Easy to play and well balanced
Tried a lot of guitars $600-1000 and considered buying a Takamine or a Yamaha in the same price range and wasn't thinking of Taylor, but this one sang to me in a way the others didn't and it won me over. Neck has a smooth comfortable feel, narrower than some guitars and suits my hands. Some say it is harsh plugged in but, while it is very "sparkly" in or out (due to the body shape), the treble dials back nicely with the onboard controls and sounded extremely natural through a Fishman Loudbox. For me, this guitar was more comfortable to play than a higher-priced Taylor such as the 414ce that had a wider but thinner feeling neck, was a little brighter in sound and not as warm or bassy as the more expensive models but the price difference was ridiculous and not worth it. Compared it to a 114ce which was louder, more compressed (tolerated hard strumming well) and had more mids (hard to sing through a 114's tone and volume). Yes, it is laminate back and sides, but will withstand dry conditions better, which I am thankful for now that I have a hygrometer to tell me my house is 20% RH in Winter! It can get harsh with hard strumming but it is very sweet with medium strumming and is even and balanced with fingerpicking, where the sparkly tone is quite pleasant. Great sustain! strings make bends and pull offs easy, which are Elixir Bronze 12's. The CE shape is very comfortable in the lap and lightweight, yet does not feel flimsy or cheap. Simple understated look - again, the price difference does not justify a more flashy guitar for a nonprofessional like myself. Battery is easy to change but only with Duracells, some cheaper 9V's are slightly too thick and will get stuck in the plastic holder, then good luck getting it out! Now, on to review Sweetwater, which offers amazing customer service and value! When I got this guitar (took 3 days to ship FedEx to Massachusetts), it had bad buzzy high E and low E strings despite adjusting truss rod, the saddle seemed too low and two strings broke immediately at the pegs when I lowered their tunings a step. I emailed Tim Harrington who responded immediately and I sent back the guitar, FREE shipping, and they fixed it and got it back to me in about ten days. The free two year warranty paid off as they probably did $100+ worth of work replacing the saddle, leveling the frets, changed the strings, adjusted the action and cleaned it up for me - and they told me exactly what they did with prompt emails and were easy to reach with questions and concerns. When I got it back today, I must say it stayed in tune, plays amazing and I cannot put it down! At first I was perturbed by going through all this but research proved that these things can happen with even a high-end new guitar, but good luck getting your average big box store to do anything about it just because you bought it there! Plays so smoothly and you could not tell it was worked on. Plugged it in and it is more balanced in tone than it was the first time, probably due to the guitar having proper action now. It just sounds right, with more bass response plugged in. I can feel the body hum in my lap. I can't wait for the top to age. I plug into a Fender Superchamp at home which emulates a Fender Acoustasonic and this guitar is noiseless - no hiss or feedback or other issues. In my honest opinion, I really like the under-saddle pickup on this and favor it over the higher-end Taylor expression system in their solid-wood guitars. But, no matter what you read, you gotta play it for yourself to know if this is the guitar for you. I will, without reservation, recommend Sweetwater as they stand by their products and put the customer experience and satisfaction first, truly!