Price paid: C$ 850
Purchased from: Walter's Music
Features — 8
The 110CE is a full size guitar with a narrower, 1 11/16-inch, neck. The neck makes it easy for younger hands to hold and reach around for those wrist aching barre chords. It has 20 frets on an Ebony fret board. I've had some problems with action, but after some loosening of the truss rod, the buzzing disappeared. It has a solid, no reflection top and body; Sitka spruce is the top wood and Sapele is the body wood. I definitely prefer a laminated body with a darker, richer wood, but this being the cheapest full sized "CE" in the Taylor line, I can't complain. The Taylor 110CE is a dreadnought body acoustic guitar with internal electronics and a Venetian cutaway, hence the "CE" in 110CE (Cutaway - Electric). The cutaway is very, very flat; series like the 600 and up have rounder ones and steeper ones. It is really no problem aside for aesthetics (personally, Florentine cutaways are the most beautiful). This guitar has simple electronics (the three dials, volume and 2 tones) mounted above the fret board on the body's left side. that scream the Taylor name. The internal sound board is a Taylor Standard Expression System-T, powered by a 9 volt battery that sits in a slot beneath the guitar strap button on the bottom of the guitar. On the head of the guitar there are 6 die-cast chrome tuning pegs. They have perfect resistance which means getting the perfect tuning is easy. Where I purchased my Taylor, they included an amazing full-padded soft case (Taylor brand; $70 retail.) and a capo (not Taylor). For a beginner guitar, the Taylor 110CE looks like the bold, traditional dreadnought and functions past expectations, aside from personal preferences.
Sound — 8
I am a strummer and a flat-picker, with occasional finger-picking (on some songs). I play a lot of alt-rock and pop-rock, and occasional folk. This guitar is perfect for everything. I play the Taylor 110CE acoustic, no amp and no effects, and it boasts a full tonal range and a clean, bold sound. Granted, it isn't anything special. The tonewoods have a balanced sound, with moderate projection. While maple produces focused sound, mahogany will create increased treble and while cedar makes the whole room glow, the Sitka spruce and Sapele has a full sound that can't be distinguished as unique, but also can't be characterized as ordinary. With proper technique or help from effects or an amplifier, the Taylor 110CE can pull off the grit for rock, the smooth licks of the blues or the acoustic rhythm of bluegrass and country. The Taylor 110CE is a bold sounding guitar, but it lacks a voice that is it's own. This guitar would be a great backup, or an alternate tuning guitar.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
If one knows anything about Taylor guitars, then it is quality. Every Taylor that I have come across, including the 110CE that I own, is built to specification. It was set up nearly perfect, aside from slight buzzing with the strings. There was a low action, so I had to loosen the truss rod to end that (pretty quickly). This would be an issue for guitars whose rod is difficult to get to, but for the 110CE, the opening is right on the head, easy to adjust. The internal pickups were calibrated perfectly and the entire body of the guitar was seamless, not one speck of varnish was off. Overall, it was set-up great. I think that humidity was an issue when I received mine (the low action).
Reliability & Durability — 7
The Taylor name is quality, and even with their lowest series "CE," you get that. I use this guitar regularly during acoustic jam sessions or on the couch, but I have used it live, before. It does withstand the live vibe: the humidity, constant slaps on the body and the weight of the guitar hinged on the buttons, swinging around. The body of the guitar seems solid, until you look inside. There are no internal wooden supports along the back of the guitar, only on the front where the stress from the strings is present. Unless you're slapping the back of the guitar as a makeshift drum, this shouldn't be an issue, although I can't stop thinking about it when playing the guitar. This is why I would never, ever use the 110CE to a gig without a backup. I would always use a backup, but it feels like an obligation for this guitar. My guitar has a good beating around the scratch board from my picks and strums. This is because I have very, very long arms, and when strumming in the moment, my arm can move too far over and scratch the wood around the cutaway. Aside from obvious concerns with durability (it is the lowest Taylor series [100 series]), the guitar lasts and will last if it is taken care of properly.
Overall Impression — 8
I play alternative rock, often. I also write acoustic tracks for media works I do (games, short films, etc.). And for a guy who needs a guitar for changes in playing style, it works great! I have been playing for upwards of 9 years, and I currently own a bunch of gear (3 acoustics, 2 electric, 1 drum kit, 1 amplifier, 2 mics). I wish I really considered the durability of the guitar prior to purchasing, since the back keeps me very concerned. It isn't a guitar I'd get again, because of those issues, and my growing desire to get a darker wood guitar, but Taylor's have always been expensive, and I really wouldn't go for another Taylor over the 500 series. I love the small, camper/traveller vibe I get from it. I love the simplicity of it (very easy for a studio setup). The quality is extraordinary and the tone is clean, and the Taylor 110CE is beautiful looking. However, there were some initial issues with action and the durability give me some concerns. The voice isn't anything special, too. I really enjoy the traditional dreadnought shape. It's narrow enough to fit under arm and it great for beginners. I have used plenty of other guitars; I tested some other Taylor's when purchasing this one (GS Mini, Big Baby, 214CE, 100E, 614CE), but I settled for this one because of the cost to quality ratio. This guitar would really be perfect with a darker finish and a steeper cutaway. Nearly a decade playing guitar, and a collection of guitars that look like First Act student guitars compared to this, I can safely say that this guitar is amazing for the price. I would definitely recommend this for students, beginners, or for back up guitars and alternate tunings.