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The 2013 Guitar Guide The New Grand Orchestra Big & Balanced
Koa 200s Find Your Fit All About Shapes, Woods & Sounds Your Player Profile
Sustainable Forestry String-Changing Tips Taylor Around the World
A Pressing Matter
Two years ago at the age of 59 I made a New Year’s resolution to learn to play the guitar. I had plenty of inspiration; my two brothers have been playing and writing their own songs for 40-plus years, and my son James, a Taylorguitar owner, is an accomplished fingerpickin’ bluegrass player. James and his Taylormoved to New Jersey to attend school before I decided I wanted to become a guitar player, so I began learning on a mini classical [guitar] that I borrowed from a friend. Wood&Steel continued to come to our home in Oklahoma, and when I took up guitar I started reading it. I always read the “Letters” section first in any magazine, and yours was no exception. I couldn’t help but notice the raves about the GS Mini from readers in every issue, so last year when I decided I wanted a real guitar for Christmas, of course I looked at the Mini first. It has been a year since my GS Mini came to live with me, and I could not behappier with my choice. I practice almost every day, and even though I will probably never be as good a guitarist as the others who write to you, I am happy with my progress. I am so proud of my Taylor, and proud of myself as well for setting a goal and working toward it. And I can add Wood&Steel and the people who wrote to you in praise of the GS Mini to my list of those who inspired me. Thank you! As I say each time I pick up my Taylor to play, I press on! Nancy Hempfling Enid, OK
Superstorm Sandy devastated the East Coast last week, leaving a path of destruction like no other storm before it. We were relatively lucky in the Atlantic City, New Jersey, region, since
Volume 74 Winter 2013 the eye of the hurricane passed over us and spared us the non-stop winds and torrential rain that afflicted the areas farther north. We did, however, suffer two high-tide storm surges that reached record heights. We were without heat or electricity for four days, and were banned from returning home for five days. My music studio, a converted garage, took in an estimated six inches of flood water. When I finally returned home I discovered my Taylor 414ce in its case under my piano, sitting on soaking-wet carpeting. When I finally had the nerve to open the case, I was stunned to see the guitar fully intact, neck straight, and the wood in perfect shape! The inside of the case, despite sitting in water or on wet carpeting for four days, was bone dry. And much to my surprise, the guitar was still in tune! I haven’t been able to check the electronics yet since I lost four amps in the flood, but that is a relatively easy fix if necessary. Needless to say, my guitar has a new name. Here’s hoping “Sandy” is with me for a long, long time. I promise to keep her dry in the future. Dan Pittaro
Deep, Dark and Beautiful
I started planning my Build to Order guitar three years ago. Of course I had many questions. They were all answered cheerfully and promptly. Even when the question was a matter of which wood was best for my purposes and the choices were quite far apart in price, and when the wrong choice was several hundred dollars higher than the one I needed, I was answered honestly. I can’t thank you enough for your help. I received my beautiful BTO GS on September 14, 2012. I found it to be far beyond my greatest expectations. I play country gospel, and the deep, dark sound I wanted is brought out so beautifully by the combination of the sinker redwood top and the Indian rosewood back and sides. I was originally thinking of cocobolo for the back. I didn’t know the neck would make a difference in sound, but again, your people saved me from making a big mistake. Instead of maple I went with figured mahogany, and I couldn’t be more satisfied. Joe Regel
My friend and I attended your Road Show in Dubuque, Iowa, last night. We are both senior citizens and have been
around the block, so to speak. We were overwhelmed by the knowledge, sense of humor, and musical abilities of both people putting on the show [Ed. Note: Taylor district sales manager Mike Ausman and product specialist Wayne Johnson].We are both retired teachers and have hundreds if not thousands of lectures and demonstrations behind us.None come even close to meeting the standards of your show.We couldn’t stop talking about the show and all we learned all the way home.We are ready to go again just as soon as another Taylor guitar show comes anywhere near us.Thanks so much. Chuck Berquist
I have tried out many fabulous Taylor guitars at various music stores and finally was ready to make the leap when I found out the Road Show was coming to town. I was so excited, as was my wife, who knew how badly I wanted a Taylor. In fact, she said that if I found my dream guitar at the show she would buy it for me. As the date of the event drew near, so did the imminent birth of our granddaughter, who was now overdue. Everyone was trying to guess the date, but I said I knew when it would be. Of course, this time I was right. She was born on the day of the Road Show, and I missed the event. I think my wife was even more disappointed than I, but as she said, “A new Taylor guitar: $4,000; a new, beautiful, healthy granddaughter: priceless!” (Her middle name is Taylor, after our daughter.) I’ll be sitting down with my Taylor rep soon to work on a BTO. But in the meantime I just bought a mahogany GS Mini for when we travel to see our son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. Stephen Blender Owen Sound, ON, Canada
Three of a Kind
Last night my wife and I attended the Taylor Road Show at Tom Lee Music in Victoria, BC — despite a torrential downpour — and both of us came out smiling and full of new knowledge about the woods, shapes and sounds that they create, as well as awe regarding Marc Seal’s playing. I’ll be getting out my T5 this morning and trying to recreate some of the sounds he got. Man, that boy can play! When the three Taylor folks [Tay-
lor sales managers Michael Lille and Aaron Dablow, and product specialist Marc Seal] played three different Taylor guitar shapes with different woods together, it was awesome to hear the differences. The guys all had fantastic attitudes, great senses of humor, and a wonderful dedication to Taylor Guitars. It was a pleasure to have been able to attend. Now I’m saving up for a Baritone 8-String to complement my T5 and 414ce-LTD (which my wife presented to me as a wedding present last June!) I just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate your company providing the Road Show and giving us a chance to see and play such amazing guitars! Geoff Smith Victoria, BC, Canada
In the Mood
Creativity involves talent, but I believe an even larger contributor to creativity is mood. Sometimes mood is present through our natural environment, but there are times when mood is set through artificial means: lighting, temperature, and, of course, sound. My Taylor guitar (GS8e) plays a major role in setting the mood for creative songwriting. A guitar with bad-to-mediocre tone will ruin a creative mood quickly. But the tone of my Taylor GS causes my creative mood to blossom. Mike West
I am 77 years old and have been retired for 12 years. I have always wanted to play the guitar, so six months ago I purchased a 310ce and started taking lessons. Wow, great sound, and very reasonably priced. To say that I am enjoying the guitar and the lessons would be an understatement. On September 3, I attended my third Taylor Road Show at the Fret Shop here in Huntsville, Alabama. I had absolutely no intention of purchasing a second guitar at this time, although I knew that when my guitar proficiency increased I would buy an additional instrument. I totally enjoyed the discussions on different tonewoods and shapes. Because I need to wear hearing aids, I found that I was unable to truly appreciate the slight tonal differences between different instruments. When the GS Mini was played I was totally blown away. I could not believe
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the beauty and the fullness of the sound coming from such a small guitar. I knew I had to have one. My wife and I do a great deal of traveling. I realized that the Mini would make a truly great travel guitar. The Road Show was on a Tuesday, and the following Friday I called Mark Torstenson at the Fret Shop and told him I wanted one of the rosewood [laminate]/spruce [limited edition] models. Mark told me he only had two left. I went down the shop on Saturday, with my money clutched in my hot, sweaty hand, and Mark was holding the last one for me. Now it’s mine, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. I have enjoyed working with Mark, and want to thank Taylor Guitars for the truly quality guitars you are producing. I am sure that at some time in the future there will be a third Taylor guitar in my house. Dale Wasserman
On the Cover 10 The Grand Orchestra
We proudly unveil the big- bodied successor to our Jumbo shape. Taylor luthier Andy Powers talks about blending tonal power and balance, and how our newest shape fits into the family of Taylor acoustic designs.
I recently attended the Taylor Guitars University event [presented to employees from music stores in our dealer network] at your Amsterdam facility, and I have to say that in the 15-plus years of working in the retail sector, I have never attended such an informative and insightful course. Already a Taylor Guitars enthusiast, I was keen to meet members of the Taylor staff and glean information that I would find useful in selling the instruments in my store. I found all of the Taylor members from both the USA factory and the European facility most knowledgeable when it came to technical detail and sales techniques. Thank you for the warmth and hospitality that was shown to the UK dealers. Rest assured: All the info was absorbed and will be used. Ralph Langfield
The 2013 Guitar Guide 14 Finding Your Fit
Taylor product specialist Corey Witt helps you hone in on the right type of guitar for your needs.
18 Body Shapes
We’d like to hear from you Send your e-mails to: [emailprotected]
We highlight the tonal personality of each of our five body shapes.
A roundup of the woods we use and their sonic nuances.
Cover photo: Andy Powers with a new Grand Orchestra 918e enjoying a view of the Pacific Ocean from the bluffs of Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California
40 Baritone 42 Nylon-String 44 GS Mini 46 Baby Taylor 48 The Electric Line 54 Guitars by Series
58 Standard Model Options 60 Build to Order 62 Sustainability 64 Service & Support 66 Europe & Beyond
2 Letters 4 Kurt’s Corner 5 BobSpeak 5 Editor’s Note 6 Ask Bob 68 TaylorWare
Volume 74 Winter 2013
Publisher Taylor-Listug, Inc. Produced by the Taylor Guitars Marketing Department Editor Jim Kirlin Art Director Cory Sheehan Graphic Designer Rita Funk-Hoffman Graphic Designer Angie Stamos-Guerra Photographer Tim Whitehouse Contributors David Hosler / Wayne Johnson / David Kaye / Kurt Listug Shawn Persinger / Shane Roeschlein / Bob Taylor / Glen Wolff / Chalise Zolezzi
Kurt’s Corner Giving More On the recent occasion of Taylor Guitars’ 38th anniversary, I looked back on some of our history and the decisions we made that led to our growth and success. When we were small and struggling, the decisions we faced were often critical; they impacted whether we’d still be in business a few months down the road. Decisions like which bill to pay (rent and utilities were always at the top of the list), or how to sell guitars this week so we could eat the next week. Other decisions seemed equally critical to our survival, and they were, but in a different way. They had more to do with what we felt would be honest and ethical business; what kind of culture we wanted to create; and how we wanted to treat others. How would we define success, and how broadly would we measure that? Early on, I had the opinion that businesses that operated primarily out of their own self-interest and profit motive wouldn’t survive because there’s so much more to doing good quality business. But it seemed that I was proven wrong. I saw companies that didn’t care about their customers, or would barely give you your money’s worth, continue to stay in business and even give an appearance of prosperity. Granted, it can take years for a company to die, but from the outside it can look like it doesn’t matter how one treats others, and this can be disillusioning. But it does matter. In fact, I believe the measure of how broadly a business embraces fairness and success for its
employees, customers, vendors, the environment and its shareholders might be the best measure of success one could apply. If you look at the best companies, I think you’ll find organizations that, to the best of their ability, provide opportunity and rewarding work for their employees; treat everyone they deal with honestly and fairly; care about and
So it is with Taylor Guitars. If you were to look at the investments we make into our plans and projects, you would see that they’re meant to improve the quality and offering of our guitars; to improve the quality and satisfaction of our customer experience; to improve our internal processes so we’re more responsive to customer demand; to
I believe the measure of how broadly a business embraces fairness and success for its employees, customers, vendors, the environment and its shareholders might be the best measure of success. safeguard the environment; and provide a good return to their shareholders. I truly believe that the more value a company can deliver to its employees, customers, vendors, shareholders and anyone else the company interacts with, the more successful that company will be. Give more to get more. That may seem counter-intuitive. One might think, how can I afford to give more if I’m struggling to make it? The answer is that people want to work for, and do business with, companies that give an abundance of value — more than your money’s worth. These are the companies that people tell their friends about and recommend to others.
provide a safer, better work environment for our employees; to safeguard natural resources through responsible and ethical wood harvesting and forestry; in short, to do business in a manner that benefits the most and harms the fewest. This is how we want to do business. This is the kind of company we want to have. We’ve accomplished a lot in our first 38 years. But, in a sense, I feel we’ve only scratched the surface. There’s a lot more on the horizon for this year, and in the years to come. We look forward to the future, and hope you’ll be a part of it with us. — Kurt Listug, CEO
Technical Advisors Ed Granero / David Hosler / Gerry Kowalski / Andy Lund Rob Magargal / Mike Mosley / Bob Taylor / Chris Wellons / Glen Wolff
Contributing Photographers Rita Funk-Hoffman / David Kaye / Katrina Horstman Circulation Katrina Horstman
Printing / Distribution Courier Graphics / CEREUS - Phoenix
©2013 Taylor-Listug, Inc. All Rights reserved. TAYLOR, TAYLOR (Stylized); TAYLOR GUITARS, TAYLOR QUALITY GUITARS and Design ; BABY TAYLOR; BIG BABY; Peghead Design; Bridge Design; Pickguard Design; 100 SERIES; 200 SERIES; 300 SERIES; 400 SERIES; 500 SERIES; 600 SERIES; 700 SERIES; 800 SERIES; 900 SERIES; PRESENTATION SERIES; GALLERY; QUALITY TAYLOR GUITARS, GUITARS AND CASES and Design; WOOD&STEEL; ROBERT TAYLOR (Stylized); TAYLOR EXPRESSION SYSTEM; EXPRESSION SYSTEM; TAYLORWARE ; TAYLOR GUITARS K4; K4, TAYLOR K4; TAYLOR ES; DYNAMIC BODY SENSOR; T5; T5 (Stylized); BALANCED BREAKOUT; R. TAYLOR; R TAYLOR (Stylized); AMERICAN DREAM; TAYLOR SOLIDBODY; T3; GRAND SYMPHONY; WAVE COMPENSATED; GS; GS MINI; ES-GO; V-CABLE; FIND YOUR FIT; and GA are registered trademarks of Taylor-Listug, Inc. NYLON SERIES; KOA SERIES; GRAND AUDITORIUM; GRAND CONCERT, TAYLOR SWIFT BABY TAYLOR; LEO KOTTKE SIGNATURE MODEL; DYNAMIC STRING SENSOR; GRAND ORCHESTRA; GO; TAYLOR ROAD SHOW; JASON MRAZ SIGNATURE MODEL; NOUVEAU; ISLAND VINE ; CINDY; HERITAGE DIAMONDS; TWISTED OVALS; DECO DIAMONDS; and SPIRES are trademarks of Taylor-Listug, Inc. ELIXIR and NANOWEB are registered trademarks of W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. D’ADDARIO PRO-ARTE is a registered trademark of J. D’Addario & Co., Inc. NUBONE is a registered trademark of David Dunwoodie.
