Taylor’s maple grand auditorium now includes V-Class bracing.
by Teja Gerken
August 28, 2018
Although it is the primary wood used for the backs and sides of archtop guitars and violin-family instruments, maple isn’t nearly as common on flattop steel-string guitars. When Taylor’s designer Andy Powers revamped the company’s 600 series in 2015, one of his goals was to highlight the tonal potential of maple, which can be sustainably harvested in North America, isn’t affected by CITES regulations (making international trade or travel a non-issue), has great stability, and looks beautiful. Taylor has now updated all grand auditorium models with its new V-Class bracing, giving the 614ce another major modification, and we had a chance to check out the latest version of the guitar in the Peghead Nation video studio.
From the outside, the new 614ce looks nearly identical to the previous version. The high-quality flamed maple used for the back and sides is stained with a transparent amber/brown color, giving it an appearance similar to the varnish finish used on violins. The guitar’s Sitka spruce top is torrefied, meaning that is has gone through a special roasting process that imitates aging. The guitar has relatively simple appointments that include grained ivory binding, Taylor’s “wings” fingerboard inlay pattern, an abalone rosette, and a wood pickguard. Inside, however, the 614ce now sports Taylor’s V-Class bracing instead of standard X-bracing. Based on two long braces that form a “V” shape, from each side of the soundhole to a point near the end block, V-Class bracing promises a more balanced sound, improved sustain and volume, and other advantages.
The new 614ce is indeed an incredibly balanced guitar with great dynamics and a big tonal range. It’s a lot of fun to play fingerstyle and offers a smooth tonality when strummed with a pick. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Charge amp, the guitar’s built-in ES2 electronics allowed it to continue shining in an amplified setting, offering great string-to-string balance and a natural sound.
Overall, the 614ce is a great option for players who have been considering a Taylor grand auditorium. Not only does it have a versatile voice, it also proves that a great flattop can be built without endangered woods.
SPECS: Grand auditorium body. Solid torrefied Sitka spruce top. Solid maple back and sides. V-Class bracing. Maple neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25½-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Enclosed nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $3,499 (street). taylorguitars.com
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