Taylor 110 and 110e Acoustic Guitar Review
Ever since I first heard a Taylor guitar played in a live performance, I just had to have one.
I was back in college in the early 90s and like a lot of kid musicians in college, I had a dream of being a professional performer some day.
I got a chance to hear Chris and Johnny (an old group out of Montana) who used to play the live college music circuit and another duo (who I can't remember right now).
3 out of 4 of those guys played Taylors and as a broke college student, I stayed up late at times dreaming of getting my first Taylor and all of the ways I would work to generate the income just so I could claim one of these beauties for myself.
Back in that day, the pickup systems they had were not as good as they are today and the models they put out were well over $1000, and because of this, the Taylor guitar was out of my reach (but not out of my dreams).
Fortunately, for many college and high school students, as well as adults who want a professional quality guitar with that sweet Taylor name can afford one.
Though Taylor guitars date back to October 15, 1974, it has only been the last few years with superior laminate technology that Taylor could afford to offer their top-of-the-line craftsmanship for under $1000.
In fact, these Taylor 110 e series ("e" signifying the ES-T - Expression System Transducer so you can plug it in) are now very affordably priced around $650.
The non-electric version is only $50 bucks cheaper so it makes sense to get the factory installed Taylor 110 e for a nominal price increase.
The 2 basic models in this 110 series are:
- The Taylor Guitar 110 – Sitka Spruce Top – Sapele Mahogany Laminate sides
- & the Taylor 110 e (with ES-T Expression System Transducer Electronic Pickup)
The Taylor 110 Acoustic Guitar (also in acoustic electric version)
You can get a Taylor Quality Sound for well under $800 - Standard Dreadnought Body Size & Style
Skill level - Playability: In my personal opinion, this is an excellent guitar for the beginner with some serious goals or intermediate player looking to get a better long-term sound, pleasure and investment than a less expensive guitar, or even for the professional who is looking for a second, top-quality guitar on a budget and does not want to sacrifice playability, tone quality and sound projection.
You really won't "outgrow" this model. . . that's how well these Taylors are built.
This one also projects quality balance tone for studio recording when miced with a quality condenser microphone. Additionally, Taylor's electronic version (the Taylor 110e) of this model are ideal for the stage and recording as well. As one would expect from a Bob Taylor quality crafted guitar, it boasts great action (playability - as all Taylors do) with full sound for flat-picking- strumming and finger-picking – it is truly very versatile and serves all playing styles well.
Here are some of the Taylor 110 specs that make it a sweet build:
- Type/Shape: 6-String Dreadnought (standard)
- Back & Sides: Sapele Laminated (similar and brighter than Mahogany)
- Top: Solid Sitka Spruce (standard for great projection and velocity of sound)
- Soundhole Rosette: Plastic (synthetic)
- Neck: Sapele (cousin to Mahogany)
- Fretboard: Ebony (for druability and playability)
- Fretboard Inlay: Pearloid Dots
- Headstock Overlay: Indian Rosewood
- Binding: Black (edge protection and construction stability)
- Bridge: Ebony (wood)
- Nut & Saddle: Tusq (synthetic composite that rivals bone or ivory in vibration transfer)
- Tuning Machines: Enclosed, Die-Cast Chrome Plated
- Scale Length: 25 1/2 In. (standard)
- Truss Rod: Adjustable for custom playability and string height
- Neck Width at Nut: 1 11/16 In.
- Number of Frets: 20 (Standard)
- Fretboard Radius: 15 In. (great for smooth fingering and chording)
- Bracing: X-Brace (for great vibration transfer and projection amplification)
- Finish: Varnish - gloss
- Color: Natural
- Body Width (widest bout): 16 In.
- Body Depth (top to back): 4 5/8 In.
- Body (sound box) Length: 20 In.
- Total Length: 41 In.
Player styles: From my experience, you won't get locked into any particular playing style with this axe. This guitar is very versatile -serving many style players including: contemporary, rhythm guitar playing, as well as bluegrass, flat-picking and strumming, this guitar body size, style and construction can fit well with just about any gig or style. If you decide to pay a mere $150 more to get the “e” version with Taylor's Expression System Transducer you can plug it in, amplify it and get a much more diverse sound response depending on the amplification system and effects systems you use.
