As I stated above, I looked at Martins, Taylors and Tacamines that day, and chose this Taylor purely on it's unplugged sound. (Don't wanna slam the Tacamine people, but the cut-away electrics that day were thin sounding)I've heard some people say that Taylor's only sound great when plugged in, well in the case of this guitar I would say you can enjoy it in the woods if you so choose. I would cry, stomp around like a four year old, and cry all the way back to Metro Music, but I would buy another just like it if it was stolen. My favorite aspects of this guitar are it's sound, and play-ability. Worse aspects?: I'm gonna have to do an update to this if I come across something. The only other thing that I would like to remind people about is that one is always hearing about how expensive and high end Taylors are, that may be true but don't forget that when you walk into a music store it is just like buying a car, the tag has the MSRP. Always, always talk to the owner and make him an offer. You might find that you walk away with the guitar that you wanted at a lower price. Never pay the price on the tag. Of course all you store owners out there are gonna slam me now! ;-)
Model Year: 1998
Price: $1300.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Metro Music, Dothan Alabama
I was not planning on buying a guitar that day, but I had a free Saturday and decided to spend a few hours checking out the Martins, Taylors and Tacamines in the acoustic room. I played every guitar in the room. The ones with P/Us plugged in to a Fender Acoustasonic Jr. I had found my favorite in the room which was an $1800 Taylor(I think it was an 800 model). Obviously at that price I considered the guitar simply a dream. Something nice to keep in the back of the mind to ponder now and then. As I was leaving the store and going past the counter one of the salesmen said that I hadn't played the one Taylor behind the counter on the wall. It was a 25th Anniversary 314mce. (For ones unfamiliar with Taylor the "MCE" = Mahogany, Cut-away, Electric). I took it back to the room and sat down on the stool and from the first chord I knew the guitar was going home with me. Luckily it was a bit cheaper than the 800 model. I still remember feeling the sound in my chest like the guitar was a part of me. Anyway, my guitar is all mahogany except for the rosewood fingerboard. It has a Fishman onboard preamp with four controls: Bass, Treble, Contour, and ???. It has an undersaddle piezo p/u, which I don't find leans to the treble side as I've heard that piezo p/u's tend to do. The body I believe is what Taylor calls Grand Auditorium which is a very comfortable style that makes you realize why those other guitars are called dreadnaughts. The tuners are excellent, heavy and nicely chrome plated, and the guitar simply stays in tune forever. Someone said they are Grovers, but I've never seen Taylor name the brand of their tuners. Not saying they aren't, just that I couldn't say what brand they are.
One can most defenitelly obtain the preferred action on this guitar. I think that players will find themselves quickly adapting to the Taylor neck. I would say that it is the closest thing to an electric guitar neck on an acoustic. I've had a Hofner Dreadnaught since 1976, so I'd say I'm pretty used to playing the fat neck on that guitar, but I had no problem adjusting to the Taylor neck. I play finger style as well as getting down and dirty with some pretty heavy strumming, and the guitar keeps on ticking. I have my action somewhat higher than on other Taylors that I've seen, because of my tendency to strum hard, so I can't comment on the speed of the neck for single note playing.
Well, the sound of this guitar is why I bought it, so all I can say is that the sound is fantastic (for my ears). I play it unplugged almost as much as I do through a Fender Acoustasonic SFX. This guitar is loud unplugged. As I stated, I play finger style and heavy duty rhythm, so I'd say this guitar is well suited to both. The sound of the guitar can be taylored (lol no pun there) through the Fishman pre-amp so I would say that just about anyone picking up this guitar would be able to find their sound. Unplugged this guitar has a very bright and clear treble side, and a deep and sustaining bass side. One of the things that stands out to me is the intonation. I also play electrics so I'm aware of setting and re-setting the intonation of my electric guitars, so I've noticed that the Taylor is just always perfectly intonated (if that's a word, lol).
I've had it since '98 and my last gig was with this guitar in the fall of '98, so I can't say much for gigging with it, but I play it two or three times a week and I've yet to have a problem. This is weird: I've had the same 9volt battery in the Fishman Pre-Amp since then, and I'm still waiting for the little "bat low" light to come on. I keep a spare 9volt around, and haven't used it. I do play it unplugged about a third of the time though, so that might account for the life of that battery. I have never had to adjust the neck, intonation, etc. I keep it in it's case right by my music area so it handles climate changes quite well, although I live in what some consider a stable area. The south being humid almost year round. My rating for durability is based on the fact that I've been playing it pretty regularly since '98 without any problems or needed maintenance.
After playing everything I could get my hands on in all price ranges -- Martin, Tacoma, Breedlove, Ovation, Larrivee, you name it -- I settled on this relatively inexpensive model from Taylor. As far as I'm concerned, it's the most valuable thing in my collection and I would be crushed if it were lost/stolen. Taylor has a lifelong fan now!
