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I recently played Taylor’s 114ce and 214ce side by side to get into the nuts and bolts of what the difference really is between these two similar guitars.
So, Taylor 114 vs 214, what is the difference?
In particular I played the 114ce and 214ce but you can also get a 114e (without the cutaway) and various 214 models.
The 2 models are very similarly built but do have some distinct differences.
All the Differences
- The 114 models have a black pickguard. The 214 models have a tortoise pickguard.
- The 114 has black binding around the body and the 214 has white binding.
- The 114s top has a varnish finish and the 214s top has a gloss finish.
- The 114s have a varnish finish on the back/sides, neck and peghead. The 214s have a satin finish on the back, sides, neck and peghead.
- The 114s come with a soft bag. The 214s come with a hard bag.
- The 114s have layered Sapele back and sides. The 214s have layered Rosewood back and sides.
They both have:
- Body Shape/Size: Grand Auditorium
- Solid Sitka Spruce Top
- Forward shifted scalloped X Bracing
- Sapele Neck
- Ebony fretboard
- 25.5″ (648mm) scale length
- 1 11/16″ (43mm) nut width
- Nubone Nut
- Ebony Bridge with Tusq saddle
- Electronics: Expression System 2
The Significant Difference
As you can see above there a lot of similarities between the two.
On the face of it, there area also a reasonable number of differences. However, of the 6 differences above, only 1 of those is truly significant.
Numbers 1 through 4 of the differences above are essentially aesthetic differences and number 5 is outside of the guitar itself.
The most significant difference is the back and sides wood used.
What Difference Does the Back and Sides Wood Make for These Guitars?
This was the main question I was seeking to answer when playing these two guitars together.
- I first played the 114ce for about 5 minutes and then played exactly the same material on the 214ce.
- Then I played the 114ce for around 20 seconds and then played the same thing on the 214ce.
- Then I had the guitar tech strum an E chord on the 114ce after which I strummed an E chord on the 214ce.
- We then switched and he strummed the E chord on the 214ce and I strummed the E chord on the 114ce straight afterwards.
As I had suspected, there was a noticeable difference in tone between the two. Not as much as I would expect the difference to be between solid Rosewood and solid Sapele but the difference was still noticeable.
When playing the guitars separately I could notice the difference – but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that difference was exactly.
But when I was able to hear them immediately one after the other, I could place the difference more accurately.
The 214ce had more clarity between the notes with more emphasized lows and crisper clearer highs. The sound was overall brighter than on the 114ce.
The 114ce had a warmer tone that was more mid-range heavy and was a more compact kind of sound.
This is exactly what I would expect the difference to be between the 2 back and sides woods.
This was a rather subtle difference though and I think the fact that these guitars use laminate back and sides woods is the biggest reason why the differences were more subtle. The same guitars with solid wood back and sides would, I believe, exaggerate those differences.
Related: Taylor 114ce Full Review
The major difference between these two guitars is the back and sides materials.
The laminate rosewood back and sides generate a different tone than the sapele back and sides – it’s a subtle difference but a noticeable difference all the same.
Is One Better than the Other?
In my opinion, no.
Some prefer a crisper, brighter, clearer sound and others prefer a warmer, more compact sound.
In my experience more people prefer that Sitka Spruce/Rosewood combination than people who prefer the Sitka/Sapele sound. But that doesn’t make it better and the sound quality is in the ear of the beholder.
A lot of the time I actually prefer the more subtle, warmer tone that Sapele or Mahogany bring to the table. And often it depends on the style you’re playing and the sound that you’re after for a particular piece of music. Sometimes I would prefer a sound more like that produced from a Rosewood/Spruce combo and other times other wood combos are more suitable/sound better.
Everyone’s experience of sound is unique too – so to some a brighter sounding guitar might sound amazing and to others it can sound sharp and unpleasant. To some a warmer sounding guitar might sound full and warm and to others it can sound muddy.
Of course it should be remembered that neither of these guitars is particularly on the extreme ends of tone – they have a very subtle difference. But neither is better than the other.
Related: Taylor 214ce Full Review
Over to You
Thanks for reading and I hope this comparison has helped you to learn more about the differences between the 114 models and the 214 models.
If you do prefer that warmer kind of tone, then the 114ce will be a better choice for you and as a bonus you’ll save a few dollars.
If you prefer the clearer brighter tone of the 214ce, then that’s the guitar you should go for.
But the 214ce isn’t necessarily a better guitar just because it’s in a higher series or priced higher. Typically, rosewood is priced higher. And with the 214 models you get a hard bag rather than a soft bag so that also bumps up the price a bit.
If you want to learn more about each guitar check out the links below.