Taylor 110 Review

Discussion in 'Acoustic Instruments' started by WineCaster, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. WineCaster

    WineCaster Supporting Member

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    Here's a collection of my thoughts, back ground, experiences, and tips throughout my time owning the Taylor 110. There isn't a whole lot on the internet outside of Youtube, Amazon, and Musician's Friend reviews... so I thought I'd give a full-disclosure personal account after owning this fine instrument for a little over five years.

    *Disclaimer - These are subjective opinions, but I'm well-traversed :YinYang!
    (Rule #1... Always know where your towel is)

    Ok, This Taylor was made in Mexio, 2007. I bought it used from Guitar Center sight unseen in 2010. It features a (by now) darkened sitka spruce top, and sapele back and sides. I've seen some with a black headstock or black truss rod cover but mine appears to be fully rosewood. Rosewood fretboard on a very lightly finished (gloss) mahogany neck. There are some spots around the sound hole that have been worn away from whiskey-infused strumming. Overall, she's held up well in all categories.

    A brief summary of our relationship: I live in Wisconsin. I was visiting my brother and his girlfriend in Pheonix, AZ. We had plans to hike 9 miles into the Grand Canyon to an Indian village called Havasu Falls. It was a special time of my life and I wanted to mark it with something that I could carry with me for many years... How about an guitar!? So I went to their Guitar Center and plucked around on a few models to eventually settle on a Taylor Big Baby... But something was missing. I went back to their home and read reviews in which people suggested the 110. Relatively cheap and well recommended. I went for it. Damn glad I did.

    I've always considered this guitar amongst the easiest playing acoustic guitars I've ever picked up-- it still is. I enjoy the overall natural feel of the lightly finished guitar. Seems to "breathe" better or feel more "open". The appointments are just the necessities with nothing over-the-top or too minimal to be seen as possibly "cheap" or "toy-like". I've absolutely NEVER had a problem with tuning or neck warping while I've owned this guitar despite the climate of Wisconsin. However, she does show her boo-boos easily. To some this is a no-go, to me its a grow-grow.

    You'll hear people claiming that Taylor guitars are bright guitars. I've played many of them. That generalization is not so accurate. Some models are. This one is. The 114 is. The 214 can be. Until you move away from Sapele, you'll get a brighter sound. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, I find the Taylor brightness to be capable of conjuring the most beautiful guitar tones. Sort of like single coils vs humbuckers. We can't really bring it down to that sort of black and white generalization though... they simply sound different. Not any better or worse.

    In my opinion, I find it hard to match my voice to this guitar during singing/playing sessions. I find it easy to play this guitar by itself as if I were creating a National Geographic soundtrack to a sunset or moon-rise.

    I've always been content with the way this guitar arrived from the factory. And I've owned over 50 electric guitars and changed something with every single one of them... if that means anything. Everyone who plays it its startled by how nice it sounds with so little effort.

    Here are my tips to bringing out the absolute best in your Taylor 110.

    • Elixir Nano or Polyweb Strings - Light-Mediums or Mediums will be your best bet. They're so smooth to play, will never amplify the sounds of your fingers running up a note slide. They aren't as aggressive as non-coated strings but I view that as a positive trait in a guitar that likes to produce all of the sounds you're making. I tried a set of .013-.056 (medium) non-coated strings and they utterly ruined the whole guitar for me. They were off in less than 48 hours. The coated strings make sliding, bending, and taming brightness very possible. They make a guitar feel and sound in it's "prime", and stay that way for months and months. I experienced way too much extra buzzing and resistance from non-coated strings on this guitar.
    • Bone Nut/Saddle upgrade - I went with bone nut and saddle on my Taylor. The stock parts are essentially melted down scrap TusQ material called Nubone. I noticed an instant enhancement in clarity and increase in sustain when I moved to bone hardware. A $20 upgrade!
    Overall, I love this guitar and I'll never part with it. It's been with me from living in a cabin in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota to the beaches of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for my brother's wedding, and it's been with me for every song that I currently know. It's a part of me and even though it's not the best out there, it has a place in my heart. Wonderful guitar and I can't find one under $1000 that I like more than it.



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2015
  2. Jdstrat

    Jdstrat Supporting Member

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    I'm gonna bring this post back to say, thanks for sharing that. I have a Taylor 110, and love it. Mine has an ebony fretboard and laminated headstock. I agree with you that it shows the marks, but thankfully I haven't had too many accidents with it in the four years I've had it.

    I think I might try your recommended strings. I've been using Martin mediums, but I get some buzzing, as you mention. I do need to get the neck adjusted. I've had it off, and I like the shim system, but I can't buy those shims. Sometime I'll take it to a Taylor service person and get the action lowered. I've already shaved the bridge down as low as I can go.

    Once I traded it in for a Martin, but I got sellers remorse and traded it back at a loss, because I had peeled the plastic off the Martin's pickguard. My bad. Won't happen again. The trading, I mean.

    This guitar is going to be in my will when I die.
     
  3. WineCaster

    WineCaster Supporting Member

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    I'll keep this topic current with my experiences because it's something of a "players journal" at this point. I've since owned a Martin 000-15M that I sold and regretted doing so. I currently own a Gibson J-45 Standard and love it dearly. I still have the Taylor and love it. Because the Gibson is a Dread I tend to use it for singing/songwriting almost exclusively. I use the Taylor as a travel guitar and still enjoy it for fingerstyle and other more expressive styles. If I could go back in time and change my decision (based on my voice/guitar pairing) I would have opted for the smaller and more articulate Taylor 114. Just easier to have as a casual couch guitar. Something that I can pick around on without singing with. Some may have voices more suited to the Taylor tone but it's not the case for me.

