A classic Taylor grand auditorium now has V-Class bracing.
by Teja Gerken
September 24, 2018
When Taylor introduced its 400 series with the 410 dreadnought in the early 1990s, it set new standards for what an affordable, American-made guitar made from solid woods could be. Today, it’s impossible to think of Taylor’s catalog without the 400 series, and we were happy to check out the latest variation of the grand auditorium model, a 414ce-R featuring V-Class bracing and Indian rosewood instead of the ovangkol used for the backs and sides of most 400-series guitars.
The 414ce-R is a quintessential Taylor. Its mid-size body is comfortable to hold, with a versatile tonality, its neck and setup offer the company’s legendary playability, and its ES2 pickup system allows for excellent amplified performance. The guitar’s Sitka spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides are of high quality, and the craftsmanship is excellent throughout. While a standard 414ce would have small diamond position markers in the fingerboard, the 414ce-R has Taylor’s slightly more elaborate “Renaissance” pattern, which continues up into the front of the peghead. White body binding has always been an element of the 400 series’ appearance, and the 414ce-R is no exception. While some model years have included white fingerboard binding, current 400-series fingerboards are bound with ebony.
Like other V-Class grand auditoriums we’ve had a chance to check out, the 414ce-R was a joy to play. It had a quick response when played fingerstyle, but also held up well when strummed, offering a muscular voice with great volume and even balance. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge, it was able to transmit its acoustic qualities via the ES2 electronics, which is one of the easiest and most accurate amplification solutions available on a stock acoustic-electric guitar.
Overall, this latest 414 variation is very cool. Not only does it bring V-Class bracing to the 400 series, it’s also Taylor’s least expensive solid rosewood grand auditorium model, and should be considered by players for whom the pricier 700, 800, and 900 series models are out of reach.
SPECS: Grand auditorium body with cutaway. Solid Sitka spruce top. Indian rosewood back and sides. V-Class bracing. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $2,599 street. Taylorguitars.com
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