Blackheart sassafras back and sides produce a unique tone with high-quality Taylor designs.
This limited edition Grand Auditorium features back and sides of solid blackheart sassafras, a solid Sitka spruce top, and V-Class bracing. Standard specs include a 25-1/2" scale length, a 1-3/4" nut width, and a Venetian cutaway. This model is appointed with West African ebony binding and pickguard, a single-ring abalone rosette bound with ebony, Element fretboard inlays in mother-of-pearl, smoked nickel tuners, a black graphite nut, and a 4.5 mm gloss finish. It ships with ES2 electronics in a deluxe Taylor hardshell case.
According to Andy Powers, "This 814ce LTD is a versatile option for guitarists who like to dabble across different genres and playing styles. The presence of V-Class bracing intensifies the sonic character of the spruce/sassafras pairing. In this case, beyond the expected increase in volume and sustain, the bracing makes this guitar more expressive and player-reflective than ever."
A Taylor original, the Grand Auditorium helped establish the Taylor acoustic sound. The popular body style makes for a versatile guitar that yields ample volume in response to light fingerpicking, and reacts to medium strumming and flatpicking with a clear, balanced sound across the tonal spectrum. For players seeking a great all-purpose guitar, the GA is an excellent choice.
Tone Wood Pairing
In terms of both internal structure and sound, sassafras is radically different from Indian rosewood or any other tonewood typically used for guitars. Sourced from Tasmania, sassafras varies wildly in color and quality, and individual trees can be as distinct as humans. In fact, sassafras can be so diverse that even within a single tree, neighboring sets of the wood can look very different.
"A timber's color and figure typically relate to the way the tree grew and are connected to markers like the tree's growth rings," Andy Powers explains. "With this blackheart sassafras, the coloring occurs independently of the way the tree grows. As a result, the color pattern is completely unique to each guitar set, because the hues can vary so greatly throughout a single board."
The "blackheart" label refers to the dark coloration that runs through the blonde-hued heartwood, a result of fungi that propagate inside the tree after branches break off during storms, which allows water to drip down through the tree as it grows.
Musically, sassafras has a tone profile that's hard to pin down because it varies from player to player. In general, it blends the midrange warmth of mahogany, the top-end sparkle of rosewood, and the clarity of maple. Also like maple, it tends to respond to the unique nuances of a player's attack. In other words, a guitarist playing softly will coax a dramatically different tone out of one of these 814ce LTD models than a player who really digs in to produce high volume.
Taylor's V-Class bracing is a fundamental innovation in acoustic guitar design. It marks an important evolution beyond traditional X-bracing, introducing an entirely new platform for acoustic performance. It is essentially a "sonic engine" that optimizes the response of an acoustic guitar in three key ways: by boosting volume, sustain, and by largely resolving the intonation (in-tune-ness) issues that have long plagued acoustic guitars. V-Class bracing creates purer, more orderly notes that don't cancel each other out or sound "off". They have clearer, more consistent response, and the whole fretboard is brought into greater sonic alignment for a more musical playing/listening experience.
Guitars with V-Class bracing are easier to tune; the pitch sounds purer and more solid, and electronic tuners can more easily locate notes for quick, precise tuning. Other benefits: harmonics ring more uniformly down the neck, notes are louder with more projection and sustain, and notes are more consistent, i.e., upper register notes don't get choked out or swallowed. Fewer "sour" sonic qualities exist with chords; a more agreeable relationship is created between notes as they ripen, bloom and decay.
Taylor's ES2 is a revolutionary pickup design that delivers the latest in Taylor's ongoing innovation in acoustic guitar amplification. The heart of the Expression System 2 is Taylor's patented behind-the-saddle pickup, which features three uniquely positioned and individually calibrated pickup sensors. Because the pickup doesn't sit under the saddle, the bottom of the saddle comes in full contact with the bridge, allowing all the nuance of the guitar's tone to come through clearly whether playing acoustically or plugged-in. The location of the sensors enables a more dynamic range of acoustic sound to be captured than ever before while playing plugged-in.
Together with Taylor's custom-designed "professional audio"-grade preamp, this system produces exceptional amplified tone and responsiveness. On stage through a PA, plugged into your favorite acoustic amplifier, or direct into recording software, the Expression System 2 faithfully conveys the voice of your Taylor guitar. The Taylor Expression System 2 operates through a proprietary 9-volt battery compartment and easy-to-use volume, and active bass and treble controls.