514CE Review

manufacturer: Taylor date: 02/26/2007 category: Acoustic Guitars
Taylor: 514CE
A Western Red cedar top brings extra warmth and responsiveness to this popular mahogany Grand Auditorium cutaway, a perennial favorite among fingerstylists and singer-songwriters alike.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8
 Features: 10
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
review (1) 2 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.4
514CE Reviewed by: kndavid, on february 26, 2007
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1

Purchased from: Mandolin Brothers, NY

Features: A Western Red cedar top brings extra warmth and responsiveness to our popular mahogany Grand Auditorium cutaway, a perennial favorite among fingerstylists and singer-songwriters alike. // 10

Sound: This guitar is best suited for finger-style playing or finger picks. The Cedar is very responsive at low to medium volumes and very even across bass, midrange, treble. At very loud playing, the overtones get a little overwhelming so banging or very loud strumming for long periods doesn't suit this guitar. I've played it and gigged it for years both with a band and without, it's excellent! Very full and complex sounding, played at moderate to loud levels it provides a rich tone and full acoustic sound. Played through a Fender acoustic amp and with a PA, it doesn't loose any of it's acoustic character (you know how some amps tend to make acoustics shrill and tinny sounding? Not this one). For recording purposes, blending the electronc and mic'd sounds into separate tracks and either bouncing them down or mixing them creates all any pro would ever need. Adding a slight chorus and ever so slight compression can make this acoustic absolutely insane. Played without electronics. Not too many guitars would come close with the exception of very high priced boutique guitars (See how I chose this one from others later on). // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Fit and finish was excellent. There is a few glue globs around the bracing inside the guitar but other than that, the neck is set perfect, outside finish was excellent! Bindings, frets, setup and tone right out of the case was top notch. Something also to take into account is Cedar tends not to need time to mellow and the Cedar responds very quickly to low/medium playing volume. The nut and bridge were set just right as was the neck adjustment. The back and side woods were perfectly matched and the top Cedar is flawless, tight grain. Did I mention how good properly humidified Cedar smells when you open the case? If you've ever walked into a Cigar shop and stood there inside the humidor, the spanish Cedar spicy smell is one of the best things in this world. You get that every time you open the case as a bonus. // 8

Reliability & Durability: For a Cedar topped guitar this has held up very well. I gigged with this guitar for about 4 years straight. It has it's share of little dings and scratches as well as very light worming on the back finish. It's now a players guitar, not a collector. The mojo imbued on it now is all mine and it's my main acoustic guitar. I've got more expensive ones, but with the hell I've put this guitar through, it's still a champ. The gold has worn off the tuners, the strap button on the neck is a little corroded, and it's had an accident or two. At one gig, our drummer finished off a song a little too well and on the last cymbal crash, sent his 17" Zildjian into my guitar. The cymbal edge caught this guitar right in the headstock cutting and splintering a piece of the overlay up in the air and making quite a nice sized gauge. I quickly called Taylor Who said they could repair it. They actually made it look so good I didn't know it was still my same guitar or not. They also installed a clear pick-guard so I wouldn't continue to tear up the soft Cedar top. One thing you have to make sure of with Cedar tops, they do bruise and scratch easily, so either be careful or get a cheap-o to thrash on and abuse, because this guitar would get ugly quick. The rest of the finish is holding up well and after a long time playing in all sorts of places with this guitar - a good wiping down makes it Shine like new. // 9

Overall Impression: When I bought this guitar, I was in Mandolin Brothers acoustic room. At the time I had little money to spend and after about 2 hours of playing almost every acoustic in the place (except the 1940 D-28 Herringbone in Mint condition) I narrowed the guitars that sounded best to my ear and felt the best playing to a small few: Goodall GC with a after market high end pickup/mic combo with an Engleman Spruce Top and insane walnut back and sides. Taylor 514CE Cedar/Mahogany with the Dual Prefix. Froggy Bottom F12 (I think) in Cocobolo or Madagascar Rosewood and Sitka Spruce with some very nice little engraving pieces, abalone, real fancy stuff. There was a Breedlove that I also kinda liked but it didn't have the bottom end the others had, so I didn't pursue it. To my ears, the Goodall sounded the most responsive, best overall and was the easiest in my hands, the problem was it was $3, 848 cash, or about $4, 000 charged. I just didn't have that much cake. The Taylor 514 sounded the 2nd best of the bunch and was $1, 200 as it was a trade in that just walked in the door, the Froggy Bottom at the time was relatively new to me and was about $3, 000. Not that price made that much of a difference... but for the money, the 514CE sounded pretty damn close to that Goodall GC and I couldn't justify that much money at the time for that Goodall or Froggy Bottom. Now I've played other Taylor guitars, some very pricey that I just didn't like the feel or overall sound. This particular Taylor was just my taste and it has the sweetest sound, overtones and slow decay resonance of almost any other guitar I've played. I've since gotten a Goodall and I still like my 514CE sound and playability as much as my super expensive Goodall. // 10

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