Taylor’s upscale grand auditorium now features V-Class bracing.
by Teja Gerken
March 12, 2018
Introduced at this year’s Winter NAMM show, Taylor’s new V-Class bracing is a completely new design that replaces the traditional X-bracing found on most steel-string flattop guitars. While plans are afoot to eventually switch all guitars built in Taylor’s main El Cajon, California, plant to the new bracing (guitars built in the company’s Tecate, Mexico, facility will continue to have X-bracing), the V-Class bracing is currently available in four top-level grand auditorium guitars: the Builder’s Edition K14ce (check out our demo of this guitar), K24ce, PS14ce, and 914ce. I recently had a chance to put the latest 914ce through its paces in the Peghead Nation video studio.
Like other 900-series Taylors, the 914ce has premium-quality Indian rosewood back and sides, a Sitka spruce top, and paua shell purfling, as well as elaborate “Ascension” fingerboard inlay. It also includes Taylor’s armrest bevel, Gotoh 510 tuning machines, and Expression System 2 pickup system. While it would take a close examination to distinguish this guitar from earlier versions of the 914ce, it has been completely revamped under the hood. The guitar’s V-Class bracing consists of two longitudinal braces that run from both sides of the soundhole toward the endblock, forming a “V” shape. The pattern is completed with two short lateral braces on each side of the lower bout, a cross bracebelow the soundhole, and a bridge plate. Besides having superior structural qualities, Taylor feels that V-Class bracing will produce more volume, better tonal balance, longer sustain, and more controlled overtones. For a more in-depth demonstration of V-Class bracing, check out our demo of the Builder’s Edition K14ce as well as our exclusive video of Taylor designer Andy Powers discussing the system.
Taylor grand auditoriums are known for their flexible tonality, and the new 914ce is no exception. Its fundamental character is based on the tonal richness and great bottom-end that is often associated with rosewood instruments, and it has excellent clarity and balance. Played fingerstyle, the guitar has a great response and is able to produce room-filling acoustic volume. Strummed with a pick, it produces a huge voice that would be especially suited to solo performers.
Overall, the 914ce is more than a worthy continuation of Taylor’s 900-series legacy. As one of the first V-Class models, it’s a glimpse into Taylor’s future, and with its great sound and snazzy looks, it’s bound to have great appeal among players looking for a contemporary high-end flattop.
SPECS: Cutaway grand auditorium body. Solid Sitka spruce top. Indian rosewood back, and sides. V-Class bracing. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Gotoh 510 tuning machines with 21:1 ratio. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $4,999 (street). Taylorguitars.com
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Thanks for asking. That's a tune of mine called "First Smile," which is on my CD "Postcards" (on Apple Music, Spotify, etc.).
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