I remember the first time I tried a Taylor, I immediately fell in love with the sound and how easy it was to play.
I bought the guitar on the spot. Ten years later, it’s still my go-to acoustic guitar.
With its relatively low price point (under $1,000), the Taylor 110e is a possibility for beginners and intermediate players.
But does affordability come at the detriment of performance? Is Taylor 110e worth it?
The Taylor 110e is worth the price point. It isn’t an all-solid wood guitar, but the quality of tonewood creates a bright pro tone. Although not made in America, Mexican craftsmanship is of prime quality. With a high-grade preamp, the 110e is suitable for live performance and studio recording.
Let’s dissect the Taylor 110e further. In this review, I’ll highlight all the pros and cons to see if this is this acoustic guitar for you.
How Does It Sound?
I won’t lie. The first thing that attracts me to an acoustic guitar is the looks. With its bold dreadnought shape, the Taylor 110e is a nice-looking guitar. While the initial attraction is appearance, if the guitar doesn’t sound good, it’s a no-go.
The 110e has a solid Sitka spruce top with layered walnut back and sides. This isn’t an all-solid wood guitar. But at this mid-level price point, this wood selection is expected.
The 110e lacks the resonance of an all-solid wood acoustic guitar but that’s not to say it isn’t short of sound quality.
Spruce is an industry go-to, so the top wood plays a big part in delivering a pure acoustic tone.
Basically, the tradeoff is you can get this guitar with a solid top, layered back and sides for half the price of an all-solid wood.
Moreover, the tonewoods on the 110e outperform those on a guitar at a beginner price point. How so? Largely down to treatment such as aging and curing, the woods on the 110e offer a more vivid and rounded overall tone.
For me, the tone is ticking all the boxes. Warmth in the low end, smooth mids, and crisp, crystalline clarity in the high frequencies.
Taylor’s renowned bracing system is in full force in the 110e. This guitar projects all the tonal characters.
It has a tone capable of holding its own on record and live whether you’re strumming or finger-picking.
I find the all satin finish of the Taylor 110e comfortable on the hand. The varnish finish is light and even across the body and neck. It’s an area where cheap guitars lack, but the 110e has a quality finish.
The tusq saddle and nut have a width of 1.6875″. These dimensions air on the smaller side, meaning the strings are closer together. The string space is natural for finger-picking and strumming. For rhythm techniques, the 110e makes for easy playability, even complex barre chords.
Where it isn’t as comfortable to play on is for lead parts. String bends are limited, a larger nut width is better suited for this purpose. There’s also no cutaway on the body, so reaching high notes is off-limits.
This isn’t an issue for me. The 110e is a guitar for rhythm playing. I say leave the lead parts for an electric guitar. But, if you want high fret access, the 110ce is the same guitar with a cutaway.
With a slim profile neck, the 110e is easy to grasp. If you’re used to playing electric guitar, transitioning will be easy.
The long 25.5″ scale length causes high string tension. Not only making light work of pressing down on strings, but the 110e also has tightness in tone. It’s focused and sounds great in front of a microphone.
Playability varies from player to player, but for me, strumming the 110e is a lot of fun.
Taylor 110e has a bracing system for loud projection. But the X-bracing only goes so far. To make this guitar audible in larger venues, you’ll need to connect to the onboard Expression System 2.
For recording, I always opt for a natural approach to capturing acoustic guitar. The natural sound of a well-placed microphone is pure on record. But in live scenarios, this isn’t an option. Again, the Expression System 2 is one of the better preamp systems when connected to a PA or acoustic amp.
Placed behind the saddle, the three pickups capture the authentic acoustic tone of the solid spruce top wood. With precise placement, the piezoelectric sensors catch the warmth and high-end sparkle.
I’ve found many preamp controls bulky and obtrusive when strumming. Situated away from strumming arms, the dials on the 110e are tidy. Also, the three knobs help you sculpt the tone by offering control over the bass, treble, and volume.
Taylor is a prestigious brand competing with icons like Martin and Gibson.
For an American-built Taylor, you’re talking a premium price point. The Presentation series starts at $9,999! But, for the purpose of balance, this is at the upper end of the spectrum, and the American Dream Series starts at $1,399.
To reach out to a broader clientele, Taylor started crafting guitars in Tecate, Mexico. Lower wages and factory costs mean Taylors crafted here retail for cheaper.
Wise move since many musicians simply can’t afford to splash thousands on a guitar.
The Taylor 110e sits at the upper end of the mid-level $500 to $1,000 price range. At this price point, it’s a guitar out of reach for many beginners. That said, if you’re a beginner with the budget, the 110e will make learning easier and more pleasurable with its low action and sweet playability.
Aside from beginners, this guitar should be on the radar of an intermediate or a pro player on a budget. The sound quality alone justifies the price point.
Truth be told, the difference between an American build and the 110e is less than the price implies. Most people aren’t able to notice the difference in sound quality.
The 110e has telltale signs of an expensive guitar. First, the Spruce top wood is subject to expert treatment. This results in the soundboard delivering crisp and articulate tones.
Even the layered walnut is full of character. Cheap laminated wood feels like throwaway MDF and is dull in tone. But, on the 110e, the laminate comprises only three layers of wood. On cheaper guitars, you’ll find laminate woods made of many more thin layers.
An ebony fingerboard brings a lot to the party and is a more expensive alternative to Indian rosewood. What I’ve found with the ebony fretboard is that it’s long-lasting. Ebony won’t show signs of wear and tear even after years of use.
For around $800, the Taylor is definitely worth it. I’ve played several guitars with a solid top and laminate back and sides. The Taylor 110e has a brighter and characterful tone. For this level of quality, you’ll often have to pay a lot more than $800.
What is the Difference Between Taylor 110 and Taylor 114?
The Taylor 110e and 114e have a lot in common. Same price, same top wood, same bracing. In fact, all the specs are identical even down to the finest detail of scale length and nut width.
There’s only one difference, the body shape. The 110e is a dreadnought whereas the 114e is a grand auditorium. Although they’re the same depth and width, grand auditorium guitars are thinner at the waist. They are a similar shape to a parlor, but with the dreadnought size.
The shape is the biggest difference between the two guitars. Deeper curves allow for the grand auditorium to rest plush to the thigh when seated. I found the thin waist on the 114e allows for closer and more comfy access to the soundhole for strumming.
The Taylor 110e is one of the cheapest guitars in their catalog. But to give you some perspective, Taylor’s cheapest is better than some brands’ best.
While the 110e is at a mid-range price point, it outperforms the cost. The benefits are sheer sound quality and a brighter tone than competitors.
Not just reserved for playing acoustically, the Expression System 2 system maintains the pure acoustic tone when amplified.
It comes with a stylish Taylor-branded gig bag. While trendy, if you’re using this guitar for heavy gig rotation, I’d invest in a hardshell case for extra protection.
As a Mexican-built guitar, it doesn’t have the same prestige as owning a Taylor built in America. Personally, I can overlook this at this price.
For finger styles and strumming, the 110e offers playability and a tone worthy of a pro in any genre. So weighing it all up, the 110e is a great pick, and the Taylor name on the headstock will show you mean business.
Drawing on over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Neal’s writing specializes in all aspects of music. A self-taught guitarist who’s passionate about words, he’s at peace when songwriting. He finds comfort recording, traveling, and wearing his favorite leather jacket. Keep up to date on Twitter @TheNealSawyer