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Taylor Builder's Edition K24ce Review

A luxurious all-koa entry in Taylor's top-drawer V-Class acoustic line-up.

Taylor Builder’s Edition K24ce
(Image: © Taylor Guitars)

Our Verdict

A hugely comfortable and attractive acoustic with high-definition tones and playability to match.

For

  • Ultimately elegant, ergonomic and playable.

Against

  • A little bright.
  • Pricey.

Comfort and Elegance are the hallmarks of the Builder’s Edition K24ce, an exquisite addition to Taylor’s Koa Series, which features V-Class bracing, a beveled cutaway, Silent Satin finish and Expression System 2 electronics. In the grand scheme of Taylor acoustics, only the Presentation Series is more luxurious, so it’s no surprise there is much to appreciate about this Builder’s Edition model.

It’s hard to overstate how stunning the K24 appears, especially when viewed in natural sunlight, where every nuance can be fully absorbed. The front and back are made of book-matched koa that ripples both laterally, from the middle toward the sides, and vertically, from headstock to heel. At certain angles, the ripples take on a three-dimensional quality and appear to flow back and forth.

The Kona Burst finish adds to the effect, as golden highlights give way to tan, bronze and, finally, a deep rich brown. Abalone’s rainbow hues radiate from the dark ebony fretboard in a Spring Vine engraving that climbs toward the headstock, where it’s capped off with a final touch of inlay and a mother-of-pearl logo on the ebony veneer.

The K24ce’s Grand Auditorium body is exceptionally comfortable. It features the beveled armrest found on many of Taylor’s high-end models and takes it to the next level with a beveled cutaway, as well as a slight rounding of edges everywhere.

The double-contoured cutaway makes the upper register not only accessible but also actually more enjoyable to explore. There’s even a little beveled edge that acts as a pinkie rest along the highest frets. The Silent Satin finish is designed to eliminate incidental noise as one’s arm moves across the top, and it feels as smooth as silk.

Taylor Builder’s Edition K24ce

(Image credit: Taylor Guitars)

The factory action was absolutely perfect right out of the case. The K24ce’s round, C-shaped neck feels instantly inviting and accommodates playing in every imaginable way, from intricate linear lines to chords both simple and complex. This instrument makes challenging parts easier to play.

I found that my playing was more precise, as well, thanks to the spot-on intonation, which facilitates accuracy and gives confidence that the notes needed — even the most elusive harmonics — will manifest. The only thing I couldn’t bring myself to do on this Taylor was bang away. It’s simply too sophisticated.

Koa has a rare tonal clarity, and this guitar embodies its properties. The K24ce sounds lively and resonates with a balanced tone that’s focused in the mids and high mids, with a defined low end and a super-crisp top end. The Expression System 2 does a fine job of fleshing out the low end and delivering a powerful representation of the guitar’s tone. I used the K24ce on a holiday gig and had to do nothing more than dial down the treble. In many ways, this is the epitome of a top-end

Taylor, and it’s hard to imagine anyone picking up this lovely guitar and not appreciating its comfort, playability and elegance. Devotees will surely enjoy its ultra-high-definition sound, while devil’s advocates (or maybe Martin aficionados) may naysay that it’s too much so. But no one could argue that such top-shelf Hawaiian koa hardwood will age gracefully, eventually sweeting and warming up, and anyone spending over five grand on a guitar certainly understands the long-term nature of a sound investment. Such discerning players will find the Taylor Builder’s Edition K24CE a rewarding experience that grows with time, as it rightfully should.

Specifications

CONTACT taylor.com
PRICE $5,299 street

NUT WIDTH 1.75", black graphite
NECK Tropical mahogany
FRETBOARD West African ebony, 25.5" scale, Spring Vine inlay
FRETS 20 medium-jumbo
TUNERS Gotoh with gold buttons
BODY Hawaiian koa back, sides, and top
BRIDGE West African ebony with Micarta saddle
ELECTRONICS Expression System 2
CONTROLS Bass, treble, volume
FACTORY STRINGS Elixir Phosphor Bronze Light .012–.053
WEIGHT 4.8 lbs
BUILT USA