2013 Taylor Factory Tours & Vacation Dates
A free, guided tour of the Taylor Guitars factory is given every Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. (excluding holidays). No advance reservations are necessary. Simply check-in at the reception desk in our Visitor Center, located in the lobby of our main building, before 1 p.m. We ask that large groups (more than 10) call us in advance at (619) 258-1207. While not physically demanding, the tour does include a fair amount of walking. Due to the technical nature, the tour may not be suitable for small children. The tour lasts approximately one hour and 15 minutes and departs from the main building at 1980 Gillespie Way in El Cajon, California. Please take note of the weekday exceptions below. For more information, including directions to the factory, please visit taylorguitars.com/contact. We look forward to seeing you!
Factory Closures Monday, February 18 (Presidents’ Day) Monday, May 27 (Memorial Day)
Monday-Friday, July 1-5 (Independence Day/Company Vacation)
Building a Better Future Yesterday I heard the best Taylor Dreadnought that I’ve ever heard in my 38 years here, when Andy Powers and I played his latest creation. That’s because he is a better guitar maker than me when it comes to coaxing sound from a guitar. First of all, he’s really smart and naturally talented. Second, he’s an incredible player, which makes a world of difference when making guitars. And third, he has studied the bracing of guitars and even pianos extensively, and has learned what to change in order to get the sound he wants. But what if the sound he wants isn’t good? That would be awful, but fortunately for me and all of you, it is, and I’m so happy to see him take our guitars to a new level. I believe that you will love the migration of our sound over the next several years because of the work that Andy is doing. He’s good at preserving what you love about your Taylor: the even, brilliant sound that speaks out when playing with other instruments. But he’s also putting more flavor into them, making sure that the guitars sound like the same instrument all the way up the neck and that all the notes ring true to each other. It’s good, I must say. We’ll begin hearing more from Andy starting this spring when he begins his own column here in Wood&Steel. This will be a great way for you all to learn what he’s thinking and to get to know him as well as you’ve gotten to know me through my years of writing to you.
I can’t wait to see what he shares with you and how he works to improve your playing experience. It really pleases me to know that our guitars continue to get better, rather than our having to try hard to make the guitars we used to make. In this issue you’ll be reading about our new guitar, the Grand Orchestra. This is a ground-up design from Andy. You’ll read what he, and we, had in mind: a big guitar that moves away from the Jumbo shape that we made previously. That shape goes a long way back in our history and really was inspired back then by the Jumbos that Gibson and Guild made. We thought it was time to make something that worked better for us and was more recognizable as a pure Taylor Guitars design. I’ll love hearing your comments as they make their way into the world and you get your chance to play or own one. I’ll leave the rest of the story to Andy and Jim Kirlin to tell in the article this issue. We’re thinking of the future, as you can tell, and that always includes keeping you abreast of our thinking, especially when it comes to wood and our world’s forests. Of course, we’re working hard in Cameroon to improve the ebony scene there and around the world. That project has been one of our greatest challenges as well as one of our greatest rewards. Honduras is going well, and our partnering villages there are enjoying the economy we can bring to them while sustainably using some mahogany trees from their
land each year. And then there’s Fiji, where we are working hard to secure a reliable flow of the mahogany that is now ready for harvest after the British planted it there about 100 years ago. Imagine, they had the foresight and the will to plant; the Fijians left it alone for a century; and now we are able to use some of it and relieve pressure on native forests in other parts of the world. What a wonderful forestry model that is. It has me thinking of what I can do for guitars 100 years from now, and I’m seriously putting energy into the idea. Being future-minded while also wanting to make guitars now has led us to some places in the world where there are species that you haven’t seen yet, and where we can harvest in the greenest and most sustainable ways we’ve ever imagined. Look for us to introduce you to some amazing wood even as soon as later this year. We’re looking forward to bringing this to you. All in all it’s been another great year here in Guitarland, and it’s amazing to me, as it has been for almost 40 years, that we haven’t run out of interesting new ideas. There’s a couple of lifetimes’ worth of good ideas, and I wish I had enough time to develop them all! — Bob Taylor, President
Welcome to our annual Guitar Guide issue. We’re excited to lift the curtain on Taylor’s 2013 guitar lineup and reveal our latest offerings. The centerpiece of this year’s additions is a new Taylor body shape, the Grand Orchestra, which not only replaces our Jumbo but expands the sonic parameters of a big-bodied guitar by blending power, balance and responsiveness — a feat that’s not easy to achieve. In our cover story, the guitar’s lead designer, Andy Powers, talks about its development and the types of playing applications it fits. We’ll have the guitar in tow for this year’s Taylor Road Show events and hope you get a chance to experience it in the coming months at your favorite local Taylor dealer. Speaking of Road Shows, we’ve enlisted one of our seasoned product specialists, Corey Witt, to draw from his experience as a Taylor player and Road Show presenter in a piece for the Guitar Guide (“Finding Your Fit”) about choosing the right guitar. If you’ve attended a Road Show with Corey on guitar, you can probably attest to his ability to explain and demonstrate the nuances of guitars in a fun and informative way. We look forward to bringing him into more guitar conversations on these pages this year. As you peruse this issue, you may notice that we’ve taken a slightly different approach to presenting the Taylor line than in years past. Rather than showcasing our acoustic models primarily by series, we’ve followed the format of our Road Shows, in which we profile the unique tonal personalities of each of our shapes, followed by the sonic nuances of different woods. The underlying goal, though, is the same: to clear a path to a Taylor guitar that will feel and sound great in your hands. In our overview on sustainability, we provide an update on our progress in Cameroon with Crelicam, the ebony mill that we’ve co-owned for a year. Supporting responsible forestry is an integral part of our operation, and we plan to share additional reports from Cameroon during the year, along with stories on other sustainable sourcing initiatives, including plantation-grown Fijian mahogany and some wonderful alternative tonewoods we’ve been exploring in Tasmania. They might make a special appearance on some limited editions in the near future. We hope you enjoy this year’s guide, and we thank you for being a part of the extended Taylor community.
— Jim Kirlin
Online Read this and other back issues of Wood&Steel at taylorguitars.com
Ask Bob Fretboard oil, electrostatic charging, and sticky necks On guitar chat forums people rave about the merits of using lemon oil to clean their guitar fretboards. Other people respond by saying that lemon oil is actually bad for the guitar. Can you shed some light on this? Claudio Rocchi Montreal, Canada Claudio, I’d have no worries about using lemon oil on my fretboard. It’s safe. Use it only on the unfinished wood like the fretboard and bridge. The wood can dry out over time, and an oil like this, or linseed oil, or even mineral oil, can protect the wood and beautify it as well. Don’t overdo it. Once a fretboard has been oiled a few times, you can slow down the frequency. The nice thing about lemon oil is that it cleans while it oils, so it won’t build up as easily, but be sparing. I don’t think your fretboard will need oiling more than twice a year, and eventually, once a year.
I recently took the factory tour and enjoyed it. The electrostatic “charging” of the guitar to attract the [finish] intrigued me. Since wood is an insulator and not a conductor of electricity, how can you charge the guitar body? Is the little moisture left in the wood enough for the charge? David G Yes, David, it’s the moisture in the wood that makes it conductive. There’s also another trick. There is a conductive spray we apply to the guitar that has almost no thickness. It’s whisper thin, and we put it on the wood itself before the first coat. After that we spray on top of the last coat without the conductive spray, so the water in the wood is doing most of the work.
After I had tweaked the action on my Tasmanian [blackwood] Build to Order guitar, my son walked by and told me I had put the truss rod cover on upside down. He said, “Obviously the designer wanted the scalloped end on top and the round end near the nut to complement the unique
scalloped headstock.” In every picture I could find, Taylors come from the factory with the scalloped end against the nut. I have a koa truss rod cover against an ebony headstock, and I love the contrast. After turning the cover around with the scalloped side on top I have to agree with my son: It complements the scalloped top of the Taylor headstock. Maybe I’m crazy, but I turned all my covers around and love the look. What’s the history of the truss rod cover design? John Hlasney, Flemington, NJ John, that’s just wrong! I’m kidding. There’s no history, really, but I could make up some if you want! But seriously, a long, long time ago, on our first guitars, we used to make the truss rod covers flat against the nut, and then we saw guitars like Gibsons with a little design on the bottom of theirs. It inspired me to do something like that to mine, so I ended up just repeating our headstock design. As for you, at least you can recognize your guitars in a lineup, since they’re upside down.
I have been playing guitar for many years and am the proud owner of a 314ce. My next purchase will be a 512ce with a cedar top and mahogany [back and] sides. I am mostly a fingerstyle player and have always wanted a cedar-topped, small-body guitar. But my guitar friends say cedar tops are prone to crack, are too soft for a viable guitar top, and won’t last. In fact, they say that is the reason why Martin won’t even use cedar for any of their guitars. I still really have my heart set on this guitar but was curious as to your thoughts on cedar. Do they show up for repairs more often than other guitars, and why do people seem to think cedar is only good for light-braced, nylon classical guitars? Bob Slezak Bob, you have to choose your friends more wisely. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Tell them I love them. OK, let’s think about it. I’ll bet Takamine uses cedar on almost all the steel-string guitars
they’ve made for decades. No cracks really. We’ve made thousands of cedartopped guitars. Cedar might crack slightly more than spruce on our guitars, but really just barely. The truth is that we have very few cracks at all with either wood. Don’t worry about it. We dry the wood well and assemble the guitar to avoid things like cracking. If they’re abused with low humidity, either will crack, but don’t worry about cedar. Plunge headfirst into it.
I own three Taylors: a 210e, a 414ce and a DN8e. The frequency of use is in that order. The back sides of the necks on the 210 and 414 behind the first and third frets feel a little tacky even when clean. The surface is visually smooth and there is no discoloration, but when I run my hand or finger along the neck, there is some resistance. I know that these two areas are where my hand sits on the neck when I play. Obviously there is some sort of chemical reaction from my sweat and the finish of the neck. Having discovered that this is a problem, I now make sure I wash my hands before I play, and I clean the necks of my guitars every time I am done playing. I usually use Turtle Wax Express Shine, as shown in one of the videos on the Taylor website, to clean the neck. Several questions: Is there anything else I could or should use to clean the neck after I play? Is it possible to clean the guitar too much or too often? Is there any way to refinish the neck to get the smoothness back? Is there any way to prevent this problem from occurring? Aaron I. Vela, CPA, JD Edinburg, TX Aaron, I wish I could see it for myself to make sure that the finish isn’t softened from either your hands or from the cleaner. I’ll tell you a few things, and you see if they make sense to you, from knowing your own guitar. First, yes, you can clean it too much. Next, shiny parts of the neck are stickier on your hand than the dull, or satin parts. So, probably what you want more than anything is to dull your neck, and get it drier. Think of a pool cue. What do they use to make it glide on your hand? Not wax, but talcum powder. Yep, baby powder makes a pool cue slip through your hand. High gloss is the enemy of dry, pool-cue-gliding action. So the more Express Shine you use, the worse it gets, except for the five minutes after it’s waxed. If the guitar were here in my hands, I’d take some 800-grit wet or dry sandpaper (available in an automo-
I’ve heard that the worst a guitar will ever sound is the day you take it home. This is due to the fact that, as a guitar ages, the wood hardens, giving it a better tonal quality over the years. Is this true, or just a myth? Randy Burchell, CPA, CVA The part about sounding better with time is true, Randy. The part about why is anyone’s guess. I haven’t found a clear-cut reason. Some say that they have to be played, but I’ve found evidence to the contrary. Some say they have to dry, but who knows? I have a guitar that just sat out in my house for 15 years and got very little play, but it did breathe with humidity changes. After 10 years of that it became an entirely new and better guitar. Who knows why? But it’s totally true that the first day is the “worst” day.
tive paint store) and sand the back of your neck and remove all the gloss, and then call it a day. You’re done. It will be pool-cue-slippery, nice and dry. Then I’d clean it with a soft dry rag, and twice a year, when my hands have polished it back to a shine, I’d do it again. Don’t sand all the finish away, just take the shine off. A few strokes back and forth should do it. If you’re not a do-it-
yourself kind of guy, a repairman can read this and do it. I think that’s your answer.
I recently bought a 2012 Spring LTD Taylor GS Mini Rosewood, and I was wondering how the wood laminates in the GS Mini Spring Limited Series
7 (or the standard Mini) can sound different if they are all just laminate back and sides with maple, rosewood, blackwood or sapele veneer. Gabriel Noreña
I have a Taylor 514ce using your recommended [Elixir] strings. To my unrefined ear, how do I know when it is time to change strings? Stanley Jacques
Good question, Gabriel. The answer is they don’t really sound different. If they do, there’s little difference, and it might not even be because of the sapele versus rosewood, etc. That’s the thing about laminates. One truth: We make very, very good-sounding laminate guitars; just play them and tell me they’re not. Another truth: No matter what type of outside veneer we put on them, the sound changes very little if at all. This is what you get with solid wood that you cannot get with laminates. They’re both good guitars, but with solid wood you hear the personality of the different woods. With laminates there is only a visual difference.
Stanley, one of the best ways to know is to train your ear. Don’t worry, it’ll learn. Just change the strings and notice the difference. It’s really that easy. You might like the sound of brand new strings better. Or you might favor the one-week-old string, or the 10-hourold string. Elixir strings sound good for a long time. They really do. I’d say they sound like a three- or four-dayold string for possibly weeks or even a month or two, depending on how much you play them, unless you have the “Reverse Midas Touch.” For me, I can be happy with a set of Elixirs for a couple of months. If I were playing shows, I’d change once a week. If I were a super-pro playing every day, I’d change for every show. And it’s not just tone, but wear. If I were in front of paying people, I’d want new strings that won’t break or be out of tune, or anything else bad. But I mostly play in my living room, and sometimes my strings are three months old and totally fine. But the way you learn the difference is to change them. You will hear the difference. Pretty soon you’ll know when it’s time.
I have had my 914 since 1997, and I am blown away by the tonality and volume of the guitar. When I came to pick the woods for an all-koa Jumbo BTO two years ago, my expectations were set. The guitar you built is exquisite in its physical attributes. However, it seems that the volume of the 914 drowns the Jumbo even with its Adirondack [spruce] bracing. Since I play fingerstyle, I find myself having to pluck the strings harder to get the volume I am used to with the 914. You have mentioned before that guitars need time to mature. With koa guitars, how soon can you expect the full maturation of the wood? Will it sound as loud as an Engelmann spruce/rosewood guitar? Billy Funk El Paso, TX Bill, yes — write me in another ten years. Really! That said, a koa top isn’t going to produce the same volume as a spruce top. But believe me, if you could go back in time and play your 914 as a brand new guitar, you’d be shocked. I have a 1994 Grand Auditorium like yours, and I remember it when it was new. It was half the guitar it is now. This is why I ask people to not get caught in the trap of trading out their guitars for new ones all the time. Okay, trade most of them, so I can make you more, but keep a couple so you can find the joy in an old guitar. That way, we both benefit! So, just wait, and it’ll change and come alive more like your other guitar, but the spruce will be louder than koa. At the same time, the koa will have tone that the spruce won’t have. I hope you picked an all-koa guitar partially for tone, and not just for its looks.
