A hot-rodded version of Taylor’s maple grand auditorium guitar.
by Teja Gerken
December 10, 2018
Taylor Guitars introduced the Builder’s Edition line earlier this year with the Builder’s Edition K14ce, the first guitar to feature Taylor’s new V-Class bracing. Described as a “director’s cut” that allows Taylor designer Andy Powers to try out new ideas, the Builder’s Edition instruments provide a glimpse at features that may be found on future Taylor guitars. Now Taylor has come out with a Builder’s Edition of the popular 614ce, the company’s maple grand auditorium-size instrument. We recently had a chance to check out the guitar in the Peghead Nation video studio.
Taylor dipped into its stash of highly figured maple for the back and sides of the Builder’s Edition 614ce WHB, and combined with the guitar’s honey burst finish, the appearance is very elegant, not unlike that of a fine violin. The guitar’s torrefied Sitka spruce top has Taylor’s “silent satin” finish, which looks beautiful and reduces handling noise, and the quality of the wood is top notch. The instrument includes the armrest bevel used on other high-end Taylors, and, as on the earlier Builder’s Edition, it’s matched with a beveled contour cutaway that offers increased access to the upper frets. The body also has rounded edges throughout, which further enhances the smooth feel of the instrument. Taylor’s Scepter pattern inlay adorns the fingerboard, but otherwise, the guitar’s appointments are restrained, allowing the woods, honey burst finish, and other features to take center stage. Naturally, the guitar has Taylor’s V-Class bracing.
The Builder’s Edition 614ce WHB is an incredibly smooth and easy guitar to play, and it also delivers on the tonal front. The guitar has the clarity often associated with maple, but its voice is rounder and warmer than many maple flattops. It’s a great fingerstyle guitar, and its ultra-precise character makes it great for playing harmonically rich material. Strumming with a pick yields great volume, and the guitar has enough headroom to offer tonal complexity even with a heavy attack. The guitar’s ES2 electronics, which I demoed with a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amplifier, continued the positive impression and showed why maple’s neutral tonality has made it such a popular choice for amplified instruments.
With its ergonomic features, beautiful looks, and great tone, the Builder’s Edition 614ce WHB is a great mid-size guitar and should be closely considered by anyone looking for a high-end Taylor grand auditorium.
SPECS: Cutaway grand auditorium body. Solid torrefied Sitka spruce top. Maple 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. $3,999 (street). Taylorguitars.com
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