Taylor PS14ce in (Milagro) Brazilian Rosewood
Many guitars are in competition for the “Best in Class” and the PS14ce is no exception. One way to push to the top of the list is to take a finely tuned instrument, give it a brand new bracing system, face it with an amazing master grade sinker redwood and finish it off with a one-of-a-kind Brazilian rosewood. Taylor has successfully accomplished “having your guitar and playing it too.”
While the 914ce could cover an entire blog on it’s own, as much as it pains me to rush through any details of this instrument, I feel obligated to get to what makes this guitar truly special as quickly as humanly possible. On that note, let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
This is the Taylor PS14ce “Milagro” Brazilian Rosewood with V-Class Bracing. While the bones of this guitar are much like that of the 914ce, the PS14ce (Presentation Series) is the highest level of guitar Taylor offers, without creating a customized instrument of course. Taylor’s entire Presentation Series is a collector’s dream with offerings from Hawaiian Koa to West African Ebony, Gotoh tuners to abalone inlays, and now V-Class bracing is an option. Let me touch on that briefly before we continue, as it’s a feature that’s likely to be overlooked when even an avid enthusiast picks up this guitar. Andy Powers, the Master Guitar Designer of Taylor Guitars, took a chance and tried to fix something many would say wasn’t broken and created an alternative to the traditional X-bracing Taylor has been offering for years. His adjustment made big changes to not only guitars like the 914ce or one as unique as this PS14ce, but Taylor’s entire line of guitars. The added sustain, volume and intonation of the V-Class guitar lineup is a huge win for Taylor. Read more HERE about how V-Class has taken Taylor to new heights.
Starting from the top, the Milagro is dressed to impress. The first sighting of abalone is in the inlaid ebony headstock resting evenly between Gotoh tuners. Cross over the bone nut and we are already at our second abalone sighting. As familiar as many are with the scroll work, the sight of the art nouveau inlay over the ebony fingerboard is absolutely beautiful. The standard carve neck gives the PS14 it’s first audible compliment with it’s notorious play-ability. The abalone and ebony continue to frame the entire top wood and leave their final footprint at the bridge beneath a bone saddle. Resting inside the glistening perfling you’ll find a stunning Master Grade sinker redwood for the Milagro’s soundboard accented with an ebony beveled armrest. As Heartbreaker’s Brendan Smyth explains in the video overview, the unbelievable redwood on this guitar has a history of it’s own, leaving little to be unappreciated about this guitar.
Without diving any deeper into this Taylor, the combination of art and construction, along with the famed characteristics that make a Taylor a Taylor, score the PS14ce a top contender for the best guitar money can buy. Under the strings, beneath the top, nestled just behind the revolutionary bracing, however, is the pride and joy of this PS14ce: The “Milagro” Brazilian Rosewood. Appropriately named, Spanish for “miracle,” there is more than one reason the stunning rosewood forming the back and sides of this guitar is deemed invaluable.
When looking at an aged and polished piece of Brazilian rosewood there’s a story being told. In the image below, the history of the fallen tree can be seen in the deep contrasts and rich, chocolate browns found inside the grain reaching every edge of this guitar. The wood recovered from the hillside in Brazil was over 400 years old and is an infallible compliment to the abalone perfling framing the entire piece. While this wood has a variety of brown and purple colors throughout, it’s known for it’s warm and rich sound, party due to it being a very hard wood (harder than maple). An acoustic guitar may have excellent tone and clarity if constructed entirely of rosewood, but the weight and cost would be far too high. While Indian rosewood is a forcible substitute, the beauty and matched tone of the Brazilian variation supersedes the savings and keeps it in high demand. You may be asking yourself, “What makes Brazilian rosewood so special?” Here’s the reason.
In January of last year, changes were made to the details of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) that specifically involve Dalbergia nigra, also known as Brazilian Rosewood. While the changes didn’t constitute a ban of all rosewoods, the efforts behind the new restrictions on importation and stricter enforcement did illegalize the importation of any Brazilian rosewood removed after 1992 without proper paperwork. Taylor Guitars, among others, proudly cooperates with CITES in their efforts to conserve and protect all species encompassed by the international agreement. On Taylor’s website, you’ll find the following:
“In January of 2017, new regulations that heighten the protection of rosewood species under the genus Dalbergia took effect. The regulations, which were adopted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), impact the international commercial trade of Dalbergia rosewood, including products made with it, such as guitars. Dalbergia rosewood includes East Indian rosewood, Honduran rosewood, and cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa). The new regulations also apply to three species of bubinga. This will impact anyone looking to buy or sell a rosewood guitar across international borders, and could also impact someone who intends to ship a rosewood guitar internationally for service. Keep in mind that Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) is protected by even stricter CITES regulations.”
So, how is Taylor able to sell the Milagro with it now being illegal to import? While the answer seems fairly clear, I reached out to Taylor to hear their answer to this question. In talking to Michel Gambini, a representative I found working in Amsterdam, I discovered my assumption was, in fact, true. While Taylor is no longer importing Brazilian rosewood, they do continue to import a variety of rosewoods that are not restricted. The special edition PS14ce Milagro contains Brazilian rosewood from a stock that was indeed harvested prior to the 1992 deadline and has the supporting documentation and permits. What was most interesting to me is that this specific PS14CE Milagro currently listed with Heartbreaker Guitars was produced in August of 2018 and production of the guitars finished just one month later.
If you aren’t able to get your turn with Taylor’s PS14ce “Milagro” Brazilian Rosewood with V-Class Bracing in person, I ask that you at least watch Mike and Brendan’s brief showcase of this beautiful instrument down below. Heartbreaker Guitars is a proud Taylor Guitars dealer and I wouldn’t be surprised if this beauty has already made it’s way off the wall, but as I write, this beautiful instrument is available! With there only being 70 in existence, time is of the essence!
Visit Heartbreaker Guitars in Las Vegas, Nevada today or look at the Milagro on their website at www.HeartbreakerGuitars.com and take a look and a listen to Taylor's PS14ce "Milagro".