I’m the proud owner of a Taylor 12-string 654ce, a 214 built in 2004, and my little darling GS Mini. Now I’m in love with the Baritone-6. Its deep voice better matches my own aging singing voice, and it’s a dream to play. I must have one. But I play tuned down mostly to alternate tunings in D or C. I know the Baritone is naturally tuned to B. Will I get good results tuning up to the alternate D and C tunings I normally use? Will it damage the neck if I do? Michael McBride Austin, TX No, Michael, it’ll work great in that range. In fact, if you put medium gauge strings on it and tune it to D, it would be kind of perfect! So, go ahead and change tunings, change string gauges, and find out what you like. The most that can happen is you may need a truss rod adjustment when you finally settle in. Maybe not, but maybe, and it’s a no-brainer to adjust the truss rod.
I have a Taylor 210 and love it. I read your response to Dave in the last issue about playing around a camp-
fire and not to store the instrument in a car trunk on a sunny day. My concern is that I travel to the mountains in the winter, and sometimes I have to haul my Taylor in the back of my truck (I have a topper, so weather isn’t a concern). But what about cold temperatures below 35 degrees? Will this damage my guitar? Tim S. Good question, Tim. The cold won’t hurt it much. It’s amazing what a cheap, thick, flannel sleeping bag can do to insulate a guitar in the back of your truck. Try that if you’re worried about the real extremes. I wouldn’t worry about the cold too much. About the time you go home because it’s dropped to well below freezing and you’re uncomfortable, your guitar will go with you.
I currently have three of the best guitars in the world: a 1999 Taylor 310, a 2003 410ce, and an SB1-X that I just purchased last July. I have really wanted to get a GS Mini with nylon strings on it. Would you consider making them anytime soon? Ryan Acda Midlothian, VA Ryan, I’d love to, but I’m afraid they wouldn’t be a very good guitar. Certainly not as good as the steel-string version. Good nylons need to be just right: super light and very delicate. I don’t think we’re ready for that yet at Taylor, because we only hire ex-WWF wrestlers! I’m joking, but the truth is that we get away with a lot because we have steel-strings driving that little guitar, and a nylon version would be hard to make as successfully.
I bought my first Taylor guitar, a 310, from Wildwood Guitars in 2001. They wisely educated me about humidity here in Colorado, and I religiously humidify my guitars both in the soundhole and at the neck. I was introduced to Leo Kottke at the same time and currently own a 355, which is the finest 12-string I have ever played. A co-worker of mine has made three or four of his own guitars with high-end woods and says his woods are acclimated to the low Colorado humidity by the time he builds with them, and that because they are built in his low-humidity shop he does not have to humidify his guitars. He keeps them out of his case and on display, and does not see any harmful effects. If this is
true, would humidifying them cause any type of reverse damage? I would consider buying one of his guitars simply to have it out of the case on the wall. Paul Lacjak Yes, buy one of his guitars, Paul. I bet you’d love it, and yes, his are made for that climate, and what he tells you is true. And yes, you’re smart enough to know that humidifying it like your Taylor will be a problem. It will swell up. Don’t humidify it. If you move from there to a more humid area, then you may need to de-humidify that guitar, which can be done.
I’m having a discussion with a friend about whammy bars on flat-top acoustic guitars. I think it would be cool, but they’re practically nonexistent. My friend thinks that you could take a Bigsby-style vibrato and mount it to the end block of a flat-top guitar and it would work just fine. He’d put felt under it to protect the finish. I think it would put too much pressure on the top, risking structural damage, and the felt would deaden the sound considerably. What are your thoughts on this? Might it be possible to design an acoustic flat-top guitar with a vibrato that still sounds good? Jim Jim, how about you and your friend go buy a cheap used guitar and give it a go. That way, it gets the idea out of the theoretical and into the real. That’s how I do it. I’ve pontificated all too many times, and now I just try things. Get this, you’ll die laughing: Once we glued a block inside a guitar under the bridge. Then, we drilled a hole right through it from the top of the bottom (treble side) of the bridge wing. Then I put a whammy bar wiggle stick off my PRS right into the hole and I whammied the whole top! You know what happened? The top was so strong you couldn’t push hard enough to even wiggle the note a little. I was shocked at how strong the top was. Totally shocked. But now I know something and don’t wonder about it anymore. So, heck, go do it and report back, because I don’t plan to put a whammy bar or a Bigsby on an acoustic; it’s totally out of my system now.
I was recently at the Taylor Road Show in Evansville, Indiana. They talked about how the different body shapes and types of wood affect the
sound. I was wondering about the thickness of the wood. Is there is a standard thickness for the sides, backs and tops, or does it depend on the type of wood used? Dennis Jones Mt. Vernon, IN Yes, Dennis, there is a standard thickness for all those pieces, and for some models it’s different than others. We measure in thousandths of an inch and have a variety of thicknesses. However, some woods are heavy, so with those we sand thinner to equal the weight of the normal day-to-day woods that we use. So, yes, the thickness is very much a part of the whole package, and we’ve figured out what those should be, and we think we’re pretty close. (I wouldn’t want to say we have it perfect; otherwise I might find out there is something I don’t know yet, which seems to happen every day. Which is why I have some wood I’ve saved since I was a boy while I wait to feel like I actually know how to build a guitar before I use it.)
How do you ensure that the wood being used for all parts of the guitar is not infested with insects such as powder post beetles? Is the wood sterilized in some way? Alan Yes, Alan, any wood that is imported is sterilized just to pass U.S. Customs into the country. Then we kiln-dry most of it and bake other portions, and that also kills bugs. I think we got ’em good and dead. They’re a danger to us, because they could eat my investment in wood while I’m aging it or waiting to use it, so we do feel like we have a license to kill them!
Got a question for Bob Taylor? Shoot him an e-mail: [emailprotected] If you have a specific repair or service concern, please call our Customer Service department at (800) 943-6782, and we’ll take care of you.
Understanding Acoustic Model Numbers For 2013, the majority of Taylor’s acoustic guitars are offered in three model variations:
• Cutaway body with onboard electronics (e.g., 614ce) • Non-cutaway body with onboard electronics (e.g., 614e) • Non-cutaway body with no onboard electronics (e.g., 614)
Most models are organized by series, featuring the 100 through 900 Series along with our Presentation (PS) and Koa (K) Series. Here’s how our numbering system works:
nyone who’s hip to Taylor’s guitar-making heritage knows that our design studio is constantly percolating with fresh ideas. Some are inspired by a special batch of wood and live on in our seasonal limited editions. Others are nurtured and sculpted into playable form over time, ultimately earning a place in the Taylor guitar line for the year. This year’s big news is the debut of a new Taylor body shape, the Grand Orchestra, which encapsulates some of our latest thinking and redefines what a big-bodied guitar can be. In the pages ahead, we’ll share the story of the development process that brought the guitar to life. One of the more sweeping refinements to the line for 2013 is a reconfiguration of our acoustic collection to seamlessly integrate our cutaway and non-cutaway guitars. Ever since the introduction of our Grand Symphony in 2006, we’ve grouped our non-cutaway models as a separate segment of the line with a different naming convention and appointment scheme, but this year we’ve brought them into the same design family with our cutaway acoustic-electrics. Now you can have a noncutaway version of nearly every model in our 100 through Presentation Series, with the additional option of no electronics (see the breakdown in the sidebar to the right). Also new for 2013, we’ve made the exotic beauty of Hawaiian koa more accessible to players by adding a
The 2013 Guitar Guide This year’s Taylor lineup sports a new body shape, more model flexibility, and a pair of sweet koa treats
pair of new models to our 200 Series: the 210ce-K and 214ce-K. Unique aesthetic touches include cream binding and a small diamond fretboard inlay pattern. Of course, our Guitar Guide wouldn’t be complete without a road map and directions to help you navigate the line. Taylor product specialist Corey Witt sets the tone by offering his take on the factors that will help you find a guitar that fits you best. Our tour of the line continues with a breakdown of our models by shape, an overview of tonewood nuances, and a spotlight on distinctive guitar offerings, including our baritones, nylon-strings and GS Mini. We’ll also reveal new options within our Build to Order program before wrapping up in electrifying fashion with our T5, T3 and SolidBody models. Beyond the Taylor line, we’re proud to highlight several other important aspects of our operation, including our sustainable wood sourcing initiatives, our commitment to providing great customer service, and our latest efforts to spread the Taylor experience around the world. As we’ve done in previous years, we enlisted a mix of Taylor employees and friends to capture the spirit of the Taylor experience through photos, balanced by an array of studio images that showcase the diverse beauty and impeccable craftsmanship of our guitars. We hope our Guitar Guide inspires you to enjoy your guitar-playing pursuits to the fullest.
The first digit (or letter) identifies the Series. All guitar models within each series share the same back and side woods and appointment package.
The third digit identifies the body shape according to this numbering system: 0 = Dreadnought (e.g., 610ce) 2 = Grand Concert (e.g., 612ce) 4 = Grand Auditorium (e.g., 614ce) 6 = Grand Symphony (e.g., 616ce) 8 = Grand Orchestra (e.g., 618ce)
614ce The second digit typically indicates whether the guitar is a 6-string (1) or a 12-string (5). For example, a 12-string Grand Symphony in the 600 Series would be a 656ce. The second digit can also identify a model that features the same top as the back and sides (2). For example, within the Taylor Koa (K) Series, the K22ce is a six-string Grand Concert with a koa top. If it’s a 12-string with the same top as the back and sides, 6 is used instead of 5. (A 12-string koa/spruce GS would be a K56ce; with a koa top it becomes a K66ce.)
Indicates a model with onboard electronics
Indicates a model with a cutaway
Taylor nylon-string models are integrated into the 200-900 Series and are designated by the letter “N” at the end of the model name. For example, a nylon-string Grand Auditorium with a cutaway and electronics within the 600 Series is a 614ce-N.
Balance of Power guitar
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Taylor’s new big-bodied Grand Orchestra proves that a deep, bold voice can also be balanced and responsive By Jim Kirlin
Bold, balanced beauty: The Grand Orchestra 918e
early all modern guitar makers can trace their guitar designs back to inherited body shapes. Bob Taylor’s guitar hand-medowns were a pair of established big-bodied forms, the Dreadnought and Jumbo, which he acquired from luthier Sam Radding, the owner of the American Dream guitar shop where he got his start. The Dreadnought’s boxy shape featured a broad waist, while the Jumbo boasted voluptuous curves that were accentuated by a more tapered midsection. Both shapes had become popular among acoustic performers in search of a powerful guitar voice over the course of the 20th century — before the advent of acoustic pickups in the 1960s. The Dreadnought, first developed by C. F. Martin & Co., became associated with genres like bluegrass and folk. The Jumbo was a Gibson design, born in 1937 as a custom acoustic guitar (the SJ-200) for crooning cowboy Ray Whitley. Its curves had been borrowed from Gibson’s L-5 archtop. The Jumbo would be widely embraced in country and western music, western swing, and early rock ‘n’ roll. While Radding’s versions of both body styles would live on in Bob’s early Taylor offerings, Bob soon began to apply his own design refinements, from subtle modifications in the body contours to bracing tweaks to fresh cosmetic touches. In terms of voicing, both of Bob’s adopted body styles retained the familiar, appealing qualities of those big shapes — bold tone with strong projection, sustain and bass response — while producing greater balance and clarity across the entire tonal spectrum. Tonal balance and clarity would become defining qualities of Taylor’s new, “modern” acoustic guitar sound, even more so with the proprietary Taylor shapes that would follow, such as the smaller Grand
Concert (GC) and medium-size Grand Auditorium (GA). For its part, the Taylor Jumbo gave players a big voice without an overly boomy bass. The body’s tapered waist also contributed to a big yet tight lower midrange response. The contoured dimensions would help the Jumbo find its niche as a 12-string guitar, balancing the full bass tones with the doubled treble strings. Together with Taylor’s slimmer necks, lower action and uniform intonation, it set a new standard for how playable a 12-string could be. Over the years, Taylor’s bigger body styles have continued to evolve in many ways. The Dreadnought was revoiced to be louder; the shape’s contours were subtly refined to make them more elegant and befitting of the Taylor design aesthetic; and there were experiments with shorter scale length and deeper bodies. The pursuit of a richer, more robust voice eventually led to the debut of an entirely new shape, the Grand Symphony (GS), in 2006. In terms of tonal output, the GS picked up where the Grand Auditorium had left off. Subtly expanded body dimensions created the sonic equivalent of a turbocharge, yielding a deeper, piano-like bass, extra volume, and strong low-end sustain, without ruining the clarity of the mids and the highs. The GS design has fit comfortably into the family of Taylor body shapes and voices, and has become a popular body style for players craving power and dynamic range. In 2012, the GS replaced the Jumbo as the standard body style for 12-string models, a shift that reflects an evolution of thinking about the optimized shape for 12-string performance. “You traditionally think of the Jumbo as being ideal for a 12-string guitar because the shape really accentuates those high frequencies due in part to the location of the bridge on the top,” explains Taylor luthier Andy Powers.
