Best Taylor Guitars for Under a Grand

Published on 03 May 2024


Taylor. Undoubtedly one of the best and most innovative acoustic guitar brands on the planet. You won’t find my musicians who’ll disagree with that statement, but such quality and innovations come at a high cost, right?

Well, not always! In fact, Taylor offer guitars at a number of price points, and whilst I’d never refer to them as cheap, many models are more affordable than you might think!

Given that Taylor’s innovative ideas and future-forward concepts often trickle down from their top-end guitars to less expensive models, they are a particularly good brand for those searching for a great mid-priced instrument. 

Today, I’ll highlight a few that I think are excellent: excellent for the money, but also just flat out excellent. All of my choices will be available at time of writing (May 2024) on this site for under £1000. Hardly a small spend, but I still think the value represented in the following choices make them essential considerations for any players out there searching for a wonderful guitar at a good price.


The Guitars at a Glance

Taylor GS Mini

Taylor 110ce

Taylor Academy 12e

Taylor 214ce 


Taylor GS Mini

The first guitar that sprang to mind was, of course, the Taylor GS Mini. This guitar has been one of the world’s best-selling acoustic guitars, and pops up in ‘best of’ lists all the time. Why?

Easy: it’s an enormously effective guitar that is small enough to be portable but large enough to feel like a ‘proper’ instrument, instead of a gimmicky curiosity. The GS Mini - Grand Symphony Mini - is as the name suggests: a downsized Taylor Grand Symphony, and much has been done to give this slightly-less-than-full-sized guitar a range, rich and resonant voice.

There are several versions available today (including Koa and Mahogany variants), so I’d suggest trying a few to find out what works best for you. The overall shape remains the same, but the timbers can vary significantly. Also, you can opt for a built-in (and specially developed) pickup system too, so test drive one of those if you have plans to be gigging.

Seriously, the GS Mini is a serious contender. It’s actually many guitarists’ main acoustic: they deliver a great sound, and their slightly smaller frames add to not only an easy playability but also their ‘pick-uppable’ quality. A modern classic for sure.


Taylor 110ce

Whilst Taylor are perhaps best known for their Grand Auditorium body shape (typically denoted by a ‘14’ in their model names), they make a mean dreadnought too! The 1-series is the most affordable of Taylor’s main ‘numbered’ ranges, and features layered Sapele for the back and sides. The top of this Taylor 110ce is solid Spruce, which resonates well and provides clarity to the rich midrange frequencies of the guitar.

I’ve opted for the cutaway electro model here, since these features actually don’t add much to the cost but increase the value hugely. Taylor are pioneers of pickup design, and I’m happily surprised to find their game-changing Expression System 2 installed here. I actually expected a degree of ‘gatekeeping’ at this price level, where a less high quality pickup would’ve been quite acceptable. Instead, Taylor give you one of their best, which makes this a pretty special purchase.


Taylor Academy 12e

Taylor’s Academy series were designed specifically outside of their main range, as an affordable alternative range with their own specs and features. All Academy series guitars have a slightly narrower nut than the rest of the Taylor range, which changes their feel significantly: chords are easier to grasp, for one thing.

The Academy range is focused on sound quality and comfort, so they are relatively unadorned in terms of decorative elements, but they do have the surprise addition of an armrest on the lower bout, which is normally a very pricey addition to any acoustic guitar! This helps make the guitars even more comfortable, and adds some flair in a way that’s innate to this range instead of derivative of other Taylor models.

The Academy 12e model uses the Grand Concert body shape, and is made with Sitka Spruce for the top and layered Walnut for the back and sides. 

The Grand Concert body design of the 212ce is a little smaller than the likes of a grand auditorium and certainly smaller than a dreadnought or jumbo. For me, the slightly smaller body design makes it easier to control on stage, with less chance of feedback humming its way into an energetic set.

Though not as short as the GS Mini, the Academy 12e has a slightly shorter scale length in addition to the narrower nut, so I’d recommend this guitar for anybody who feels a struggle with bigger acoustic guitars. You’ll have an easier time playing it, and lose absolutely nothing in the bargain.


Taylor 214ce 

My final choice today is the Taylor 214ce. Earlier, I checked out the 110ce which used Sapele for its body. Since the 214ce is from the 200 series, that means the body is made with either layered rosewood, maple or Koa. In this case, it’s rosewood, and whilst we aren’t talking about solid rosewood (which is much more expensive and found in later Taylor ranges), you can still enjoy some of the tonal benefits that the layered timber imparts.

A Taylor 200 series guitar is what I would call a ‘workhorse’ guitar for a professional performer. They are built for a life on the road, and have a consistently good sound. Playability is always excellent with Taylors, as you’ll soon find out when you begin comparing models in person, and the 200 series gives a lot for the money.

The Grand Auditorium body design of the 214ce is, for many, the definitive ‘Taylor’ body. It’s easier to manage than a dreadnought, but still able to project well. It’s an excellent choice for all styles, basically, and the forward-shifted bracing inside the body of this 214ce helps it deliver even more tone and volume.

This Taylor has that excellent ES2 Expression System pickup, and also has a hardshell case included in the price, which for me is further proof that the 200 series is destined for the pubs, clubs and venues of the world!


Taylor Quality from Top to Bottom 

Taylor are one of the top acoustic brands in the world because their guitars are designed well and made well. That includes those at all price points: it’s not a matter of having to spend top-dollar to enjoy the benefits of those shrewd designs!

What Taylor aren’t, of course, are a brand with 100 years of heritage behind them, and pictures of people at Woodstock playing them. History and hero worship are significant elements in a lot of emotional buying decisions, as purchasing a new guitar surely is. Taylor, however, have a significant number of today’s top artists playing them all over the world, and that says a lot. Today, we can have anything, and that includes some pretty excellent Taylor guitars at very achievable prices. Try a few today, and see just how easy it could be to have a Taylor guitar in your life.


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I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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