Sometimes, it’s a new batch of eye-catching tonewoods. Other times, it’s an idea for a new visual feature, or a chance to create a new combination of materials. Whatever the inspiration, it’s always exciting when we have the opportunity to release new limited edition guitars, and this season’s offerings offer intrigue and vibrant tone across the lineup.
Back/Sides: Blackheart Sassafras
Top: Sitka Spruce
Our 800 Series Grand Auditorium 814ce guitar has always wowed players with its dynamic response, vibrant tone, and versatility. Here, we’ve taken the opportunity presented by a striking batch of blackheart sassafras to release a limited edition variation on our flagship rosewood/spruce model.
Visually, sassafras is quite distinct—its coloration can vary wildly even between pieces cut from a single tree, but it tends to carry hints of cedar-like blonde with streaks of darker hues, often tinged with an earthy green.
Sonically, sassafras is just as chameleonic. For starters, it blends some of the midrange warmth of mahogany, the top-end sparkle of rosewood, and the clarity of maple. It’s also an incredibly player-reflective tonewood, meaning its response will vary depending on the guitarist’s playing style, as Taylor master guitar designer Andy Powers explains.
“If you play it with a bright attack, it’s a bright wood,” Andy says. “If you play it in a dark way, it’ll respond with this dusky tone. If you play it lyrically, it sounds like it’s whispering or humming. One guitar might sound very different among five players.”
Combined with a solid Sitka spruce top and V-Class bracing under the hood, the 814ce LTD offers a truly unique musical experience. This model shares many appointments with our standard 800 Series guitars, including rosewood edge trim on the top and mother-of-pearl fretboard inlays, but also features West African ebony binding and backstrip instead of maple, adding a contrasting accent against the lighter hues of sassafras and spruce.
512ce 12-Fret LTD
Back/Sides: Hawaiian Koa
Top: Western Red Cedar
For these 500 Series Limited Edition guitars, we jumped on another opportunity to design a pair of models with a tonewood combination that isn’t currently featured in our standard guitar lineup.
Hawaiian koa has become a Taylor mainstay over the years because of its tonal clarity and midrange focus, qualities that make it a phenomenal tonewood for players who record and play in band situations where cutting through a mix is essential. Cedar is a softer wood that produces a warmer, harmonically rich sound, which has made it popular among fingerstyle players and those who tend to play with a light touch. Andy Powers calls the blending of these two woods “a heavenly match.”
First off, we start with a Grand Concert model, featuring our most compact body style and a 12-fret configuration that provides a slinkier, more relaxed feel for the fretting hand and opens up a little more power in the guitar’s midrange. Add in koa’s high-end clarity, cedar’s warmth, and our internal V-Class bracing, and you end up with an incredibly expressive sound.
We’re also releasing a Grand Auditorium to accompany the 12-fret model. The slightly larger body shape adds a bit of depth to the sound, along with volume that will appeal to strummers. Where this guitar truly shines is in its midrange response, with rich overtones that blend for a smoky, melodic, complex sound.
Unique to these models is the four-piece back configuration, featuring what we call a Simons wedge. (It’s named after its creator, Spanish luthier Jorge Simons from Madinter, one of our wood suppliers.) Both Andy and Bob Taylor prefer the symmetrical look of the back’s four-piece bookmatched configuration, featuring a two-piece bookmatched wedge. It also offers structural benefits.
“The four-piece setup gives you a more consistent back plate,” Andy explains. “By using narrower pieces, we have the luxury of matching for grain consistency and stability, rather than being constrained by the wood’s width, or having a center wedge with uneven characteristics from side to side.”
Aesthetically, these models feature the standard 500 Series appointment package, with faux tortoiseshell binding, Century fretboard inlays, and a shaded edgeburst finish that covers the entire body and neck.
214ce-FO DLX LTD
254ce-FO DLX LTD
Back/Sides: Layered Figured Ovangkol
Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
Finally, we round out this batch of limited edition guitars with a new entry in our 200 Series—rather, two new entries, a 6-string and a 12-string, each featuring a solid Sitka spruce top paired with layered ovangkol back and sides. The Grand Auditorium shape lends its versatility and balance here, as the solid top powers robust projection and tonal consistency for a sound that performs beautifully across styles and genres.
You might recognize ovangkol from our 400 Series, where it’s used for the backs and sides of many standard-issue models. This layered variety serves as a delightful choice in the 200 Series, showcasing visually striking figure. Tonally, you can expect the same clarity and articulation from these guitars as you would our other offerings in the series, with aesthetic upgrades that set these limited edition guitars apart from the pack. Appointments include crisp white binding, gold tuners, Small Diamond fretboard inlays in Italian acrylic, and a full-gloss body finish.
Be sure to make your way to an authorized Taylor dealer this fall for a chance to play these guitars.