Choosing the Best Taylor Guitar – 6 Great Options Reviewed

When it comes to acoustic guitar manufacturers, Taylor is a legend. With a nuanced, often-bright tone and what feels like room-filling sustain. Professional musicians, discerning hobbyists and novice guitar players alike prefer the Taylor brand. 

That said, if someone asks you to choose the best Taylor guitar, it's hard to pick just one. In this article, we've brought together six of the best. And since even Taylor's more affordable guitars have the brand's signature tone and build quality, we've included a Taylor for every price range. If you're looking for a quality acoustic (or acoustic-electric) guitar, you can't go wrong with one of these instruments.

The Reviews: Taylor's Six Best Acoustic Guitars

Make

Model

Rating

Price

Full Review

Taylor

614CE Builder's Edition

Cell

Taylor

GS Mini-E (Koa)

Cell

Taylor

PS14CE

Cell

Taylor

Baby Taylor BT1

Cell

Taylor

224CE-K

Cell

Taylor

214CE

Review of our Top Picks

Taylor 614CE Builder's Edition

Important Features

  • Unique tonewood configuration is great for those who want a guitar with a clear, loud tone
  • V-Class bracing and ES 2 electronics mean you'll get great tone plugged or unplugged
  • Ebony fingerboard and gold tuners offer distinctive touches

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Builder's Edition quality means this has a tonal edge over some other Taylors
  • Unique, all-solid wood configuration for versatile sound
  • Unique finish and aesthetics make it stand out

Cons

  • As Taylor's go, this guitar is more expensive than most

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

While all Taylors are high quality guitar models, their Builder's Edition models are a cut above. The 614CE combines Taylor's new V-Class bracing with uniquely beautiful tonewoods--it has a torrefied Sitka spruce top and figured bigleaf maple back and sides.

The guitar has a bright sound with projection and a little bite. It also comes with Taylor's revolutionary Expression System 2 electronics, which faithfully reproduce this guitar's sound for audiences of every size.

Our Star Rating

We think this is the best of Taylor's Builder's Edition guitars. It has a beautiful and nuanced tone with stunning aesthetics to match, so we give it five out of five stars. It's a bit expensive, but if you can spare the cost, it's worth checking out.

Taylor GS Mini-E (Koa)

Important Features

  • Koa construction gives it a distinctive tone and unique look
  • Scaled-down size makes it easy to use to travel with
  • Comes with electronics, which isn't common for
  • It's very affordable compared to most Taylor's

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Solid top and koa construction
  • Included electronics make it very versatile
  • Affordable for many players

Cons

  • If you prefer a full-sized guitar, this one might not be the best option

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

If you're in search of a smaller acoustic guitar but want all the features of a full-sized Taylor, the GS Mini-E is an excellent choice.

This smaller guitar has a solid koa top and layered koa back and sides, giving it a tone that's bright yet warm and a truly remarkable aesthetic. And unlike many mini guitars, this one comes with an under-saddle pickup, making it easy to play plugged in when you need to.

Our Star Rating

Of the guitars on the list, we think this is the best smaller or travel-sized guitar. Because of its versatility and affordability, we give it four out of five stars.

Taylor PS14CE

Important Features

  • Unusual tonewoods give it a distinctive and beautiful sound
  • Beautiful aesthetics are a great choice for those who want to stand out
  • High-end electronics make it very playable live

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Incredible, sustain - rich sound
  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • Great playability

Cons

  • Very high price and somewhat rare

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

As part of Taylor's Presentation Series, this guitar has a look that you won't forget. Its sinker redwood top and cocobolo back and sides give it an incredible sustain and balanced tone, and its elaborate abalone inlays give it a truly unique aesthetic.

It comes with Taylor's Expression System 2 electronics for unparalleled live playability. While it's very high price and rarity mean it's not a choice for everyone; this guitar is an excellent selection for anyone who can access it.

Our Star Rating

This guitar is an incredible find and has a stunning tone. Because of its price and rarity, we think it's Taylor's best high-end guitar. We give it five out of five stars.

Taylor Baby Taylor BT1

Important Features

  • Small and portable
  • Has a solid top
  • Offers excellent value for the price

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Great portability makes it ideal for travel
  • Easy to play
  • Very affordable
  • Higher quality than most smaller guitars

Cons

  • Doesn't come with electronics
  • Some players may prefer a full-sized guitar

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

As the most affordable option on the list, this guitar is an excellent choice for those who want Taylor quality on a budget. The baby Taylor is a 3/4 size guitar, making it an excellent choice for smaller people or for those who wish for a nice-sounding travel guitar.

Its solid Sitka spruce top and sapele back and sides give it a balanced tone that's on the bright side.

Our Star Rating

Because of its affordability and smaller size, we think this guitar is the best beginner option on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Taylor Guitars 224CE-K

Important Features

  • All-koa construction means the tone will only improve with age
  • Tasteful, subtle inlays pair well with the shaded burst finish
  • Comes with Taylor electronics

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers many high-end Taylor features at a lower price than some high-end guitars
  • Has a unique, attractive finish
  • Has a sound that improves with age

Cons

  • Back and sides aren't made from solid wood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

If you like exotic tonewoods with unique finishes, this is a guitar worth checking out. It has a solid koa top and layered koa back and sides, but its unique shaded finish brings out the grain and makes the 224CE-K a standout instrument.

