Ever wondered why exactly some guitars are more expensive than others? Now, that could be down to one of a million reasons, but you can get an idea of why by focusing the lens on Taylor Guitars. Since they first appeared on the scene back in the 70’s, the company has become synonymous with premium craftsmanship and stellar sound quality. With a community of professionals willing to match their asking prices, it’s no wonder that Taylor’s guitars command hefty sums on the market.
A few years ago, however, the company announced that they were bringing more affordable models for beginners. One such guitar is the Taylor 110CE. As part of the brand’s 100 series, it’s aimed at guitarists who are interested in getting a slice of their iconic quality at a wallet-friendly price. Now that you’re hooked, why not see what it has to offer?
The Taylor 110CE can be described as a dreadnought-bodied acoustic guitar with a solid, no-reflection top and body. Although it falls on the cheaper side of Taylor’s guitar line, trust that you won’t find most of its features on other entry-level acoustics. More on that later but, in the meantime, it’s worth noting that the 110CE still embodies the same craftsmanship that Taylor guitars have become famous for.
Specifically, the Taylor 110CE Guitar uses mahogany-like Sapele for its back and sides, plus solid sitka spruce for the top. As a member of Taylor’s CE line, it features a Venetian cutaway and internal electronics. The former happens to be its most defining feature; unlike most of its kin, the 110CE has a flat cutaway. Not to say that that is an Achilles heel — it just seems less pleasing to the eye than what’s found on other Taylor models.
It’s interesting to note that the presence of a cutaway is what distinguishes the 110CE from the Taylor 110E. Well, that and the $200 difference in price. As for its other features, take a look:
-Dimensions: The Taylor 110CE is a full-size guitar with a scale length of 25-1/2 inches, a 1 11/16-inch neck, and fretboard radius of 15 inches.
-Strings: The 110CE comes with six Elixir phosphor-bronze, medium-gauge strings, and which have a proprietary NANOWEB coating.
-TUSQ bridge pins, saddle and nut: The use of a synthetic material (TUSQ) is said to ensure consistency from one individual guitar to the next.
-ES-T Pickup: Short for Expression System-T, this is Taylor’s proprietary under-saddle transducer optimized for the 100 series. The system features onnboard controls for volume, bass, treble, custom-voiced EQ and dynamic response. Power is provided by a 9V battery that sits in a slot located at the bottom of the guitar.
-Enclosed, die-cast chrome-plated peg tuners
– 20-fret ebony fingerboard with dot position inlays
-Other notable features include an adjustable truss rod and X-Brace.
There’s no doubt that the Taylor 110CE guitar has an exceptional sound quality. Unlike the majority of acoustic-electrics in its price range, it really does deliver a dynamic sound. The action is low enough to deliver a robust sound without the buzzing and dead notes typical of entry-level guitars. What’s more, sound quality isn’t hinged on the presence of an amp.
On the same vein, the 110CE is capable of handling anything you can throw at it, from soft ballads to heavy metal and everything in between. Whatever the case, you can hammer out chords with minimal concern about distortions and equalizer volume failures. And because comfort is guaranteed while playing, the guitar invites you to fully explore its tonal capabilities.
That being said, there’s a certain standard that Taylor guitars are supposed to adhere to. How decent a job the 110CE does in this regard is debatable. See, here’t the thing — a guitar that uses laminates for its soundboard will never sound as good as one that uses solid wood. This explains why the 110CE sounds distinct from its 200 series cousin, the Taylor 210CE. Compared to the former, the latter produces a brighter sound with wider tonal parameters.
That’s not to say that the Taylor 110CE doesn’t showcase the company’s trademark sound quality. As a matter of fact, the difference only becomes evident when you hear the two played one after the other. That aside, it’s fair to say that Taylor has nailed the cheaper version with minimal compromise in quality.
-Elegant build: Unlike most entry-level guitars, the Taylor 110CE comes with everything set up pretty well from the get go.
-Dimensions: Measuring 20X16X4.63 inches in length, width and depth respectively, the 110CE is sufficiently large for most adults to play with comfortably, but still compact enough to be carried around easily.
-Versatile: The 110CE can accommodate a wide range of playing styles and genres.
-Adaptable: Most of the features can be adjusted quite easily. The truss rod, for instance, is adjustable for custom string height and playability. On the other hand, the pegs’ resistance makes it easy to get the perfect tuning.
-X-brace: This is designed to optimize vibration transfer, thereby creating a rich, balanced tone and broad dynamic range.
-Includes a gig bag
-No built-in tuner
-Laminate back and sides: Quality aside, a solid wood design would have delivered better tonal properties than laminate.
-Price: At a price of $700+, the Taylor 110CE costs about as much as a typical flagship. Although it does a good job at justifying its cost, you can’t discount the fact that there other quality models that go for less. Not to mention that its performance isn’t at par with that of other Taylor guitars.
Opinions and Feedback
Taylor’s reputation took a beating when they first introduced ‘budget-range’ models to the market. No prizes for guessing that opinions have changed a lot since. In particular, the 110CE has earned lots of praise for its superb tone and, according to one particular individual, a build quality that matches.
Most people are pleased with the fact that it breaks away from the rosewood construction used in other entry-level acoustic-electrics. Others have claimed that it’s “not the kind of guitar you outgrow quickly.” Even the more skeptical of reviewers appreciated the fact that it reflects the excellence seen in all other Taylor guitars.
So if you’re in the market for a semi-acoustic, the Taylor 110CE is worth taking a close look at. Although there are other great entry-level guitars, you’ll be hard-pressed to come across a more-capable competitor. It’s arguably the best full-size guitar you will find for the money.