“And it definitely works. But we’ve come to realize that a 12-string is a more efficient and effective instrument, in a musical sense, as a smaller guitar. The larger you get with a 12-string body, the more of a battle you have to fight in supporting the extra string tension. To accentuate all those high frequencies and get the most out of them, you need a body with a smaller air mass, which also happens to have an easier time supporting the string tension.” With the GS as the designated 12-string shape (along with a few GA 12-string models), Taylor’s product development team turned its attention toward redesigning the Jumbo. It was removed from the Taylor line for 2012 (with the exception of the 6- and 12-string Leo Kottke Signature Models and the Build to Order program), allowing time to explore fresh ideas and align it with Taylor’s other proprietary shapes. Ideally, it would produce an even bigger, bolder voice than the GS. Andy Powers led the team’s redesign effort. “We thought about what we wanted to hear in a Jumbo guitar,” he explains. “It was a lot of the same qualities we’d want out of any other guitar: balance, dynamic range, sustain, clear, clean notes. After playing with some ideas, we concluded that the design could benefit from having some of our Dreadnought’s personality. We wanted to hear big, round, richly solid notes.” Rather than simply refining the existing Jumbo shape, Andy started from scratch. “I literally started on a drawing board,” he says. “I started with width and length, and then I started drawing curves. The pulled-in waist on a traditional Jumbo has a tendency to impinge on the top movement, so I started relaxing it — although not into the realm of a Dreadnought — and reworked the upper bout until the shape started turning into
curves that I knew would sound good for those dimensions. When I actually started to cut pieces of wood to see what that felt like in my hands, it was as if I had taken a GS and enlarged it. It was remarkably similar. You could see the family resemblance in the curves.” Next, he expanded the body depth. “It needed to be a little deeper to increase the interior air volume,” he says. “It ended up deeper than all our other guitars. If you were measure the center, where the bridge is, it’s close to five inches. So it’s similar to a traditional Dreadnought in that respect.” The increased interior air volume, he says, is critical for producing a strong low-end tone. “As you go wider and bigger and deeper, you’re lowering the resonance of the air mass,” he elaborates. “Bob Taylor has compared it to the lungs that support someone’s voice. By creating a bigger lung, you have this bigger, fuller, more powerful capacity to support the low frequencies.” One of the toughest challenges of building a big guitar with a strong lowend, Andy points out, is maintaining balance across the tonal spectrum, in every spot along the fretboard. “With a lot of big guitars there’s a tendency to end up with a huge, heavy low end and nothing up top,” he says. “Not everything you play is going to sound good like that. It’s too limiting. We wanted to hear all the notes really cleanly. We wanted them to all have a linear, uniform character, because that gives players a lot of flexibility. They can play it bright or they can play it dark, but they don’t have to play a C, the C# and the D in different ways because the C# in the middle is the bright note and the ones next to it are dark.” To help achieve the uniformity of tone, Andy designed a new bracing scheme for the top and back that he says is different than the patterns
currently used on Taylor’s other body shapes. “It’s sort of a hybrid between a scallop and what some modern builders call parabolic bracing,” he explains. “Instead of deliberately creating little stiff spots in the top to give it a certain flavor and color, I braced it so that the top and back want to move largely like a speaker cone. It has what we technically call ‘high monopole mobility’ [a measurement of how much a guitar top will move under the oscillating forces of the strings]. Basically, the whole lower bout area is pumping like a speaker cone when a note hits it.” Shaping the tone of a guitar can be remarkably complex, he notes, because of all the different vibrations that are interacting. “If you look just at the harmonics that develop in a vibrating string, it’s ridiculously complex. When you put that in the context of a body that’s moving all over the place and in unusual ways because you’ve got a little stiff spot here and there, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s not. Typically it creates certain frequencies where you get these ‘hot spots’ – areas of sympathetic resonance – where certain fundamentals and overtones are strengthened compared to others. What we strived to do was make everything more uniform to maintain the balance.” The resulting benefit to players is a more consistent voice that gives them easier control of their tone.
Strong But Sensitive The new guitar was christened the Grand Orchestra (GO) to reflect its big, complex voice. While Andy’s thoughtful ruminations on its design radiate enthusiasm, the moment of truth arrives as he picks up a rosewood/spruce prototype continued next page
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Above: Inlaid headstocks of the Grand Orchestra First Edition models. L-R: 518e, 618e, 918e; Right: The Torrey Pines cliffs overlooking Black’s Beach; Opposite page (L-R): 518e, 618e
of the new guitar to demonstrate its tonal personality. He strums a few open chords and they hang in the air, their power and richness riding an extended wave of sustain. “There’s this great Ryan Adams song I’ve been listening to lately, “Dirty Rain,” and I just love playing some of those chords on this guitar,” he says as he rakes the strings. It’s not just the power and depth that are immediately noticeable, but also the aforementioned uniformity of character. Even the treble notes have a noticeable girth and complexity to them. “For the player who really wants to lay into it, say a solo performer who wants to feel like they’ve got a Marshall stack behind them, this guitar will feel like that,” he says. “You’ll hit that one chord and those low notes are so well-supported it’ll sound almost like an organ with the power and sustain. The high notes are really clear and well balanced, they have good volume, and they don’t get swallowed up. They all have this powerful quality built into their DNA. The very highest note still sounds like it’s part of a big, strong guitar.” One of Taylor’s district sales managers, JR Robison, enjoyed his first testdrive of one of the final prototypes. “It’s truly the most balanced Taylor guitar I have ever heard, and we already make wonderfully balanced guitars,” he says. “This has lower lows, higher highs, and not a dead spot to be found. Players with a good sense of feel and dynamics will get a lot out of this guitar. The tone gave me goose bumps.” JR’s point about dynamics speaks to one of the most impressive — and perhaps surprising — qualities of the guitar: For its size, it’s incredibly responsive to a light touch. As Andy segues from meaty Americana chords into a lightly plucked jazz progression, eventually slipping into the melodic chestnut “Misty,” it becomes clear that
this is more multi-dimensional than your traditional big-bodied guitar. He says it goes back to the bracing scheme. “This is still an X-braced guitar, but we did some things to make the main X brace dramatically stiff in the center of the top,” Andy explains. “That allowed us to make the other braces lighter in weight. That’s how we can get this large span of top moving under such a delicate touch. It physically is a lighterweight design, so the whole thing doesn’t absorb as much energy to set it in motion in the first place.” That design modification overcomes one of the fundamental challenges of playing big guitars: They typically have to be played with a heavy hand in order to get them moving in the first place. “This is a big guitar that a fingerstyle player with a delicate touch shouldn’t be afraid of,” he says. “To borrow an equestrian term, it has a ‘soft mouth’ — it responds quickly and easily to the touch.”
Who Does it Fit? In light of Taylor’s ongoing efforts to help players find the right type of guitar for their needs, the debut of the Grand Orchestra begs the question: What type of player or playing situation is a good match for this guitar? The fact that it’s loud, rich and responsive opens the door to a lot of different styles of play, from aggressive flatpickers to expressive fingerstylists. A bluegrass player who craves low-end power or a rhythm cannon is likely to gravitate toward it. Another good match might be a solo singer-songwriter or a fingerstyle player who needs a lot of tonal breadth to express and support their music. “If someone doesn’t have a bass player playing with them, they might need those really long, powerful, sustaining low-end notes to complement all the other lines they’re playing,” Andy
elaborates. “For the solo singer-songwriter, it depends on their voice and style, but this guitar gives the person such a dynamic and responsive voice that they will have a lot of flexibility. There’s a big wall of sound that’s there for them to either lean back into or step out in front of.” Because of the depth and complexity of tone, the guitar is likely to take up a lot of sonic space, so, depending on the other instruments involved, it might not be the ideal choice for a crowded mix. “If you’re recording with a lot of other instruments on a tune, I might use a smaller guitar like a GA or GC,” Andy says. “That lower 240Hz range gets filled up really easily on a track. This guitar has so much power down in those lower registers that it might edge out the bass player.” One of the aesthetic virtues of the Grand Orchestra’s design and tonal fingerprint is the progressive family relationship it shares with other Taylor shapes, especially the other three “Grands”: the Grand Concert, Grand Auditorium, and Grand Symphony. This makes it easier to compare them. “If you start with the smallest of the three, the Grand Concert, you’ve got this really beautiful, articulate, clear voice — which can be loud and unique in its own way,” Andy explains. “When you move to the GA, there’s an extra bit of power on that low end. It’s supported a little more with the added air mass. Go to the GS and that low end has an even stronger fill. You’re still hearing this kind of shimmery, chimey top end with this big powerful lung bass supporting its voice. The Grand Orchestra takes it one step further — now you’ve got this even more powerful, balanced voice, and every note oozes strength.” Another consideration with the Grand Orchestra is physical comfort, given the guitar’s bigger and deeper dimensions. Although the width of the lower bout is a quarter-inch narrower than a traditional Jumbo, it rests higher on a seated player because the waist is broader. It’ll feel a little more like a Dreadnought. It’s also a half-inch wider than the GS across the lower bout (which helps to distinguish it visually).
Model Numbers and First Edition Releases The model naming convention for the Grand Orchestra fits into the scheme used for other shapes within the Taylor line, in which the last digit of a model identifies the shape. All Grand Orchestra models will end in 8. The rollout plan for 2013 is to begin the year with an initial release of three
Ocean Inspiration When it comes to big bodies, they don’t come much bigger than an ocean. So it seems fitting that the Pacific Ocean would help Andy Powers visually conceptualize some of his bracing ideas for the Grand Orchestra. A Southern California native and lifelong surfer, Andy has spent many a day paddling out at Black’s Beach in La Jolla, California, a famed surf spot for skilled wave riders and one of his favorite local breaks. A deep underwater canyon located just offshore generates a unique wave formation, often producing powerful, fast surf from open ocean swells. “A lot of my guitar-making ideas over the years have been inspired by the ocean here,” he reflects. “That was especially the case for this guitar.” The setting served up a picturesque location for a conversation and photo shoot with Andy and a GO (see the cover and our Grand Orchestra profile on page 34). On a sunny November afternoon a few Taylor staffers from the Wood&Steel crew meet up with him at La Jolla’s Torrey Pines Gliderport, a mecca for hang gliders and paragliders, located atop cliffs that rise more than 300 feet above Black’s. Getting to the beach involves descending a steep trail just south of the gliderport, which winds between the craggy canyon walls, serving up magnificent coastline vistas along the way. As Andy leads the way to a viewpoint partway down the trail, he motions over to a nearby bluff where he likes to sit and reflect before or after a surf session.
First Edition models — a mahogany/ Sitka spruce 518e, a maple/Sitka spruce 618e, and a rosewood/Sitka spruce 918e — in limited batches of 100 per model. Each model will feature the appointment package of its series, along with additional premium details (provided at no additional charge) to distinguish their First Edition status. These include premium-grade wood, Adirondack spruce bracing (618e, 918e), side bracing, an additional peghead inlay (on the 518e and 618e), a custom First Edition label inside the guitar, a customized First Edition guitar strap and case plate, and a certificate of authenticity. The initial run of First Editions will strictly be non-cutaway models to accentuate the shape. As of our press deadline, the rollout plan was to introduce additional First Edition models in other series over the course of the year, including a Koa Series (K28e) model in the spring, followed by rosewood 718e and 818e models later in 2013.
New Bracing, New Tonewood Nuances
“Waves of any kind are essentially the same,” he says. “They’re basically a form of energy passing through a medium. Depending on the medium and the length of the wave, the speed at which they travel will vary a great deal. Light or sound waves are far too fast to see individually.But ocean waves move through water slowly enough for us to actually see the individual waveforms and understand how they act and respond.” Looking out toward the ocean, he points out two side-by-side wave breaks that move in at slightly different directions. When the surf conditions are less than ideal — say when the wind picks up from an unfavorable direction — the wind’s conflicting energy tends to have a disorganizing effect. “It ends up compromising the power and size of the larger swells, which were created by distant storms and then groomed and refined by long distances of travel,” Andy explains. “When surface conditions are calmer and less choppy, the energy of the two breaks becomes complementary, creating bigger, more powerful and structured waves.” Andy says it’s similar to the way the energy of a guitar player is transferred to the guitar strings and interacts with the top and back to create an overall sound. “The right type of guitar shape and bracing reduces the conflicting energy and creates optimal conditions for producing big, powerful, uniformly structured sound waves.”
One of the interesting discoveries of Andy’s new bracing pattern for the Grand Orchestra was the way it works with the body shape to uniquely influence the sonic nuances of the tonewoods used. Maple, for example, is typically known for its brightness and fast tonal decay. But when Andy added the new bracing to a maple back, he was surprised by the sustain. “I was tap-tuning a braced maple back and listening, and at one point I called Bob [Taylor] in and said, ‘You need to hear this,’” he says. “So we closed our eyes and listened. This back was ringing like a cymbal. We looked at each other and said, ‘What maple back sounds like that?’ This will still have that maple fingerprint; it just won’t be the same bright maple sound you’re familiar with. It’ll be a maple sound that’s huge and powerful. It’s pretty remarkable.” He likens the bracing’s impact on maple’s sonic personality to bringing out the natural but sometimes masked flavors of certain foods using culinary techniques. “Take habanero peppers,” he says. “We generalize them as crazy-spicy hot, but they also have this really unique, delicate flavor. Depending on how you use them, you can do different things to bring that spicyness under control so you can savor the real flavor. In the case of maple, we’re taking away some of the things you commonly attribute to maple and are really listening to its unique, subtle flavor. Maple’s a real transparent-sounding wood, but now you’re hearing it, thinking, wow, that’s a whole new guitar. You’re hearing so
much of what you put into it: If you play it big, it’ll be a big guitar; if you approach it really delicately and gently, it will respond to that as well.” The rich midrange of mahogany, Andy says, together with the enhanced lows and highs that the Grand Orchestra shape produces, sounds amazing across the tonal spectrum. “It’s strong and powerful, and really warm, friendly and appealing,” Andy says. “It’s a big, round mahogany voice.” Rosewood, by comparison, has a high-fidelity voice with a strong overtone complement. “Used on the Grand Orchestra,
it’s so rich and powerful that it starts to sound luxurious, almost saturated,” Andy says. “You simply play that low E string and it yields all this color and bloom.” Despite the differences achieved through bracing modifications, Andy doesn’t consider it a new breakthrough. If anything, he says, it’s been a process of rediscovering something old. “These bracing and voicing concepts are the practical application of some very old fundamentals,” he explains. “I’d been reinvestigating the work of Hermann von Helmholtz [a 19th century scientist whose work explored, among other subjects, the physics of acoustics
and the structure of musical tone]. In fact, after a trade show in Europe last year I visited the folks at Steinway in Germany because they’ve been using a lot of the same thought processes from Helmholtz on pianos — for over a century — as I did.” The connection may not surprise players who pick up a Grand Orchestra, given the deep, rich, pianolike quality of its tone. Andy says the year-long process of re-exploring big-body acoustic tone and making fresh discoveries has been rewarding for the team, and that they’re excited to share it with the world. “It’s been like peeling an onion —
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you think you have something figured out and then you peel off another layer and realize that there’s a whole new level here. We’ve been building Jumbos as a company for 38 years now. But there’s a whole other world that is living within similar dimensions. With a whole new set of curves comes a whole new sound. The great thing is that, to us, this feels like a big guitar that’s now truly in the context of our family of designs. It’s not somebody’s borrowed cover tune. It’s an original that fits next to these other guitars. It has the same kinds of curves, the same balanced musicality. It’s new, while still retaining the distinctive Taylor identity.”
Grand Concert (GC)
Grand Auditorium (GA)
Grand Symphony (GS)
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Grand Orchestra (GO)
Taylor product specialist and Road Show veteran Corey Witt breaks down the process of choosing the right guitar
“Well…I guess you could say…it saved my life,” he said with a soft smile and eyes that were beginning to well up. We talked for a few more minutes about his beloved guitar and how it guided him into remission from sickness. Then he shook my hand, thanked us for the Road Show in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and headed home. In a way, it’s appropriate that I didn’t get his name, because he’s one of thousands of people I’ve talked to over the last six years of Taylor Guitars Road Shows, many of whom had similar stories to tell about the Taylor guitar that won their heart and became a lifelong friend. As I type this, I’m 90 minutes into a four-hour drive between Wilmington and Charlotte for some Taylor Road Shows in the great state of North Carolina. When we finish tonight, Barney Hill, the District Sales Manager (DSM) for this region, will head back to El Cajon, California, and I’ll catch a flight up to Boston for another week of Road Shows with Nate Shivers, the DSM for that area. This kind of travel schedule is neither unique nor new. Over the past six years, I’ve traveled to 49 states and taken part in hundreds of Road Shows for Taylor. The DSMs and I have had the pleasure of doing clinics for tens of thousands of current and future Taylor owners, and have watched with excitement and joy as players have made lifelong connections with some great guitars. Each night during the Road Show, I explain that the relationship between a player and an acoustic instrument is a bona fide romance: a mixture of visual attraction, tactile sensation, and sonic fulfillment. And since Taylor guitars are made to outlive the owner, I explain that the search for a lifelong guitar requires a blend of selectiveness, diligence, and toe-curling love at first strum. While many Taylor owners have their unique stories of discovery, there are common threads that tie the whole fraternity of Taylor players together. Rather than wait for chance or circumstance to lead you to the guitar that could change your life, we want to help you find yours easily.