    That being said, the 110 is a phenomenal guitar. I do recommend getting the older rosewood fretboard/headstock instead of ebony models. Over that criteria though, I'd recommend a 114 over the 110. My reason being you aren't going to lose much volume with that transition because Taylors don't have a whole lot of bass to distort a heavier strum. You can use light or medium strings easily without losing volume. It's smaller and easier to manage than a dreadnaught style (110).

    I still recommend the upgrades I listed in the original post. I'll still never sell it. It'll be passed down to friends/kids/grands.
     
  4. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    Good review of the 110, I had one for a while, it was a great instrument, very easy to play, very respectable tone. I only sold it once I got a DN3 and I was raising cash for a mandolin.
     
  5. Schrader

    Schrader Member

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    Recently purchased a 114e, and i have to say the expression 2 pickups are nice. Took the elixirs off and put on martin medium lights. The elixirs sounded a little too bright for me. Maybe they weren't worn in.
    The action was way off on it from the factory, but I am fortunate to live near a Taylor service Luthier, now it is perfect. I did not want to adjust myself since it was in the return to store window.
     
  6. Jdstrat

    Jdstrat Supporting Member

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    Still loving my Taylor 110, although I'm not loving the Fishman Presys pickup system I installed in it. That thing chews through batteries like crazy. Anybody have any suggestions on a pickup system that is nicely compatible with the 110?

    I still need to get my neck shimmed.
     
  7. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    I put a baggs element in mine and thought it was great, simple install too. Unfortunately with that fishman you have a large barndoor cut in the side.
     
  8. Jdstrat

    Jdstrat Supporting Member

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    That's an undersaddle pickup? You're not kidding about the barndoor. I'm thinking of trying a blender system, with a piezo and internal mic. I played a beat up Seagull at a Guitar Center that had a blender in it, through a Bose tower PA, and my face almost melted off.
     
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  9. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    Yeah it is undersaddle.

    Some people turn the barndoor into a bass port;
     
  10. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

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    I had a 114 that I loved for several years. Eventually gave to my daughter for her birthday. But I've recently been in GC strumming these again. Funny thing, I remember preferring the 114 over the 214 quite clearly when I got my first one, but that seems to have reversed. Have the 214s gotten better? Maybe it's my imagination, but the 214 neck feels slightly more roomy to me, which is a plus.

    /rick
     
  11. frquent flyer

    frquent flyer Member

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    What is the wood composition in this model?
     
  12. EricPeterson

    EricPeterson Member

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    Depends on the year, the current ones are solid tops with laminate back and sides, but the laminate back ones have some very light back bracing which takes advantage of the inherent strength in laminate and results in some positive tonal benefits, they are not like other laminate back guitars in the same class.
     
  13. Jdstrat

    Jdstrat Supporting Member

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    I think mine is solid sitka top, laminated sapele back and sides, ebony fretboard and bridge. Bought in about 2010.
     
  14. crambone

    crambone Supporting Member

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    My first Taylor was a 114ce. I loved that thing. I miss it dearly.
     
  15. Luva

    Luva Supporting Member

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    I hate to repeat common knowledge, but I think so much of the Taylor appeal is their playability. I can find consistently good examples from nearly every offering in the Taylor line-up at all the major big box music stores that I visit. It is hard to say the same for Gibson, Martin, Takamine, etc. This does not mean that other major brands cannot "beat" a Taylor. Far from it.

    Taylors, even down to the 100 series, have a consistency that is hard to ignore. Glad to hear that you enjoy your 110, Mr. OP. Contentment with one's guitar is a beautiful thing.
     
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  16. vintage burst

    vintage burst Member

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    Really good guitars you can take them gigging or outside and not be to concern about anything happening, they sound great.
     
  17. TheoDog

    TheoDog Silver Supporting Member

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    I own a 410. My band leader plays a 110.
    In comparison, the 110 is not "phenomenal" but is a rock solid gig worthy tool that can take a beating and be reliable. I'm not comfortable with the neck finish.
     
  18. Jdstrat

    Jdstrat Supporting Member

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    It's the definition of value. $500 range, no frills, great Taylor tone and playability, take it anywhere guitar. I clunk it on mic stands and drop ceilings in my basement all the time. No worries. No babying. Everybody who plays it remarks how easy it is to play.
     
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  19. acme97

    acme97 Member

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    I just picked up a used Taylor 110 myself, I think a 2006, in excellent shape...for 300 bucks.

    Had heard yet another horror story about some drunk dude falling over and messing up a buddy's guitar at a bar gig. Why am I playing two-grand guitars at these things???

    I am not at all crazy about the Frankenstein head stock and dovetail joints. Counter-intuitive to me...but glue is stronger than wood, right? I know what I'm getting with this buy, but it certainly sounded WAY better than all the other used ones it was grouped with at the guitar mega-store. Action a tad high, but totally fixable.

    Taylors are not my thing. But as far as plywood body/solid top guitars I'm recently more impressed with them as opposed to Martin. Except that Martin 000X1. That's surprisingly good, or my friend just lucked out with the one she picked.

    I have heard the pickup electronics of these Taylor 100 series are not that good. Opinions?

    And when did they go from the laminate rosewood head stock to the solid black? I might like the black better (that's what I have on this one).

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
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  20. WineCaster

    WineCaster Supporting Member

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    I put some bone bridge pins in it, so now all hardware is bone. It's just a cannon of beauty at this point. I play it more than my Gibson J45.
     
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