Price paid: $ 799
Purchased from: Musiciansfriend.com
Sound — 6
It flat out doesn't cut it. It sounds like a Taylor, pretty much all Taylor acoustics exhibit the sought after Taylor' sound. Still with me? So why am I going to pay $800usd for the sound of something I can get for $450? That is your decision. It sounds like a Taylor, do I like the sound of a Taylor, yes somewhat. Great bass and mid response, fantastic, wide variety of sounds based on where you are picking from (more towards the bridge or neck). But there was one thing that after spending 2 hours with this guitar that I could not dial in. Basic strumming. As you are reading this and thinking that I am completely off my rocker I will admit to you this. By nature I am a Martin fan, that is what I play and that is what I own. Although I prefer Martins I know what a good sounding Taylor is and I have a lot of respect for them. They can do a lot of things a Martin cannot just as Martin's can do a lot of things a Taylor cannot. Now that we have my predisposed prejudice established I will tell you my main problem with the sound of the Taylor 110ce.
As I was playing with a pick I was almost able to play it like a Les Paul, switch between the rhythm and treble channel by either playing more towards the bridge or more towards the neck. That I liked, it was nice to know it had a wide variety or sounds from this guitar. I believe this guitar did this better than my Martin. Extremely rich mid-range response and a nice chimey, sparkly treble response. The problem I had is there is absolutely no middle ground with this guitar. For me, when I play chords I like to be somewhere in the middle.' I like to have nice blend of both rhythm and treble, I like to fill up the sound on both spectrums. I kid you not I spent 30 minutes in the store, with people probably thinking I was crazy, trying to find the happy medium. I played an open G chord for 10 minutes straight moving millimeter by millimeter trying to find the spot.' Well needless to say, I did not find it. I tried open chords, bar chords, funky jazz chords to no avail. Wherever I strummed the sound shifted to polar opposites. It was either too bassy or too trebly. I thought I was losing it myself, but then picked up a Big Baby Taylor and found the spot' immediately. So I went back to the 110ce and nothing. Nothing worked, same problem even with finger picking. I am not sure what it is with this guitar but the sound did not cut it for me. When I think of an Acoustic I generally think of it has a rhythm and not a lead instrument. For this it failed, for solo work I think this would excel. If you need a guitar with polar opposites and no in between get this!
For electronics this Taylor has the ES-T system which is an under-saddle transducer. This system features onboard bass, treble, and volume controls, plus custom-voiced EQ and dynamic response. I personally believe the electronics on this guitar were the best part. I have always been a fan of Taylor's onboard electronics and these did not disappoint. I did not like the sound coming out of it but it did re-create that sound as good as possible.
As you are reading this and disgusted with my opinion just know it is exactly that, an opinion. If you own this guitar and love it, good for you, if you disagree, well that's great too. That's my job here, to write an objective review, and trust me, I am trying to be as objective as possible.
Overall Impression — 7
I am guessing by now most of you who read this review understand my overall impression and what I think about this guitar. I am giving it a 7/10 and some of you might not think it is that bad of a rating. Well for me it is, a 7 is a C' and I would actually give this a C-. I really don't think Taylor hit a home run with this guitar. For the price I really think you can get a better guitar, and for half of the price you can get an equal guitar. I know saying go big or go home is not always feasible for most of us. I know that times are tough we don't all get paid $70,000 a year but I also think it is good to make smart financial decisions even with your music gear. I just really feel that if you buy this guitar you will be settling for something, that is how I would feel. I would immediately think to myself, man I should have gotten the 310ce. I know it is double the price of the 110ce; trust me I understand how much $1500 is and how long that takes to save up, but here is the thing, I think the 310ce is more than double the guitar the 110ce is. The 110ce is not double the guitar the Big Baby is so that doesn't make sense to spend an extra $400 for not double the guitar. None the less I encourage you to try this guitar and share your thoughts, were you able to find the happy medium strumming zone?
Enjoy your tone and happy pickin'
Reliability & Durability — 8
No problems here. I have never have encountered any problems with Taylors or their electronics. The only thing I have noticed is that it seems Taylors are extremely responsive to changes in humidity so I would highly recommend you purchasing a humidifier for your guitar if you decide to purchase one, and not just for this Taylor, for anyone you purchase. Looking at this guitar you can tell it is built solidly and crafted extremely well. With the work they put into this guitar I know it will last if well taken care of.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Spending a considerable amount of time with this guitar I was able to look over it fairly well. The action was set up perfectly (about 90% of guitar players would agree), everything was put together well. There were no flaws in the craftsmanship or any problems that looked like they came from the factory. Once again though I have another problem with this guitar. The finish. An $800 guitar with Varnish? Now yes, I bet a lot of you like the look of this, hell, my Martin does not have a nice beautiful gloss finish on it but my Martin was not in this price range. Taylor has better looking guitars that sound better in the same price range, in fact for the exact same price, the Taylor 210E-G Dreadnought. That at least has a very nice gloss to it, it essentially has the same electronics, the signature Taylor sound, and oh yeah it has a happy spot for strumming. This is my main problem; almost every manufacturer has this problem, an ugly middle ground, mid-range guitar. It is either spend $400 and get what you paid for, a good guitar, not great guitar, or go big and take home their flagship instrument. For me you should chose one or the other because if you chose something in the middle you will kick yourself for not springing for the holy grail, or you will kick yourself for not saving yourself a couple of hundred bucks. I have the philosophy of go big or go home, and if you go home get the cheap one. Unfortunately the 100 series completely falls on its face in this middle ground. It makes perfect business sense for Taylor, they can sell something in the middle, but for the consumer, well, I'm not sure if it does.
To illustrate this lets use Toyota and Lexus automobiles. Both are under Toyota, both models are essentially the same car.' Let's compare the Toyota Camry and the Lexus ES. Both have the same frame, chassis, and same major components. For example, you can option out the Camry for $42,000 (leather seats, moon roof, big motor, etc) or you can just buy the Lexus ES (flagship of the brand) for $51,000. In my mind it would behoove you to buy the Lexus, better resale, less depreciation, and it is the top of the line. Don't waste your time, or more importantly your money on the in between model. The best two options would be either, buy a reasonably equipped Camry for $25,000 or the ES at $51,000. You won't kick yourself for being in that middle ground. I always apply this to music gear. In other words I think the 110ce is the optioned out Camry. Save up and just get the Lexus!
Features — 9
This guitar is a basic dreadnought with a cutaway. Standard Taylor guitar, details as from Taylor:
▪ Type/Shape: 6-String Dreadnought Cutaway
▪ Back & Sides: Sapele Laminate
▪ Top: Sitka Spruce
▪ Soundhole Rosette: Wood Fiber
▪ Neck: Tropical American Mahogany
▪ Fretboard: Ebony
▪ Fretboard Inlay: Pearloid Dots
▪ Headstock Overlay: Lexan
▪ Binding: Black Plastic
▪ Bridge: Ebony
▪ Nut & Saddle: Tusq
▪ Tuning Machines: Enclosed, Die-Cast Chrome Plated
▪ Strings: Elixir Light Gauge Strings with NANOWEB Coating
▪ Scale Length: 25 1/2 Inches
▪ Truss Rod: Adjustable
▪ Neck Width at Nut: 1 11/16 Inches
▪ Number of Frets: 20
▪ Bracing: Scalloped, X-Brace
▪ Finish: Varnish
▪ Cutaway: None
▪ Electronics: Taylor ES-T
▪ Body Width: 16 Inches
▪ Body Depth: 4 5/8 Inches
▪ Body Length: 20 Inches
▪ Overall Length: 41 Inches
▪ Case: Gig Bag
From all the features it seems like we are off to a pretty good start. Let's go through these and I will tell you why I do not think it delivers.