Taylor 300 Series Review | Why I Bring it Everywhere

Review of the Taylor 300 Series of Acoustic Guitars

I’ve been playing my Taylor 310ce for almost 15 years now. I remember mowing hundreds of lawns back in high school, saving up every penny possible to get the best I could afford. It has traveled with me all across the U.S., to Mexico and even out to China.

It looks great and sounds better now than the day I bought it. The bottom line – I love my Taylor 310.

Below I’m going to explain why.

Anatomy of the Taylor 310

My beautiful Taylor 310ce Acoustic GuitarFor those of you who know Taylor guitars, you know that the 300 Series is the first all-solid wood series in their lineup. I consider it the “entry-level top-end guitar” since the Taylor Baby Series isn’t a full-size guitar and the Taylor 100 Series isn’t all-solid wood.

Most every guitar in the Taylor 300 series uses a standard Sitka Spruce soundboard complimented by Sapele back and sides.  Although, now there is an option for a Tropical Mohograny top.

While it doesn’t provide the “wow” factor of maple , Indian Rosewood or my favorite Hawaiian Koa , is beautiful and elegant.

The “10” in “310” means that I prefer the traditional dreadnought style acoustic over alternatives like Grand Concert, Grand Auditorium or the Grand Symphony. Personally, I believe the dreadnought provides a much better bass response and overall clarity, not to mention the fact that it’s a very familiar shape for most guitarists.

Finally, I chose to purchase my Taylor 310 with both a cutaway and onboard electronics (“ce”). Since I bought mine more than a decade ago it still has the old Fishman pickup that has now been replaced by the upgraded Expression System.

A closer look at Taylor's Sapele Wood on the 300 Series acoustic guitars
A closer look at the Sapele wood on the sides/back of the Taylor 300 series.

What I Love About My Taylor 310ce

I played literally hundreds of different acoustic guitars across quite a few brand names when I was searching to invest in a guitar! It’s an exhausting process but after over 15 years I’m glad I took the time to make my decision. Hindsight gives even more clarity for these simple reasons:

  • Taylors Stand the Test of Time: Like I said earlier, this guitar has followed me all over the world and endured countless miles in an airplane, train and car. It has been knocked over by kids, beat up with hundreds of hours on stage and almost run over by a car.
  • An angled view of the Taylor 300 series acoustic guitarIt Sounds Better now than when I Bought it: I believe this is true of all quality solid wood guitars and I’m excited to say that it’s true for the Taylor 300 series as well! The rich bass and clear treble blend with a smoothness I don’t remember from when I first bought the guitar.
  • It Plays Well on Stage: my Taylor 310ce has spent quite a lot of time on stage. I’m not a professional performer but I spend quite a few hours every week plugging my guitar in and playing in front of an audience. I’ve received many compliments from sound techs on the sound quality from my guitar and that’s on the old Fishman system. I can only imagine how the Expression System has improved things!
  • Excellent Action: One of the selling points for me on Taylor was the consistent action. I never, ever get a buzz and the intonation is precise no matter where I am on the fretboard. In other words, I can have my capo up on the 10th fret without a need to retune the guitar – something you’ll find doesn’t happen with most mid-range and beginner guitars.
  • Great Taylor Followup: I bought my Taylor guitar more than a decade ago and yet I still receive their award-winning quarterly magazine. I love it! It’s like a free subscription to a guitar magazine – sure it’s a huge advertisement for Taylor guitars but they have some really good articles as well.

Taylors Wood and Steel quarterly magazine

What I Don’t Like About My Taylor

It’s hard to find something I don’t like about my guitar – perhaps because it feels like trying to say what I don’t like about my own son. I’ll give it a try, though.

My Taylor 310ce came with a custom SKB Hard Shell case. It’s held up for the most part but it’s not my favorite. It doesn’t look very professional and although it’s done its job of protecting the guitar I’ve also had some of the knobs fall off over time. Thankfully, new Taylor 300 guitars come with the Taylor Deluxe Hard Shell case so you don’t have to worry about this anymore.

The Taylor Guitars Deluxe Hard Shell Case for their acoustic guitars

I’m also hesitant about the pricing, which has almost doubled since I bought mine 15 years ago. Wow! Don’t get me wrong – it’s been worth every penny – but I’m fully aware that I paid quite a bit for the “Taylor” name. Be warned that you can probably get a comparable guitar for a cheaper price tag, but there’s something to be said for the reaction you get when you tell people that you’re a Taylor owner. It’s almost immediate respect.

