5 Best Taylor Acoustic Guitars of 2020 – Reviews

Taylor makes some terrific guitars and should be on the shortlist for anyone looking for a guitar...

By James Wall

Taylor acoustic guitars are one of the most well-known acoustic guitar brands. They have made major contributions to using renewable sources and have been advocates of working with other countries on managing woods that are in limited supply. Taylor is also an innovator in manufacturing processes and produces highly consistent guitars regardless of the materials used.

The following is a collection of the some of the best Acoustic Taylor Guitar reviews. These guitars don’t begin to cover all the variations and models, but they represent a good sampling of their products meeting the needs of both beginners and more advanced players and are widely used. Hope you fine this summary helpful in your search for an acoustic guitar.


Our Selection of Best overall Taylor Guitar 


Reasons to buy:

  • Premium Indian Rosewood back/sides
  • Taylor Expression System 2 
  • Solid Spruce top
  • Cutaway for fret access
  • easy to play
  • Hardshell case

Reasons to avoid:

  • Price tag may be a bit much for those on a tight budget.

Here are our Best Taylor Acoustic guitars 2020: 

Image

Product

Benefits

Spec's

Taylors Flagship 814ce model
  • Hardshell case
  • Mother of Pearl Inlay
  • Taylors Patented Neck
  • V-Class bracing
  • ES2 Electronics, low profile design
  • 25.5" Scale Length
  • 1 3/4" Nut Width
  • Body Depth 4 5/8"
  • Body Length 20"
  • Body Width 16"
Taylor 614ce - Maple back and Sides
  • Hardshell case
  • Beautiful flame maple back and sides
  • V-Class Bracing
  • ES2 electronics with low profile design
  • Cutaway Design
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • 25.5" Scale Length
  • 1 3/4" Nut Width
  • Body Depth 4 5/8"
  • Body Length 20"
  • Body Width 16"
Taylor 414ce Acoustic
  • Hardshell Case
  • ES2 Electronics with low profile design
  • Taylors Patented Neck design
  • Solid Rosewood back and sides
  • Solid Sitka spruce Top
  • 25.5" Scale Length
  • 1 3/4" Nut Width
  • Body Depth 4 5/8"
  • Body Length 20"
  • Body Width 16"
Taylor 214ce
  • Choice of three Colors
  • Cutaway Design
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Durable Layered back and sides
  • Hardshell case
  • ES2 Electronics
  • 25.5" Scale Length
  • 1 3/4" Nut Width
  • Body Depth 4 5/8"
  • Body Length 20"
  • Body Width 16"
Taylor 114ce sitka spruce and walnut Acoustic Guitar
  • Solid Spruce Top
  • Taylor Padded Gig bag
  • Taylors Patented Neck design
  • Layered Walnut
  • ES2 Sound
  • 25.5" Scale Length
  • 1 3/4" Nut Width
  • Body Depth 4 5/8"
  • Body Length 20"
  • Body Width 16"

Taylor Acoustic Guitar Reviews [Updated]

1. Taylor 814ce Grand Auditorium Sitka/Rosewood ES2 W/V Class Bracing, Smoked Nickel Tuners

Our top pick

User Rating

95%

Product Details

Top: Solid Spruce
Back/Sides: Indian Rosewood
Fretboard: Ebony
Body Length: 20 Inches
Features: V-class bracing, vibrant voice, room filling volume

Pros

  • Great Tone
  • Medium size making it comfortable to hold
  • ES2 sound
  • Mother of Pearl inlay
  • Hard shell case

Cons

  • May be a bit pricey for some.

Many consider this Taylor’s flagship acoustic guitar model. Its size is just right for all different styles of music. While it may seem expensive, this is a guitar that will last you a lifetime. This is one of those items that if you can afford the extra money for it you won’t be disappointed.

Popular features for the Taylor 814ce

  • Beautiful rosewood back and sides and Sitka spruce top
  • Beautiful tone
  • Mother of Pearl inlay and non-figured maple binding
  • Rosewood pickguard instead of the usual faux tortoise material
  • Ebony finger board

2. 614ce Grand Auditorium Sitka Spruce & Maple ES2 w/V-Class Bracing

User Rating

94%

Product Details

Top: Solid Spruce Top

Back/Sides: Figured Big Leaf Maple

Fretboard: Ebony

Body Length: 20 Inches

Features: Cutaway, v-class bracing, ES2 Electronics

Pros

  • ​Great Sounding guitar perfect for playing with other instruments
  • Cutaway for access to the full fingerboard
  • Brown Sugar Stain
  • Hard Shell case

Cons

  • ​Tone may be to bright for some

I’ve always liked the look and sound of the various Jumbo size maple guitars that the different manufacturers have when Taylor revamped its 600 series (ie maple) back in 2015 I was quite interested in how the other body sizes sounded.

