The Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium has a solid sitka spruce top, and sapele back and sides (which are- unfortunately- a laminate, and not solid). It has Taylor’s ‘Grand Auditorium‘ body shape and size, and a cutaway for higher fret access.
Sitka Spruce grows on the coast of northern California and Alaska, and is a dense, straight grained wood. These qualities give it a lot of strength and elasticity, which makes it a great tonewood. This tonewood is used a lot for guitar soundboards and produces a strong fundamental tone, which doesn’t lose clarity when played at full volume. On the other hand, the lower resonance and overtones can make the notes sound a bit thin when you’re playing quietly.
Overall: (3.5 / 5)
Sapele (pronounced ‘sa-pe-le’), on the other hand, comes from tropical Africa and is similar to Mahogany in that it produces a warm, and yet bright tone. This usually helps create a tone with a lot of depth. The fact that the Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium is made with laminated Sapele, which means several layers and not one solid piece of wood.
Solid woods usually resonate more and produce better sounding guitars, but laminates are not far off sometimes, and are usually less expensive.
This guitar is also in the Grand Auditorium shape, which has the same width and depth as a dreadnought guitar, but it has a narrower waist. This adds treble and sharpens note definition because of the reduced weight of the instrument. It also means that the Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium may work better for you if you find the dreadnought size too large to hold.
The built in ES-T electronics are inspired by Taylors ‘Expression System’ technology (ES-T, originally ‘ES Element’). It includes an onboard preamp with custom-voiced EQ and dynamic controls which is powered by a 9 volt battery, which has it’s own LED battery power indicator. It also has a phase switch especially to control feedback, which is located just inside the soundhole.
- Solid Sitka Spruce Top
- Laminated Sapele Back/Sides
- Grand Auditorium Shape
- Gig Bag Included
- ES-T Electronics
- Venetian Cutaway
- Plastic Soundhole Rosette
- Sapele neck
- Ebony fretboard and bridge
- Pearloid Dot fretboard inlays
- Indian Rosewood headstock overlay
- Black binding
- Tusq nut and saddle
- Enclosed, Die-Cast Chrome Plated tuning pegs
- 25 1/2 Inches Scale Length
- 1 11/16 Inch nut width
- 20 frets
- Forward-shifted Pattern X-Bracing
- Natural wood/Varnish finish
What We liked
This guitar has a really playable action, which is especially surprising for an acoustic! It’s not that steel strung acoustics are impossible to play, but there is usually some finger strength involved. The Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium has one of the easiest necks to play- chords just seem that much easier to play!
In fact, it probably feels more like an electric in that respect. It’s also strung with Elixir strings, which are fantastic strings if you play a lot and want them to last.
The internal pickups of this guitar are the same as higher end Taylor guitars; the sound is clean, clear and it has great sustain. You could pay a lot more and get a guitar with a better tone, but the difference would be only very slight.
What We didn’t like
There are a few flaws in this guitar. Firstly, there is no onboard tuner. This isn’t so much of a flaw as a disappointment- it’s not something that sways my opinion of the guitar overall.
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure this guitar is well set-up. All the advantages of this well made and very playable guitar will be lost if it isn’t set up properly! So, if you experience string buzzing or weird vibrations, definitely take this guitar to a luthier to get it set-up before sending it back!
Having said that, this should only be the rare occasion with a new guitar, and a good set-up is vital to any guitar’s performance. So, again, we can’t fault this guitar on that.
The only other thing that we really found lacking on this guitar was the laminate back and sides. Solid wood usually resonates better, and this means that the tone of this instrument could be much better. However, laminates can deal with changes in humidity a lot better, so this may be a great guitar for gigs or on the road (less time spent setting up and tuning is always useful).
Conclusions on the Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium
If you’re looking for a bright sounding guitar that will work well on stage or in the studio, the Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium may be the guitar for you. It’s combination of tonewoods and grand auditorium design really emphasize the biting edge of the sound, without being too shrill and trebly.
The balance of tones in this guitar has meant that it has been used by a lot of studio engineers to great effect. This definitely isn’t a guitar that will easily get lost in the mix, but then it wont bite your ears of, either.
As I said earlier, the main difference between this guitar and a more expensive Taylor guitar is the use of laminated wood for the back and sides. This reduces the price, but also some of the tone quality of this instrument. The other advantage of this being that the instrument is less temperamental when it comes to changing temperatures, which could otherwise be a huge pain on the road.
We think that the Taylor 114ce Grand Auditorium is a great pick for the intermediate or professional musician who is gigging regularly. You can have the high quality sounds of the top of the line Taylor acoustics, but don’t have to spend a small fortune (this is also something to bear in mind when a guitar is likely to get damaged at a gig or on tour).