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814ce — List: $4,378.00 Street: $2,849.00

Guitars & Gear Live: Sweetwater's Mitch Gallagher demos the Taylor 814CE

  • Taylor 814ce

GRAND AUDITORIUM

Tonal Enhancement: More warmth and a looser, more luxurious low end

Andy says: To me the Grand Auditorium 814ce is the quintessential modern acoustic guitar. It’s about the same width as the Dreadnought, but it has a much curvier shape, so its response is completely different. It’s the ultimate general-purpose guitar — you can play fingerstyle, jazz, strum it in front of a band, support a singer, write songs on it, basically use it anywhere you use an acoustic guitar. With these things in mind, I wanted something that had a huge range of possible expression. If I could take one guitar to a gig to cover a variety of different styles, it would be this GA. It’s got the balance, warmth and articulation that I want for a fingerstyle guitar. It has the punch I need to front a band if I’m strumming chords. It has enough top-end power that I could even play lead in a bluegrass band, yet there is enough overall warmth and sweetness that I could play a ballad that my young son could fall asleep to, as the notes don’t have any sharp edges or shrill, nasally spots. What players will probably notice first in this new version is a little more maturity in the midrange. It sounds warmer and older, like an 814 that’s been played a long time. It’s got a loose but powerful low register that doesn’t feel constricted. With the addition of the hybrid Elixir® HD Light string set, this guitar is warm and rich, and yet it can be played to sound powerful with dramatic presence. It’s all within range of your pick or your fingertips.

 

Taylor has made a tradition of celebrating milestone years by looking forward rather than back. Our 40th anniversary year is no different. Guided by the design strokes of luthier Andy Powers and the manufacturing expertise of Bob Taylor, Taylor has reconceived its flagship rosewood/spruce 800 Series, infusing it with a sweeping array of tone-enhancing refinements. Virtually every element of the guitar’s material construction was optimized: bracing, wood thicknesses, glues, finish, strings and acoustic electronics, topped off with a refreshed design aesthetic. The end result is the perfect type of musical celebration: a more inspiring playing experience.

While there are certain core qualities that Andy Powers says he strives to bring to any guitar — volume, sustain, clarity, uniformity of character — one of his driving goals in redesigning the 800 Series was to accentuate the unique characteristics of each different shape. “I want these models to have a family resemblance, but I don’t want them to sound the same,” he says. “I wanted to consider the 812ce, for example, not as it relates to the 810ce, but as it relates to itself.”

The resulting tonal distinctions between each shape, Bob Taylor feels, are far from subtle. “I think players will really enjoy experiencing these new guitars and comparing different models,” he says. “In a way, there’s a rebirth of every one of them.”

 

DESIGN AESTHETIC

 

Binding and Purfling

One classic aesthetic detail for the 800 Series has been light-colored binding, which had evolved over the years from white plastic on Bob Taylor’s early models to figured maple. The light-bound aesthetic was refined this time around to incorporate pale maple without any curl to look sharp and clean.

Andy Powers also put a lot of effort into the purfling layers that complement the binding on the top of the guitar, incorporating a thin ribbon of rosewood between the maple and the spruce top. “It really draws your eye to the body shape, acting like a bold picture frame for it,” Andy says. “Whether the guitar is on a wall or a player is performing with it, you really notice the outline of this guitar in a strong way. I knew I wanted a certain amount of weight to it and thought rosewood would be just perfect.”

 

Inlays

Because the 800 Series has traditionally featured a shell material for the rosette, Andy chose green abalone and framed both edges with rosewood to complement the top trim. A new fretboard inlay motif, featuring mother-of-pearl and named “Element,” was inspired by the diamond-like shape of the different 800 Series inlays over the years. “I knew I wanted to do something that projected a diamond-like silhouette, that didn’t have straight lines, and that had points somewhere,” Andy explains. “And to me it needed to have a certain marriage of organic and elegant qualities. I wanted graceful curves that matched each other well and said a lot to a lot of different people. Depending on who’s looking at it, the perception of what that inlay is varies widely.”

 

Fretboard

The appearance of the ebony fretboards was also carefully considered. Given Taylor’s position as a co-owner of an ebony mill in Cameroon and Bob Taylor’s advocacy for the use of colored ebony to support a more sustainable model of consumption, Bob and Andy agreed that the 800s were an appropriate place to use fretboards with light brown coloration. “If you could stand in an ebony sawmill like ours and look at all the non-black ebony that was being tossed aside like trash it would break your heart,” Bob says. “Not only is it a waste of material, but it’s a waste of some of the most beautiful pieces of wood I’ve ever seen. I’m proud to be able to share this wood with our Taylor family.” As a result, each 800 Series fretboard will project its own unique character. “I love the look,” Andy says. “To me, seeing smoky ebony always looks like a cloudy sky at night.”

