Taylor's 800 series acoustic guitars have developed into some of the world's most legendary instruments. A perfect place to start or end your guitar search, these Taylor flagship models offer an unmatched blend of easy playability, tasteful style, and impressive tonal character. They are not only Taylor's best seller, but are consistently the top selling guitar in the market year after year.
Keep reading for an in depth breakdown of these guitars, and don't forget to check them out on our website!
Pictured is the 814ce DLX - with armrest, Adirondack spruce bracing, and upgraded tuners! Click on a photo for a hi-res version!
Bob Taylor created the first 800 series Taylor - an 810 dreadnought model. It was the first Taylor brought to the mass market. Since then, the series has become industry defining, especially with the evolution of body shapes. Today, the Grand Auditorium (814) is seen as the prototypical Taylor guitar. 800 series guitars are almost almost built from spruce and rosewood, the most popular tonewood pairing, for good reason.
2014 Redesign Features
In 2014, with the help of new head luthier Andy Powers, the 800 series Taylors were given a huge facelift. They were wildly successful - with good reason, and have continued Taylor's tradition of crafting the penultimate modern acoustic guitar.
Optimized features for the 800 series guitars included:
The bracing pattern of a guitar will make or break it's tone. Two identical looking guitars with different bracing will have a completely different sound. In the 2014 redesign, Taylor used Advanced Performance bracing - and the patterns were specifically optimized for reach guitar shape. Side braces were also added to increase rigidity, while helping the top and back vibrate in a musical way. Taylor also uses their Relief Rout, a thin groove carved around the edge of the top, which increases musical vibrations, without compromising structural integrity.
2018 V-Class Upgrade: In 2018, Andy Powers is at it again, this time revolutionizing guitar bracing! New 814ce and 814ce DLX models (and eventually all shapes) will ship with V-Class bracing - A shape that uses a large V, inspired by a wave crashing against a jetty that Andy experienced one surf-filled morning. V-Class bracing offers the perfect hybrid of rigidity (volume) and resonance (sustain) - two important buzz words that were always difficult to equally idealize without one negatively impacting the other. V-Class solves this and more - it also optimizes intonation too!
Developed in harmony with the bracing patterns, these guitars also boast wood thicknesses that are optimized for each guitar shape - a dreadnought performs a different musical function than a Grand Concert, so differing wood thicknesses help tonal "efficiency".
The new Taylor 800 series guitars feature an eye-catching rosewood pickguard, maple binding (an evolution of the "lighter-toned" white binding of years past) new green abalone shell inlays, rosewood neck binding, and new smokey ebony fingerboards: birthed from Bob Taylor's efforts to create more sustainable ebony harvesting. Bob visited African Ebony mills and learned that because of the industry's insistence on jet-black ebony, many trees were being wasted. The workers can't tell what the wood will look like until the tree is cut down, and if it wasn't black enough, they were under instructions to simply leave it.
Glue joints between tonewoods on an acoustic guitar are also part of the tonal recipe. Synthetic glues can make a guitar sound...synthetic, but an animal glue like Protein Glue, used on the Taylor 800 series guitars, is the opposite, and helps resonance, attack, and tone.
With guitar finishing, less can be more. Striking the balance of protection and tone has always been a dilemma, and the new Taylor 800 series models use a thinner "3.5 mil" gloss finish to solve this exact catch 22.
2014 also marked the introduction of the new Expression System 2 preamp and pickup system. Not quite an "under-the-saddle" pickup, the revolutionary ES2 system is placed behind the saddle. Taylor discovered that the saddle doesn't really move vertically when the guitar is played, but in a pendulum like motion, so an under the saddle pickup wasn't receiving tonal pleasing vibrations. ES2 boasts three carefully positioned sensors with allen screw adjustments, and an audiophile grade preamp with slightly more headroom than the original Expression System.
Hear one in Action: