Taylor Guitars is proving yet again that not all acoustic guitars are created equal. Known in great part for their attention to detail and use of exotic woods, Taylor continues striving toward greater playability and tone, and the Taylor 314ce and 414ce are examples of their efforts. However, picking a winner in a head-to-head matchup would be a difficult bet to make.
The Tale of the Tape
Both guitars are highlighted by their single, venetian cutaway, which allows for ample access to higher frets. The similarities continue as each guitar has an identical scale length, body width, depth and overall length. Each guitar sports a neck made from Tropical American mahogany, topped with a 20-fret, ebony fretboard. A Sitka spruce top, coated with a high-gloss finish rounds out the general appearance of both guitars.
A Grand Design
As part of the ce series, both guitars are what Taylor dubs Grand Auditorium guitars. These instruments have all the width and depth of a standard dreadnought acoustic guitar, but with a narrower waist. For Taylors, this hourglass shape yields strong treble and assists playability.
The similarities between the 314ce and 414ce continue with the Taylor Expression System. This patented acoustic pickup technology is designed to better capture string vibration. Each guitar is equipped with on-board tone controls so players can adjust an amplified tone to their liking, or set an uncolored tone, allowing for the wood to sing on its own.
One notable difference is the selection of wood used for the back and sides of each guitar. The 314ce employs a wood similar to mahogany called sapele, while the 414ce uses ovangkol, an African hardwood known for its warm tone. The varying woods are designed to give players a choice of guitars which balance brightness and midrange. The 314ce woods produce a tone which may be ideal for strong, rhythmic playing styles, whereas the 414ce woods, specifically the rosewood-like ovangkol back and sides, make it a guitar ideal for finger picking styles and medium strumming.
If Wallets Had Ears
Ultimately, sound and feel will pronounce what relatively few differences there are between these guitars. Considering there is only £214 separating the retail prices of the two guitars, that prospect may not be a factor for any Taylor fan who has come to expect exceptional craftsmanship and tone in their acoustic guitars.