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Taylor 314ce-N
 
A hybrid nylon-string that’s perfect for steel-string players.
October 18, 2021
 

For guitarists who are used to playing typical steel-string flattops, the world of nylon-string (a.k.a. “classical”) guitars can be daunting. Sure, maybe you learned on one when you started out, and you’ve probably admired skilled classical players or Latin-jazz guitarists using them. But for many non-classical players, a standard nylon-string’s wide, thick neck can be a barrier that stands in the way of exploring the beautiful tonal potential these instruments have to offer. Fortunately, luthiers got the memo, and by the 1980s, instruments that combine the feel of a steel-string with the sound of a classical started to appear. Taylor introduced nylon-strings to its catalog in 2002, and over the years, the design has evolved to where there are now nylon-string models from the entry-level Academy series (check out our demo of the Academy 12e-N) to the high-end 800 series. I recently had a chance to check out the high-value 314ce-N in the Peghead Nation video studio. 

The 314ce-N is a variation of one of Taylor’s most popular models, the grand auditorium-size 314ce. In fact, while earlier Taylor nylon-strings had appointments more akin to those of traditional classical guitars, current nylon-string models have the same general appearance of the series they’re in. As is standard for the 300 series, the 314ce-N is built with all solid woods: sapele back and sides and a Sitka spruce top. But while the guitar has the same body shape, 14-fret neck joint, and even the “gemstone” pattern fingerboard inlay as its steel-string sibling, it is quickly identifiable as a nylon-string by its slotted peghead and traditional “tie-on” bridge. The most significant difference is invisible unless you look inside the guitar with a mirror. Rather than the V-Class or X-bracing used on Taylor steel-strings, the 314ce-N has a version of traditional Torres-style fan bracing, with five very narrow, low-profile braces fanning out from just below the soundhole into the top’s lower bout. Like the rest of the guitar, the 314ce-N’s neck is a true hybrid. Though it feels much like a standard Taylor neck, its width of 1⅞ inches at the nut provides a bit more room for the thicker nylon strings, but is still significantly narrower than a typical classical guitar neck, which tends to be around 2 inches. 

Playing the 314ce-N, it was immediately clear that the guitar offers a perfect fit for its target audience. I can’t imagine a steel-string player having trouble adjusting to the guitar’s feel, and if anything, they’re likely to be bowled over by how incredibly easy the guitar is to play—players who suffer from sore fingertips will especially appreciate the nylon strings’ soft feel! While the 314ce-N doesn’t have the muscular power and wide dynamic range of a fine classical guitar, it does offer a nice “growl” in the bass, a trait that reminded me of the character of many Spanish guitars, and which helped give the guitar’s tone an authentic feel when playing classical repertoire. The guitar’s clarity made it fun to play jazz chords and melodies, and naturally, it worked great for many general fingerstyle applications. Plugging the onboard ES-N electronics (which combine Taylor’s familiar controls in the upper bout with an undersaddle pickup) into a Fishman SA-330x powered speaker yielded great results as well, making the guitar gig-ready out of the box.

Overall, the 314ce-N is a great choice for anyone who needs a reliable hybrid nylon-string. With its excellent playability, capable acoustic sound, and plugged-in versatility, the guitar is a professional workhorse and an excellent way to expand a steel-string players’ sonic palette. 

SPECS: Cutaway grand auditorium body. Solid Sitka spruce top with fan-bracing. Solid sapele back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1⅞ -inch nut width. Open-gear classical tuning machines. ES-N electronics. Made in USA. $2,099 street. Taylorguitars.com

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© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com
 
 
    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
© Copyright 2020 PegheadNation.com