The Tone Equation
In past issues of Wood&Steel, we’ve shared our tone equation for any acoustic guitar. The sound of your guitar is the sum of body shape, wood combination, and your unique playing style. In the next couple of pages, I’ll dive deeper into those three critical elements in the hope of helping you find your fit.
The Grand Concert Stop and think about the way we communicate in everyday life. There are times when we need to speak loudly and boldly to call others into immediate action. There are other times when we speak softly, slowly and intimately because we want to draw the listener in. When we make music, we use those same dynamic inflections. We make loud music to call people out of their seats, and we make soft music to sit them down and have them lean in to hear the nuances of the performance. The Grand Concert is that still, small voice because of its slimmed-down size. It is shallower in depth than the other shapes, has less surface area on the top of the guitar, and has a shorter scale length, which means that the resonant length of the strings on the GC is shorter than the other standard shapes, thereby decreasing the tension and making the notes easier to fret. In short, everything about the GC invites you to wrap around it and address it intimately and softly. But don’t write the GC off simply as the “quiet little guitar.” We dubbed the GC “The Secret Weapon” because of its ability to excel at the soft, intimate fingerstyle gigs as well as its ability to fit in perfectly when there are more players on stage. The
small body dials out some of the lowest bass and highest treble and focuses the sound so that it works very well when there are more players on stage with you.
The Grand Auditorium We call this body shape “The Swiss Army Knife” because of its versatility. The lower bout has the same dimensions as a larger Dreadnought body shape, which gives it a loud natural “speaking” voice when you dig in and strum more aggressively. But the waist is pinched in a little bit, causing it to sit lower and more comfortably in your lap and invite softer playing as well. Because of this ability to both shout and whisper, the GA is at home in a variety of playing environments. You see, there’s a particular body shape and wood combination that sets you up to win in any playing environment. But that ideal body shape and wood combination may vary depending on whether you’re playing at home alone in a room with plaster walls and wood floors or plugging in on stage as the acoustic player and vocalist for a rock band. In reality, many players find themselves in a variety of playing situations and can’t always afford to buy multiple guitars to optimize for each one. Because of that, we encourage those players to consid-
er the GA because of its ability to excel in different musical circumstances.
The Grand Symphony We nicknamed this body style “The Big Bold Strummer” because of its powerful low-midrange emphasis. The magic of the GS is its strong resonance and the way it comes across through the tactile experience of playing it. Consider that an acoustic guitar is a wooden box that is optimized to resonate and sustain. When we play a larger-bodied guitar with more bass and volume, it pushes that bass right into our torso, which is essentially also a hollow box. When playing big, powerful guitars, we don’t just appreciate the fullness of sound as it envelops us; we also appreciate the physical sensation of being moved by it. The GS is great for players who want a loud and powerful musical voice. Although the bluegrass world has been dominated by the Dreadnought body shape for nearly 100 years, we encourage players to give the GS a test drive because of its ability to take control of playing environments where the luxury of microphones and amplification isn’t available.
The Dreadnought This shape was created by C. F. Martin & Co. in 1916 and was sold
for the first 15 years under The Oscar Ditson Company. In 1931, the guitar officially became the Martin Dreadnought. We’ve been hearing this traditional-sounding body shape for almost 100 years on folk, rock, bluegrass and country recordings. The Taylor Dreadnought differs from the Grand Symphony in that the GS has a powerful low-midrange roar, while the DN has a singing upper midrange vocal quality to it. In the sounds of everyday life, we tend to phase out the lowest lows and the highest highs of what we hear, and instead focus on the midrange and upper midrange because we are wired as communicative animals, and those frequencies are where the human voice lives. That midrange and upper midrange, coincidentally, form the sweet spot of the DN’s resonant voice. In a way, this shape speaks to us loudly and clearly and works great in environments that call for a strong voice.
The Grand Orchestra Our newest body shape is the largest, most powerful shape available from Taylor. What began as a rethinking of our traditional Jumbo turned into an all-new guitar that delivers the engrossing power that has drawn players to larger body shapes for many years. What separates our GO from
the traditional Jumbo is that you have a similar size and frequency spread, but with a more balanced overall tone. Maybe the biggest improvement is that the GO is much more player-friendly than traditional large-body guitars. Traditionally, a large soundboard requires more energy to get the top moving and to make the guitar come alive in your hands. For instance, imagine a glass of water sitting on a table. I can tap the glass lightly with a pencil and create ripples throughout the water. Now imagine standing on the edge of a lake early in the morning when the water is as smooth as glass. If I tap the edge of the water lightly, it’s not going to send big ripples across the entire surface. That would require me to stick my hand in the water and shake it around. The top of the guitar works by the same principle. A smaller soundboard requires less energy to get it moving on your behalf, and larger soundboards require the player to play harder to excite the top. Our new GO offers the benefit of a huge-sounding guitar without needing to hammer on it to make great music. It’s a much more Sensitive Brute than the traditional Jumbo.
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While we use a variety of unique and exotic tonewoods for our guitars, at Road Shows we normally relate them back to these three “basic food groups” of wood pairings.
The third ingredient of the tone equation is you, the player, and how a guitar sounds in your hands. We call that “Bone Tone.” In this next section, I’ll try to identify several basic player profiles based on three criteria: playing frequency, playing style, and playing environment, and match those with some guitar options.
Rosewood and Spruce With a punchy, extended low end and a clear, articulate top end, this wood combination may be the most widely used and well loved of them all. As guitarists, we are drawn to extreme ends of the frequency spectrum, and rosewood/spruce gives us what I like to call The IMAX Experience. It gives us bright lights and big explosions, both of which draw us into the action. Players will hear more low-end definition and more top-end clarity, but the midrange will conveniently dip out of the way. In live performance, this is great for the singer-songwriter because the guitar carries the low-end fullness and top-end clarity, but it also carves out a nice little valley in the midrange, leaving room for the voice, which is a midrange instrument. The rosewood/spruce combination is the perfect accompaniment guitar because of its selective contribution to the frequency spectrum.
Mahogany and Cedar One of the great things about solid wood guitars is that, when we practice and play them (and even by just naturally aging), they reward our hard work and diligence by opening up over time. On the first day a dollar bill comes from the U.S. Mint, it feels like paper, but after a year in circulation it feels more like cloth. Solid wood guitars go through a similar process in that the wood softens and becomes more responsive to one’s playing. As the guitar opens up, the wood is able to move more freely, which creates a louder guitar, and the pleasing overtones create notes that bloom more. What mahogany/cedar offers is a jump start on that bloom. This wood combination gives you an EQ curve that is reminiscent of a sunset. It’s warm, soft and slow with a ton of player-friendly midrange, and it “calms down” an aggressive player by lowering the overall volume ceiling and adding some nice, squishy compression to the strumming. Cedar also differs from spruce in that, without a finish on the wood, you could actually carve a line into it with your fingernail. This softness adds an old-fashioned, brokenin warmth to the sound. I think of spruce as young and energetic, while cedar is older, wiser and less impulsive sounding.
Maple and Spruce If dark rosewood gives you tight low-end punch and mediumbrown mahogany gives you copious amounts of midrange bloom, what would you expect maple to give you with its sunny, sandy coloring? If you guessed, “bell-like, articulate, percussive and bright tone,” then you are exactly right. Spruce has long wood fibers and a high strength-to-weight ratio, which makes it loud, responsive and articulate. When you put that spruce top on a maple back and sides, you get a guitar that is noticeably louder than others and cuts through a band mix very well. Maple with spruce produces a midrange and top-end emphasis, which makes the perfect guitar for a bandleader who wants to be the driving force in a musical ensemble. It also records beautifully because maple is capable of wide dynamic shifts in volume and fits into a band mix in a way that doesn’t compete with other instrument frequencies.
The Weekly Performer You’re a performing musician and play out live 3-5 times a month. For starters, a Taylor guitar equipped with our Expression System pickup is a must because you’ll be plugging into an amplifier and/or a PA. Secondly, you need to figure out how much guitar you need. Look at the section “Playing Environment,” where we do some “stage math” to see how much guitar sound you’re required to contribute. Bigger bands require each player to contribute less, so the opposite is true — smaller bands require each player to contribute more. If you play often as a solo singersongwriter, a large, powerful guitar like the Grand Symphony or Grand Orchestra will make others take notice. Also, if you’re performing, then you may want to try a Taylor with a cutaway, which allows for upper-fret access. This allows you to play more freely up and down the neck for soloing and signature leads.
The Everyday Player
Playing Frequency The Occasional Strummer You normally grab your guitar 2-3 times a month and casually strum or fingerpick. As a casual player, your guitar choices are driven by comfort and convenience. A Taylor nylon-string is comfortable because the strings are softer and playing on steel-strings can be uncomfortable on your fingertips. Also, a short-scale Grand Concert body shape accommodates your lifestyle because the reduced size and string tension are simply easier to play. You might also consider a GS Mini because of its big sound in a portable and budget-friendly package. Lastly, a T5 Classic offers tremendous versatility and cost-effectiveness. If you want one guitar that allows you to practice acoustic songs but also plug into a full electric amplified rig with effects pedals, then the T5 is the perfect choice.
The Dedicated Learner You recognize that you’re a workin-progress, but you’re excited about what the future holds for your guitar life. A GS Mini makes a highly portable guitar to take to your lessons, but it also supports you when you want to keep a guitar close to you at all times. I have found that players progress much
more quickly when they have immediate access to a guitar because growth can happen in short bursts just as well as it can happen in marathon practice sessions. The GS Mini can conveniently go wherever you need it to. During this season of learning, you might also try a Grand Auditorium because of its versatility. While you’re discovering your musical personality, the Grand Auditorium can cover all of those bases, regardless of whether you turn into a fingerstyle virtuoso or a crash-and-bash party rocker. Lastly, I encourage growing players to aim for the stars when it comes to their Taylor purchases. If you’re serious about getting better as a player, then you should buy the best guitar you can afford for two reasons. The first is to “buy nice or buy twice.” Buying an inexpensive instrument may solve a budget crisis, but it may also create roadblocks if the cheaper guitar is hard to play, hard to keep in tune, or uninspiring. Which leads me to the second reason. In music, as in life, sometimes we get the opportunity to earn what we’ve already been given. If you buy a guitar that is well above your capability, it creates an incentive for you to move toward one day playing at a level that is worthy of what you own. Pride in your instrument makes for great inspiration.
You’re a regular performer, maybe even a professional or semi-pro guitarist. You know what you like to hear and understand how your guitars contribute to the overall mix of the band. If you’re serious about your music, you should consider more than one body shape or wood combination. Having a palette of different tonal colors makes you more effective as a player.
Playing Style Dark or Bright It’s difficult to describe sound with words. As a result we often find ourselves relating the sound to more commonly understood items. When we talk about darkness and brightness, we are saying that a bright guitar tone has a lot of top end, or treble, and dark guitar tones have more low end, or bass. With that in mind, a few things can contribute to a darker guitar tone. The first is the thickness of your guitar pick. Heavier picks tend to cross the string with a darker “thud” sound, while lighter picks tend to cross with a brighter “flap.” A player with a darker style sometimes wraps around the body more, which pushes the strumming hand on top of, or in front of, the soundhole. The closer to the neck you play, the darker and rounder your attack will sound. To offset the round tone, you would be well served with a rosewood/spruce wood combination because of the added top-end clarity and tightening of the low end. A mahogany/cedar combination may create an indistinct or muffled sound. What’s more, darker players tend to be softer players, so a Grand Concert or Grand Auditorium would respond better to your softer attack. Brighter tone can come not only from using very thin picks but in some
cases from one’s posture. The more a player sits upright and pulls his or her shoulders back, the farther back behind the soundhole the player tends to strum. And the closer to the bridge you get, the brighter and thinner the attack will sound. Players with a bright playing style might want to avoid maple and aim for something warmer and creamier like a mahogany/cedar pairing. Additionally, a larger body shape like the Dreadnought, Grand Symphony or Grand Orchestra would naturally add some fullness to the low end.
tops and spruce tops for different reasons. If you really hammer the guitar, then a spruce top will have a higher natural volume ceiling and will sound like a cannon in your hands. Cedar, on the other hand, will soften some of the initial attack and sound warmer. It will mask some of the sound of the pick and give you more of the sound of the chord, all while bringing the overall volume down a little bit and smoothing out the dynamic spikes of each strum, much like an expensive studio compressor would do.
Light/Soft or Heavy/Aggressive
Fingerstyle, Single-Note Picking and Strumming
If you’re a softer, more delicate player, then you need a guitar that will come alive in your hands without requiring too much attack. In general, smaller-body guitars require less energy to get the top moving and will therefore be louder in your hands than a larger body shape. You should be looking for a Grand Concert or Grand Auditorium in rosewood/spruce for an articulate and responsive instrument. If you really dig in and strum heavily, then your energetic playing style may overload a smaller-body guitar. You should naturally gravitate towards larger body shapes like the Dreadnought, Grand Symphony or Grand Orchestra because of their ability to create wide dynamic changes in volume. More aggressive players enjoy both cedar
Fingerstyle guitar playing is intimate and soft, which is perfectly suited for the Grand Concert and Grand Auditorium body shapes. These two bodies allow you to wrap around them and address them more intimately, and the smaller soundboard responds to a light touch more effectively. Additionally, the Grand Concert’s shorter scale length and reduced string tension make fretting easier. A unique variation on this short-scale construction is our 12-Fret model, which moves the neck slightly into the body to join at the 12th fret instead of the standard 14th fret. This also pushes the location of the bridge back into the center of the resonant area of the lower bout and adds more bottom-end fullness. It’s a big-sounding smaller guitar. For the wood combination, rosewood/spruce would be articulate and precise. Pull-offs, slides and open-ringing strings will sing loudly for you, while mahogany/cedar will push the sound toward the soft warmth of a nylon-string model. It will sound more like you’re playing with the pads of your fingers. Hybrid players will play using a steady mix of strumming and fingerpicking techniques. Because of its versatility, the nimble Grand Auditorium with a spruce top would be great. The guitar is powerful enough to respond when you dig in and strum, yet will also feel acrobatic and energetic when your fingers have a mind of their own. If you’re a strummer, you’ll be better served with a full-bodied guitar that will respond to the high energy that comes from the strong pick attack. The Dreadnought, Grand Symphony, and Grand Orchestra provide the starting point, and the wood combination will better define your sound. Rosewood/ spruce or maple/spruce will have a bold percussive attack, giving your guitar a greater rhythmic contribution. Mahogany/cedar will have a warmer sound and softer top end, giving your guitar a greater harmonic contribution.