Model Year: 2000
Price: $1195.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Guitar Center
This is the only area in which I'm choosing to comment, because the rating alone does not adequately describe how fantastic this guitar sounds. Everyone I've played it for comments that it is the best sounding guitar they have ever heard.
I bought the guitar recently and very happy with it. Of course it's expensive, but my technique improved a lot since I got it.
I've tried the 414-CE and I liked much more the sound of the 314 (it's a more defined sound, in the bass and treble). I like the simple look of the 314, the decoration of the 414 doesn't make it more attractive for my taste. The price is also lower for the 314.
I can't comment of durability, I'm hoping that the portuguese weather is not so adverse for the woods getting older.
Model Year: 2000
Price: $440.00 Portuguese escudoss (new)
Where Obtained: Diapaso
From construction to finish, the only thing I would ask differently about this guitar is the gloss top. I really perfer a satin finished guitar simply because of the looks. I look at a guitar as I would a friend. I have owned three guitars now in the last five months and have come to the conclusion that when you go to by a guitar, you're not searching for an instrument, you're looking for a life long friend. Although I'd like the guitar to have a satin top, I wouldn't change it for the world, because I'd be asking my friend to chage to my liking.
The last thing I'm going to say is that a friend of mine has produced two albums and has owned a record studio and said if I would offer to trade, he'd seriously consider trading his Taylor for mine and his is a late 80's 500 series guitar. Although this may not sound like much, I must point to the fact that he has had custom electronics installed and has played many many guitars, including Martins and he believes in Taylor full hartedly. Also, Everybody I have talked to has had something critical to say about Martins and other guitar companies, but nobody has had anything but praise for Taylor.
Price: $1099.00 (new)
Where Obtained: Guitar Center in Portland OR.
Made in California as all Taylors are. 100% solid wood construction as all Taylors are. Spruce Top, mahogany back, neck and sides. Ebany fret board/bridge. Even the pins are Ebany...Beautiful guitar to look at. Gloss top, satin back, neck and sides. Is the Grand auditorium which has the bass and volume of the dreadnought with the comfortability as the Grand Concert. Has Fishman Prefex electronics which make this guitar sound unbelieveable pluged in. Came with Crome Plated Grovers.
One thing you must realize is that Taylor guitars sets up their guitars for supreme action desired by finger pickers (like me) and flat pickers so it is very low and smooth. Light gage strings are recomended for this guitar by Taylor and I'll second that because you dont have to work nearly as hard to play the guitar; just be careful not to strum too hard, as you will get buzzes.
The Neck is also very thin compared to Yamaha. It's the famous Taylor neck, what can I say? It's awsome. If you're not into real low action and plan to use a slide, I sugest getting a higher saddle and a nutt extension. The intonation on this guitar is excelant also. Taylor uses lasers to site the frets which cause extreamly accurate frets. Plays like a dream.
I mainly play accustic simply because I'm a college student and have no money for much else but the guitar and I can't say that I'd use this guitar for either studio or stage, but I'd trust that it would preform both jobs very very well. I finger pick mostly, a little folk, blue grass, country, and christian rock. The sound of this guitar is fully balenced, bright, clear, crisp, and clean. I couldn't find anything better out of the hundred and some guitars I have played since the begining of June (going to about 4 different stores). If you are aware of Guitar Central they stock many Taylors, Martins, and other well known guitar companies, and of all the gutiars in the show room (even among the Taylors), I found this one to be absolutely delightful in everything; the cream of the crop. The bass can get loud without drowning out the trebil and when you plug it in, the Fishman electronics provide control over the sound to suit your taste. From my experienced, it just doesn't get any better than this. You just can't beat a solid tone wood guitar. And with a set of new Elixir Strings....WHOA man...look out!
Many people believe that Taylor guitars are not nearly as well constructed as other guitars because they often hear of horror stories about humitity and dry weather destroying a Taylor guitar. What my comments are concerning this is that wood of any kind sokes up moisture and drys out regularly. Nothing can really be done to prevent this from accuring. It's just natural for wood to be suseptable to the elements. When Taylor guitars pushes guitar humidifiers, their goal is to educate all guitarists of the dangers that moisture and dry weather pose to any guitar. I must admit that a solid wood guitar like the Taylors are much more suseptable to the elements than a laminated guitar because they dont have all the glue and treatments in them. But even the Martin Solid wood guitars are in danger of humidity and the elements. Moving into the neck, as many are aware, Taylor has come up with a new neck desgin which this guitar has and it doesn't require much adjustment at all. Not only is it very easy to adjust, but it's also stonger than their previous models. Go to www.Taylorguitars.com and order their New Neck Designs video for more information. P.S. The case is great also. If my guitar fell out of the car at 60 mph's I woundn't be very worried about my guitar being damaged.