Because of Taylor's bracing system and quality standards, this thing responds beautifully whether you are playing a soft ballad or really digging in on some harsh runs (without ever hearing any distortion or eq balance loss at any volume level).
It also serves quite well for finger style picking (Chet Atkins style), jazz, folk, country, pop, and rock though does not offer quite the “bell like” tones for a designated finger-picking style player who might find a little more response with a Grand Auditorium, Orchestra or Jumbo Model which has a smaller waist for more distinction between treble and bass notes (but in order to get these models, you will pay a "fur piece" more).
Only quality Tonewoods for Taylor Guitars
Standard Sitka Spruce solid top with Sapele laminated sides and back give this guitar a higher sound velocity and brighter response than Honduras Mahogany. The player can get a great response with light playing and can really dig in to produce much more sound without distorting the bass, mid and treble balance from this well balanced acoustic guitar.
As in all Taylor guitars, the sound quality is excellent at all playing and strumming volumes, reagardless of how hard the player digs into the strings. Though it has laminated sides and back (instead of solid tonewoods), the sound quality is nothing less than Taylor's highest standards for acoustic tonality and projection. Since this particular guitar has laminated Sapele (a deciduous wood cousin to Standard Mahogany tone woods that is also used in exotic wood flooring and Cadillac custom interiors for its beauty and strenght), it will project better in the mid and higher ranges of the EQ spectrum. However, Taylor's patented bracing system and the Dreadnought body size will certainly increase sound projection over other, smaller models. If you desire a much fuller bass balanced sound from your Dreadnought, you will have to invest a bit more money in the same body model (dreadnought) with solid Rosewood back and sides.
Because the sides and back of this Series of Taylor 110's are made from laminated wood, instead of solid wood, the guitar will be limited as to it's ability to open up with age like a fine wine, although it may be a bit more resilient to humidity changes and small bouts of neglect because laminated woods tend to be a little more durable to these kinds of fluctuations.
From my personal experience, as well as from what I have personally read and heard some guitar makers say, acoustic guitars that are made with all solid, quality tonewoods (instead of laminated woods) have the ability to actually improve with age and produce a deeper, fuller, more robust sound than those that are build with laminated woods. Though the top of these series of guitars are made with solid Sitka Spruce (having the most responsiveness and sound velocity of choice top woods used), and will open up perhaps a bit with age because of the quality top wood uses, the laminated sides will limit this guitar's vintage value and it's ability to mature with age.
It does not mean, however, that this guitar will degrade. On the contrary, the laminated sides can give it a resilience over the life-span of the guitar, with a little trade-off in re-sale value and maturity of tonewood sound as it ages.
These Taylor series guitars with laminated sides and back are a solid market-demand response from Taylor guitars to offer a "Taylor" quality sound and craftsmanship for a few thousand dollars less. As I knew first-hand in college when my heart ached on a daily basis to own one of these beauties, not everyone can afford to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a great sounding Taylor, and so Taylor guitars responded to fit another niche market in offering great guitars for the "under $1000" crowd in these Taylor 110 Acoustic Guitar Series.
Personally, I would accept any full-sized Taylor gutiar as a gift, whether I was a beginner or performing pro, and for this particular model, I was able to dig up some specific comments from some other owners of both models.
- It is very adaptable to all styles of music. It lends itself well to anything from acoustic rock, jazz, blues, country, etc.
- The only guitar I found (in the price range)that I liked better for general tone and playability was a 1200.00 all wood Martin. . .
- You cannot find a better sounding guitar for the price. Period.
- This is my second Taylor guitar and I could not be more pleased.
If you are looking to find a Taylor sound for less than $1000 (in fact between $599 and $650 depending on whether you want a transducer pickup or not), this series of Taylors can be found for the lowest price at Amazon.com
Also- other options to this same fine Taylor model include:
- Left Handed Taylor 110
- Right Handed Taylor 110e with electronic pickup
- Left Handed Taylor 110e with electronic pickup
Lookingback nearly 20 years ago, this line of guitars would have made this old college player's dreams come true had these laminatede models been available. Perhaps I would have gotten a bit more sleep and a few more practice hours in had this been the case.