• 2024 Issue 1 /
  • A New Standard: The Builder’s Edition 914ce

A New Standard:

The Builder's Edition 914ce

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Honduran rosewood, striped sinker redwood and comfort-forward craftsmanship lift our beautiful 914ce to a stunning new level of refinement.

Our 900 Series has long been admired as the most aesthetically refined rosewood offering within the Taylor line. Boasting an ultra-premium grade of Indian rosewood and sophisticated detailing, it’s rosewood and spruce dressed in evening formalwear.

Last year’s introduction of the Builder’s Edition 814ce (from our rosewood 800 Series) upped the ante on the rosewood Taylor experience, prompting some folks to ponder what a Builder’s Edition version of our 914ce might offer players.

The short wait is over. Thanks to the design efforts of master builder Andy Powers, we’re thrilled to unveil the Builder’s Edition 914ce, the latest addition to what has grown into a robust Builder’s Edition collection.

This masterfully crafted cutaway Grand Auditorium borrows the tonewood pairing featured in our Presentation Series — exquisite Honduran rosewood (configured in an elegant four-piece Simons wedge design) paired with a striped sinker redwood top.

Honduran rosewood, denser than its Indian counterpart, imbues the guitar with beautifully complex harmonic textures, delivering warm lows, piano-like trebles and a highly-refined response across the frequency spectrum.

Our sinker redwood is responsibly sourced from old-growth logs formerly submerged in Northern California riverbeds, a fate that pays dividends cosmetically in the form of a rich striping effect that dramatically highlights the tight vertical wood grain. This top-tier tonewood provides the warmth and touch-sensitivity of cedar, but with bolder projection and enhanced dynamic range.

Voiced with our innovative V-Class bracing, the overall result is a wonderfully high-fidelity tone profile with lush overtones, a high volume ceiling and pitch precision that makes every chord a joy to hear. Paired with our ultra-playable neck, the playing experience is remarkably responsive — notes jump out of the guitar even with a light touch.

As a Builder’s Edition offering, this 914ce also boasts signature comfort-enhancing woodworking nuances, including a sleek, beautifully sculpted beveled armrest and cutaway, chamfered body edges and a contoured Curve Wing bridge for a gentler picking hand experience.

Artful aesthetic refinements abound, featuring Hawaiian koa purfling with paua edge trim on the top and back; koa fretboard and peghead purfling; a single-ring paua rosette with ebony/koa/black purfling and an ebony-bound soundhole; an ebony backstrap; Belle Fleur fretboard/peghead inlays in paua and mother-of-pearl; ebony bridge pins adorned with green abalone dots; and premium Gotoh 510 tuning machines in antique gold. A heel burst complements the artfully hand-sprayed Kona edgeburst on the back and sides, all amplified by a lustrous gloss body finish. This gem of an acoustic-electric comes equipped with an onboard ES2 pickup and ships in a deluxe hardshell case.

In every facet, the Builder’s Edition 914ce is a testament to our unwavering dedication to sonic excellence, visual beauty, responsible tonewood sourcing and the most comfortable playing experience imaginable. This premium edition will replace our standard 914ce as the exclusive Grand Auditorium model within the series.

New Product Spotlight

New Model Medley

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Our newest releases include a luxe blacktop Builder’s Edition 814ce, an American Dream baritone, 200 Series Grand Concerts and a reverse-strung T5z 12-string in three colors.

From product development to the production floor, it was a busy summer on the Taylor campus. Alongside our standard production models, we’ve been crafting other exciting new designs all season long — truthfully, all year long —  following a diverse rollout of releases across the first part of the year with a fresh batch of inspiring new models. Here’s a selection of our latest offerings.

Builder’s Edition 814ce Blacktop

This sleek refinement of a Taylor classic is as elegant as evening formalwear.

Our cover story in the summer edition of Wood&Steel announced the first-ever Builder’s Edition version of the 814ce, our flagship rosewood/spruce Grand Auditorium guitar. That evolution came nearly a decade after master designer Andy Powers reworked Bob Taylor’s original 814ce design, refining virtually every material component of the guitar as a demonstration of our envelope-pushing pursuit of acoustic performance.

With the Builder’s Edition model, Andy embraced the challenge of further elevating a guitar that was already viewed by generations of Taylor players as a quintessential modern acoustic-electric voice (particularly for lovers of rosewood guitars) and a remarkably versatile instrument for virtually any musical application.

Advances in our tooling and manufacturing capabilities enabled Andy and the Taylor design team to level up to the mission of our Builder’s Edition standards: to enhance the overall playing experience in feel and sound. Ergonomic refinements include a beveled mahogany armrest, which offers a smooth surface for the picking arm on the guitar’s lower bout, and a matching beveled cutaway, which provides a comfortable anchor point for the fretting hand when accessing the guitar’s upper register. Chamfered body edges and subtle body sculpting round out the comfort-focused Builder’s Edition upgrades. (If you’re curious about the level of woodworking craftsmanship that goes into our ultra-premium guitars, see our video spotlight this issue on the art of making an armrest.)

One other noteworthy design detail was the introduction of a four-piece Adirondack spruce top. Used for acoustic guitar soundboards prior to World War II, Adirondack is beloved for its dynamic range (especially its volume ceiling), sweet midrange and harmonic detail. Because today’s generation of Adirondack spruce trees tends to be younger and smaller than those of past eras, we chose a four-piece configuration that requires a higher degree of woodworking craftsmanship (which we’re happy to do). It also offers a glimpse into the future of guitar making as Sitka spruce trees used for tops are increasingly smaller in diameter than the old-growth (500-600 year-old) giants of yore. You can read more about the switch to the four-piece Adirondack top in last issue’s cover story and our deep dive into the spruce-cutting process with our wood supplier, Pacific Rim Tonewoods.

This fall’s blacktop riff on the Builder’s Edition 814ce is largely an aesthetic variation, but one that dramatically transforms he visual presentation of the guitar. It boasts the same comfort-enhancing touches as its natural-finished counterpart, including a stunning full-body gloss finish that sets the 814ce apart from the rest of the Builder’s Edition family (the glossy black top is an especially luxurious touch) and the alluring Kona edgeburst color treatment for the rosewood back and sides. Other appointments include premium Gotoh 510 tuners in antique gold with a super-precise 21:1 gear ratio, a single-ring green abalone rosette, a rosewood pickguard, and Element inlays in mother-of-pearl.

You’ll find the Builder’s Edition 814ce Blacktop online at TaylorGuitars.com and at authorized Taylor dealers.

Builder’s Edition 814ce Blacktop Specs

» Top Wood: Adirondack Spruce
» Back/Side Wood: Indian Rosewood
» Neck: Neo-Tropical Mahogany
» Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony
» Bracing: V-Class
» Electronics: ES2
» Strings: D’Addario XS Coated Phosphor Bronze, Light
» Case: Deluxe Hardshell, Brown

212ce/222ce-K DLX

Spruce-top and koa-top Grand Concert models join the 200 Series.

With an array of tonewood pairings, body shape options and aesthetic treatments, our 200 Series boasts a stunning variety of possibilities for guitar players of every style and skill level. Matching solid-wood tops with various layered-wood backs and sides within the series gives us the latitude to add new model options on a regular basis. This summer, we expanded our 200 Series palette with a pair of new Grand Concert guitars: the 212ce and the 222ce-K DLX.

The 212ce features a solid Sitka spruce top paired with layered Indian rosewood back and sides. Together with the compact contours of the Grand Concert body shape, that wood combination delivers a clear, balanced tone with an articulate character that will be especially enticing to fingerstyle players or flatpickers who like to deploy single-note lead lines along with strummed chords. The smaller body serves up a comfortable, intimate feel and can be especially appealing to players of smaller stature. Onboard ES2 electronics deliver faithful plugged-in tone, and the patented Taylor neck ensures smooth, relaxed fretting all the way up the fretboard. Clean appointments include white binding, Italian acrylic dot inlays and a thin matte finish. The 212ce ships with a structured gig bag for storage and transportation.

212ce Specs

» Top Wood: Sitka Spruce
» Back/Side Wood: Layered Indian Rosewood
» Neck: Neo-Tropical Mahogany
» Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony
» Electronics: ES2
» Strings: D’Addario XS Coated Phosphor Bronze, Light
» Case: Structured Gig Bag

This Grand Concert acoustic-electric is crafted with beautiful Hawaiian koa and appointed with aesthetic upgrades worthy of our Deluxe moniker. Layered koa matched with a beautifully grained solid koa top deliver a bold, punchy midrange response with clear treble notes and a focused, woody character. Hawaiian koa’s tendency to mature with time and play means that this model’s tone will grow warmer and sweeter as the wood ages, promising years of evolving musical inspiration across genres and playing styles thanks to the guitar’s highly versatile sound.

Like its 212ce counterpart, the 222ce-K DLX features a slightly narrower nut width of 1-11/16 inches, complementing the accommodating feel of the compact body shape with a highly responsive, easy-playing feel for your fretting hand. Visual details for this deluxe model include a stunning full-body gloss finish with a shaded edgeburst treatment, black binding, a black pickguard, a single-ring rosette in Italian acrylic, Small Diamond fretboard inlays and gold hardware. This model also includes onboard ES2 electronics and ships with a deluxe brown hardshell case.

222ce-K DLX Specs

» Top Wood: Hawaiian Koa
» Back/Side Wood: Layered Hawaiian Koa
» Neck: Neo-Tropical Mahogany
» Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony
» Electronics: ES2
» Strings: D’Addario XS Coated Phosphor Bronze, Light
» Case: Deluxe Hardshell Case, Brown

AD26e Baritone-6 Special Edition

Looking for a different acoustic voice? Try exploring the rich and resonant tonal palette of a baritone guitar.

Fans of our baritone guitars will be pleased to know that there’s a new model heading to stores this fall. The AD26e Baritone-6 Special Edition arrives on the heels of the recent 326ce Baritone-8, complementing its 8-string partner with a more traditional six-string configuration with a B-to-B tuning.

Like the 8-string, this edition features our Grand Symphony body style, but in its traditional form (without the soundport cutaway that’s built into other GS models). The body’s full-figured dimensions and robust acoustic “lung capacity” lend themselves to a baritone voicing, and together with its longer 27-inch scale length and lower tuning, deliver a uniquely rich bass-forward sound with a deep register that opens a whole new swath of musical terrain for players to explore.

The AD26e Baritone-6 follows the distilled, essentials-first philosophy of our American Dream Series, crafted with all-solid sapele back and sides topped with mahogany. The result is a focused sound with a smooth attack thanks to mahogany’s natural compression effect when used as a soundboard. For this model, we’ve topped our easy-playing neck with a fretboard of eucalyptus and finished the body with a shaded edgeburst and super-thin matte sheen. And as part of the American Dream Series, it’s our most accessibly priced baritone ever.

Though a baritone guitar may seem like a specialty instrument with limited practical musical applications, the reality is that the AD26e, like its 8-string sibling, can serve many purposes for a creative player. Tuned a fourth lower than a standard guitar, the AD26e opens up a lower range for vocalists who struggle to hit the higher notes often demanded by songs composed for standard tuning. You can return a baritone guitar to standard tuning by placing a capo on the fifth fret.

To learn more about the varied musical applications of both 6- and 8-string baritone acoustic guitars, read Shawn Persinger’s “Baritone Basics,” which originally ran in our summer 2016 issue.

AD26e Baritone-6 Special Edition Specs

» Top Wood: Neo-Tropical Mahogany
» Back/Side Wood: Sapele
» Neck: Neo-Tropical Mahogany
» Fretboard: Eucalyptus
» Electronics: ES2
» Strings: Elixir Baritone Set
» Case: AeroCase, Gray

T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition

This 12-string T5z is reverse-strung and comes in Black, Arctic White or Cherry Sunburst.

A few years back, when master builder Andy Powers was designing the acoustic 12-string Builder’s Edition 652ce, he made an intriguing choice: to offer it with a reverse-strung setup — featuring the heavier fundamental string on the top of each octave string rather than the traditional pairing with the octave course on top. The reverse-strung setup is perhaps best associated with Rickenbacker electric 12-strings, notably embraced and popularized by the Byrds, the Beatles and Mike Campbell from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

This fall, we’ve decided to bring the reverse-strung setup to the electric side of our line with a trio of special-edition 12-string T5z guitars. The sonic effect of the string setup is to emphasize more of the fundamental note since players typically have a more powerful downstroke. The result is a warmer, punchier response compared to the high-frequency octave jangle that you’ll hear from other 12-string guitars. The T5z-12 Classic Deluxe Special Edition, as we’re calling these models, will be available in a limited run in three striking colors: Black, Arctic White and Cherry Sunburst.

As with all T5z models, these are hollowbody hybrid electric-acoustic guitars, boasting our proprietary three-pickup electronics controlled by five-way switching. With a visible bridge humbucker, a concealed neck humbucker and an acoustic body sensor on board, these guitars allow the player to access a highly diverse range of tonal flavors ranging from mellow acoustic sounds to high-octane electric tones. In between, you’ll find an array of blended sounds mixing both acoustic and electric tone profiles, which can be further dialed in with two tone knobs and a volume control positioned above the fretboard extension.

In terms of playing comfort, these guitars feature a nut width of 1-11/16” and a scale length of 24-7/8”, which combine for a remarkably relaxed fretting feel that makes the neck easy to navigate for players of all skill levels. The 12-inch fretboard radius offers a pleasingly accommodating contour for everything from open chords to arpeggios and more complex phrasings.

If you’ve been keeping up with Wood&Steel or the Taylor universe in general, you might know that Andy recently updated the T5z design with an Urban Ash body, repositioned tone controls and a single F-hole compared to the two that have typically been featured in these hollowbody guitars. For the T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition, we’ve opted to retain the “traditional” T5z construction, which features both F-holes and the sapele body that have been standard in these guitars for many years. All three are topped with neo-tropical mahogany and are detailed with black fretboard binding, nickel hardware, Small Diamond fretboard inlays in Italian acrylic and a full-body gloss finish. Each guitar ships with a hardshell case.

You’ll find the T5z-12 Classic DLX Special Edition at TaylorGuitars.com and authorized Taylor dealers this fall.

Dreaming Across America

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Our American Dream Series has been captivating artists across the country. Here are some video highlights.

With their premium acoustic tone, distilled aesthetics and classic vibes, our American Dream guitars have been embraced by artists far and wide.

From the start, our American Dream Series guitars were designed to fill the needs of virtually all types of players — weekend warriors, songwriters, recording gurus, touring pros and first-timers alike. Initially released during the pandemic, the first wave of guitars sported our Grand Pacific dreadnought body shape, were voiced with our tone-enhancing V-Class bracing architecture, and were priced to deliver an all-solid-wood acoustic at our most accessible price point. Between their workhorse musical versatility and earthy, vintage vibe, they were broadly embraced.

Since then, we’ve expanded the American Dream Series to include Grand Concert and Grand Theater body styles and mahogany-top models. And those models have found their way into studios, venues and hands of artists across the U.S. —  Al Bettis in Detroit, Sincere Engineer and Nathaniel Murphy in Chicago, Haley Knox and Joseph Solomon in Los Angeles, Maggie Baugh in Nashville and many more. Here’s a look at just a few of the artists who have come to lean on these guitars as creative tools, featuring original music by Keith Goodwin.