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Playing Environment At Road Shows, I call this “stage math.” If you have four players onstage, and each is required to contribute an equal portion to make 100 percent of the music, that makes 25 percent each. If there are 10 people on stage, and each one is required to contribute equally to the music, it would be 10 percent each. If you’re the only person on stage, obviously you’ll contribute 100 percent. So it stands to reason that the bigger the band, the less guitar sound you are required to contribute so you’re not competing with another instrument’s sonic space. The smaller the band, the more guitar sound you’re required to contribute in hopes of taking up more space and filling out the music more completely. This is counter-intuitive because we naturally think that if there are eight people on stage, we need to bring a bigger guitar to keep up and make our presence known. But in reality that creates trouble for the sound person because it’s more likely that you will introduce competing frequencies, which your audience is going to hear as an indistinct or muddy mix.
The Final Word When I try to help players find their perfect guitar, I emphasize that we are painting in broad strokes. The fact of the matter is that if this is a romance, then it’s more chemical and magical than scientific. Many times, the loves of our lives find us. If you aren’t sure where to start, then this Find Your Fit guide is a great starting point. But the true relationship begins with you finding your local authorized Taylor retailer and playing as many guitars as you can possibly get your hands on. My greatest hope is that when I make it to your town for the next Road Show, you’ll have your own guitar love story ready to share.
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grand concer t
Taylor’s smallest full-size body style was born in 1984
more aged, or played-in, sound. In the past our 12-fret
in response to a resurgence in acoustic fingerstyle music.
models had their own unique appointment scheme as
A new breed of adventurous players was expanding the
part of our Specialty category, but this year they’ve been
sonic palette of the acoustic guitar via alternate tunings,
integrated into our standard line as part of the 500, 700
inventive arrangements, and other experimental techniques,
and 800 Series.
and they found themselves in need of a new type of guitar that would help them express the detailed nuances of their music. In contrast to the bass-dominant tendencies
of traditional bigger-bodied guitars, the Grand Concert produced an evenly balanced tone from bass to treble. It was also uniquely responsive to the touch, yielding crisp articulation with controlled overtones. Because the Grand Concert’s tonal footprint occupies less sonic space, it fits clearly into a mix with other
• Compact size & short-scale design • Articulate voice with controlled overtones • Records & mixes well with other instruments
instruments, whether on stage or in a recording context. This makes it a useful tool for working musicians. The GC’s compact physical dimensions also translate into a comfortable playing experience. All Taylor Grand Concert models feature a shorter scale length (24-7/8 inches compared to 25-1/2 inches on other models), making it easier to stretch across frets to form chords. The slightly reduced string tension also helps with string bends. Such hand-friendly features make the GC a good match for people with smaller hands, older players, people with hand ailments, and anyone looking to reduce the strain on their fretting hand. The smaller body is also more comfortable for some people since their playing arm won’t be draped over
David Hosler from Taylor’s product development team with a tobacco sunburst top 912ce at Studio West, one of San Diego’s premier recording facilities (K12ce in the background). “Musically the Grand Concert is uniquely focused,” he says. “The individual note distinction helps players express delicate details.” Mike Harris, a respected recording engineer who often works at Studio West and one of the recording arts instructors for the studio’s school, has recorded with Taylor artist Mike Keneally for many years and used Taylors extensively. “The sound is always warm, full and easy to record,” he says. “Taylors are never brittle, but have great detail and definition. They have a sound I can always count on for recording.”
a big lower bout. Among Taylor’s many Grand Concert offerings for 2013 are three 12-fret models. The design incorporates a different neck-to-body relationship, in which the neck meets the body at the 12th fret instead of the 14th, and the bridge position is shifted farther away from the soundhole. The adjustment adds a splash of extra warmth and sweetness to the tone, giving it a
Body Length: 19-1/2” Body Width: 15” Body Depth: 4-3/8”
Sunburst top 512ce
gran d co ncer t body shape
Grand Concert models PS12ce K22ce 912ce 912ce-N 812ce 812ce-N 812ce-12 Fret
712ce 712ce-N 712ce-12 Fret 612ce 612ce-N 512ce 512ce-N
512ce-12 Fret 412ce 412ce-N 312ce 312ce-N JMSM (Jason Mraz Signature Model)
Each model listed above is also available as a non-cutaway with electronics (e.g., 812e) or a non-cutaway without electronics (e.g., 812).
Above: Bob Zink, one of Taylor’s longest tenured employees and a senior purchasing agent in our Materials Management department, enjoys our short-scale 812ce Opposite page (L-R): Trans Red 612e-N, K22ce
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grand audi t ori um body shape
In many respects the Grand Auditorium represents Taylor’s quintessential body style. It embodies Bob
Taylor’s design sensibility in the purest sense and has
a u ditori u m
come to define the sound of a modern acoustic guitar. Bob first introduced the GA in 1994, a decade after the Grand Concert, in commemoration of the company’s 20th anniversary. The GA found the sweet spot between a Dreadnought — known for robust flatpicking and rhythmic strumming — and Grand
• Tonal balance & versatility • Good for fingerstyle and light/medium strumming and picking • Records & mixes well with other instruments
Concert — designed with fingerstylists in mind — to give players the best of both worlds and then some. With a body size that was bigger than the Grand Concert, it produced a more powerful voice, particularly in the low-end, yet also had a bright, bell-like chime on the treble side and a well-defined midrange that helped maintain the balance and clarity. The GA spoke to modern players because it gave them a level of versatility that many of them had long craved. Session players and recording engineers from Nashville’s country scene to the rock world discovered how well a GA fit into a mix without being too boomy. Many producers would keep a GA in the studio as their go-to guitar because they knew how well it tracked, especially with bass guitar and other instruments in the mix. It’s also been a reliable tool for performing sidemen over the years. For those of us who mainly play recreationally, the GA is a fantastic all-purpose guitar. It can yield a full voice for light strummers and give fingerpickers a little extra dynamic range. If you can only pick one guitar, the GA will serve you well.
L-R: Ulises Cruz from our IT Services department takes his turn laying down a groove on a 214e as Molly Buchanan from Final Assembly looks on with a sunburst top 214ce-SB at Santee Lakes, located near the Taylor factory
Body Length: 20” Body Width: 16” Body Depth: 4-5/8”
gran d auditor iu m body shape
Grand Auditorium models PS14ce K24ce 914ce 914ce-N 814ce 814ce-N 714ce 714ce-N
614ce 614ce-N 514ce 514ce-N 414ce 414ce-N 454ce 314ce
314ce-N 354ce 214ce 214ce-N 214ce-K 214ce-SB 214ce-BLK 114ce
Each model listed above is also available as a non-cutaway with electronics (e.g., 814e) or a non-cutaway without electronics (e.g., 814).
Above: Peter Hutchison, a design engineer from our product development team, with an 814ce at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in San Diego’s Balboa Park Opposite page (L-R): PS14ce, 914e
grand symph ony body shape
Introduced in 2006, the Taylor Grand Symphony picks up where the Grand Auditorium leaves off in
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Body Length: 20” Body Width: 16-1/4” Body Depth: 4-5/8”
terms of volume, low-end power and sustain. The
S Y M P H O N Y
body shape relates closely to the GA, but with subtle expansions that include a slightly higher and wider waist and a bigger, more rounded lower bout. Bob Taylor’s aim was to create a guitar with a deeper, more piano-like bass, thicker trebles, and greater volume and low-end sustain, without disrupting the tonal balance and clarity. The result is a guitar that can really be
• Rich, powerful voice that also responds to a light touch • Piano-like bass, meaty midrange, strong treble shimmer • Good fit for dynamic strummers and pickers
driven dynamically by the player. The lower mids have an extra roundness and girth that add richness and complexity to the voice. Aggressive players will love the throaty growl of the GS when they dig in. Those who find the Grand Auditorium to be a little too bright for their ears will enjoy the greater depth and resonance of the GS. It’s acutely responsive to all the nuances of a player’s picking and strumming hand, yielding a robust tone when called upon, while also responding easily to a lighter touch. Bluegrassers and other pickers who favor fast runs will love the way the GS keeps up. Performing singer-songwriters who perform on their own have a full spectrum of sound to support their tunes. The GS has also become an ideal acoustic platform for Taylor’s 12-string models and is the body style used for our rosewood and mahogany 6- and 8-string baritone guitars.
18-year Taylor employee Ethan Lack from our Final Assembly department with a 516 on the steps of an outdoor amphitheater in Mt. Helix Park in La Mesa, California
Body Length: 20” Body Width: 16-1/4” Body Depth: 4-5/8”
gran d s ymp h ony body shape
Grand Symphony models PS16ce PS56ce K26ce K66ce 916ce 956ce 816ce 856ce
716ce 756ce 616ce 656ce 516ce 556ce 416ce 456ce
316ce 356ce Baritone-8 Baritone-8 Mahogany Baritone-6 Baritone-6 Mahogany
Each model listed above is also available as a non-cutaway with electronics (e.g., 816e) or a non-cutaway without electronics (e.g., 816).
Chris Bearden from our Customer Service team with a 316e outside the Belly Up Tavern, a popular music venue in Solana Beach, California that first opened its doors the same year as Taylor Guitars Opposite page (L-R): K26ce, Koi Blue 12-string 656ce, sunburst top 816ce
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The Taylor Dreadnought infuses an iconic guitar shape with signature Taylor design refinements to give
players an inspiring neo-traditional guitar. The body
D R E A D N O U G H T
style boasts a rich heritage in the acoustic guitar world, and over the course of many decades has established a familiar look and sound among players and listeners. The Dreadnought’s big body features a wide waist, which helps produce a loud, robust voice, especially on the low end, along with a snappy, punchy
• A strong “modern vintage” voice • Low-end power balanced by snappy mids and clear trebles • Well-suited for driving flatpicking/strumming
quality in the midrange that appeals to traditional strummers and flatpickers. Taylor’s refinements to the Dreadnought have brought modern enhancements to the look, tone and playing experience, while still retaining the essence of what classic Dreadnought players crave. Over the years the body’s curves were subtly softened from its boxy outline into a smoother contour that aligns well with the design aesthetic of other Taylor shapes. Tonally, Bob Taylor revoiced the guitar to optimize the volume and bass response while also boosting the midrange, preserving the tonal balance from bottom to top. He also enhanced the clarity and overall articulation, giving flatpickers more tonal definition on fast runs. Together with Taylor’s sleek necks and renowned playability, a potent Dreadnought sound is more accessible than ever. Dreadnought lovers who want the ultimate bluegrass cannon might consider some of the custom options offered through Taylor’s Build to Order program, including a deeper version of the body (new for 2013) and either an Adirondack spruce top or bracing.
Taylor sales manager Aaron Dablow with a 510ce at San Diego’s Union Station, also known as the Santa Fe Depot. “The Dreadnought is the classic acoustic guitar sound that we all know and love,” he says. “It’s heard on every great folk/rock/country recording from the ’50s through the ’70s. It has prominent overtones that bellow over each other to create a massive wall of sound, and a boxy, throaty voice that screams over every other instrument on stage. The Taylor Dreadnought captures the essence of the classic sound and adds the modern elements of clarity and fidelity that people love about Taylor tone.”
Body Length: 20” Body Width: 16” Body Depth: 4-5/8”
drea d n ought
Dreadnought models PS10ce K20ce 910ce 810ce 710ce
610ce 510ce 410ce 310ce 210ce
210ce-K 210ce-SB 210ce-BLK 110ce
Performing artist and longtime Taylor player Janie Plante enjoys an autumn day in Julian, California with a 610e. Her first Taylor was a 410. “I loved the old-school Dreadnought look with Taylor’s graceful lines,” she says. “I wanted something classic without a cutaway or visible electronics.” Opposite page: L-R: 710e, 810ce
Each model listed above is also available as a non-cutaway with electronics (e.g., 810e) or a non-cutaway without electronics (e.g., 810).
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grand orchest ra body shape
The newest shape to join the Taylor family unleashes the boldest, richest voice available in a Taylor guitar.
What began as a redesign of the curvaceous Taylor
O R C H E S T R A
Jumbo evolved into an entirely new shape and sound. Just as the Grand Symphony yields a deeper, more powerful voice than the Grand Auditorium, the Grand Orchestra stands out as a more robust alternative to the Grand Symphony. The GO shape features a slightly bigger footprint and a deeper body, creating
• Taylor’s biggest, most complex voice • Incredibly balanced for a big-bodied guitar • Specially braced to be responsive to a dynamic attack
more air volume. This helps produce a deeper low-end response that players will be able to feel against their body, at times calling to mind Taylor’s baritone guitars. Under the hood, a new bracing scheme optimizes the movement of the soundboard to produce louder, more complex tone with incredible sustain. What separates the Grand Orchestra from other big-bodied guitars is how balanced the tone is from top to bottom, especially given its brawny bass. With the help of the new bracing, even the treble notes exude richness and power. And unlike other big-body guitars that require an aggressive attack to get the top moving, the GO is incredibly responsive to a light touch, rewarding players who have a dynamic playing style. If you crave a guitar sound that’s brimming with power and rich detail, the Grand Orchestra won’t disappoint. Aggressive players will love the deep growl and strong, clear highs. Singer-songwriters and solo performers will be inspired by the diverse palette of sonic colors and textures. From big cowboy chords to lush fingerstyle arrangements, the Grand Orchestra might be the most expressive and versatile big guitar you ever play.
Taylor luthier Andy Powers enjoys one of his guitar offspring, a 918e, featuring the Grand Orchestra shape he designed, atop the cliffs of Torrey Pines, in La Jolla, California. Below him is Black’s Beach, a favorite surf spot whose waves helped inspire his thinking about the GO.
