Features: Taylor 14CE from 2002, made in USA in Southern California. 20 frets (medium, stainless steel, perfectly mounted and finished), a solid sitka spruce top and solid sapele (african mahogany) bottom and sides, a solid one-piece mahogany neck, with the TM Taylor "jigsaw" joint between the headstock and the main part of the neck, the "old" Fishman Prefix Piezo System, with a four-band equalizer and the volume control, a natural gloss finish on the top and a satin finish on bottom and sides, a grand-auditorium shape, very comfortable, with the venetian (rounded) cutaway I greatly prefer to the florentine one, dark ebony fretboard (flawless, with dot inlays) and bridge, a TUSQ nut and saddle, and chrome-plated Grover Rotomatic tuners. It gets a 5 just because it has all solid woods, a quality electronics system, its a great looking guitar, built with quality (flawless), and has awesome components. // 10
Sound: I play a lot of modern acoustic rock, and play a lot of shows with a full-size band. The sound is quite a bit brighter than a dread, especially amplified. This really works well with a full band because the sound cuts through the mix easily without sounding brittle. Acousticly, this guitar is really fun to play. It is percussive and punchy, a very clear and balenced guitar. It has that sound that can only be obtained by a solid wood guitar. I have never played a laminate acoustic that has the sparkle or rich overtones a solid wood guitar has. To add to that, those of you who know fine acoustic guitars know that they "open up" as they get older and play more. They get louder, overtones become richer as the grain "opens" as the finish becomes more brittle. This guitar has started opening, and sounds better all the time.
Amplified, the Fishman Prefix Plus is a great preamp, really the workhorse of the acoustic world. There are quite a bit of very usuable sounds that can be obtained from this instrument through the preamp. I really lovethe sound of this guitar. If you want to get an idea of how the Prefix Plus sounds like, listen to Dave Matthews Band live. He uses the Prefix live, and it sounds great. Just proof that this electronics system is a great-sounding little unit. Gets a 5 because it makes me want to play, even when I'm feeling lazy. // 10
Action, Fit & Finish: The 314's size is great for playing sitting or standing. Sometimes a dread is just too big. The cutaway is perfect, and unlike many acoustics you can accually use it. I've played quite a bit of lead on this guitar, something that is not easy to do on all acoustics. As far as action and playability, this guitar was perfect when I bought it. The ebony fretboard is great to play on, it looks so clean and flawless. The stainless steel frets are sweet. They are going on all my guitars from now on, all my Gibsons already have them thanks to this guitar. If you've never played a stainless-steel fretted guitar, do it, its worth it, you might find your new best friend. The action is low, and if you've never played a Taylor, only play one if you can get enough money to buy one, because it's what you will be wanting. I have Les Paul Standards, Fender American Strats, and have even had PRS's at one time, and this guitar's playability beats them all. My playing - I'm not joking - has improved a lot since I got it (that is, October 2003). This, not to mention the wonderful tactile sensation I feel when I put my fingers on the ebony of the fretboard. I play with more style, more attitude. I can just spank this guitar and it sounds great. Intonation is awesome. I can barre a chord at the 14th fret and it sounds great, oh yeah, and I'm pretty picky about tuning. Nothing sounds worse than an out-of-tune guitar.
I havn't done many modifications to this guitar, but I have removed the pickguard and replaced it with a clear one. Taylor has awesome customer service (probably the best of the corperate guitar companies) and they sent a clear pickguard, in a padded envelope, with instructions how to mount it like a pro for FREE. I'd like to see Fender do that, even though they have way more money than Taylor. Also, as a note, when I called to get the pickguard, I got an answering machine, and left my number and request, and they called me back in no more than 15 minutes. I dont know of many companies that would call back so quickly for someone looking for a freebee. Way to go Taylor, much more of my money is going into more Taylors! Gets a 5 because its more fun to play than my older PRS's, and set up better too. // 10
Reliability & Durability: This guitar has a gloss top and satin-finished sides and back. The finishes are durable. The Grovers are great tuners, this guitar does not go out of tune easily, usually it will stay in tune for weeks. the finish is what I'd say is perfect, and "tough", both on the top and on the bottom and the sides. It surely will last. This is not a cheap guitar, but it certainly isn't an expensive one compared to some of the higher-line Taylors and Martins, or other boutique makes. This is a working guitar, and even though it might be about $900-$1000 than what most recreational guitarists whould want to spend, I thrash this guitar. It has it's share of dings and nicks, has been dropped and taken on countless trailers across warm country roads and it still plays as strong (and sounds even better) than the day I bought it. I have a Taylor 810LTD that I love to play at home, and thats also a remarkable guitar, but the 14CE is my workhorse, it goes on the road everywhere with me. It gets a 5 because its not dead yet, and its not going anywhere soon. // 10
Overall Impression: Like I said before, I play mordern acoustic rock (a la Dave Matthews). I have a very percussive playing style (a la Dave Matthews) Dave plays Taylors, and now I see why. I have been playing for about 12 years, since I was 8. At first I wanted to be a rocker, you know, play Metallica and Slayer. Then I grew up after listening to more acoustic stuff. I guess I got tired of the scooped sound and sought more soulful sounding music. I now own Les Pauls, Fenders, Taylors, a Martin, an Explorer, and have owned PRS's. I play my electrics through Marshall vinatge 45 reissue halfstacks and a Mesa Heartbreaker. I love fine gear, and this guitar takes a blue ribbon from me. This guitar makes me want to play, and has helped me appreatite playing acoustic guitar more overnight. If you are considering this guitar, just buy it, its worth the price. It makes your Fender acoustic look like a Yugo. A Taylor is a Porsche. It gets a 5 because its gotten straight 5's so far and I love this guitar. Long live Taylor, Amen. // 10