Maple tends to have a brighter sound and is really good for playing in a band as its tone has a way of cutting through all the sounds and produces a clear tone that can be heard rather than getting lost. With all the bracing changes and the magic of Taylor’s design, the maple series is truly a great set of guitars.

The 614ce is the Grand Auditorium body style and is comfortable to play for most people. I like the 614ce because of its comfortable size and it would be my first choice of the different models using Maple.


3. 414ce-R - Rosewood Back and Sides, V-Class Bracing

User Rating

90%

Product Details

Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back/Sides:
Indian Rosewood
Fretboard:
Ebony
Body Length: 
20 Inches
Features: 
Expression System 2, Renaissance Inlays

Pros

  • Premium wood for a little less.
  • Hard Shell Case
  • Perfect guitar for gigs and around the house

Cons

  • Plastic binding rather than wood

The Taylor 414ce-R is made with a back and sides of Rosewood just like its big brother 814ce. This guitar has all the basics of the 814ce with just a little less bling.   We were blown away with the sound of this guitar in our testing.

Reasons you may be interested in the Taylor 414ce-R

  • All wood guitar with Rosewood at lower price point than the 814ce.
  • You're ok with the idea that the fingerboard inlay is acrylic.
  • You don't mind white plastic binding over non-figured maple binding.

4. 214ce Deluxe Grand Auditorium Sitka/Ovangkol Natural ES-2

User Rating

88%

Product Details

Top: Solid Spruce Top
Back/Sides:
Layered Rosewood
Fretboard:
Walnut
Body Length: 
20 Inches
Features: 
ES2 Sound system, Hardshell case

Pros

  • Choice of colors
  • Expression System 2 electronics
  • Standard Taylor bracing
  • Cutway body for easy access

Cons

  • Not an all wood guitar
  • Sounds a little thinner than the all would models

The Taylor 214ce offers 3 color choices and an hardshell case as an upgrade to the 214ce model.  We picked this over the 300 series models because if you want all would the 400, 600, & 800 series just seem to offer a lot more for not much more money.

Reasons you may be interested in the Taylor 214ce

  • You want a hardshell case but can't afford the all wood models.
  • You prefer the laminate because of its durability.
  • You want a good gig guitar for playing on the road.
  • You're looking for color choices.

5. 114ce Sitka/Walnut Grand Auditorium ES2 w/Gig Bag 

User Rating

87%

Product Details

Top: Solid Spruce
Back/Sides: Layered Walnut
Fretboard: Ebony
Body Length: 20 Inches
Features: padded Gig bag, X bracing, ES2 electronices

Pros

  • Solid Spruce Top
  • popular x-bracing for a responsive guitar top
  • No frills design
  • Perfect for entry guitar and for playing around the house
  • Cutaway for easy fret access.

Cons

  • No hard shell case
  • Tone is a little thinner

The Taylor 114ce guitar is probably one of Taylors most popular guitars. It offers a good price point and is an excellent guitar for the money. It uses laminate (or layered as Taylor likes to call it) Sapele for the back and sides. But it still comes with all of the quality of any Taylor guitar. For more details on this guitar check out our detailed review of the Taylor 114ce.

Reasons you may be interested in the Taylor 114ce

  • You want to buy your first quality guitar without breaking the bank
  • Ideal for kids to learn how to play guitar at a reasonable price
  • full featured entry level guitar (cutaway, ES sound, taylors neck, tusq nut and saddle)

Taylor uses Elixir guitar strings,  read our review on what we think is best for Taylor 114ce strings.


Conclusion


Tayor has so many great acoustic guitars it is hard to narrow it down to just one.  But at the end of the day you really can't go wrong with the 814ce.


The Taylor 814ce with Expression System,  is our choice as the overall best Taylor guitar.  This acoustic guitar checks all the boxes and delivers premium quality materials and workmanship.   


It should be noted that while this is our top choice we have selections for different uses.   For example if you were on a strict budget but wanted the Taylor look and feel you may want to look at the Taylor 114ce.


For more information on choosing your own best Taylor guitar continue reading our guide that follows. 


Taylor Acoustic Guitars Buying Guide

General Information on Taylor Guitars

The Taylor brand with Bob Taylor designs and now Andy Powers,  haven’t been around as long as some of the senior ranking guitar makers (aka Martin, Fender and Gibson) but they have quickly become a major player in the acoustic guitar market, and Taylor guitars are considered one of the best now. 

