The 855 CE, is Taylor's 8 series twelve string cut-away. It has East Indian Rosewood Back and sides and a Sitka top. It is equiped with Fishman electronics. I play it in solo acoustic settings and occasionally in my cover band.
I bought this guitar in 2002 from Wildwood Guitars in Loisville, Colorado. I paid $2,250 for the guitar. I played at least 50 guitars in stores all over Colorado before making my selection.
This guitar has very big sound but is also balanced quite well. The body is big and can handle the lows and highs when you really get to strumming. It plays VERY well for a twelve string. The neck feels like a six string neck to me. It has great intonation all the way up the neck which makes leads possible on this instrument. The rosewood gives the guitar a very warm tone and the sitka keeps it bright. It is not overly bright like the Maple version of this guitar. It has sparkling highs, unlike the Koa version that I played. Once you get it in tune, it stays in tune. The electronis are great, the octave strings are allowed to come through with the onboard mic and the piezo brings the bass out. There is a blend function that allows you to mix how much of the mic and how much of the piezo you hear.
The only negative thing I have is that Taylors in general are very high maintenance. You must religiously keep it humidified if you live in a drier climate. The guitar is very happy in Nashville but in Colorado I had to have the headstock glued because of a dry crack.
All of the workmanship form the tuners, to the inlay, to the finish is strong. The craftsmanship is a cut above as it should be being a hand-made guitar. The case that comes with the guitar is sturdy and protects the guitar quite well.
This was the best twelve string I could find. I played many guitars including; Martin D-12-28, Guild F512, all Taylor 12 String models including the K-55ce. The only guitar that I played that could hold a candle was the Taylor Leo Kotkee signature, which sounds nearly as good and cost less. The guitar was worth every penny I paid for it and if were lost I would have to get another one. One disclaimer, the newer 855ce guitars have the Expression electronic system and I feel that this is an inferior system to the old fishman. So know that my review was of the older Fishman electronics, not the Expression.