Instruments & Gear: New Gear

Taylor Builder’s Edition K24ce

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New all-koa grand auditorium is loaded with features.

by Teja Gerken
September 09, 2019

When Taylor introduced its new V-Class bracing last year, it used a guitar based on the grand auditorium–size K14ce to roll out the concept. The resulting Builder’s Edition K14ce (check out our demo of that guitar) was like no other Taylor before. Not only did it have the new bracing, it also included several other new features, such as a contoured cutaway, rounded edges on the top and back, and a new “Silent Satin” finish. The guitar was a great success, and over the past year, other Builder’s Editions have been introduced as alternatives to Taylor’s standard line. Introduced at last July’s Summer NAMM show, the latest Builder’s Edition model is a tricked-out version of the K24ce: a grand auditorium with a body built entirely of koa (check out our demo of a standard K24ce). I recently had a chance to put the guitar through its paces in the Peghead Nation video studio. 

From the moment that the Builder’s Edition K24ce’s case is opened, it’s clear that this is a very special guitar. Not only is the koa used for the body spectacularly figured (the back on our demo guitar was particularly breathtaking), the wood’s appearance is further enhanced by a subtle variation of a sunburst finish that Taylor calls “kona burst.” The guitar’s top and back are framed by paua shell purfling, which is matched with a “spring vine” inlay that spans almost the entire length of the fingerboard. The guitar has Taylor’s ultra-comfortable armrest bevel and the same contoured cutaway, rounded edges, and finish introduced on the earlier Builder’s Edition K14ce, It also includes the modified bridge shape previously used exclusively on the Grand Pacific–size Builder’s Edition 517 and 717. 

Great playability is a Taylor trademark, but with its package of added ergonomic features, the Builder’s Edition K24ce takes the familiar grand-auditorium feel to the next level, making the guitar both comfortable to hold and easy to play. Tonally, the instrument offers a highly adaptable voice with enough brightness to offer great definition, and plenty of mids and bottom-end to deliver a round, warm overall character. Koa tops tend to be stiffer than spruce or cedar, and the resulting tonality is often described as having a naturally compressed quality. The Builder’s Edition K24ce had a lovely smoothness that made fingerstyle playing sparkle, while also taming the peaks of aggressive strumming or flatpicking. Plugging the guitar into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge amp brought these qualities into the amplified realm; the guitar sounded like it was ready to take the stage from the moment I turned up the volume. 

Overall, the Builder’s Edition K24ce is a stunning addition to the Taylor line that will appeal to players looking for a flashy instrument as well as those who appreciate an incredibly playable guitar with some of the best tonal features koa has to offer. 

SPECS: Grand auditorium body with armrest bevel and contoured cutaway. Solid koa top, back, and sides. V-Class bracing. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Gold Gotoh 510 tuning machines with 21:1 ratio. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $5,299 street.

Category: Instruments & Gear

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