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Taylor 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce
 
January 25, 2024
 

In 1974, Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, along with a third partner, Steve Schemmer, bought the American Dream luthier co-op they were working at in San Diego, California, and Taylor Guitars was born. Little did anyone know at the time that Bob and Kurt (Steve left in 1982) would end up creating the biggest guitar-industry success story of our time, revolutionize how acoustic guitars are built, and grow a company whose instruments are found on stages the world over. Taylor began celebrating its milestones in 1994 with a pair of guitars that introduced the grand-auditorium body shape, and the tradition has continued with various special editions. For its 50th anniversary, Taylor is releasing several limited-edition variations on instruments from throughout the company’s catalog. I had a chance to check out the flagship of these new guitars, the 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce, in the Peghead Nation video studio, where I played it acoustically as well as through Taylor’s new Circa 74 amp, which we’ll feature in a future demo.

The 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce is a variation of Taylor’s standard Builder’s Edition 814ce (check out our demo of that guitar), which in itself is a refined version of the best-selling 814ce. The 50th anniversary aspect makes the guitar instantly collectible, but of greater interest to players will be the “sinker” redwood top used instead of the spruce found on typical 814s. Redwood is known for its excellent stiffness-to-weight ratio, and while Taylor has used it on other limited editions and custom guitars, it hasn’t been available on standard models outside of the ultra high-end Presentation series. On our demo guitar, the redwood has a gorgeous reddish-brown color, somewhat wide grain, and less streaking than you often find on sinker redwood. Taylor has always used premium Indian rosewood on its top-level instruments, and the 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce is a great example. Beautiful grain and rich color are further enhanced by a Kona edgeburst finish that is a great complement to the dark top. Like the standard Builder’s Edition 814ce, the guitar includes an armrest bevel, a beveled cutaway, chamfered body edges, and “Element” fingerboard and peghead inlays. Besides the redwood top, anniversary-model details include ebony bridge pins with gold acrylic dots and a commemorative label on the inside of the guitar. Naturally, the guitar has V-Class bracing and ES2 electronics. 

I’ve played dozens of 814s and their variations over the years, and the 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce might be my favorite. I often prefer Taylor’s slightly smaller grand concert models over the grand auditoriums, but on this guitar, the redwood top provides the immediacy I like about the smaller guitars’ response, combined with the power and richness 814s are known for. To me, the guitar is an 814 with a bit more of everything. It’s a more complex-sounding instrument when played fingerstyle: highly detailed and articulate with very satisfying tones and playability. But the guitar also holds up well when strummed, and the headroom provided by the redwood top seems closer to that of a standard spruce top than that of cedar (which redwood is often compared to, and which Taylor used to use on the 514ce).

Rather than coming out with something completely new or heavily adorned, Taylor is choosing to celebrate its first 50 years with a fantastic version of its most popular model. The 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce is not only a perfect way to mark the occasion, it’s also unique in Taylor’s lineup. Bravo, and congratulations to Taylor on this milestone!

SPECS
Grand Auditorium body with beveled cutaway. Sinker redwood top with V-Class-bracing. Solid Indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. West African crelicam ebony fingerboard. Ebony bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Armrest bevel. Gotoh 510 tuning machines. Taylor ES2 electronics. Made in USA. $4,499 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
 
 
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