Body Length: 20-5/8” Body Width: 16-3/4” Body Depth: 4-13/16”
gran d orchestr a body shape
Grand Orchestra models 918e 618e 518e
Longtime Taylor employee Hector Penalosa from our Neck department, with a left-handed 918e at Cow Records in San Diego’s Ocean Beach neighborhood. Hector played in one of the West Coast’s seminal punk/new wave bands, the Zeros, in the late ’70s. The store’s manager, Chris Davies, played guitar in another influential local punk/new wave band of that era, the Penetrators. Opposite page: 918e, 518e, 618e First Editions
Back and Side Woods
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The unique acoustic properties of different woods help flavor a guitar’s sound Just as each Taylor body shape produces unique tonal characteristics, different tonewoods interact with those shapes to produce distinctive sonic nuances that help define a guitar’s musical personality. Physical properties like density, stiffness and flexibility all affect the way the wood resonates. With the help of a guitar’s internal bracing patterns, woods contribute to the mix of tonal frequencies that we hear in varying degrees of bass, midrange and treble. Other tonal properties that woods influence include dynamic range, sustain and overtones, which are often described in terms of acoustic “bloom.” Keep in mind that as a new guitar is played, and even as its wood naturally ages, it typically goes through a process of “opening up,” meaning that it will develop a more resonant, complex and sometimes louder tone over time. In some respects it’s comparable to the aging of a fine wine or spirit. Our tonewood descriptions are meant to provide you with a general reference. Even with Taylor’s manufacturing consistency, each set of wood ultimately is physically unique, which adds extra allure to the process of discovering a guitar that speaks particularly to you. Remember also that your playing style is an important part of the tone equation, and that you’ll want to find woods with tonal properties that complement the way you play. If you haven’t yet seen our presentation on tonewoods at a Taylor Road Show, we hope you’re able to attend one in 2013.
Models: 700, 800, 900 Series, JMSM Indian rosewood’s extended frequency range at both ends of the tonal spectrum has made it one of the acoustic world’s favorite tonewoods. Its deep low end yields a throaty growl, while bright, sparkling treble notes ring out with clarity. The slightly scooped midrange creates space for vocals, which typically occupy the midrange frequencies. If you like a robust low end and crisp highs, a rosewood guitar will serve you well.
Models: 500 Series Another time-honored tonewood, mahogany differs from rosewood in that its tonal character comes through its meaty midrange, the result of harmonic overtones that stack up to create a warm acoustic “bloom” often described as “breathy.” Mahogany’s voice has been a part of many roots music recordings over the years, from blues to folk to slack key, and that rich sonic heritage makes it a familiar sound in music.
Models: 400 Series An African species that’s related to rosewood, ovangkol shares many of rosewood’s tonal properties, including a wide spectrum of lows and highs, and yields a slightly fuller midrange and a bright treble response similar to maple. While it lacks the name recognition of more traditional tonewoods, its tonal versatility makes it a popular choice among everyone from beginners to professional players.
Macassar (“Striped”) Ebony
Models: Build to Order This dense hardwood is typically clear and loud with considerable dynamic range. It has a strong bass and lower mids, clear highs, and a slightly scooped midrange like rosewood. Macassar likes to be played aggressively and, like koa, often takes a little while for the tone to open up and become richer. It can sound bright or dark, depending on the technique of the player.
Models: 100/200 Series, GS Mini, Baby Taylor, TSBT Making guitars that feature laminate backs and sides allows us to produce these models more cost-effectively and pass the savings onto the customer. Our veneered construction features three layers of wood that are glued together, which makes for a strong and resilient guitar body that tends to travel well and hold up better to extremes of relative humidity. Sometimes we use an outer veneer of exotic wood to enhance the cosmetic beauty of a guitar, such as on our 200 Series, or occasionally on limited edition offerings. A laminate generally won’t yield quite the tonal complexity that an all-solid-wood guitar will, but all of our laminate models feature a solidwood top to produce quality acoustic tone.
Big Leaf Maple
Models: 600 Series Maple’s density produces a focused tone that is dominant on the fundamental. Its sound is often described as clean and bright because of its relative lack of overtones and its treble sparkle. The quicker note decay gives the notes clearer definition, allowing the sound to cut through a live band setting well, which makes maple guitars a favorite choice of stage and studio players. Flamed or “fiddleback” maple is quartersawn, which makes it slightly punchier than quilted maple, which is flatsawn and often yields a bit more sweetness and warmth.
Models: Koa Series A fairly dense tropical hardwood, koa tends to yield a relatively tight tone on a newer guitar, but the more it’s played and has a chance to open up, the more it rewards the ear with midrange overtones that add a sense of warmth and sweetness to its voice. Think of the midrange of mahogany blended with the top-end brightness of maple. Koa’s initial brightness can be softened by fingerstylists who play with the pads of their fingers.
Models: Presentation A Mexican rosewood, cocobolo is a dense, stiff tropical hardwood that produces a fairly bright overall tone emphasized by sparkling treble notes. Sonically it resembles koa but resonates a little deeper on the low end, although not quite as deep as Indian rosewood. Fast and responsive, cocobolo’s note distinction gives it an articulate voice that responds well to a variety of playing styles, depending on the body shape.
Models: 300 Series Sapele is sometimes mistakenly referred to as African mahogany because it resembles West African khaya, which is commercially known as African mahogany. Its tone is consistent and balanced across the tonal spectrum, making it compatible with a diverse range of playing styles. Compared to mahogany, it produces slightly fewer midrange overtones and a little more top-end sparkle.
A guitar’s top, or soundboard, is a vital part of its tonal equation. The top resonates together with the strings and the rest of the body to produce a com-
plex range of tones. Spruce is the king of guitar tops because it’s relatively light yet strong, with a high degree of elasticity that helps translate the
player’s picking or strumming into clear acoustic tone. We use several different types of spruce, although Sitka is the most available.
Models: Most acoustic models Sitka generates a broad dynamic range and accommodates numerous playing styles, from aggressive strumming to fingerpicking.
Models: 500 Series Dreadnought and GS models, 700 Series Engelmann spruce tends to produce what’s perceived as a slightly richer midrange than Sitka. It’s often described as having a more mature sound associated with an older guitar that has been played in. Its availability is limited.
Models: Build to Order Once commonly used for guitar tops but currently limited in availability, Adirondack spruce has a “springy” quality. Acoustically, it produces a robust output and more dynamic range than Sitka, which allows it to be driven aggressively for greater volume without distortion. The midrange tones also tend to have a richer, sweeter quality. Even using it for the bracing on a Sitka or Engelmann top will enhance the overall tone.
Western Red Cedar
Models: 500 Series GA and GC models Cedar is less dense than spruce, and its relative softness adds warmth to a guitar’s tone, especially for players with a softer touch, like fingerstylists or light to moderate strummers and pickers. With a lighter touch, cedar is actually louder than spruce, but players with a strong attack are often better paired with spruce, as they would be more likely to overdrive cedar, creating a more distorted sound at higher volumes.
Models: Some Koa Series models and Build to Order Harder, denser woods like koa that are used on the back and sides of a guitar are sometimes used as tops. Their stiffness initially translates into a bright tone, but with playing and the passage of time, the overtones emerge, producing a fuller, more complex sound. Another hardwood top option offered through our Build to Order program is mahogany.
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bari t one Ever since its debut to help celebrate Taylor’s 35th anniversary back in 2009, our Baritone guitar has been captivating players with its deep, sonorous voice. The Baritone features our Grand Symphony body and a longer 27-inch scale length, which enables it to be tuned from B to B while maintaining normal string tension for a familiar playing experience. While other baritone guitars can sometimes get muddy in the lower register, Taylor’s signature clarity gives players plenty of tonal definition that invites new musical adventures. Singers who typically have to stretch to hit the high notes will find the Baritone kind on their voice. It’s also a fun companion to bring to a jam session for its ability to add complementary tonal colors and textures to other instruments. Players looking for a spark of fresh inspiration should try the Baritone 8-String, which incorporates a pair of octave strings that double the third and fourth (D and A) strings. Suddenly that resonant voice is topped with a touch of 12-string shimmer, perfect for embellishing chords and creating new arrangements. Both the 6- and 8-string versions also provide unique voicings for recording sessions. And when you plug in, the Expression System electronics will envelop the room in low-end richness. If you need to get back to standard pitch, just add a capo at the fifth fret and you’re in business. Choose from rosewood and mahogany bodies, each with a Sitka spruce top, with or without a cutaway.
Baritone models Baritone-8ce Baritone-8e Baritone-8 Baritone-8ce Mahogany Baritone-8e Mahogany Baritone-8 Mahogany Baritone-6ce Baritone-6e Baritone-6 Baritone-6ce Mahogany Baritone-6e Mahogany Baritone-6 Mahogany
Above (L-R): Baritone-8e, Baritone-6ce
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nyl on-st ri ng You don’t need a pure classical guitar or classical chops to tap into the mellow-toned flavors of the nylon-string sound. Our hybrid-style nylons were designed to be inviting to steel-string players, starting with sleek, playable necks that have a familiar Taylor feel. Instead of a traditional classical neck, which typically has a flat fretboard and a width of two or more inches, our nylons feature a radiused fretboard — which makes fretting easier, especially with barre chords — and a 1 7/8-inch neck. (The necks are slightly wider than our standard 1 3/4-inch steelstring necks to accommodate the wider diameter of the nylon strings.) The crossover appeal continues with our Grand Concert and Grand Auditorium body styles, each optimized for tone through different neck and bridge orientations. On the Grand Concert, the neck meets the body at the 12th fret, with the bridge in the traditional position. On the Grand Auditorium, the neck joins the body at the 14th fret, with the bridge shifted forward to produce a slightly warmer, darker tone. Other modern features adopted from the steel-string camp include acoustic electronics (Taylor’s ES-N® pickup) and a cutaway. Last year we doubled our nylon-string model offerings to give players more wood choices. We also integrated the models aesthetically with their steel-string cousins from the 200 through 900 Series, outfitting them with the same cosmetic treatments. The result is a diverse visual dynamic, from understated (300 Series) to colorful (600 Series), and from vintage (700 Series) to sophisticated (900 Series). This year’s option of ordering any model as a non-cutaway expands the nylon family even further. Adding a nylon-string to your guitar toolbox brings the promise of fresh discoveries. You may find yourself inspired to reinterpret a song with a new texture or mood. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn some classical compositions but never had the right guitar for your hands. Or maybe the lighter string tension is more appealing than playing a steel-string. Whatever your situation, whether you like to play with your fingers or a pick, whether your tastes include soft bossa nova, flamenco flourishes, or contemporary pop, Taylor’s nylons will bring a fresh flair to your playing.
Nylon-String models L-R: 314ce-N, 514-N, 812ce-N
914ce-N 912ce-N 814ce-N 812ce-N 714ce-N
712ce-N 614ce-N 612ce-N 514ce-N 512ce-N
414ce-N 412ce-N 314ce-N 312ce-N 214ce-N
Each model listed is also available as a non-cutaway with electronics (e.g., 814e-N) or a non-cutaway without electronics (e.g., 814-N).
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gs mi ni It’s amazing how well the compact GS Mini fits into everyday life, no matter what that may entail. Whether you like to bring a guitar on trips, keep one in the office, or cradle it on the couch; whether you’re a pro musician looking for a solid songwriting guitar or a first-timer strumming your first chords, the Mini gives you a lively guitar that’s ready at a moment’s notice and infectiously fun to play. It’s packed with innovative Taylor design, yet isn’t meant to be too precious. The scaled-down form blends grab-and-go appeal with a surprisingly big voice, thanks in part to its shapely GS curves and full-size soundhole. Owners write to us all the time to share their Mini experiences, from folks who discovered one out of the blue and now can’t live without it, to people with hand ailments who’ve been able to resume playing guitar because of it. With signature Taylor playability, clear tone, and impressive sustain, it makes the ultimate musical accomplice. Choose between a spruce top, or, for a slightly darker sound, the mahogany-top model. Both come pre-fitted for the easy-to-add ES-GoTM pickup and Taylor V-CableTM to give you an effortless plug-and-play experience. Wherever you end up, with the Mini at your side you’ll have your life’s soundtrack at your fingertips. GS Mini Mahogany
GS Mini models GS Mini GS Mini Mahogany
Surfer, model and musician Lindsay Perry, pictured at Torrey Pines State Beach in La Jolla, California, has followed her bliss around the world, parlaying her interests into a nomadic lifestyle that lets her express her creativity to the fullest. For a girl in constant motion, her GS Mini is the perfect musical companion for seizing moments of inspiration as a songwriter. “I love my Mini,” she says. “It’s been amazing for traveling. It’s hard for me to get around with my full-size guitar, especially with my hectic schedule. The Mini is perfect for writing and playing shows on the go.”
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baby t ayl or The guitar that helped spawn the travel guitar category, the Baby Taylor, technically turns 17 this year yet refuses to grow up. We’ve produced tens of thousands of Babys over the years, and their compact three-quarter size has given everyone from kids to campers to globetrotting consultants a six-string that fits easily into their lives. The scaled-down Dreadnought body features durable sapele laminate back and sides with a choice of a solid spruce or mahogany top. The Baby was a songwriting staple for a young Taylor Swift in her early days of touring, which eventually led to her signature Baby Taylor, featuring a rosette that she helped design. For players looking for a bigger Dreadnought sound but still in a portable, affordable package, the Big Baby is a 15/16-size Dreadnought with standard 25-1/2-inch scale length and a slightly narrower 1-11/16-inch neck. For the money it gives you a great guitar with a real guitar voice and the inviting playability that makes a Taylor so much fun to pick up.
Baby Taylor models Baby Taylor Baby Mahogany Taylor Swift Baby Taylor (TSBT) Big Baby Taylor Taylor Swift Baby Taylor
Taylor Guitars has been a longtime supporter of music education in schools. In 2000 Taylor partnered with the San Diego Music Foundation to support Guitars for Schools, a program that provides guitars to public elementary and middle school music programs in the greater San Diego area. Since then nearly 1,700 guitars have been donated to 100 schools, and by all estimates, over 20,000 elementary school students have benefitted from guitar instruction in the classroom. In October we visited one group of music students who attend High Tech Elementary/Middle School, and they had fun showing off their Baby Taylors.
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T5 Taylor’s opening foray into the electric world was built on a strong platform of acoustic expertise and proprietary pickup design. The result is a groundbreaking fusion of amplified acoustic and electric sounds that seamlessly blends two guitar worlds into one. The T5’s hollowbody design features an active soundboard and specially designed f-holes to create a natural acoustic resonance that’s captured by a magnetic sensor mounted to the guitar top (similar to the Expression System body sensor used on Taylor acoustics). A bridge humbucker and concealed neck humbucker respond with a rich range of electric tones. A five-way switch activates different pickup configurations, while two active preamp/EQ tone controls let you shape the bass, mids and treble. Part of the T5’s magic is its dual compatibility with electric amps and acoustic amps or a PA system, especially with the help of an A/B/Both box. It gives gigging musicians who don’t want to lug several guitars around a truly full-range performance guitar. Players love its ability to shift from clean acoustic to crunchy electric within a song. Solo performers and musicians who record at home will appreciate the ability to create different parts. And if you’re sitting around practicing at home, it’s loud enough to play unplugged on the couch. Choose from T5 Classic, Standard and Custom models, in a range of top woods and colors. Options also include an array of 12-string models, featuring Taylor’s Dual Compensated™ saddle, which allows the fundamental and octave strings to sit at the same height for a smooth playing experience. If you haven’t heard a live demonstration of the T5’s impressive tonal versatility at a Taylor Road Show yet,
Soulful rocker Ryan Hiller, shown among some of the mural art of San Diego’s historic Chicano Park with a tobacco sunburst T5-S1, has become a fixture of the San Diego music scene since relocating from New Orleans in 2006. His tunes are steeped in a Southern amalgam of funk, gospel, R&B, jazz and classic rock, and his T5 is a staple of his many shows around town. Given the many flavors of his music, Hiller says it’s the perfect guitar for a working musician. “It’s my Swiss Army Knife,” he says. “The tonal options are unlike any guitar on the market. Most of my gigs are solo shows, and I love to use looping technology. The T5 body sensor pickup is great for recording thick and lush rhythm tracks, while the bridge and neck humbuckers and their switching combinations are perfect for overdubbing bass and lead lines. What you get is basically three guitars in one!”
be sure to come out to one this year and check it out.