If I Could Do it Over Again

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There’s only one thing I would do differently if I were to purchase another Taylor – I would order my guitar either online.

That’s hard for me to say – especially since I used to work at a guitar store and I know how important these type of sales are for business. But I also know from my experience at guitar stores just who comes in to play the showroom guitars…and sometimes it made me cringe.

Most guitar stores only stock one guitar per model so essentially you’re purchasing a “used” guitar.

The good news is that Taylor’s quality manufacturing almost guarantees that any guitar you purchase online will arrive perfectly setup. I’ve seen it before countless times and I’ve been amazed. Not only that, but I have full confidence based that even if something were slightly wrong, Taylor would pay to replace or service the guitar. Their support is awesome!

Conclusion | Taylor 300 Review

In a nutshell: I have never regretted purchasing my Taylor 300 acoustic guitar.

Whenever I buy a new guitar, I’m don’t sell my Taylor 300 in order to finance the purchase. There are too many dings and scratches on my guitar which represent memorable stories that I love to tell.

As long as you know that you’re paying a few hundred dollars more to own a Taylor, you won’t be disappointed.

Taylor 300 Series Breakdown:

Taylor 310 Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor 310 guitar has the dreadnought-style body with sitka spruce top/sapele back and sides. Other options include a cutaway (the “c”) and electronics (the “e”). My guitar is the Taylor 310ce, meaning it has both.

The beautiful Taylor 310ce acoustic guitar

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Taylor 312 Acoustic Guitar

The difference with the Taylor 312 acoustic guitar is that the body shape is “Grand Concert” instead of Dreadnought. The Grand Concert body is a little bit smaller and thinner, making it a much more comfortable lap guitar. It’s tone and feel lend well to fingerstyle guitarists.

The Taylor 312ce Acoustic Guitar with a Grand Concert Body

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Taylor 314 Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor 314 guitar has a Grand Auditorium body.  This is a marriage between the fat curves of the 312 (Grand Concert) and the dimensions of the 310 (Dreadnought). It’s the same length, depth and width as the dreadnought, just a different shape.

This is probably one of the most popular style of acoustic guitars that Taylor produces.  And, to top it all off, has an incredibly sweet tone to it.

The Taylor 314ce acoustic guitar with a Grand Auditorium body

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Taylor 316 Acoustic Guitar

The Taylor 316 guitar is essentially just an over-sized 314 Grand Auditorium with an added quarter inch in width. The result is a beefier bass sound and increased volume overall. If you prefer to dig into the lower notes, this might fit your style better.

Taylor 316ce acoustic guitar with a Grand Symphony body

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Taylor 320, Taylor 322 & Taylor 324 (Tropical Mahogany)

The newest change in the Taylor 300 series is the option to have a Tropical Mahogany top. It’s a different look and also provides a slightly different tone. The option includes a Dreadnought (Taylor 320), the Grand Concert (Taylor 322) and the Grand Auditorium (Taylor 324). You can get an idea of what the Tropical Mahogany looks like here with the dreadnought.

The Tropical Mahogany option for the Taylor 300 series acoustic guitars


 

Other Options

Finally, the Taylor 300 series includes the option for a 12-string guitar (Taylor 356ce) and a Nylon-string version (312ce-N and the 314ce-N).

In addition, almost each of these guitars that I’ve mentioned above is available in left-handed versions.

15 thoughts on “Taylor 300 Series Review | Why I Bring it Everywhere

  1. Josh. Thank you for posting this! Very informative. What year is your 310CE? I have a 2001 310CE. I thought the back and sides were mahogany however a friend told me that it’s sapele. I do know that the newer models are sapele now. I don’t know what year Taylor switched. Thanks!

    1. Hey Al, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting!

      I bought my 310CE new back in 2000 and I’m 99% sure that it’s sapele. I had never heard that the back and sides used to be mahogany…I’ll have to look that up to verify. Thanks!

  2. Hey, what do you think about the 322e vs lets say 4xx or even a 5xx the hog and look of that guitar is just wonderful and how does it compare to a Martin 000-15xx series?

