Taylor has already dropped its NAMM 2024 trump card with the unveiling of its all-new Circa ‘74 acoustic guitar amp brand. The latest card to be pulled from its sleeve, however, is a little closer to home, as Taylor has now launched a trio of 50th anniversary acoustic guitars.
The special 50th Anniversary Limited Edition Series, which will roll out throughout 2024, is made up of commemorative versions of different bestsellers from across the brand's half-century existence.
Together, the collection will reflect the changing tastes, styles and wants of Taylor guitar players over the years.
To signify the collection’s celebratory aspect, each guitar will share a design theme marked by gold tuners and ebony bridge pins with gold acrylic dots. A commemorative 50th anniversary label can also be found inside each guitar.
First out the traps is the 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce LTD, which is a tribute to Taylor’s quintessential modern acoustic guitar model. It features the popular grand auditorium body shape that Taylor originally introduced for its 20th anniversary celebrations three decades ago. Since then, it has become the company's flagship body shape.
This anniversary model pairs Indian rosewood for its back and sides with a sinker redwood top made from reclaimed logs plucked from the rivers of northern California. That wood blend, alongside Taylor’s V-class bracing, is said to bring rich lows and sparkling highs to whatever chords it strums.
The 814ce also features Taylor's intuitive Expressions System 2 (ES2) – a pickup system found nestled behind, rather than under, the saddle of the guitar. The revised positioning of the system's three individually calibrated sensors enables for dynamic acoustic amplification.
This anniversary build draws from the ergonomic contouring and performances of its Builder’s Edition line, with chambered, unbound body edges and a bevelled mahogany armrest. It ships in a Taylor deluxe hardshell case.
Next up is a re-imagined 314ce, which sports a torrefied Sitka spruce top. For context, torrefaction is a roasting-like process used to remove all moisture and impurities from the wood. For its back and sides, an African sapele has been chosen, stylized with a vintage-inspired shaded edgeburst.
It’s a pure-at-heart build that blends a vintage, time-worn look with modern freshness. The wood pairing, according to Taylor, delivers “balance and clarity with pleasing warmth, projection and sustain”.
Completing the trio is the AD14ce-SB, an alternative take on Taylor’s recently launched American Dream Series collection. Talking recently to Guitarist, Andy Powers revealed how the pandemic inspired him to venture down a minimalist route with this new series, which debuted in 2020 and continued to roll out exquisite builds throughout last year.
The range channels the resilient spirit of Taylor’s earliest years from the original American Dream guitar shop in Lemon Grove, California, which was the setting for when co-founders Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug first crossed paths. This anniversary model is a fitting tribute to that heritage.
The spruce-topped cutaway grand auditorium unites walnut back and sides with a hand-sprayed tobacco sunburst top. Adding to its neo-vintage chic are clean Italian acrylic dots and a firestripe pickguard.
Tonally, it evokes a strong midrange presence and balanced warmth. It’s a guitar that Taylor is calling “a spectacular workhorse player guitar for all genres”.
“Here we are at 50 years, and not only am I delighted with our progress but humbled by the success of Taylor Guitars,” says Taylor co-founder Bob Taylor of the 50th Anniversary Collection. “These special 50th anniversary guitars are a tribute to all the players who have made Taylor a part of their musical journey over the past half-century.”
Hype and history aside, how much will one of these guitars set you back? Well, a fair amount, it has to be said.
The AD14ce-SB is the most affordable at $1,999, with the 314ce rising to $2,799. King of Price Mountain, however, is the 814ce, which costs $4,999. Its ES2 pickups are partly responsible for the bump.
For more information about the Taylor 50th Anniversary Collection, head to Taylor.
Keep up to date with all gear releases ahead of NAMM 2024, head over to our guide to the latest NAMM 2024 news.