In a similar vein, we sent an assortment of American Dream models to one of our favorite content collaborators, artist/producer duo Daria Musk and RAM, and simply asked them to create whatever piece of music the guitars inspired them to make. They responded with the aptly titled “Spontaneously Dreaming,” a layered fingerstyle instrumental that shows off just how rich these guitars can sound in the hands of seasoned players.

You can find American Dream Series guitars at TaylorGuitars.com and authorized dealers everywhere.

Custom Guitar Showcase, Round 3

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Taylor fans have spoken: Here are some of your favorite custom Taylor guitars from our recent builds.

Back in the winter 2022 issue of Wood&Steel, we shared a new collection of stunningly appointed custom Taylor guitars originally crafted for an event we host each year for our dealers at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. If you’re familiar with our custom program, you already know the deal — these are the best of what Taylor has to offer, combining top-quality, often gorgeous tonewoods available in limited quantities with artful visual details and premium comfort features.

Recently, we asked Wood&Steel readers and Taylor fans to head to our custom guitar gallery and vote for their favorite models. Well, you came through in spades, and we’re thrilled to present the winners of the voting below. As is often the case, Hawaiian koa proved to be a popular choice thanks to its gorgeous visual character and the details selected to complement koa’s beautiful grain.

As always, if you’re curious about where you can find any one of these guitars or if you’d like to learn more about how you can start building your own custom Taylor guitar, reach out to our customer service team and we’ll put you on the right path.

You can view our full lineup of custom guitars through the link below.

5th Place: C14ce — Master-Grade Hawaiian Koa/Sinker Redwood

Cocobolo binding with a matching beveled armrest and full-body edge trim in paua give this Grand Auditorium richly detailed visual character to match its superb tone.

4th Place: C22ce 12-Fret — Select-Grade Hawaiian Koa

Select-grade Hawaiian koa, Douglas fir herringbone accents and a sharp Florentine cutaway put this custom 12-fret Grand Concert guitar in rare company.

3rd Place: C26ce — Select-Grade Hawaiian Koa

This custom 8-string baritone Grand Symphony model sports gorgeous Select-grade Hawaiian koa that looks as unique and alluring as its deep, octave-enhanced voice.

2nd Place: C14ce — Honduran Rosewood/Sinker Redwood

Sinker redwood, Honduran rosewood and exclusive visual details make this Grand Auditorium one of our most enticing custom guitars.

Winner: C24ce — AA-Grade Hawaiian Koa

With back, sides and top of AA-grade Hawaiian koa, a beveled rosewood armrest, and a Sea Forest Vine fretboard inlay, it’s easy to see why this stunning Grand Auditorium took the top spot in our poll.

Review Roundup

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Builder’s Edition 814ce, AD12e-SB, 512ce 12-Fret, 552ce, 517e, 417e, 112ce-S and more.

With our steady rollout of new models this year, guitar reviewers have literally had their hands full with Taylor in recent months. We thought we’d share some highlights from their latest test-drives, covering more than half a dozen series across our guitar lineup, from Builder’s Edition to the Baby Taylor.

Builder’s Edition 814ce

In his review, Guitar Player’s Jimmy Leslie found a lot to like about the ultra-premium version of our flagship guitar. Leslie gave the guitar 4.5/5 stars and an Editors’ Pick Award on the basis of “its environmental ingenuity, ergonomic playability, refined tone, stage worthiness and overall sophistication.”

Leslie called the guitar’s refined craftmanship and aesthetic “sleek and sophisticated,” noting the elegant body contours, including the beveled armrest and cutaway. “Simply setting the guitar on your lap and holding its body against your own is a sensual experience,” he writes. “The contoured flow is sexy and smooth everywhere you feel it, with not a rough edge to be found.” 

He called the playability “mere perfection in any position, sitting or standing, or anywhere on the neck.” Sonically, he felt the guitar complemented the way it looked and felt — “very modern, light and lively, and high fidelity. Sustain is long and dreamy.” 

The rosewood/spruce wood pairing, together with the body style and bracing architecture, are sure to please fans of rosewood guitars. “It has the hallmark rosewood-and-spruce sound that’s rich and complex in the body,” he says, “with plenty of sparkle on top in the context of a Grand Auditorium’s balanced quality.”

Leslie also appreciated both the environmental consideration and advanced craftsmanship that went into making a four-piece Adirondack spruce top — which offers a glimpse into the future of guitar making.

In the end, Leslie recognized the guitar’s merits as an heirloom-quality instrument. “[The Builder’s Edition 814ce] is about as close to a custom shop instrument as you’ll find in a production guitar. It’s gorgeous, plays and sounds like a dream and will only improve as the wood ages.”


Both Guitar World and Acoustic Guitar magazines reviewed our new sunburst-top solid walnut/spruce Grand Concert AD12e-SB from our American Dream Series. In the August issue of Guitar World, editor Chris Gill called the guitar an “American Beauty” and gave it the magazine’s Platinum Award of Excellence. Among his notable takeaways:

  • » “My first impression […] was that it seems perfectly voiced for fingerstyle and recording applications.”
  • » “The new AD12e-SB [provides] a new voice that many players are likely to find perfect for their needs.”
  • » “The overall tone is rich and warm, with emphasized midrange, mellow bass and smooth treble without harsh transient peaks, providing an excellent balance between the percussive responsiveness of the spruce top and the full-bodied depth of the walnut body.”
  • » “Playability is first class, as one would expect for a Taylor.”

Meanwhile, over at Acoustic Guitar, Emile Menasché said he’d use two words to describe the fundamental tonal character of the AD12e-SB: “balanced and responsive.”  

Regarding balance, Menasché felt the warm mids were nicely centered in relationship to the highs and lows. “I was especially impressed with the clarity and depth of the lower strings,” he says. “There were no real peaks or valleys in the resonance as I went lower and while the bottom strings had some treble bite, they didn’t have the rolled-off low end you might expect from a guitar this size.”

He felt that the guitar’s responsiveness made it well suited for fingerstyle. “You just don’t need to work very hard to get a tone out of this guitar. As a result, your fretting hand can form the notes while your picking hand controls tone, attack, shape, and dynamics. There’s a lot of room for nuance and texture within chords and arpeggios, which rewards you for focusing on the details of every note.”

That said, he also felt the tonal balance made the guitar a compatible with playing with a flatpick. “The guitar’s full midrange and balanced treble actually impressed me…. A lot of smallish guitars can sound a bit clickety-clackety to me when played with a pick because the attack emphasizes the highs and upper mids. The Taylor’s relatively full low end reduced that effect while preserving the cut that you’d want from a pick.”

“I was especially impressed with [the overtones] on the higher strings, which sounded harmonically rich and never thin or reedy.”

He also came away with a deeper appreciation for the character of walnut as a tonewood. “Judging from this guitar, walnut had a lot to offer: warmer than maple, with some of the clarity of rosewood and the warmth of mahogany…. I like how the AD12e-SB guitar brings a new voice to the party.”


Our redesign of the rosewood 400 Series featured the addition of a Grand Pacific 417e to the mix, so we were happy to send that guitar out for review. Both American Songwriter and Premier Guitar magazines did the honors. 

American Songwriter’s Andy McDonough said that while the classic rosewood/spruce tonewood pairing gave him an idea of what to expect in a dreadnought-style guitar, he was pleasantly surprised.

“The real magic of this guitar is found in its tone and response to the player,” he writes. “The 417e, unamplified, outweighed all my expectations for open string playing and full chords by a country mile.”