All of the guitars selected in our reviews have a cutaway so that the frets above the 14th fret are accessible and are of the GA body style. We feel this is a comfortable sized guitar that suits most peoples needs on average as well represents Taylor's bread and butter.  

If you have specific needs that require the guitar to be smaller or you want more of a jumbo guitars tone you can take the model we selected an apply most of our observations to the other guitar sizes offered by Taylor. 

For example if you wanted a larger maple back and sides guitar with out a cutaway you would look at the 618e model instead of the 614ce model we chose.

Guide to Taylor Acoustic Model Numbers

Below is a general guide to the Taylor model numbers sourced from their website.  For more detailed information you can go to the Taylor guitars website.


618ce


The First Digit Represents the Series.  Its become a little more confusing as Taylor Guitar continues to try new alternatives in wood but this is the general break down of the woods used for the back and sides.


  • 1-2 use Layered woods (Walnut, Sapele, Rosewood, Ovangkol etc)
  • 3 uses solid rather than layered wood and is usually blackwood, sapale, or Urban Ash
  • 4 uses solid rather than layered wood and is usually rosewood or ovangkol
  • 5 uses solid mahogany
  • 6 uses solid maple
  • 7-9 use solid rosewood

618ce


The Second Digit provides two pieces of information.  First it identifies whether is it a 6 string or a 12 string guitar. 

Second it tells you if the top is made from a hardwood like mahogany or koa or a softwood like spruce.


  • Six string  -  1 indicates soft wood top and 2 indicates a hardwood top
  • Twelve string - 5 indicates soft wood top 6 indicates a hardwood top 

618ce


The Third Digit indicates the body shape of the guitar.


  • 0 = Dreadnought shape (the traditional square shouldered shape)
  • 2 = Grand Concert (smaller body more curved shape)
  • 4 = Grand Auditorium (medium sized body)
  • 6 = Grand Symphony (larger sized body)
  • ​7 = Grand Pacific (round shouldered Dreadnought shape)
  • 8 =  Grand Orchestra (Taylor's version of the jumbo shape)

**Note:  the guitars we chose are all of the "4" shape.  if you want a different shape or size just look for the same model chaning the 3rd digit to the shape you are looking for and it will have similar properties only in that shape.


618ce


When the first 3 digits are followed by a "c"  you know the guitar is has a cutaway.


618ce


When the first 3-4 digits are followed by an "e" you know that the guitar has electronics installed.


618ce[N,R,K,SB,WHB,BLK]


There are additional indicators that my appear on the model number:

  • N = Nylon
  • R = Rosewood
  • K = Koa
  • SB = Sunburst
  • WHB = Wild Honey Burst
  • BLK = Black

Common Features to Taylor Acoustic Guitars

Electronics for Taylor Acoustic Guitars

All of these guitars come with some form of electronics, in my opinion, Taylor has made factory installed electronics almost a given. I liken it to the air conditioning in cars, in the old days you rarely found a car with air-conditioning, now it’s less likely to have a car without air-conditioning. As companies like Taylor Guitar increasingly find less intrusive ways to implement electronics straight out of the factory; guitar players will find themselves asking the question, why this guitar doesn’t have electronics?

Cutaway for Taylor Acoustic Guitars

There is something about the shape of the cutway design on Taylors guitars that seems to look better.  The curve of the cutaway just feels like it belongs on a Taylor guitar body shape, and it has the benefit of easier access to the frets close to the body.

Adjustable Neck Design

One of Taylor's innovative claims to fame is the design of the neck.   It stays straight and allows for easy adjustments down the road should over time the angle of the neck changes.  It is our belief you truly won't appreciate this feature until you've had to go through expense an time it takes to reset a dove tail joint that most other guitars use.

Bracing

Taylor guitar has traditionally used X-bracing like most acoustic guitar companies.  Taylor has 3 flavors of X-bracing and they have different ones based on the series.   More exciting is the new V-class bracing that Taylor has introduced.  It provided more rigidity to the top while providing enhance sustain and better intonation.   Based on the models we tested once you've tried V-class you'll likely not want to go back to the X-bracing pattern on Taylor guitars.

Cost

And last but not least,  Taylor guitars all have one thing in common....  They are expensive.   However before you dismiss getting one based on cost.   Consider the quality instrument you'll be getting it will likely out live you,  as well as the great customer support Taylor provides.   They are always there to help you keeping your guitar sounding as good as the first day you got it.  The old adage you get what you pay for could never be more true.


Recap - Best Acoustic Guitars By Taylor

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