Given my experience playing the Taylor 110e, I was eager to try a Taylor 114e a few weeks ago and see how it stacks up.
Having played on beginner acoustic guitars for a long time, it was great to try a more intermediate one.
But, the 114e is more expensive than most beginner’s guitars.
So, is the 114e worth it?
The Taylor 114e is a great guitar with its authentic warm tone. Grand Auditorium in shape, it’s the middle ground between a Dreadnought and Grand Concert. So, the 114e suits flat pickers and finger players alike. ES2 electronics capture natural tonal characteristics. At an intermediate price, the 114e is a leader in this price range.
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Nevertheless, the Taylor 114e isn’t for everyone. What works for some may not work for other guitarists.
In this Taylor 114e review, I’ll lay out the pros and cons. With this knowledge, you should be able to figure out whether this guitar is for you.
How Does it Sound?
Taylor’s Grand Auditorium shape is like a dreadnought-sized parlor. The shape produces a bright and defined tone, making the Taylor 114e receptive to both strumming and finger techniques.
When strumming, the chords sound bold and when finger picked, it provides the attack of a smaller bodied guitar.
I found the adaptability of the Taylor 114e practical. There’s no need to change guitars for different playing techniques. If you’re using the 114e for writing and recording, you’ll find it has the flexibility to become your go-to guitar.
A solid Sitka spruce top with layered walnut back and sides produces a balanced clear tone. Low frequencies are deep, the mids punch, and the high-end sparkles.
I loved how the notes ring out from the tonewoods. An X-Bracing system helps even gentle fingerpicking become loud and audible.
If you’re used to smaller guitars, the Grand Auditorium size will feel big. That said, the size is like a dreadnought, so if you’re regular-sized or tall, the 114e size will be just fine.
Although a similar size to a dreadnought, the body shape is curvier. But the shape doesn’t get in the way and allows simple movement of the strumming arm.
The 114e isn’t the most lightweight or portable, but for most people it’s not going to be an issue.
Barre chords are more difficult on beginner acoustics. Poor action means you need to apply more pressure and is tiresome on the hand. A telltale sign that the Taylor 114e is a step up is when forming barres, even high up the neck.
The back of the neck is a smooth satin finish allowing for flowing movement. You’ll experience little friction even when playing at speed. Then, with one of Taylor’s narrower nut widths, it’s easy to barre across all the strings.
The ebony fretboard is smooth for pleasant string bends. Also, ebony is a hard-wearing tonewood so it’ll stand the test of time. Not to mention, it’s darker than the usual rosewood fingerboard, so looks classy alongside the black pickguard.
I have no issues with the 25.5″ scale length. Reaching the headstock is comfortable. That said, 25.5″ is a long scale length for acoustics. If you’re of a smaller frame, the longer length and large body will hinder playability.
Having migrated from a beginner guitar, it was a pleasant surprise how little the Taylor 114e needs tuning. Thanks, in part to the compensated saddle and the TUSQ nut, the 114e holds its tune.
If you’re a guitarist who uses an acoustic-electric guitar, whether it be for recording or live, the 114e is a significant shift.
I’ve always avoided using acoustic preamps. They sound brittle and synthetic. Fitted with an Expression System 2, this pickup system broadcasts the natural qualities of the 114e.
By moving the piezo-electric transducers behind the saddle rather than tucked inside the body, Taylor has struck gold. The unique location captures the guitar’s purest energy.
The Expression System 2 is the jewel on the crown of the 114e. For live performers, it improves the sound quality of the gig, ultimately benefiting the audience.
I’m always apprehensive about using a battery-powered preamp. I fear that the tone will diminish at a critical point during recording, or even worse, during a live show!
The Expression System 2 has an LED inside the soundhole which shows when the battery is on the brink.
Some user reviews have reported the battery getting stuck in the compartment. Can’t say I’ve had this problem, but it’s worth noting to be careful when replacing batteries.
There are three dials, volume, treble, and bass for quick tone control. While many guitarists complain about the lack of a built-in tuner, the sheer sound quality makes me overlook this minor inconvenience.
Priced at around $800, the Taylor 114e is in the upper intermediate price range. While it may seem like a big outlay, the 114e is worth its price.
For me, it’s a professional acoustic guitar for an intermediate price.
Having learned on a Fender and a cheap Yamaha, the difference is huge. The solid top makes all the difference in producing a high-quality sound that belongs to a studio recording.
Any guitar player wanting a versatile guitar should consider the Taylor 114e. It doesn’t restrict playing styles and the high-grade audio sits well in many genres.
Yeah, there are better sounding acoustics. But these are all solid wood guitars and expect to pay big bucks. We’re talking thousands, and this price tag is unrealistic for many guitarists.
The Taylor 114e acoustic is the perfect compromise. Built-in Mexico, it doesn’t have the price of a North American-built guitar but has top craftsmanship and tone. It’s an acoustic-electric that has the build quality to take on the road.
Believe it or not, the 114e is one of Taylor’s lower-end models. This shows their credentials. The Taylor name on the headstock holds sway and while it’s only a small matter, it feels like an honor to own one.
What is the difference between Taylor 114e and Taylor 114ce?
It’s the simple case of the 114ce having a cutaway.
A cutaway on the 114ce allows your hand to play all along the fingerboard. There’s less restriction from the body neck joint.
Are you concerned that a cutaway will reduce sound quality? It’s logical to think so. After all, there’s less tonewood… But the cutaway has little effect on tone. An acoustic guitar generates most sound from the lower bout, so the cutaway isn’t at the detriment of sound quality or volume.
If you use your acoustic for lead parts, you’ll find the 114ce better suited.
To be honest, I prefer the symmetrical look of a non-cutaway acoustic. But that’s down to preference.
What is the Difference Between the Taylor 114e and 110e?
The standout difference is the shape, the 114e is a Grand Auditorium, while the 110e is a Dreadnought.
Both have a body length of 20″, a width of 16”, and a depth of 4 5/8”. But the Grand Auditorium shape is tighter at the waist. If you’re uncomfortable with a dreadnought, the deeper curves on the Grand Auditorium rest easier on your lap.
The shape difference means the 114e has more emphasis on high-end frequencies adding sparkle. Whereas the 110e is louder with more low-end strength.
Both the 114e and 110e are versatile guitars. But I found the slight tonal difference made the 110e more suited to strumming while the 114e was better for finger styles.
Other than the shape, they have a lot in common. The 114e and 110e have the same price, tonewoods, electronics, scale length, bracing, neck and more.
An acoustic guitar with all solid woods is a premium instrument. So, I can’t put the 114e in a group of elite acoustic guitars.
But the Taylor 114e bridges the gap between beginner acoustic guitars and those elite all solid tonewood ones.
The solid top is of premium stock and it goes a long way to produce a killer tone. If like me, you’ve upgraded from a beginner instrument, you’ll notice the sound difference within one strum.
For chords and fingerpicking, with or without a pick, it handles varying dynamic ranges of play.
From there, you can’t help but fall in love with the 114e. Grand Auditorium in shape, it feels comfortable to hold whether seated or standing.
But I concede others of a smaller frame will find it bulky. If you’re smaller or planning on traveling with the 114e, there are better options. For example, the GS Mini is more compact and affordable, making it more suitable for beginners who struggle with a full-size guitar.
If you’re planning on taking the Taylor 114e on the road, I’d suggest investing in a hardshell case. While it comes with a gig bag, a hard shell will protect your investment further.
Taylor lives up to their reputation with the 114e. It’s an affordable way to own a guitar made by a leading brand. For me, it’s an undisputed leader in the intermediate price band.
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