    Regards,
    Chad

    1. I have the 520 and I love it. Tried most of the Martin mahogany guitars but the Taylor had such a clearly defined sound in comparison and the bass response is fantastic. Also I prefer the fretboard; I think it’s a lot easier / more enjoyable to play.

  3. “there’s something to be said for the reaction you get when you tell people that you’re a Taylor owner”

    Yeah: “oh, you couldn’t manage a Martin?”

  4. The es system is an either love or hate it type of thing. I hate it. I have looked everywhere for a 314 with a Fishman and I just found one at the Guitar Center in Fort Wayne Indiana. I’m a full-time professional musician in for me a Fishman pickup beats the e s or ES 2 any day

  5. I’ve owned one of these for years also. I bought it new with the fishmn preamp. I pair it with a fender accoustisonic amp. This is a great combination. I loaned it to an out of town musician. She went out and found a good used one with the fishmam and a fender amp. It is her favorite system now. Also Taylor really supports their guitars. Like everybody I am getting older every day. My hands have been hurting for a few years now and it is getting worse. I had a local guitar shop that advetised they were authorized Taylor technions. They reset the neck to hopefully ease the action. He screwed it up. I took it to the store were I bought it. They said that they had to send it back to Taylor for a total reset. We did that. Taylor fixed it much better han new and only charged for shipping. That is Extraordinary for any company! I am a life time fan. OK about the playability and tone. I think that the “ce” is built with a little thicker wood for better amplified tone. I like it. I feel that it gives a “tighter” amplified tone, not so “airy”. This cleans up the total mix. My previous guitar was a Martin D-18. I bought new in 1970 because of its tone. One of the best. Still I like the Taylor much better for amplified playing. So if your playing accoustic only the ce is not as good. If you play through an amp it is better. I have played some very high end guitars that don’t sound as good.

  6. Thanks for the information, yet I still search for information on the new (old) Taylor I just bought: Taylor 310, born on April 4th of 2001; it was the 54th guitar of the day.

    Here’s where the deviations from expectations begin.
    A collector originally ordered the guitar new from Taylor; he claims he paid nearly US$2500; he has no reason to lie. That seems over twice the price. I met the man, and he has nearly 100 guitars in a glass wall humidified case in a windowless room. The 2001 Taylor was never played all the years he had it.

    It was then given as a gift to his brother in law a few years ago; my best friend who is honest and not prone to stories or exaggeration. HE, never played the guitar; his severe arthritis made it impossible, as he can barely manage a Strat Electric. 19 years after purchase by his brother in law, it still had the original strings and tags attached when I got it last week. The case, was a vintage Alligator Morgan Monroe…perfect, in cordovan color, hygrometer, velvet.

    My friend is terminally ill, and willed me the guitar in his trust. Now struggling for money, he gave it to me early, and I gave him $500 and a few inexpensive toys I had worth $100. I thought a fair deal, not knowing Taylors.

    The guitar has a Ribbon Spruce top. This is unusual, yes? Perhaps it was not perfect enough for an high-end instrument? 19 years has imparted the expected honey color finish. Satin back and sides. I’m certain the neck is mahogany in gloss, and ebony, yet the head looks rosewood in satin; the truss rod cover is unfinished (raw wood?). YES, the head and the neck are different pieces of wood by design. The big dots on the fret-board look natural abalone/MOP. Since new, the guitar was never molested or tweaked in any way.

    The strings are slightly wider set than normal = a hair over 1 & 9/16ths” at the nut, 2.25″ at the saddle.

    I cleaned it, oiled it, set it up, and made love to it for a couple days. It plays amazing. It out sounds the Martins, D-18 and D-25, I have owned, even when played extremely lightly. It puts my 1957 Yamaha FG-180 Red Label to shame. This does not play like any entry level instrument I’ve ever played.

    A perfectly aged, brand new instrument, now wearing my Martin Marquis Light Gauge strings, is living in 50% humidity at 70F.

    Now, I may be looking at a perfectly normal 2001 Taylor 310? I never saw one before. And this is the question I am asking you…or anyone. Is this just a normal new 2001 310? Or do I need to give my friend another $500? Or, do I just have a crush on a new guitar? It is true, my fiance suddenly looks her age, at 23.

    Kindest regards,
    Martin

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