McDonough liked the vintage-look sunburst top and clean lines, and offered a nod to the “exacting craftsmanship” and V-Class bracing as factors in how well the guitar played and sounded.

“[V-Class] translates into significant improvements in the sonic low-end when compared to guitars of similar size, but not at the expense of tonal clarity. For the player, the result is a big tone with notes and chords that ring true.”

He also loved its all-around musical versatility for different playing styles and applications, especially with the onboard ES2 electronics: “It is ideally suited to public performance, as well as regular practice, songwriting and recording sessions.” 

Premier Guitar’s Charles Saufley tees up his review of the 417e with a reminder that despite the appealing vintage aesthetic of a sunburst-top slope-shoulder dreadnought, under the hood, things are a bit different sonically.

“[Taylor is] very much at ease with the notion that their guitars are alternatives to more traditional fare and perceived in some quarters as ‘modern’ sounding — which in Taylor’s case is generally shorthand for meticulous balance between high, middle, and low registers, immaculate intonation, and easy-on-the-engineer recordability.”

Saufley found the guitar to be bright sounding for a dread — as a comparison, he calls it “louder, brighter, and less dusty” than a Gibson J-45 — but bright in a way that creates a balanced response many players will appreciate.

“None of that top-end frequency emphasis results in harshness or stridency. And for all the push in those toppier ends of the frequency spectrum, each of the highest strings exhibits contoured attack and a soft decay…. The combination of soft attack, extra sustain, and gentle decay results in great balance — almost as if you put studio compression on a recording of the instrument.”

He awarded the guitar 5/5 stars for playability (“as nice as you will find on a flattop”) and applauded its musical versatility: “…its dynamic and touch-sensitive qualities combine with its volume and headroom to make it well-suited to nuanced fingerstyle every bit as much as hard and heavy strumming.” 

512ce 12-Fret, 552ce

Peghead Nation’s Teja Gerken reviewed a pair of new Grand Concert models from our expanded Urban Ironbark/torrefied spruce 500 Series: the 6-string 512ce 12-Fret and 12-string 552ce. Gerken is a seasoned fingerstyle player, so both small-body guitars were in his wheelhouse. He loved the 12-fret.

“The 512ce 12-Fret was a fabulous fingerstyle guitar — incredibly responsive, with an assertive midrange that gave it great presence, and excellent tonal balance,” he writes. “As with other Taylor 12-frets I’ve played, this version of the 512ce had a warmer and fuller bass than the 14-fret version.”

The 12-string/12-fret 552ce was also a winner for its effortless playability.

“Players who have felt in the past that a 12-string is too hard to play owe it to themselves to try one of the Taylor grand concerts, as the combination of the small body, short scale, and excellent setup results in an instrument that is easier to play than many six-strings. Barre chords up the neck? Not a problem. Electric guitar–style lead lines? Easily done. I’m used to playing an older Taylor [Jumbo] 355 12-string (which also plays very nicely), but the 552ce should win an award for how friendly on the fingers it is.”

Tonally, he was a fan of the guitar’s balance and rich character, though he did acknowledge that the smaller body size couldn’t compete with the dynamic range of bigger body if a player had a heavy attack or dropped into a lower tuning. “However, in settings where tonal precision — whether due to the guitar’s excellent intonation or just its ability to facilitate clean playing — is more important than raw acoustic power, it’s hard to imagine a player not falling in love with the guitar.”


Gerken also sampled a third 500 Series model launched alongside the two Grand Concerts: the Grand Pacific 517e, also featuring Urban Ironbark back and sides with a torrefied spruce top (not to be confused with our previously released Builder’s Edition 517e, which features mahogany back and sides). This time he also enlisted flatpicker Jim Nunally for his accompanying demo video to explore the guitar’s response to a range of playing styles.

“Every Grand Pacific we’ve played has had a great flatpicking voice, and the 517e is no exception,” Gerken writes. “The guitar’s torrefied top may have helped it handle an aggressive attack, and Jim and I agreed that it yielded excellent tones when strummed or flatpicked. While it may not have the opulent overtones of a 70-year old dreadnought, it has a clarity and balance that is often absent from a large guitar. Naturally, its playability was finger-friendly, and it has enough versatility to be a satisfying fingerstyle guitar.”

Gerken suggests that players considering a rosewood Grand Pacific model should play and compare this guitar with models like the rosewood/spruce 417e or Builder’s Edition 717e.


We recently began to offer Grand Concert models within our 100 and 200 Series, including the new 112ce-S, which sports layered sapele back and sides paired with a solid Sitka spruce top. Crafted at our factory in Mexico (an hour away from our El Cajon headquarters), the guitar delivers signature Taylor quality with clean, simple appointments that make it accessibly priced ($799 U.S.) for players on a budget.

We sent one to the review crew at Premier Guitar, and they were impressed by the build quality, feel and sound.

“[It] manages to sparkle sonically but also feels incredibly comfortable and impeccably playable in ways that you see in much more expensive instruments,” writes Charles Saufley…. The way it fits more naturally against the body lends itself to more nuanced playing techniques…. At times, it genuinely feels like an extension of your own body.”

Saufley also loved the inviting playability of the neck. “Expressive moves like finger vibrato feel natural and easy. And like the rest of the guitar, the neck feels conceived to eliminate playing fatigue. In concert with the low action it makes playing for hours a breeze.”

With the Grand Concert body, Saufley felt they guitar responded best to a lighter attack. “It really excels in the fingerstyle realm. The guitar’s midrange leanings give the third, fourth, and fifth strings a snappy reaction to a soft touch. The top two strings ring with a warm, chimey glow around pronounced transients. And the bottom string blooms with overtones that surround a round and robust transient attack. It’s a beautifully balanced instrument in this setting. It awakens and enlivens chord melodies that move up and down the length of the neck.”

If playing with a pick, Saufley recommended a thin flatpick with a light touch. “Played this way, it’s easy to hear how the 112cs-S would shine amid stacked rhythm parts on a recording or when tracking alternate, overdubbed chord voicings with a capo.”

The verdict: “For just under 800 bucks, the Taylor 112ce-S is, in most respects, a steal. And while it’s effectively an entry-level Taylor, I would have no qualms about touring or recording with this thoughtfully executed grand concert.”

Taylor Best of 2023 Models

In addition to individual guitar reviews, many guitar media outlets compile regular “Best Guitar” lists for various guitar categories. Several Taylor models made their way onto lists published so far this year: the mahogany-top Baby Taylor (BT2) (“Best 3/4-size Guitars”); GS Mini-e Koa Bass (“Best Acoustic Bass Guitars”); and 224ce-K DLX (“Best Acoustic Guitars Under $2,000”). Here are highlights of the qualities that stood out for each.

BT2: “Best ¾-size Guitar of 2023”
American Songwriter’s Ethan Webster selected the mahogany-top Baby as the best overall guitar in this travel-size category. Among his comments:

  • » “The instrument is so impeccably designed that none of its competitors can top it.”
  • » “The craftsmanship of the neck and fretboard make this compact guitar an absolute breeze to play.”
  • » “Beginners and pros alike will find it easy to play chords and riffs cleanly on this instrument.”
  • » “If you are looking for a travel instrument that knocks it out of the park, then the Taylor Baby Mahogany BT2 is the right choice.”

GS Mini-e Koa Bass: “Best Acoustic Bass Guitars of 2023”
In Guitar World’s Buyer’s Guide, Chris Corfield featured the guitar as their number one choice in his roundup of the best acoustic bass guitars of 2023. He says it’s a great guitar if you want a small-scale with ace electronics and gave it a five star rating. He highlights Taylor’s quality and craftsmanship and says it has a big sound despite having a small body:

  • » “It’s compact, easy to take around and most of all it sounds great.”
  • » “The koa makes it sound warm and mellow, but with lots of clarity and detail. It’s also heaps of fun to play.”
  • » “The GS Mini-e Bass packs in a huge sound from its smaller body.”
  • » “Overall levels of build quality and craftsmanship are on-par with what you’d expect from Taylor.”