Its understated elegance pairs well with its full sound, and it comes equipped with Taylor's ES 2 electronics. Its subtle fretboard inlays and rosette make it an excellent choice for the player who prefers a guitar with just enough abalone.

Our Star Rating

This guitar is fairly affordable for a Taylor, and we think it has the best finish on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Taylor 214CE

Important Features

  • Spruce and rosewood build for classic tone
  • Comes with Taylor electronics
  • Natural, understated look

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Solid Sitka spruce top and rosewood body offer a versatile tone
  • Taylor ES 2 lets you play acoustically or plugged in
  • Understated finish options give it a classic aesthetic

Cons

  • Back and sides aren't made from solid wood

Brief Review & Star Rating

Review

If you want the classic Taylor look with no frills, the 214CE is an excellent choice. This guitar is essentially the same build as the one listed above, but it has a classic tonewood configuration of spruce and rosewood.

With a natural finish and dot inlays, it has an understated look that many guitarists prefer. It comes with the Expression 2 system, but it sounds excellent, played unplugged, too.

Our Star Rating

Because it combines the features and aesthetics that many acoustic guitarists love, we think this is the best classic looking and sounding guitar on the list. We give it four out of five stars.

Buying Guide: How To Choose Your Taylor

Taylor continues to pioneer new technologies in guitar building. From their new V-class bracing to the innovative Expression System pickups found in acoustic-electric, the company is continually releasing guitars that shape the field of music. If you're considering purchasing a Taylor, these are some of the features to pay attention to.

Tonewoods

In your search for the best Taylor guitar, you'll find that you can choose from a range of tonewood combinations. While you'll see models with classic tonewood combinations like spruce and rosewood, you'll also notice that Taylor has several guitars made with exotic woods.

Taylor is a company that knows how to balance looks and functionality. For instance, many higher-end Taylors are made with Hawaiian koa, a beautifully figured wood with impressive brightness and a warm, sweet midrange.

Some special-edition Taylors are made with cocobolo, a rare tropical wood that's similar to koa. This is a wood that both looks and sounds like koa, but it has an expanded low end perfect for players who prefer a slightly darker tone.

Because of their appearance and tones, these woods tend to be used on more expensive Taylors. However, on guitars with more traditional tonewood configurations, Taylors still manage to stand out.

If you've been playing guitar for a while, you know that spruce is a commonly-used wood for guitar tops. And while some manufacturers don't clarify the type of spruce used, Taylor offers a variety of spruce types. Many of their guitars are made with Sitka spruce, an extraordinarily versatile top material that's a favourite of founder Bob Taylor.

However, Sitka spruce isn't the only spruce worth considering. Taylor offers a few varieties of spruce, letting players choose one that's best suited to their preferred tone. Engelmann spruce has an expanded midrange that sounds a lot like an older Sitka top guitar. And if you're a player who likes a guitar with impressive volume and projection capabilities, their guitars topped with Lutz spruce are worth a look.

Bracing

For decades, X bracing has been the standard when it comes to the internal bracing of acoustic guitars. This bracing style gets its name from the "X" it forms on the interior of the guitar, and it supports powerful projection while also offering lasting structural support to the guitar itself.

However, in recent years, Taylor has invented an entirely new style of bracing, called V-Class bracing. This bracing style, like X bracing, supports the guitar top and keeps it from warping. However, since it offers the guitar top more freedom to vibrate, this results in a sound that's characterized by longer sustain, louder volume, and a smoother overall tone. The guitars are otherwise identical, so you'll be able to hear the difference.

Electronics

Through extensive research, Taylor engineers found that the traditional under-saddle pickup has quite a few disadvantages. These pickups often aren't entirely faithful to the guitar's tone, mainly because of their location because of the compression of the string tension.

Taylor's Expression System pickups are located behind the saddle and work much like a microphone. If you're someone who frequently plays live, you may want to choose one of Taylor's acoustic-electric models. The pickup system captures your guitar's tone like a microphone, but you won't need to deal with background noise and other issues that come with playing into a mic.

Overall Value

Some manufacturers, including Martin, tend to make straightforward guitars without a lot of embellishment. Others, like Taylor, offer both more straightforward, player-oriented models as well as those with more elaborate aesthetic features.

For instance, some of Taylor's more expensive models have dazzling custom abalone inlays and exotic-looking finishes. Thus, when you shop for yours, don't be discouraged if some models are out of your price range. A more expensive Taylor isn't always going to be a better-sounding guitar than a less expensive instrument.

When comparing prices, be sure to thoroughly read specs to determine how much of the price is due to aesthetics. Some of Taylor's unique edition guitars are tonal wonders as well as works of art. But if you're on a budget, you can still find a guitar that suits your playing style without breaking the bank.

In Conclusion

Because of Taylor's quality, we don't think you can go wrong with any guitar on the list. However, we believe the best choice on the list is the 614CE Builder's Edition. This guitar combines all-solid construction with Taylor's incredible V-Class bracing for a tremendous and versatile sound, and its unique appointments mean it's an unforgettable playing experience.

That said, we think the 214CE is a great runner-up. The 214CE has Taylor's signature tone and is more affordable, making it easier to play a Taylor even on a budget. And whether you choose one from the list or a different guitar, and Taylor is sure to have the build quality and impressive tone that countless guitarists have come to love.

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