Taylor 214ce Review: Acoustics Under $1500 Reviews

Published Categorized as Grand Auditorium Reviews, Guitar Reviews, Guitar Reviews under 1500, Laminate Back and Sides Wood, Rosewood Patterned Laminate Back and Sides, Sitka Spruce Top Wood, Solid Wood Top Wood, Taylor Acoustic Guitars

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Hello and welcome to my Taylor 214ce review.

This review will look at the 214ce in terms of:

  • The Tone;
  • The Playability;
  • The Materials the 214ce is made from;
  • Who the 214ce is best suited to;
  • The 214ce’s value-for-money
Taylor 214ce Left-Handed - Layered Koa Back and Sides

*image above is left handed version of the 214ce

I’ll also provide video of the 214ce in action so that you can get an appreciation of the tone for yourself.


The Tone


acoustic guitar's tonality

I played the 214ce in the same session as I played the 210ce (and the 114ce and 110ce).

The 214ce is Taylor’s Grand Auditorium model and the 210ce is the Dreadnought model. I personally preferred the sound of the 214ce overall. It was a more tonally balanced sound and sounded good whether I was strumming, flat-picking or finger-picking.

The 214ce has a Sitka Spruce top and Laminate rosewood back and sides and that combination, as it tends to, helps it to produce a bright tone with clarity in the high end and at the low end. I found the 214ce had good clarity of sound and you could really hear everything that was going on clearly, when you played it – and in every style as I mentioned before.

It certainly wasn’t so bright that it was unpleasant. I’d say on a scale of warm to bright – with the warmest being 1 and the brightest being 10, the 214ce was a 7.

It definitely has some volume to it and also good sustain.

The Materials

Top: Solid Sitka Spruce

Back & Sides: Laminate Rosewood

Bracing: Forward shifted scalloped X Bracing

Bridge: Ebony

Saddle: Tusq

Nut: Nubone

Electronics

The 214ce is fitted with Taylor’s Expression System 2 electronics.

Videos

Check out the videos below. These should give you some idea of the sound – though it won’t represent perfectly the sound of the instrument in real life.

In the first video below, the guitar’s trebles sound louder and brighter and the bass not as pronounced, and the mids not as pronounced – as what I experienced playing it. But it’s close.

This video is more the sound that I experienced. They do speak of the 214ce DLX as having different back and sides wood. That’s not the case anymore. I believe that both the 214ce and the 214ce DLX have the same back and sides wood now.


Playability


I found the 214ce to be a really nice guitar to play. I do like the feel of an Ebony fingerboard and the action was almost where I like it.

Action

Compared to the average guitar off the shelf I found the 214ce had a reasonably low action. Personally I’d still tweak it a little to make it lower – but some would be happy with it just the way it is.

Nut Width

The 214ce has a 1 11/16″ (43mm) nut width. This is pretty standard and felt normal to play.

Fretboard (fingerboard)

The fretboard is made from ebony. Personally this is my favorite fretboard wood, so definitely no complaints from me there.

Scale Length

The 214ce has a 25.5″ (648mm) scale length. This is essentially full length and it felt fine to play for me and works well with this sized guitar. A beginner might want to go with a smaller guitar with a shorter scale length to make it easier on their fingers.


What Could be Better?


O.k. so this review has been pretty positive overall – and justifiably so as this was a very nice guitar to play both in terms of sound and playability – but no guitar is perfect of course.

So what could the 214ce do better?

  1. Solid Rosewood back and sides wood would certainly be an improvement – of course that would also add to the cost.
  2. The action could be a bit lower for my tastes – though the action is easier to lower than to raise so it’s understandable that guitar’s start out higher rather than lower as some ‘guitarists’ definitely do prefer a higher action.
  3. Some might like bone for the saddle and nut instead of the Tusq saddle and Nubone nut. Personally I’m happy with the sound of Tusq and Nubone and it’s not something that bothers me too much – but some do prefer real bone.
  4. Not sure what the bridge pins are made of but I suspect it’s cheaper plastic as they just call them ‘black’ bridge pins on Taylor’s site – so this is something that you might also want to change if you were to buy this guitar but that’s pretty easy to do and not too costly.

Is this a Better Choice than the 114ce?

Yes and No.

It really depends on the sound that you are after.

The two guitars are quite similar in a number of ways with the only major difference being that the back and sides wood of the 114ce is laminate Sapele as opposed to the laminate rosewood on the 214ce.

I played the 114ce and 214ce side by side and you can definitely notice the difference because of that back/sides wood. The 214ce is brighter and has louder more pronounced highs and more pronounced lows.

Whereas the 114ce is more mid-range dominant – not so much as say a mahogany top might produce but more so than the 214ce.

So which one you go for will depend on your tone preferences. If you prefer the tone of the 114ce you might save a few dollars.


