New Toys: Taylor Guitars 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 314ce LTD

Celebrating their 50th Anniversary of building guitars at the highest level, Taylor has unveiled their 50th Anniversary limited-edition guitar lineup. I had the opportunity to play the Builder’s Edition 314ce LTD. This guitar has cutaway Grand Auditorium body, Urban Ash back and sides, and a Sitka spruce top. It also has a beveled armrest and cutaway for high fret access, “chamfered,” (beveled), body edges, and a Curve Wing bridge.

The beveled edge has become a bit of an attractive and distinctive characteristic of Taylor acoustic guitars. The first thing that is apparent in this guitar is both precision and beauty. The artisan nature of this guitar is apparent in its every detail. Intonation is spectacular, and tonally it presents as bright and controlled with a tight bass response. Grand Auditorium is one size smaller than the familiar, standard dreadnought on the guitar size chart, and as you would expect, it’s not boomy and compact.

Available in either a natural or Kona burst top, both versions feature a Kona burst body and neck, complemented by a firestripe pickguard. The pickguard reminds me of the old tortoise shell multicolor style, alternating amber and darker brown swirling. Additionally, they showcase a “Silent Satin finish” aimed to reduce incidental noise for optimal recording.

Other features include Italian acrylic Compass inlays, silver side dots, black/Ivoroid edge trim, an Italian acrylic rosette, and Gotoh 510 tuners in Antique Gold. The tuners in particular have a wonderful and stable feel to them. I like this feature, as tuning is such an important function of guitar playing. As part of Taylor’s anniversary collection, the guitar is adorned with ebony bridge pins featuring gold acrylic dots and a 50th anniversary soundhole label.

The body wood Urban Ash sounds to me similar to a mahogany body, and is bright and warm. Playing with a loud rock band with its built-in pickup, it layered nicely and cleanly. It was easily heard without pushing hard. The neck is a shade wider than one might expect, but this lends itself nicely to finger-picking with your right hand and playing cleanly with your left.

Combined with a spruce top and Taylor’s proprietary V-Class voicing architecture, these guitars provide great clarity, projection, sustain, and responsiveness. This is a premium instrument for sure, and the Builder's range features even more premium instruments at greater cost. Taylor fans will love them and if you are new to Taylor, you will probably love them too. Worth checking out! Kona Burst Top: $3,199.00; Natural Top: $2,999.00