NAMM 2024: Taylor celebrates 50 years of high-end acoustic guitar excellence with six stunning limited edition anniversary models

Taylor Guitars 50th Anniversary Series
(Image credit: Taylor Guitars)

NAMM 2024: Consider Taylor’s 50th Anniversary celebrations officially underway, with the Californian high-end acoustic guitar specialist unveiling six limited edition models, which of course come hot on the heels of the new Circa 74 acoustic combo.

The anniversary run comprises of a Builder’s Edition 814ce LTD, 314ce LTD, and an American Dream AD14ce-SB LTD, plus a trio of Presentation Series models, where the opulence would put to shame Louis XIV. 

Each in the series shares some design DNA, namely gold tuners, a gold peghead logo, gold acrylic dots in the ebony bridge pins, and there is a commemorative anniversary label on the inside of these well-heeled acoustic guitars. In keeping with Taylor’s founding in 1974, each of these models is limited to 1,974 units worldwide.

“Here we are at 50 years, and not only am I delighted with our progress but humbled by the success of Taylor Guitars,” said Bob Taylor, Taylor’s co-founder. “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.”  

We’ll get to the Presentation Series shortly, but let’s take a look at first trio, starting with 50th Anniversary Builder’s Edition 814ce LTD, a Grand Auditorium cutaway that will be many a player’s idea of a $4,999 dream acoustic, comprised of sinker redwood top, Indian rosewood on the back and sides. 

This is a model of refinement, with the bevelled forearm, chamfering on all the edges and Curve Wing bridge ensure maximum comfort. 

It features Taylor’s superlative V-Class bracing, its Expression System 2 pickup and preamp, Gotoh 510 tuners, and if you are wondering what sinker redwood sounds like Taylor’s description of “cedar on steroids” sounds intriguing. We'd translate that as warmth and oomph.

Next up we’ve got a 314ce with a torrefied Sitka spruce top, so it sparkles like an older acoustic, with solid African sapele on the back and sides. The finish here is a vintage-inspired Edgeburst. Again, this is a V-class instrument, and you’ve got the ES2 system.

As with the 814ce LTD, the neck on this one is neo-tropical, the fingerboard and bridge ebony sourced from West Africa. We particularly like the firestripe faux-tortoiseshell pickguard, which allied to the finish and the forward-thinking design makes for a vintage-modern classic. It is priced $2,799.

These special edition models run hot on the price front but they are not all super expensive, all things considered. The serious amateur/gigging pro might find the American Dream AD14ce-SB LTD an affordable collector’s item. 

It similarly has that vintage-modern look, with a Sitka spruce top hand-sprayed in tobacco sunburst and given a thin matte finish. 

Taylor has used walnut for the back and sides, and get this – the fingerboard is  eucalyptus. This also has the Expression System 2. It ships in a deluxe Taylor Aero gigbag and is priced $1,999.

Presentation Series

And now we come to the good stuff, which in Taylor talk means impossibly high-end acoustic guitar making. Typically we associate Taylor with a pared-back, minimalist aesthetic, but the 50th Anniversary is a special occasion and it has given its luthiers the excuse to take the opulent route, digging out some of the finest tonewood in the vault, going to town on those fingerboard inlays.

First up is the PS14ce LTD, with a stunning sinker redwood top complemented by figured Urban Ironback on the back and sides. This, again, is a V-class acoustic, with a Venetian cutaway, a tropical mahogany neck with West African Crelicam ebony fingerboard, inlaid with Byzantine green abalone. 

Taylor says the “piano-like fidelity” of its Urban Ironbark pairs nicely with the sinker redwood, which, again, is cedar with muscle. Again, there are the gold accents, there are gold Gotoh tuners, plus the ES2 electronics and hard-shell guitar case. It is priced $9,999.

Next up is a variation on a theme, with the same guitar remixed with some claro walnut from Bob Taylor's personal stash for the body – yes, Bob Taylor has a tonewood collection, and it is occasions like these that he can make good use of it. 

The top is made of western red cedar. The build "caters to nuanced playing styles and more lively attacks" and if that is you read on, and perhaps check if you have $14,999 to spare. Yikes.

Once more, the detail is off the charts. The Byzantine inlay is worthy of the Louvre. This is one of those builds where no stone is left unturned. There is V-Class bracing and the ES2 electronics. The signature Taylor leitmotifs of Crelicam ebony on the fingerboard and bridge are present and correct, and there is a deluxe hard-shell case with this one, too.

Last but by no means least we have the PS24ce LTD, which is a stunning all-Hawaiian koa cutaway acoustic electric guitar. The master grade koa is voiced for "warm midrange and crisp trebles" and it is as good as it gets for Taylor.

Taylor introduced the Presentation Series in 1996. You will be hard pushed to find a more luxurious build in all of that time. The Byzantine decorative flourishes are here once more. The details are exquisite; paua edge trim, ebony binding, and we have a matching radius-style armrest because once you are done admiring it you are going to want to play it.

The asking price of $19,999 might cool your jets but then just look into that Hawaiian koa, the figured patterns, the three-dimensional quality of the wood... Well, you can see more pictures and specs over at Taylor Guitars

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.