224ce-K DLX: “Best Acoustic Guitars Under $2,000”: Noah Kemp spotlights the 224ce-K DLX, featuring a solid koa top and layered koa back and sides, as a premium guitar that’s great for big stages. He calls it an “exceptionally well-made instrument” that yields stunning, pure, natural tone, whether you’re playing it unplugged or electronically.” Among his other comments:

  • » “Practical for musicians who need to perform on amplified stages.”
  • » “The guitar’s tone is suitable for many playing styles, and the feel of the guitar provides exquisite playability.”
  • » “If you’re looking to make a long-term investment in a fantastic sounding, feeling (and looking) acoustic guitar, the Taylor is a great pick.”
Fretboard with strings of a Taylor 326ce Baritone-8 Special Edition acoustic-electric guitar

Party of Eight

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Our sonically captivating 8-string baritone makes a special return appearance

Here’s a treat for fans of alternate tunings, creators of experimental soundscapes, and seekers of fresh inspiration: the Taylor 8-string baritone is back.

First introduced in 2009 with the classic rosewood/spruce tonewood pairing, the Taylor Baritone-8 has reappeared in the lineup now and then over the years to enthrall players with its singular musical character. We’re excited to bring it back as the 326ce Baritone-8 Special Edition, which you’ll find in stores now.

This version takes the form of our bigger Grand Symphony shape outfitted with back, sides and top of solid neo-tropical mahogany. Due to the unique voicing profile of the guitar, Andy Powers opted for our traditional Venetian-style cutaway rather than the distinctive soundport cutaway typically featured with the Grand Symphony body style.

Players will immediately notice the longer-than-standard 27-inch scale length, which accommodates the guitar’s heavier-gauge strings and lower frequency range. The guitar is tuned from B to B, and can be set to standard tuning by placing a capo at the fifth fret. Perhaps its most interesting feature is the octave pairing of its third and fourth strings (D and A), which generates a touch of 12-string-esque shimmer and adds an extra dimension of sonic texture to the baritone’s rich, deep voice.

Upon its original release in 2009, Bob Taylor was effusive in his praise for what an 8-string version of a baritone guitar had to offer.

“It’s a whole new ballgame,” he said in the fall 2009 (Vol. 61) edition of Wood&Steel. “It’s cool because you can either accentuate those octaves or stay away from them. The beauty of this guitar is that it goes low and those two strings brighten it up, but they don’t sound too ‘octave-y.’ It doesn’t give you that [full] 12-string effect — it really just extends the range because, as a baritone, the octaves aren’t out of the range of a normal acoustic guitar sound. It just fills the guitar out; it gives it a nicer spread.”

With its all-mahogany construction and the large air capacity of the Grand Symphony body, this 326ce serves up a big, brawny midrange punch that remains focused and balanced across its range, curbing the ringing overtones for a clean low-register tone. The hardwood top helps take the edges off the attack, making its response more manageable for recording purposes and dynamic play despite its muscular baritone sound.

Players have used our 8-string baritone guitars for a fascinating array of musical applications — acoustic heavy metal arrangements, chord embellishments, walking basslines alongside melodies and more. It’s also especially useful for vocalists, as those with a lower singing register will appreciate the baritone’s more accommodating range. And as a songwriting tool, the bari-8 offers a fresh sonic palette to explore.

Visual appointments for the 326ce Baritone-8 Special Edition reflect its place in our 300 Series, starting with the dark satin stain with an edgeburst treatment to complement the duskier color of the mahogany body. Other details include black binding with a matching three-ring rosette and pickguard, satin black tuners, a traditional Venetian cutaway, and Gemstone fretboard inlays in Italian acrylic. Onboard ES2 electronics guarantee clear, authentic plugged-in sound, and the guitar includes a deluxe hardshell case for protection.

Thanks to its unique configuration and near-endless array of musical possibilities, this is a guitar that must be seen, played and heard in person to fully appreciate of its capabilities. You’ll find it at authorized Taylor dealers now.

Lead image of a woman sitting on a sidewalk outdoors playing a Taylor 417e acoustic-electric guitar

Rosewood Rebirth

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A striking sunburst signals the latest evolution of Taylor’s workhorse 400 Series

While the Taylor 400 Series has reliably delivered consistency, versatility and utility to working musicians for decades, in typical Taylor fashion, the series has evolved quite a bit over the years.

Back in the late 1990s, the 400 Series became Taylor’s home for African ovangkol, a unique tonewood that hadn’t been commonly featured in the landscape of American acoustic guitar making, but whose musical virtues made it a compelling alternative to Indian rosewood. Our ovangkol/spruce 414ce went on to become an immensely popular Taylor model.

Years later, in 2016, we found ourselves in a position to bring rosewood to the 400s, offering it alongside ovangkol as a second tonewood option. Presented in a more streamlined appointment scheme than other premium rosewood series in the Taylor line like the flagship 800 Series or more luxurious 900 Series, the guitars gave gigging and recreational players the classic rosewood/spruce tonal palette in a more accessible form. Chief designer Andy Powers was happy to be able to make rosewood available in the series.

“There’s a reason why rosewood and spruce have been a primary flattop acoustic guitar choice for decades,” he says. “Rosewood doesn’t have much of a damping factor, so you play a note and the whole guitar responds. It’s got that beautiful, articulate clarity on the top end, a strong midrange, and that clear, bell-like low end. A spruce and rosewood guitar will get you through almost any musical situation where you could use an acoustic guitar.”

A few years later, Andy’s V-Class bracing architecture further refined the rosewood sound within the series, and by 2021, rosewood had become the sole back and side wood, with the series represented by two models: the Grand Auditorium 414ce-R and Grand Concert 412ce-R. This year, we felt that guitars as musically striking as these also deserved a visual makeover to match their beautiful sonic profile.

“The 400 Series has a slightly more robust sound. The 800 Series is a bit more high-fidelity.”

Andy Powers

The result is a trio of new rosewood/spruce models, continuing the 414ce and 412ce (we dropped the R from the names since the models are exclusively rosewood), as well as an all-new Grand Pacific dreadnought 417e, a first for this family of guitars.

Each features our tone-enhancing V-Class interior bracing, which dials up more dynamic range, longer sustain and cleaner harmonic agreement between notes for a more in-tune sound across the fretboard.

Players looking for an ideal all-purpose guitar will appreciate the 414ce, while those who lean toward fingerstyle play or recording applications might favor the responsive and focused smaller-body 412ce. If you’re in the mood for power and a more seasoned tone with old-school acoustic vibes, the 417e is the one for you.

New Sunburst, New Inlays

The most obvious changes for this iteration of the 400 Series are aesthetic, starting with the rich tobacco sunburst top treatment, which positively glows under the body’s gloss finish. White binding with black and white top purfling give these guitars a pristine visual edge that contrasts beautifully with the dusky finish. Andy Powers has also designed a new Finial inlay pattern for these models, drawn to evoke the decorative flourishes from carpentry and architecture for which it’s named.

Sonically, players can expect a similar tone profile to other rosewood/spruce models such as the legacy 400 Series guitars and our 800 Series. That said, along with the aesthetic variations between the 400 and 800 Series, subtle differences in tone set the two apart.

“The 400 Series has a slightly more robust sound,” Andy says. “The 800 Series is a bit more high-fidelity.”

