When it comes to acoustic guitars I am pretty much a die-hard Martin and Takamine enthusiast, but I recently stumbled upon a lovely Taylor Grand Auditorium model 214 that really struck my fancy. This model was discontinued in 2013, though there are still similar things in their line-up.
In case you are not familiar with Taylor’s models (like me), the 214 is a mid-size acoustic (somewhere between a dreadnaught and the smaller Taylor Grand Concert) with no cutaway or electronics. It is a comfortable size, with the body measuring around 4 5/8”deep, 16” wide, and 20 long. This guitar has a normal scale length (25 ½ inches), so there should not be a lot of adjustment if you are switching from something else.
This guitar was built in Mexico (like all 2 series instruments) and the body is made from laminated rosewood, and the top is made from solid spruce with forward shifted braces. The top has a glossy finish and the back and sides have a smooth satin finish. The top and back are multi-ply bound with black and blindingly white plastic, and there is a faux tortoise shell pickguard.
This Taylor’s unbound neck has 20 frets, 14 of which are free from the body. The neck is sapele, sort of like mahogany, with an ebony fretboard (the bridge is ebony too). There is a very pretty Indian rosewood peghead overlay and a black plastic trussrod cover. The nut is 1 11/16” wide and it has a Nubone nut to match the compensated bridge saddle. The chrome-plated sealed tuners hold well, though I wish they were nickel, which looks so much classier. The neck also has a satin finish, felt broken in right out of the box.
The frets are still in wonderful shape and perfectly level, and the top is certainly gorgeous. It has a super-fast neck, and though I have heard that these guitars do their best for fingerstyle, it is a nice strummer, even when digging in. It is pretty loud, but it has an uncanny brightness and clarity. The top has a loose sound, and it is as sweet as can be with very good balance.
The Taylor Grand Auditorium 214 is well-made, attractive, a good player, and It sounds wonderful. Plus they are a good value! The 214 had a list price of $1068 and a street price of $700 when they were new and these guitars seem to sell for around $500 or $600 on the used market, which brings them well into the realm of us mortal men. Check one out for yourself and see what you think!