If you're a guitarist looking for something different, the Taylor 514CE might be right for you. This Grand Auditorium acoustic-electric has a western red cedar top with tropical mahogany back and sides, offering warm midrange overtones. It's also made with V class bracing, which increases both resonance and sustain. It's a high-end guitar, and it's a departure from what you often see.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Acoustic-Electric Guitar
If you're considering purchasing an acoustic-electric guitar (and especially if you're thinking of purchasing a high-end one), it's a good idea to ask yourself a few things:
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Features and Benefits
Now we'll dig into some of the most important features of the 514CE.
Body Shape and Bracing
The Grand Auditorium has a pinched waist and compact size, so it offers a big sound while still avoiding the boomy, sometimes-overpowering bass response that can happen with dreadnoughts.
It's also important to note that the 514CE features a Venetian cutaway for upper fretboard access. If you play all the way down the neck, this feature makes it a lot easier to do so.And lastly, one of the most important features of the 514CE is its V class bracing. This is an innovation designed by Taylor as an improvement over traditional X bracing. V class bracing increases soundboard stiffness under the strings, which boosts sustain. However, it allows for more soundboard movement on the sides of the strings, which increases resonance. While V class bracing might not be ideal for everyone, many guitarists love its sound.
Tonewoods and Sound Quality
While body shape and bracing have a significant impact on a guitar's tone, the woods used to construct it are highly important, too.The 514CE is a little nontraditional in its tonewood selection. The top is solid western red cedar. Cedar offers warm midrange overtones, and it's especially good for players with a lighter touch. Cedar is known for lending a warm clear quality to your playing, and it's a little mellower than the more commonly-seen spruce top. If you want to learn more about cedar as a tonewood, check out this interesting video
Cedar tends to pair well with the naturally dry focused voice of mahogany, and the 514CE's tropical mahogany body is a good match. Mahogany is a versatile wood -- it delivers a clear punch that strummers will like, and blues players will especially appreciate its midrange-heavy tone. The tropical mahogany body has plenty of midrange lending a warm quality to your playing. The 514 CE is made of all solid woods, which creates a full, natural sound. To match the mahogany back and sides, the 514CE also has a mahogany neck, which rounds out the guitar's warm tone.
As with any acoustic-electric guitar, the electronics of the 514CE are an important consideration. Luckily, the 514CE comes with Taylor's renowned Expression System 2. This system is a behind-the-saddle pickup with a low-profile onboard preamp -- it's made of three simple knobs (volume control and two-tone controls). This system is known for creating incredibly natural amplified tones.If you want to learn more about Expression System 2 and how it works, check out this video from Taylor.
Finish and Appointments
The cedar cutaway Grand Auditorium guitar sounds great, but it's also a visual treat. Appointments include faux tortoise ivoroid rosette with matching faux tortoiseshell binding. The Taylor nickel tuners have an excellent 17:1 ratio, and the stunning and highly playable West African ebony fingerboard has an inlay scheme in grained ivoroid wings. There's a matching West African ebony bridge to match, and it contrasts beautifully with both cedar and tropical mahogany.The black graphite nut and micarta saddle offer both great sustain and excellent tuning flexibility. And lastly, the cedar top is colored with a beautiful brown sugar stain finish. If you want to take a closer look at the 514CE and hear it for yourself, check out this video demo.
Social Proof of the Guitar
If you're thinking of purchasing a high-quality guitar like the 514CE, it's a good idea to first check out what other players are saying about it. We've found a few helpful reviews that might help you decide whether it's right for you:
This helpful review highlights one of the things that makes the 514CE a standout -- its responsiveness. This is an acoustic-electric guitar whose tone varies with the way you play, which is ideal for expressive musicians.
This detailed review offers a useful reminder -- when you first start playing this guitar, it will usually take a while for its full tone to come out.
This last review offers some insight into the strengths of the 514CE. It's ideal for fingerpicking, but as this person has found, it's also a great all-around instrument.
Alternatives to Taylor 514CE
Before deciding whether the 514CE is right for you, you'll probably want to compare it to some alternatives. Here are three other guitars you may want to consider:
Washburn Comfort G66SCE
How it Compares to Taylor 514CE
If you love the sound of a cedar-top guitar like the 514CE but need something more affordable, this is a great option. This guitar has a solid cedar top for a warm, smooth sound. And while the back and sides are laminated, they're made of stunning spalted maple. And while this guitar was designed for great tone, it's also made for playing comfort. A beveled armrest eliminates arm discomfort when playing, and the body is contoured to keep you comfortable even when playing long sets
If you need an affordable, comfortable, and great-sounding guitar, make sure you give this one a look!
Taylor GTe Urban Ash
How It Compares To Taylor 514CE
This interesting little guitar was just added to the Taylor lineup in 2020. It gets its name because the ash back and sides are made from trees growing in California cities. The GTe Urban Ash is made in Taylor's Grand Theater body style -- it's a smaller guitar with a surprisingly big sound. This sound comes from Taylor's revolutionary C-class bracing, which enhances bass response and helps smaller guitars create a groundbreakingly full sound.
If you're looking for a Taylor that's a little different, make sure you check out this one!
How It Compares To Taylor 514CE
If you have a little more to spend, the 614CE is a beautiful, upgraded version of the 514CE. This guitar has a Sitka spruce top that's been torrefied. This means that it's been effectively aged, so it sounds like a well-played guitar right out of the box. The back and sides are maple, which imparts a beautiful clarity to its tone. Plus, this is also a Grand Auditorium acoustic-electric with V class bracing.
If you're looking for a high-end Taylor with a brighter sound, make sure you take a look at this one!
In closing, we think that Taylor 514CE is an excellent guitar. The combination of cedar and mahogany gives you a warm yet responsive tone, and the top-notch electronics make it an optimal performance guitar. Plus, its Grand Auditorium body shape is very comfortable to play. Click here to check it out!