 

Pickguard

One of the most dramatic visual distinctions of the new appointment package for the 800s is a switch from our traditional faux tortoise shell pickguard to one made of Indian rosewood. The decision also provides another opportunity to showcase the rosewood-rich heritage of the 800s front and center. The rosewood selected for each pickguard will be matched with the back and sides of the guitar, and the specifications for the grain orientation are arranged at an angle to minimize pick wear.

DESIGN FEATURES

 

Bracing

New advanced performance designs brings out greater warmth, midrange, balance and sustain.

 

Finish Thickness

Our thinner finish proves that, in the end, less is more.

 

Strings

We switched to phosphor bronze strings and worked with ELIXIR® Strings to create a custom-gauge HD Light string set for the Grand Concert and Grand Auditorium.

 

Electronics

The new Expression System® 2 captures more of a guitar's dynamic properties using a breakthrough behind-the-saddle design.

 

 

DESIGN AESTHETIC

 

Binding and Purfling

One classic aesthetic detail for the 800 Series has been light-colored binding, which had evolved over the years from white plastic on Bob Taylor’s early models to figured maple. The light-bound aesthetic was refined this time around to incorporate pale maple without any curl to look sharp and clean.

Andy Powers also put a lot of effort into the purfling layers that complement the binding on the top of the guitar, incorporating a thin ribbon of rosewood between the maple and the spruce top. “It really draws your eye to the body shape, acting like a bold picture frame for it,” Andy says. “Whether the guitar is on a wall or a player is performing with it, you really notice the outline of this guitar in a strong way. I knew I wanted a certain amount of weight to it and thought rosewood would be just perfect.”

 

Inlays

Because the 800 Series has traditionally featured a shell material for the rosette, Andy chose green abalone and framed both edges with rosewood to complement the top trim. A new fretboard inlay motif, featuring mother-of-pearl and named “Element,” was inspired by the diamond-like shape of the different 800 Series inlays over the years. “I knew I wanted to do something that projected a diamond-like silhouette, that didn’t have straight lines, and that had points somewhere,” Andy explains. “And to me it needed to have a certain marriage of organic and elegant qualities. I wanted graceful curves that matched each other well and said a lot to a lot of different people. Depending on who’s looking at it, the perception of what that inlay is varies widely.”

 

Fretboard

The appearance of the ebony fretboards was also carefully considered. Given Taylor’s position as a co-owner of an ebony mill in Cameroon and Bob Taylor’s advocacy for the use of colored ebony to support a more sustainable model of consumption, Bob and Andy agreed that the 800s were an appropriate place to use fretboards with light brown coloration. “If you could stand in an ebony sawmill like ours and look at all the non-black ebony that was being tossed aside like trash it would break your heart,” Bob says. “Not only is it a waste of material, but it’s a waste of some of the most beautiful pieces of wood I’ve ever seen. I’m proud to be able to share this wood with our Taylor family.” As a result, each 800 Series fretboard will project its own unique character. “I love the look,” Andy says. “To me, seeing smoky ebony always looks like a cloudy sky at night.”

 

Pickguard

One of the most dramatic visual distinctions of the new appointment package for the 800s is a switch from our traditional faux tortoise shell pickguard to one made of Indian rosewood. The decision also provides another opportunity to showcase the rosewood-rich heritage of the 800s front and center. The rosewood selected for each pickguard will be matched with the back and sides of the guitar, and the specifications for the grain orientation are arranged at an angle to minimize pick wear.

Starting with the Ultimate Speaker Demo, an ever-increasing number of the GearTunes audio  clips are being tracked using the Radial JCR Reamp. The Reamp was invented by my good friend and colleague John Cuniberti who engineered/co-produced many of Joe Satriani's most infamous recordings.

For GearTunes, reamping allows me to record a track where the guitar "hears" the amp in the room, but initially only the guitar or guitar and effects signal is recorded. This allows me to spend additional time perfecting amp tones and mic placement once I have the performance I'm looking for. One of the byproducts of this process is the creation of GearTunes DI Clips which enable you to play select guitars and effects through your amp by using your mobile device or computer as a reamp device.

For GearTunes DI Clips - and Gear Tune DI Clips ONLY (always found under the DI clips tab for gear that has one), you can play our guitar and effects through your amp. Simply use an unbalanced cable that terminates with an 1/8th inch jack on one end and a 1/4 inch jack on the other. Connect the 1/8th jack to the output of your mobile device or computer and the 1/4 inch jack into the front of your amp. Start off with your amp volume at zero and your mobile device (or computer) volume all the way up to ensure you hit the front end of the amp with enough signal, and then gradually increase the volume of the clean channel on your amp until you reach a level that is not capable of causing damage to your ears or equipment. GearTunes accepts no liability for the use, abuse or misuse of these clips, and playing them into your amp is done exclusively at your own risk.

I am tremendously excited about being able to share GearTunes DI Clips with you as you journey on your quest to find right gear for the music you play! Cheers ~ Doug:)

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