In the world of acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars, Taylor is by far one of the dominant brands. As great as Taylor guitars are, though, their price tags are usually out of reach for the average guitarist on a budget. Enter the Taylor 214ce model. Offering many of the premium features you’d normally find in a more expensive Taylor, the 214ce is a somewhat stripped-down electro-acoustic that’s also far more budget friendly. Here’s what you should know about the Taylor 214ce, why it deserves a place in your guitar collection, and whether its the best blues acoustic guitar.
Construction and Features
The 214ce is built on Taylor’s well-known Grand Auditorium body shape. Since 1994, this unique body design has been featured prominently in Taylor’s lineup of acoustic and electro-acoustic guitars. Read more Taylor Guitars Reviews here.
The Grand Auditorium is designed specifically to produce full, rich low tones while simultaneously delivering shimmering cleans in higher registers. To complement this tone-enhancing body shape, Taylor selected a layered Indian rosewood body and a Sitka spruce top for the 214ce. Sitka’s natural properties make it a favorite for acoustic guitar tops, as the wood produces crisp, clear tone throughout all ranges. Sitka is also an extremely versatile wood, responding well to everything from fingerpicking to the heavier strumming style of acoustic rock.
A mahogany neck with an ebony fretboard completes the guitar’s construction. Rounding out the 214ce is Taylor’s ES2 pickup system. The ES2 makes use of the standard piezoelectric crystals found in almost all electro-acoustic pickups. What makes the ES2 unique, though, is the positioning of the pickup. While most manufacturers place their pickups under the guitar’s saddle, Taylor places the ES2 pickup behind the saddle. This eliminates the thin tone usually associated with piezoelectric pickups and allows for greater responsiveness.
- Number of frets: 20
- Scale length: 25-1/2
- Tuners: die-cast chrome
- Body dimensions: 20x16x4-5/8
- Nut material: NuBone
- Neck width: 1-11/16
- Inlays: acrylic dot
- Pickgaurd color: tortoise shell
- Gig bag included: yes
True to expectations, the 214ce delivers fairly rich tone throughout its range. On the low range, the guitar is warm and expressive. In higher registers, a clean, sparkling tone comes out with a notable absence of tinny or thin characteristics.
Tying it all together, the mid-range offers a rich presence. While the Taylor 214ce would be suitable for just about any musical style, it is particularly well-suited to acoustic blues. Modern blues licks play well on this guitar, but it’s even more impressive when used to play more classic blues styles. Chicago and even Mississippi Delta inspired blues pieces sound just right on the Taylor 214ce, making it a versatile instrument in any blues musician’s arsenal.
Overall, the Taylor 214ce offers good bang for your buck. With an MSRP of $899, this guitar fits into a comfortable budget range for working musicians and hobbyists alike. At its price point, the 214ce stands up quite well to comparably priced electro-acoustics. This guitar is especially attractive for intermediate players looking to buy their first high-quality instrument.
As we’ve already noted, the 214ce performs quite well in terms of both overall tone and value. One of the strongest upsides of this guitar is the ES2 system. True to Taylor’s claims, the positioning of the pickup behind the saddle really does improve the guitar’s tone to a noticeable degree.
It’s also worth pointing out that the 214ce is very ergonomic and playable. The Grand Auditorium body shape is large enough to produce a full, pleasing resonance without being unwieldy. The addition of a Venetian cutaway to the body improves upper fret access, making it much easier to make full use of the neck.
Finally, the 214ce is a good-looking guitar that is sure to grab eyes whenever you’re on stage. The combination of the spruce top, rosewood body, ebony fretboard and tortoise shell pickguard give this guitar a subtle but elegant visual appearance.
While there’s plenty to recommend the 214ce, it isn’t without its flaws. The most noticeable downside of this guitar is Taylor’s decision to use layered rosewood rather than solid rosewood for the back and sides of the body. Layered rosewood is a laminate material that keeps the cost down while still maintaining some of the tonal characteristics of the wood. Even so, the guitar’s tone would likely be even richer if solid rosewood had been used.
For some players, the choice of a satin neck finish may also be a downside, albeit a slight one. Most guitarists feel that satin necks play better out of the gate than gloss necks. They do, however, become dirty over time as sweat, oil and grime build up. When this happens, the neck requires careful cleaning and sanding. Gloss necks, on the other hand, are easier to clean and actually tend to improve with age.
Overall, the Taylor 214ce is a great option for live performances, recording or even playing in your bedroom. Taylor has done an excellent job constructing a relatively affordable instrument with great tone and premium features. If you’re thinking about upgrading from your first guitar or adding a good electro-acoustic to your instrument lineup, the 214ce definitely deserves a spot on your list of options.