You’ll hear all the top-end clarity and articulation you’d expect from that tonewood combination, along with the familiar rich, throaty (yet clear) low-end response. A slightly scooped midrange means these guitars are exceptionally friendly when placed in the mix with other sounds, blending in seamlessly alongside other instruments and vocals. And with ES2 electronics included in every model, you’re guaranteed clean, faithful amplified acoustic tone whenever you need to plug in.

According to Andy, the evolution of the 400 Series has a great deal to do with being able to offer a classic rosewood/spruce guitar to a larger group of musicians, including those for whom the complexity and visual detailing of our 800 or 900 Series models makes those guitars a bit too precious for everyday use.

“In my eyes, there’s still a place in the world for a guitar with that classic tonewood pairing, with beautiful aesthetics, that doesn’t have as much of the complicated woodworking that puts an 800 Series guitar in the upper echelon what Taylor is doing,” Andy says.

With those changes, the 400 Series makes a time-tested sonic profile more accessible, while also elevating the visual appeal for players who intend to show off the goods before audiences.

As useful for live performance as they are for recording applications, the new 400 Series remains an ideal choice for a broad swath of players, and are sure to impress anyone seeking a versatile acoustic that also happens to look fantastic in any situation. You’ll find the guitars at authorized Taylor dealers.

Image of American Dream Series AD27e acoustic-electric guitar with edgeburst finish standing upright in a living room environment

Dusky Dreams

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A shaded edgeburst and firestripe pickguard bring tasteful vintage touches to a trio of mahogany-topped American Dream models

From the beginning, the Taylor American Dream Series has embodied a thoughtfully distilled design philosophy to offer guitar players all the essentials of a great acoustic guitar — playing comfort, clear, full-voiced sound, built-to-last craftsmanship — at a price that delivers great value. Made in our U.S. factory, the series features all-solid-wood construction, tone-enhancing bracing and an understated approach to aesthetic appointments. The results have been popular with guitarists of all stripes.

Focusing on the essentials makes it easy for us to create new configurations that bring more sonic variety and visual appeal to the series. Already in 2023, we’ve introduced several new American Dream models, starting with this winter’s release of three sunburst-topped guitars featuring backs and sides of solid American walnut paired with spruce. This summer, we’re releasing another trio of guitars that pair sapele back and sides with mahogany tops.

This round of models includes the Grand Pacific AD27e, Grand Concert AD22e and Grand Theater AD21e. Technically, the AD27e and AD22e made their debut last fall, but they’ve been updated with an artfully hand-sprayed full-body shaded edgeburst and heelburst on the neck, along with our popular firestripe pickguard. The AD21e, meanwhile, marks the second GT body style to join the American Dream Series. All three guitars feature mahogany necks, eucalyptus fretboards, comfort-enhancing chamfered body edges, a thin matte finish that supports the dark, organic aesthetic, nickel tuners and onboard ES2 electronics.

Grand Pacific AD27e

With its warm, seasoned tone, classic vibes and broad musical utility, the Grand Pacific dreadnought body shape has always been an ideal fit with the American Dream Series philosophy. Keen observers will note that the new AD27e follows a handful of other Grand Pacific models, such as the AD17e-SB, the AD17e Blacktop, and the all-maple AD27e Flametop. This iteration boasts a hardwood top that lends a touch of natural compression to smooth out an aggressive attack, generating a focused sound with controlled overtones and a generous low-end response. The AD27e includes V-Class bracing for improved volume and sustain, adding up to a sound that’s especially ideal for strummers and singer-songwriters.

Grand Concert AD22e

Sporting a compact yet full-scale frame, the AD22e offers an accommodating feel that’s sure to appeal to a wide range of players. With its woody, warm response and dry, focused character, this Grand Concert is sure to entice fingerstyle players and anyone interested in recording applications. But with its articulation and tone-enhancing V-Class bracing, it makes a versatile tool that’s likely to inspire anyone seeking player-friendly proportions, especially if you’re drawn to the dark, rootsy aesthetic.

Grand Theater AD21e

If you like to prioritize playability and portability, you’re likely to match up well with the AD21e. Its scaled-down frame, which splits the difference between the full-size Grand Concert and the smaller GS Mini, delivers all the volume and projection you’d look for in a larger guitar while remaining compact enough to travel well. Under the hood, our C-Class bracing adapts the tone-boosting benefits of our V-Class scheme to the more petite body, coaxing out more power and sustain while amplifying the bass range for a warmer, fuller sound than you might expect from a smaller guitar.

All three new American Dream Series models include a strong yet lightweight AeroCase. You’ll find the new guitars at Taylor dealers this summer.

Header image of four Taylor T5z guitars in natural koa, red, blue, and Tobacco Sunburst colors in a music venue setting

Electric Recharge

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Our hybrid T5z gets an elegant refresh with new visual style and comfort-enhancing contours

For nearly two decades, Taylor’s groundbreaking hybrid electric-acoustic guitars have carved out and held a place all their own in the music world. Thanks to their innovative blend of electric and acoustic pickups, five-way switching and hollowbody construction, these guitars have delivered an unmatched range of sonic flavors and opportunities for diverse musical expression. What began in 2005 as the original T5 evolved into the more compact T5z and its Standard, Classic, Pro and Custom varieties, each with their own combination of striking aesthetic appointments.

This year, we’re happy to reveal a new iteration of the T5z, as Taylor master builder Andy Powers has refined the guitar’s design to offer an even more player-friendly version. The result is a sleeker version that’s more comfortable, and more visually appealing, than ever before.

“All of the changes,” Andy Powers says, “are there to guide the guitar toward an even more comfortable playing experience.”

He started by modifying the T5z’s body, swapping from sapele to our responsibly sourced Urban Ash tonewood. You might recall Urban Ash from its use in the acoustic Builder’s Edition 324ce and as part of our urban wood initiative, which aims to generate value around high-quality materials that would otherwise have gone to waste.

The ash body, in tandem with a subtly thinner carve of the T5z body, produces a noticeably lighter weight that feels breezy and comfortable for guitarists.

The T5z’s edges are also rounded, adding a smoother contour to the body. We’ve adopted what we’re calling “integral” binding for this version, leaving the top edges uncolored for a striking contrast against the T5z’s eye-catching finish. The new binding design also includes an armrest carved into the guitar’s solid-wood top, making for a more seamless, comfortable feel. Black purfling further highlights the attractive new aesthetic approach.

Finally, while the core electronics remain the same, Andy repositioned the T5z’s volume and tone knobs to allow more intuitive tone-shifting on the fly. The knobs themselves are taller and easier to manipulate, and we’ve moved them from above the fretboard extension to below the bridge, where they’ll likely feel more familiar to electric players. As a result, the new T5z features a single F-hole instead of two.

T5z Active Pickup Options

Position 1: Neck humbucker and body sensor
Position 2: Neck humbucker
Position 3: Bridge humbucker
Position 4: Neck/bridge humbuckers in parallel
Position 5: Neck/bridge humbuckers in series 

“The T5z has a unique set of voices, each of which offers something unique to players,” Andy says about the T5z update. “We felt it was best to keep the signature sonic aspects of the design in line with that heritage. And who doesn’t want a more comfortable guitar?”

Players can still count on the same astonishing range of tones that have always been the hallmark of our electric-acoustic hybrids. The T5z boasts a magnetic acoustic body sensor, a visible humbucker at the bridge, and a concealed humbucker at the neck position. Five-way switching lets you swap between active pickups, letting you access mellow acoustic sounds, high-octane electric tones and a multitude of options between the two. As with prior models, the new T5z is compatible with both electric and acoustic amplifiers, so you’re equipped to unleash your signature sound no matter the scenario.

New Pro and Custom Models

We’re kicking off this generation of T5z guitars with four new models, headlined by the T5z Custom, which features a figured Hawaiian koa top with a shaded edgeburst and gold hardware. Three T5z Pro models round out the group, offered with figured maple tops in Harbor Blue, Cayenne Red (both with black backs and a shaded edgeburst top) and Tobacco Sunburst finish options, all sporting nickel hardware. All four guitars feature a fast-playing, slender neck with jumbo frets, a comfortable 1-11/16” nut width, medium-gauge strings, a deluxe hardshell case for protection.

One side note: Our T5z Classic models will remain in production this year, retaining their standard design specifications, featuring their original body contours and control knob positioning. 

You’ll find the new T5z models at authorized Taylor dealers this year.

Two Mini Choices

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With a pair of upgraded GS Mini models, we level up rosewood’s look and sound and introduce a sweet new caramel burst.

If you ask any guitarist around the world whether they’ve played a Taylor, you’re likely to get some version of this answer: “Yeah, I love the GS Mini.”

There’s just something about the Mini’s blend of curvy contours and scaled-down size, balancing the comfort and portability of a travel guitar with the bold sound of a full-size instrument. It’s fun and inviting, unpretentious, and in many ways, the ultimate everyday, take-me-anywhere guitar.

That broad “couch to campfire to the concert hall” appeal also makes the GS Mini Series a creative playground for our guitar designers, who get to explore available stocks of tonewoods and new feature ideas for fresh combinations of sound and aesthetics to deploy. That’s why there always seem to be a couple of interesting new GS Mini prototypes on guitar hooks in our product development meeting room at the Taylor factory.

This year, two new models join our diverse family: the GS Mini-e Rosewood Plus and the GS Mini-e Special Edition Caramel Burst.

GS Mini-e Rosewood Plus

Back/Side Wood: Layered Indian Rosewood

Top Wood: Sitka Spruce

Neck: Neo-Tropical Mahogany

Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony

Nut Width: 1-11/16”

Scale Length: 23-½”

Electronics: ES2

Guitar Protection: Brown AeroCase

Rosewood Refined

The GS Mini Rosewood introduced layered rosewood to our family of short-scale guitars, and it’s been a hit with players of virtually every type. Rosewood’s rich visual character and mottled chocolate hues make a bold visual statement, and when paired with a solid Sitka spruce top, the guitar delivers a punchy, vibrant sound that performs beautifully in almost any application.

Now, we’re elevating that presentation with the new GS Mini-e Rosewood Plus, bolstering that layered rosewood/solid spruce pairing with premium aesthetic and performance enhancements.

Like its counterpart in the GS Mini family, the GS Mini-e Koa Plus, this model sports a gloss-finish body (upgraded from the standard matte finish), giving it a lustrous sheen that’s worthy of the stage. Nickel tuning machines replace the standard die-cast chrome tuners from the standard edition, adding a subtle touch that dials up the Plus model’s aesthetic character.

The most notable performance upgrade is the inclusion of ES2 electronics, which replace the ES-B pickup and preamp unit that comes standard in most GS Mini guitars. The ES2, our behind-the-saddle acoustic pickup featured in the vast majority of our American-made full-scale guitars, is precisely configured to deliver clarity and balance for plugged-in applications, letting you run your GS Mini through an amplifier or PA for a sound that’s totally faithful to its acoustic resonance and sparkle. The GS Mini-e Rosewood Plus features the standard three-knob, volume-bass-treble controls found in other ES2-equipped guitars.

We’ve also upgraded the carrying case for the new Plus model from a padded gig bag to our AeroCase, an innovative, ultra-light bag/case hybrid that offers the protection of a traditional hardshell case at one-third the weight.

GS Mini-e Special Edition Caramel Burst

Back/Side Wood: Layered Sapele

Top Wood: Sitka Spruce

Neck: Neo-Tropical Mahogany

Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony

Nut Width: 1-11/16”

Scale Length: 23-½”

Electronics: ES-B 

Guitar Protection: Tan Structured Gig Bag

Candy Caramel

Taylor fans have seen a lot of interesting burst finishes introduced across our guitar line in recent years, and this year’s GS Mini-e Special Edition Caramel Burst adds another distinctive visual flavor to the mix.

This model features backs and sides of layered sapele paired with a solid Sitka spruce top, a time-tested wood combination that yields clear, dynamic sound suited to a wide range of playing styles and genres.

The top’s Caramel Burst transitions from rich, tawny brown around the outer edges to a sweet ochre hue around the soundhole. A thin matte finish gives the burst a rootsy, vintage flair.

Other standard features include a structured tan gig bag with backpack straps for hands-free carrying convenience and our ES-B electronics with a built-in digital tuner, volume control and three-band EQ.

Look for both of these new GS Mini models and others within the series at a Taylor dealer near you.

Review Roundup: Koa 724ce

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See why guitar pundits are raving about our new 700 Series models, featuring select-grade koa.

The verdict is unanimous — critics love the look, feel and sound of our new all-koa Grand Auditorium.


Following the launch of our redesigned koa 700 Series in May, guitar reviews have been rolling in from many of the MI world’s media outlets. We sent reviewers the Grand Auditorium 724ce model. Across the board, the reactions were overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a sampling of what the critics are saying.

Guitarist magazine (UK) published a 6-page review in its summer edition, including rich detail photos that captured the natural beauty of the guitar’s select-grade koa and appointment details. Writer Neville Marten gave the guitar a 9/10 score and a Guitarist Choice Award, citing the guitar’s “virtually unmatched build, fit and finish,” “fantastic playability,” and “organic and rewarding tones.” Among the highlights from his writeup:

On build/materials: “Examine our 724ce with a magnifying glass and we’d challenge you to find a flaw…. The move towards this beautiful and sustainable timber, too, must be applauded.”

On the playing comfort: “The action is low and slinky, and its strings feel tactile and unresisting under the fingertips. The neck’s nut width is great for easy open chording and all those ‘twiddly bits’ we pickers love to throw in.”

On the sound: Marten called out the guitar’s “warm and welcoming” voice: “There’s no thunderous bass evident, but more of a balanced lower-mid hum that ties in very musically with the musical upper-mids and sweet trebles that the guitar exhibits…. Fingerpicked tones are crisp and direct, while strumming with a medium pick elicits a wash of finely tuned chords that makes the perfect bed to any vocal performance, but wouldn’t be obtrusive in the context of other acoustic instruments.” 

Wrapping up, Neville had this to say: “If [Andy] Powers and his team continue to create instruments that look, play and sound as good as this one, then there’ll be no stopping this company.”


In Premier Guitar’s September edition, Jason Shadrick immediately picked up on the tactile sensation of the guitar’s ultra-thin finish: “It’s so thin that you can feel the pores in the wood, and [it] arguably adds to the instrument’s liveliness.” 

Sonically, he said the tone profile reminded him of “a modern, midrangey dreadnought with more focus.”

“The koa tones are complex and nuanced,” he writes, “with a little touch of mahogany midrange and maple sparkle…. It’s balanced in a way that would fit in with a broad range of styles. When I played a bit harder with a pick, I could sense how the koa top and, most likely, the bracing tweaks widened the dynamic range, and enhanced the guitar’s responsiveness.”

In his July review for Peghead Nation, Teja Gerken says this: “The 724ce has a great, open-sounding low end that works particularly well for big chords or lowered tunings, and I quickly found myself exploring some fingerstyle playing in open-D tuning. The guitar’s overall tonal quality is a bit ‘looser’ than most Taylor grand auditoriums, and I really liked its response and warmth. Naturally, it has Taylor’s typical precision setup, and the guitar played beautifully all the way into the cutaway…. Whether you think of it as a revamped 700 or a stripped-down Koa Series, the result is a very cool guitar that has its own look, feel and sound.”


