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Guitar Spotlight: Builder’s Edition 614ce

Builder's Edition 614ce

Ever since the release of our V-Class bracing in early 2018, we’ve been working on new ways to integrate the tone-driving power of that design into guitars with different tonewoods and features. Though it’s popular among pro and studio guitarists, maple isn’t always the first tonewood a casual player will think of when it comes to acoustic guitars—but the Builder’s Edition 614ce does its part to level the playing field.

Builder’s Edition 614ce Specs & Features

The Builder’s Edition 614ce arrives following a pair of key innovations devised by master guitar designer Andy Powers and the rest of the luthiery braintrust here at Taylor. First was the dramatic revoicing of the 600 Series back in 2015, when we tweaked the design of all our maple guitars to add greater warmth and produce a more seasoned tone, in part to push back on the idea that maple guitars are necessarily bright or trebly.

Second was the addition of V-Class bracing to the Taylor family, which has since found a home in Grand Auditorium and Grand Concert guitars all across the Taylor solid-wood lineup, including the maple 600 Series. V-Class bracing, which overcomes some of the limitations of traditional X-bracing, alters the way the guitar’s top vibrates, producing louder volume and longer sustain from each note.

Notable features of the Builder’s Edition 614ce include:

  • Back and sides of solid figured Big Leaf maple
  • Solid torrefied Sitka spruce top
  • V-Class bracing
  • Beveled armrest
  • Contoured body edges
  • Double-carved cutaway
  • Silent Satin finish
  • Gotoh 510 tuners
  • ES2 electronics
  • Natural or Wild Honey Burst finish options

The Builder’s Edition 614ce in Action

The first thing I noticed when I sat down to demo this guitar was its volume. Sound practically leaps out of this guitar, whether you’re playing cowboy chords with a pick or arpeggios around the 12th fret with your fingertips. That said, I also found it to have a very dynamic response, allowing me to play softly without losing definition or articulation. Part of that comes from the way V-Class bracing opens up maple’s tone and makes the guitar more expressive; it’s also the torrefied spruce top, which opens up with the roasting process and becomes more touch-sensitive. Check out Trey Hensley’s demo on the Builder’s Edition 614ce below for a sample.

 

Tonally, this Builder’s Edition lives up to its name, producing a sweet, warm sound that Andy Powers sought to amplify when he revoiced the 600 Series even before V-Class bracing was around. Chords have plenty of body, and the guitar has just enough low-end presence to give it a nice woody sound that isn’t too bright. Maple by nature has plenty of top-end response already, and this model strikes a nice balance between that vibrant treble range and a surprising amount of mid- to low-range power. You’ll feel the chords in your chest, but you can also pull off delicate lead lines with a tone that blends well with a mix of other instruments.

Maple guitars also tend to be very player-reflective, and that remains true of this Grand Auditorium model. Where rosewood might augment a player’s style with its deep voice, maple tends to let your own unique inflections and technique shine through, giving you a level of control over your sound that you might not find in guitars made from other tonewoods. This makes it a great choice for players working in the studio—the 614ce is an excellent recording guitar, and V-Class bracing essentially erases any of the intonation issues a high-level session player might have had to play around with another guitar.

For me, where this guitar really shines is in how it feels in your hands. The armrest on the lower bout makes it easy to sit and play—you won’t find that deep groove in your strumming arm when you’re done, and resting your arm on that edge won’t affect the motion of your picking. The body contours are another nice touch—there’s really not a spot on this guitar where the design gets in the way of your playing. The same is true of the compound cutaway design, which I found makes playing on the high frets even easier, since no matter how high up you go, you shouldn’t have to change the position of your fretting hand just to get enough strength to press down a string. In that way, it almost feels like an electric guitar, and if you’re used to playing an axe, you’ll likely appreciate this 614ce’s smooth lines and ergonomic feel. That kind of comfort matters with acoustic guitars—the more relaxed you are, the better you’ll play.

 

The Builder’s Edition 614ce Is Great For…

Taylor guitars are versatile by design, but the unique sound of maple makes this model perfect for players who will be playing into a recording interface or a condenser microphone. It’s also a great option for players who like being front-and-center in a mix; if you’re playing with other musicians or picking out intricate lead lines, the Builder’s Edition 614ce will make sure you’re heard loud and clear.

This guitar’s voice depends on who picks it up, how they play it, and what they play on it. -Andy Powers

For generalists who like to tour different genres and styles, a maple guitar like this one has an almost chameleonic appeal, easily adaptable to different musical scenarios. It’s really a Swiss Army knife-guitar—even just using a different type of pick will produce a dramatically different tone. No matter the situation, it inspires the player to show off their best.

Ready to try one yourself? Click to learn more about the Builder’s Edition 614ce and use our Dealer Locator tool to find a shop stocking it near you.