Who this Guitar is Most Suited to


This guitar is best suited to anyone, first and foremost, who likes the Sitka Spruce, rosewood tonal combination.

Assuming that you do and that it is in your budget range, then the ideal guitarist for this guitar would be an intermediate to advanced level guitarist who likes to play a bit of everything from flat-picking to strumming to fingerstyle.

Taylor 214ce Left-Handed - Layered Koa Back and Sides

If you prefer just strumming and flat-picking, then I’d go with the 210ce (the Dreadnought version) and if you mostly play fingerstyle, then a Concert size acoustic guitar might be a better choice for you. Note that there isn’t a Concert size option in Taylor’s 200 series.

Not really for the beginner – firstly, because of the price and secondly because it’s a big acoustic, with a full scale length and wouldn’t be the easiest for a beginner to learn on. That said, it wouldn’t be the hardest by any means, because it does play smoothly – but I’d suggest a cheaper option that will do the job just as well for a beginner.


Value for Money


The MSRP for this guitar is $1,328. However, from my recent research, you are likely to be able to find it for less.

For the fact that you are getting a quality built guitar with great tone and nice playability and that you get a cutaway and electronics included, I think this is a just price for this guitar. You could spend more on a less quality instrument, in my opinion.

More Info and Where to Buy

Disclosure: Links below are affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you.

Taylor 214ce Grand Auditorium Sitka/Koa Laminate ES2...

If you’re interested to learn more about the Taylor 214ce, are ready to buy or simply want to research current prices and user reviews, check out the link below.

Thanks for reading and I hope this review has helped you to learn more about Taylor’s 214ce guitar.

FAQs Taylor 214ce Review

Is Taylor 214ce worth it?

Though these things should be left up to each individual user, the general consensus seems to suggest that the Taylor 214ce is a real workhorse of a guitar. What this means is that it is designed to accommodate a wide range of different guitarists playing varying musical styles at various levels of difficulty. This makes the Taylor 214ce a guitar for just about any guitarist, no matter their level of experience. Sure, it is not cheap – certainly not as cheap as some beginner guitarists can be – but you certainly get a lot for the price that you pay. Some would call this guitar attainably priced, offering plenty of performance for the cost while still costing an amount that is not going to be achievable for some.

Is the Taylor 214ce solid wood?

Indeed it is. The Taylor 214ce has a solid wood top, the part of the guitar’s body that is arguably the most important when it comes to the overall tone of the instrument. Taylor proves here that it is possible to partially construct a guitar from laminate without making any major sacrifices to the tonal output of the instrument. The general build quality is good enough for the fact that the back and sides and laminated to not have too much of an audible impact on the tone of the instrument.

Is the Taylor 214ce better than the 114ce?

There is no definitive answer to such a question – rather it is up to each individual person to make up their mind as to whether the Taylor 214ce or the 114ce is better. The 114ce is constructed from walnut so that the back and sides are made from this wood. By contrast, the 214ce is comprised of a rosewood back and sides. For this reason, the 214 is more expensive and also sports some other upgraded features, such as a pickguard design, body inlays, a gig bag, and more plush tuning machines. Both guitars, though, have a spruce top and a grand auditorium body shape – this is arguably where most of the tone of an acoustic guitar comes from, at least in terms of the body.

Is Taylor as good as Martin?

Though there is plenty to this debate – largely to do with the individual preferences of each person – it essentially boils down to the dichotomy between tradition and modernity. Martin is generally more concerned with pursuing a classic acoustic guitar sound, defined by warmth and fullness of body, while Taylor is said to have a more modern sound that is usually crisp, balanced, and articulate. Likewise, Taylor guitars are said to be easier and more forgiving to play than Martin guitars which usually take some breaking in.

By Nate Pallesen

Nate is just your average (above average) guitar player. He's no Joe Satriani, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page - wait this site is about acoustic guitars (sorry) He's no Django Reinhardt, Chet Atkins, or Michael Hedges, wait? who!? He's no Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton or Ben Harper - more familiar? Anyway you get the point :-)

3 comments

  1. I concur with your review 100%. So after playing about 50 guitars priced from about $800 to $2200, which was out of my budget, I decided I could spend about $1700. I could not find anything I liked more than this guitar below $1700. So I shrugged and bought it. Then, when my son – a great player – graduated from nursing school, I sneaked out and bought him one, too. For playing a variety of styles as you mentioned, I couldn?t find a better guitar under $1700, for all my willingness to pay that much.

  2. If you like this 214ce try a new 414ce vclass and you will literally be blown away. Its a few more bucks, around $2,600 but once you pay it you will be in love.

  3. I have a 2018 214 CE-Koa along with a PRS Angelus, Gibson Custom Songwriter, Martin D16 RGT, 2 Fender Paramount limted edition OOO’S and a Guild Westerly edition OM240 acoustic guitars and the only two I play are the 214 and the PRS Angelus.

    I think that pretty much says it all

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