Vintage Guitar’s Pete Prown loved the guitar’s look (“Visually, the 724ce is a dazzler”) and uber-playability: “In fine Taylor tradition, the guitar has fast setup with low action, ready for your quickest licks up the neck.” On its sound: “Acoustically, the V-bracing exudes a warmer, traditional sound, unlike the trebly ‘Taylor sound’ of the 1990s and 2000s…. With strumming or fingerpicking, the bottom end is nuanced perfectly with the upper strings for a sweet, sophisticated tone, especially for a cutaway.” 

Prown also loved the amplified tone. “Plugged in, its ES-2 is one of the stars of the show….After decades of plastic-y sound from plugged-in acoustics, the ES-2 is a revelation and hopefully a harbinger of more organic acoustic-electric flavors to come.” 

Over at Acoustic Guitar magazine (November/December edition), Adam Perlmutter called the 724ce the most balanced-sounding koa guitar he’s ever played, with these additional reactions to the sound: “With an impressive midrange and a tight low end that’s never mushy or boomy, it has the characteristic warmth and sweetness that comes with a hardwood-topped instrument.” 

“The guitar’s overall tone is crisp and dry, with a rich midrange that seems to connect the bass and treble notes into a single sound. There is exceptional low-end clarity, which is especially good for flatpicked bass note runs in standard tuning or fingerpicked parts in open tunings.

“The treble range is where the 724ce seems particularly special…. Where many koa guitars can sound a little brittle and zingy on the high end, the guitar’s upper strings ring with a lacy high-end sweetness and a snappy, quick response that is also smooth and refined. To make a visual analogy, the 724ce’s treble response is bright and warm like an Edison bulb, compared to the harshness of a corner store’s LED lights that some other koa guitars project.”

Finally, Guitar Player’s Jimmy Leslie echoed others’ admiration of the guitar’s visual virtues. (“Take the 724ce out of its case and the only thought that crosses the mind is, ‘Gorgeous!’”) He also picked up on the impact of the thin finish on the guitar’s sound. 

“It’s lighter and far less dampened than the established Koa Series. It takes very little pick energy to set the 724’s top in motion, and its sensitivity facilitates extreme nuance. It’s very player reflective, capable of a wide variety of tones from mellow to bright depending on the attack…. If you like your instrument lively and sensitive to subtlety, the 724ce delivers.”

Guitar Spotlight

Ashes, Two Ashes

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A pair of handsome limited-edition Urban Ash models spotlights the wood’s virtues in a whole new way.

After making its debut with our Builder’s Edition 324ce back in early 2020, Urban Ash has delivered resounding proof that quality tonewoods not only exist half a world away — they grow right here in Taylor’s own backyard. Though we’ll always love building guitars with classic, time-tested woods like Indian rosewood and mahogany, there’s something extra special about being able to offer players an exceptional playing experience using homegrown materials. For Taylor, Urban Ash is more than just a great tonewood — it’s a major step forward in our mission to develop more sustainable ways of building guitars.

What is Urban Ash?

Urban Ash is our name for wood from Shamel ash trees, which are also known as evergreen ash. It’s a species that was widely planted in areas of Southern California after World War II as a fast-growing shade tree in conjunction with new housing developments. As is the case with other tree species in urban and residential areas, ash trees eventually need to be removed, whether because they’ve reached the end of their natural life cycle or they’re posing a public safety risk.

Previously, these ash trees would be sold for firewood or otherwise disposed of. That’s where Taylor comes in. Through our collaboration with the experienced tree care professionals at West Coast Arborists (detailed elsewhere in this issue), Taylor sources guitar-grade wood from those ash trees.

Urban Ash, it turns out, is ideally suited for guitar-making: Its properties are similar to high-grade mahogany, and it’s easily workable into the shapes and cuts needed for building acoustic instruments. Urban Ash’s musical attributes include a bold midrange response and a strong focus on the fundamental note.

To date, we’ve used Urban Ash as a back-and-side wood in the aforementioned Builder’s Edition 324ce and our compact GT/GTe Urban Ash twins. Now, we get to expand the role of Urban Ash in the acoustic world with our first two guitars featuring solid ash tops, serving up new visual presentations and musical possibilities for players.

424ce LTD

Back/Sides: Urban Ash

Top: Urban Ash

Body Shape: Grand Auditorium

Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony

Bracing: V-Class

Nut Width: 1-3/4”

Scale Length: 25-1/2”

Electronics: ES2

Protection: Deluxe Brown Hardshell Case

Our 400 Series embodies cross-genre musical utility, so it felt like the perfect place to introduce this Urban Ash Grand Auditorium with similarly broad musical applications.

In addition to an all-ash body, we chose to showcase ash’s natural blonde complexion, revealing the rich character of the wood grain and a subtle range of creamy hues.

Inside the guitar, our tone-enhancing V-Class bracing coaxes more of the natural sonic properties of the ash, which, in this case, means more of the dry, mahogany-esque midrange response players might have heard from the Builder’s Edition 324ce. Like its more common hardwood-top counterparts, Urban Ash yields a clear focus on the note you play, offering exceptional balance across the frequency spectrum.

Sonically, the real difference in this model comes with the ash top. Players can expect some of the natural compression that usually comes with hardwood tops, an effect that takes the edge off the initial attack for a smoother, more refined punch. But as chief guitar designer Andy Powers discovered in the wood-selection process for this model, Urban Ash is not merely a replacement for mahogany. Though its tone profile is similar, the ash’s somewhat lighter average weight gives it a breezier character when used as a top wood.

“There’s a pretty fair range of density when it comes to mahogany,” he says. “Generally speaking, Urban Ash is comparable to the middle and lighter weight range of mahogany, which lends it an open, airy quality.”

Visually, a gloss finish adds an elegant luster to the ash body. Our Renaissance fretboard and peghead inlays in Italian acrylic reflect the guitar’s affiliation with our 400 Series, while other distinctive touches — black binding, satin black tuners, a black pickguard and a black 3-ring rosette — add striking counterpoints against the blonde ash body.

224ce-UA DLX LTD

Back/Sides: Layered Urban Ash

Top: Urban Ash

Body Shape: Grand Auditorium

Fretboard: West African Crelicam Ebony

Bracing: Forward Shifted X

Nut Width: 1-11/16”

Scale Length: 25-1/2”

Electronics: ES2

Protection: Deluxe Brown Hardshell Case

Our other all-ash limited-edition Grand Auditorium pairs a solid Urban Ash top with layered ash back and sides. Layered woods allow us to combine durable construction with the ability to use premium wood veneers. In this case, the layered ash back and sides boast beautiful figure, and both the body and neck sport a rich tobacco sunburst.

Tonally, you can expect the signature musical versatility of the Grand Auditorium body style, an easily adaptable sound that performs equally well when strummed, flatpicked or fingerpicked. Again, it’s the Urban Ash soundboard that really sets this model apart, generating a woody, dry response with a touch of compression to balance out a dynamic attack.

“The top has a unique flavor reminiscent of a traditional mahogany top with a light and vibrant twist,” Andy says.

Visually, the tobacco sunburst together with the gloss-finish body serve up eye-catching stage presence. Supporting appointments include gold Taylor tuning machines, a faux tortoiseshell pickguard, white binding, a single-ring Italian acrylic rosette and Small Diamond fretboard inlays in Italian acrylic. In terms of feel, players might appreciate the slightly narrower fretboard on this model (1-11/16 inches), which will make fretting a bit easier for developing guitarists or players with smaller hands.

Look for both of these limited-edition Urban Ash guitars at authorized Taylor dealers this fall.