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The traditional method of acoustic guitar making uses a pattern of braces on the sound board in an “X” design, called (you guessed it) X bracing. Taylor Guitars have always found new ways to turn tradition into innovation, and at the 2018 NAMM show, showcased their new “V Bracing” design. Their Grand Auditorium 614ce sports this new construction method. And let’s just say it: Andy Powers has outdone himself.
The sitka spruce top, that’s been roasted to further ensure stability, pairs nicely with a dark stained maple back and sides, called Brown Sugar. The flame pattern on the back of our test guitar was prettier than the front of some other guitars. Ebony binding ties things together on the front and back edges. It’s an excellent example of the high quality materials, craftsmanship and detailing that Taylor is known for. The Rosette detail is a wonderful looking blend of ebony, paua, ivoroic and ivoroid. Need more wood? Even the pickguard is Macassar Ebony.▼ Article continues below ▼
Tropical Mahogany is the basis for the neck, topped off with an ebony fingerboard that uses an elegant wing and diamond design. With a 25.5” scale and 20 impeccably installed frets, this neck is phenomenal. With a satin finish, the overall feel is quick and natural in all playing positions. The large neck heel comes in at 3.5”, but doesn’t feel limiting, and has a strap button located for more traditional strap placement. The headstock veneer again is ebony, bound in ebony, and has the wing theme once more. The detailing continues on the back, with the glass like finish, and more wing detailing. Simply stunning.
Acoustically the V-bracing offers up rigidity, with flexibility for the soundboard to resonate naturally. The GA style is big, but focused; there is plenty of top end that doesn’t get sharp, mids have plenty of thump, and the bass response is smooth and full. Lead melody parts just sing with ease and are intonated perfectly across the board, with the playability that’s softer than butter. Pick a chord, any chord, it sounds bigger and bolder, across the entire neck. Sustain rings true at every spot on the fingerboard, a testament to the new bracing system’s immediate benefits. Some guitars have “sweet spots” — the entire fingerboard of this instrument is a sweet spot. Strumming wise, it’s as rich and as deep as the materials, each note of a chord seems to have its own definition, with no string or overtone overpowering another.
Taylor has developed their own Piezo system, with the pickup behind, not under, the saddle. It brings a bit more openness, without any treble spikes or shrillness. Three soft rubber controls sit on the upper bout for volume, treble and bass. The EQ system can easily be tweaked to whatever amplification it’s plugged into, with no issues.
The street price comes in at $3499, which is certainly an investment, but considering the materials, design, construction, playability, and that amazing sound, it may just be the last acoustic you ever need to buy. Players looking for a serious instrument that will inspire you to pick it up every time you see it, this is the one.
Excellent materials and design, plays and sounds like a dream.