comes off with a damp cloth.
Bracing and Construction
One of the more unique construction features of a Taylor is their take on bracing, which is inside the body of the guitar. Bracing is a part of a guitar's interior construction that basically does two things:
- Provides stability and helps to strengthen the back and top of the guitar
- Helps to shape the tone and "voice" of the guitar
Taylor guitars are built to have a balanced tonal response, friendly to both the higher and lower EQs. The bracing system plays a major role in accomplishing that.
Physically, bracing is a series of wooden strips positioned inside the guitar that help to distribute stress evenly throughout its body, particularly to the top and bottom of the guitar's interior.
Here's a shot of the X Bracing construction:
The Taylor 114ce uses the Classic X Bracing. Combined with the shape of the Taylor 114ce (the Grand Auditorium or "concert" body design) you get a much crisper and brighter response than you can get from a traditional dreadnought shape.
This makes the Taylor 114ce particularly ideal for those who want an acoustic for lead and melody or a rhythm/lead hybrid.
You can read more about bracing on the 114ce home page.
I gave the 114ce an 87 out of 100 in the electronics department since it comes with a built-in preamp and acoustic pickup, the Taylor ES-2 (expression system). This unit does a good job of replicating the natural tone of the guitar, but doesn't offer a lot in the way of tone control. You have a volume, treble, and bass dial, none of which are labeled, so it can be annoying to try and remember which is which.
For a preamp that gets the basics right, I like to give eight out of 10. I added some points because it does sound really good plugged in, but the Expression System has never been a huge selling point for me when it comes to the Taylor acoustics. It does the job, but it's not the best.
Value of the 114ce
Since we often get a numerical rating for the acoustics we review, we can then cross reference those with the approximate retail price tag and get a visual representation of value. In the following graph, we've included the 114ce and several other guitars from our best acoustic roundup. This helps you see where it lands against other, similar acoustic guitars.
Best Fit and Context
The 114ce is a great fit for nearly every situation. One of the reasons that it has been such a popular acoustic is that Taylor has made it a beginner-friendly acoustic guitar that you'll never outgrow.
I've seen it used by professional performers as well as beginners who are looking for an upgrade from their first $150 acoustic to their second, more serious guitar.
Being as objective as possible, I’ve found nothing negative to say about this guitar.
For $800 it’s truly one of the best value acoustics available, with no real weak spots and a widely acknowledged reputation for quality.
I will say that those who are looking for a pure strumming acoustic might find it to be more than they need, or to have strengths in areas they aren’t looking to utilize. The brighter tone, cutaway and versatility of the guitar may not be beneficial to those people.
But that’s a niche issue and not a quality concern.
For my Taylor 114ce review, I've got to give strong marks across the board.
Other Taylor 114ce Resources
Your Questions and Comments
If you have questions about our Taylor 114ce review, our ratings process, or about the guitar itself, feel free to drop those in the comments section below and I'll do my best to assist.