T5 models T5 Custom T5-C T5-C2 T5-C4 T5-C5 T5C-12 T5C2-12 T5C4-12 T5C5-12 T5-C1 T5-C3 T5C1-12 T5C3-12 T5 Standard T5-S T5-S1 T5S-12 T5S1-12 T5 Classic T5-X T5X-12
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T3 Our take on the classic semi-hollowbody sound comes alive in inspiring new ways through the thoughtful design of the T3. Players who like a deeper, rounder electric tone will enjoy this body style, whose sounds have colored rock, jazz and country. Pickup options include proprietary high definition humbuckers (standard), mini humbuckers that cut through a mix, or vintage alnico humbuckers that blend warmth and drive. A three-way switch covers full neck, neck/bridge and full bridge configurations, but with a cool twist: Pulling up on the volume knob activates a coil splitter, which transforms the humbuckers into single coils. The tone knob also leads a double life: In the down position, it boosts the mids; pull it up and it mellows the tone into a warm, fat sound but without the muddiness. Between the two levels is a heap of familiar and distinctively fresh semi-hollow tones, whether you want to play some oldschool jazz, vintage surf tunes, or hard rock. Our innovative T-Lock® neck joint supports a great playing experience, and it’s complemented by a roller-style bridge paired with either a stop tailpiece or, on the T3/B, an authentic Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. The roller bridge combo eliminates the problems associated with fixed bridges and tuning stability. Topping things off is a beautiful cut of billowy maple, offered with a half-dozen color/burst options, each of which looks sharp together with cool chrome hardware and crisp white binding. No detail was overlooked on this guitar, and the balance of refined style and tone-sculpting functionality add up to an eye- and ear-catching electric.
T3 models T3 T3/B
L-R: Orange T3/B, Natural T3
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sol i db o dy We’ve made our mark in the solidbody electric world by following the same guitar-making principles — player-friendly design and precision craftsmanship — that have made our acoustic guitars so inspiring to play. On the Taylor SolidBody, everything adds up to an electric guitar that feels alive in your hands, from stable, ultra-playable necks to groundbreaking pickups to high-performance component design. On top of that, flexible ordering options make it easy to configure a model for the look and sounds you want. Choose from the solid swamp ash Classic or chambered mahogany/quilted maple Standard body, with a single or double cutaway. Pick your color from a diverse menu of options for each body. Choose from more than a dozen different pickup configurations, including mini and fullsize humbuckers, each offered in high definition (HD) or high gain (HG) versions, plus vintage alnicos and silent single coils. Select one of six pickguard colors or go with the direct-mount option. And choose between a stoptail and a tremolo bridge. The SolidBody was designed to give you even more tonal flexibility with Taylor’s aftermarket, solderless Loaded Pickguards. These allow you to easily swap out the entire pickup assembly of your guitar on your own to transform your guitar’s tonal personality. Whichever pickups you choose, the SolidBody will give you all the great tones you love plus the ability to shape a sound all your own. You can explore all the features offered on the SolidBody using our online SolidBody Configurator, which enables you to design a virtual guitar model. Build yours at taylorguitars.com.
L-R: Double cutaway SolidBody Standard in Gaslamp Black with vintage alnico humbuckers; Single cutaway tobacco sunburst SolidBody Classic with black pickguard, 3 single coils and tremolo bridge
Standard SB1-S (Single Cutaway) SB1-SP (Single Cutaway/Pickguard) SB2-S (Double Cutaway) SB2-SP (Double Cutaway/Pickguard) Classic SB1-X (Single Cutaway) SB2-X (Double Cutaway)
Blue Steel SB2-X
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Guitars by Series
The guitars within each Taylor acoustic series are anchored by the tonewoods used for the back and sides, along with a unique appointment package designed to complement the woods and create a unified visual aesthetic. Distinctive details include the binding, rosette, inlays and tuners. For a complete list of specifications for all series, visit taylorguitars.com
Big Leaf Maple
Hawaiian Koa or Sitka Spruce
Engelmann Spruce with Vintage Sunburst
Engelmann Spruce (510ce, 516ce) Western Red Cedar (512ce, 512ce-N, 514ce, 514ce-N)
Gloss Top, Back and Sides
Gloss Top, Back and Sides
Gloss Top, Back and Sides
Gloss Top, Back and Sides
Gloss Top, Back and Sides
Gloss Top, Back, Sides and Neck
Gloss Top, Back and Sides
Gloss Top; Satin Back/Sides
Single Ring Paua
Blackwood/Rosewood (Spruce Top) or Maple/Rosewood (Koa Top)
Single Ring Abalone
Single Ring Abalone
Single Ring Abalone
Blackwood/Maple Island Vine
800 Series Pearl
Ivoroid Heritage Diamonds
Pearloid Twisted Ovals
Pearloid Deco Diamonds
Pearloid Progressive Dots
Ebony (Body, Fretboard, Peghead, Soundhole)
Rosewood (Body, Fretboard, Peghead)
Rosewood (Body, Fretboard, Steel-string Peghead, Soundhole)
Curly Maple (Body, Fretboard, Steel-string Peghead)
Ivoroid (Body, Fretboard, Steel-string Peghead)
White (Body, Fretboard, Steel-string Peghead)
Faux Tortoise Shell (Body, Fretboard, Steel-string Peghead, Soundhole)
White (Body, Fretboard)
CV with Relief Rout
CV with Relief Rout
CV with Relief Rout or Nylon Pattern
CV with Relief Rout or Nylon Pattern
Standard II with Relief Rout or Nylon Pattern
Standard II with Relief Rout or Nylon Pattern
Standard II with Relief Rout or Nylon Pattern
Standard II with Relief Rout or Nylon Pattern
Expression System or ES-N® (Nylon)
Expression System or ES-N (Nylon)
Expression System or ES-N (Nylon)
Expression System or ES-N (Nylon)
Expression System or ES-N (Nylon)
Expression System or ES-N (Nylon)
Gotoh Gold or Nylon Gold
Taylor Gold or Nylon Gold
Taylor Chrome or Nylon Gold with Ivoroid Buttons
Taylor Gold or Nylon Gold with Ivoroid Buttons
Taylor Gold or Nylon Gold with Ivoroid Buttons
Taylor Chrome or Nylon Chrome with Pearloid Buttons
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
Taylor Standard Hardshell (Black)
Ebony Armrest, Paua Trim (Top, Back, Sides, Fretboard Extension), Cocobolo Backstrap, Peghead Bridge Inlays, Bone Nut/Saddle, Abalone Dot Bridge Pins
Figured Blackwood Top Trim (Spruce Tops) or Curly Maple Top Trim (Koa Tops), Peghead Inlay, Bone Nut/Saddle
Abalone Top Trim (Including Fretboard Extension), Red Purfling, Peghead/Bridge Inlays, Bone Nut/Saddle, Abalone Dot Bridge Pins
Color/Burst Options: Tobacco or Honey Sunburst Top
Color/Burst Options: Vintage Sunburst Top and Neck Standard
Color/Burst Options: Natural (Standard), Amber, Koi Blue, Trans Red, Trans Black, Trans Orange, Honey Sunburst, Tobacco Sunburst Note: Natural and Amber come with faux tortoise shell pickguard; other colors/bursts come standard without pickguards
Color/Burst Options: Tobacco, Honey or Mahogany Sunburst Top
Color/Burst Options: Shaded Edgeburst
Color/Burst Options: Tobacco or Honey Sunburst Top
Guitars by Series
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T5 T5 Custom: Sapele Hollowbody, Gloss Finish, Gold Hardware Top Options: Spruce (C), Figured Maple (C1), Koa (C2), Cocobolo (C3), Walnut (C4), Macassar Ebony (C5) Color/Burst Options: C/C1: Natural, Black; Red, Blue, or Trans Black Edgeburst; Tobacco, Honey or Cherry Sunburst; C2/C3/C4/C5: Shaded Edgeburst Top Models: T5-C, T5C-12, T5-C1, T5C1-12, T5-C2, T5C2-12, T5-C3, T5C3-12, T5-C4, T5C4-12, T5-C5, T5C5-12
Body: Semi-hollow Sapele
T5 Standard: Sapele Hollowbody, Gloss Finish, Chrome Hardware Top Options: Spruce (S), Figured Maple (S1) Color/Burst Options: Natural, Black; Red, Blue, or Trans Black Edgeburst; Tobacco, Honey or Cherry Sunburst Models: T5-S, T5S-12, T5-S1, T5S1-12
Color/Burst Options: Natural (Standard), Ruby Red Burst, Black, Orange, Tobacco Sunburst, Honey Sunburst
T5 Classic: Sapele Hollowbody, Satin Finish, Chrome Hardware Top: Ovangkol Models: T5-X, T5X-12
Case: T3 Hardshell (Black)
Rosewood, Maple or Koa Laminate
Indian Rosewood or Tropical Mahogany
Sitka Spruce or Tropical Mahogany
Sitka Spruce or Tropical Mahogany
Gloss Top; Satin Back/Sides
Gloss Top; Satin Back and Sides (All Gloss for Maple and Koa Models)
Varnish Top, Back and Sides
Gloss Top, Back and Sides
Varnish Top, Back and Sides
Varnish Top, Back and Sides
3-Ring or Single Ring (-SB, -BLK)
4mm Pearloid Dots
6mm Pearloid Dots or Small Diamonds (Koa Models)
6mm Pearloid Dots
Black (Body, Fretboard)
White or Cream (Koa) (Body)
Indian Rosewood (Body, Fretboard)
Standard II with Relief Rout or Nylon Pattern
Standard II or Nylon Pattern
GS Mini Pattern with Relief Rout
Baby or Big Baby Pattern
Expression System or ES-N (Nylon)
Taylor ES-T® or ES-N (Nylon)
Pre-fitted for ES-Go® (Aftermarket)
Optional Taylor Active Undersaddle Transducer
Chrome or Nylon Chrome with Pearloid Buttons
Chrome or Nylon Chrome with Pearloid Buttons
Taylor Standard Hardshell (Black)
Taylor Deluxe Hardshell (Brown)
GS Mini Hard Bag
Case Premium Appointments
Color/Burst Options: Tobacco Sunburst Top (-SB Models) Black (-BLK Models)
Top: Quilted or Flamed Maple Neck: Sapele Finish: All Gloss Fretboard Inlay: 4mm Pearl Dots Binding: White (Body, Fretboard, Peghead) Bridge: Chrome Roller-Style with Stoptail (T3) or Bigsby Vibrato (T3/B)
Pickups: Taylor HD Humbuckers (Standard); Optional Mini Humbuckers or Vintage Alnicos Tuning Machines: Taylor Chrome
Models: T3, T3/B
SolidBody Standard Body: Chambered Mahogany/Quilted Maple Top Neck: Mahogany (Gloss Finish) Fretboard: Ebony/12-inch Radius Models: SB1-S (Single Cutaway), SB1-SP (Single Cutaway/Pickguard), SB2-S (Double Cutaway), SB2-SP (Double Cutaway/Pickguard) Colors: Baja Blue, Balboa Blue, Pacific Blue, Imperial Purple, Borrego Red, Solana Orange, Doheny Green, Gaslamp Black, Cherry Sunburst, Aged Cherry Sunburst, Tobacco Sunburst, Amber Edgeburst, Del Mar Edgeburst, Desert Sunburst Classic Body: Solid Swamp Ash Neck: Maple (Satin Finish) Fretboard: Rosewood/12-inch Radius Models: SB1-X (Single Cutaway), SB2-X (Double Cutaway) Colors: Trans White, Titanium Pearl, Trans Red, Lava Red, Jewelescent Orange, Purple Flake, Blue Metallic, Viper Blue, Blue Steel, Sage Green, Sublime, Magenta Pearl, Tobacco Sunburst, Natural, Black See website for pickup options
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st andard m o del opt i ons We fully understand how the nuances of playability, tone and aesthetic details all factor into finding the Taylor guitar that fits you best. That’s why we’ve built flexible ordering options into our standard acoustic line. We want you to own a guitar that you can’t wait to pick up, and that continues to inspire you for years to come. To enhance your playing comfort, you might want a slightly narrower or wider neck, or a short-scale guitar, or a 12-fret version of a certain model. To sound your best, you might substitute a different top wood like cedar, Sitka or Engelmann spruce, or even mahogany (500 Series). Maybe you’re partial to a bone nut and saddle. In terms of enhancing the aesthetic appeal, there are plenty of upgrade options, including:
• Premium grades of figured maple or koa
• Honey or tobacco sunburst or shaded edgeburst
• Custom color options (maple 600 Series)
• 3-piece back
• Florentine cutaway
• Abalone dot bridge pins
• Tuner upgrades
• Alternative pickguard colors
And a note to our lefty friends: You can order any standard Taylor model either as a straight-up lefty or a lefty strung right-handed at no additional charge. Some options are series-specific. You’ll find a complete list of standard model options and pricing on our 2013 Price List, accessible on our website at taylorguitars.com. For additional questions, talk to your Taylor dealer or feel free to call us.
L-R: 814e with a tobacco sunburst top; Maple 610e with a three-piece back
Red 614ce with black pickguard
bui l d t o order Here’s your chance to become a Taylor guitar designer and map out a masterpiece for your favorite client: you. Our Build to Order program puts the ultimate expression of your musical tastes within easy reach. Think of it as crafting your musical soul mate. An extensive menu of guitar options awaits you, starting with a wide
Front guitar: Macassar ebony/sinker redwood 12-Fret Grand Concert with Tropical Vine fretboard inlay, rosewood binding and rosette, blue purfling, and abalone dot bridge pins; Background guitar: All-mahogany Baritone-8 with Progressive Diamond fretboard inlay, ebony binding and rosette, and abalone dot bridge pins
selection of tonewoods, including species and grades that aren’t
Far right: All-koa Grand Auditorium with shaded edgeburst, Running Horses fretboard inlay, koa binding, abalone rosette, pearl truss rod cover, headstock and bridge inlays, abalone dot bridge pins, and Florentine cutaway
also dial in your playing experience with Taylor neck options like a
offered through Taylor’s standard line. From there, select the details that together coalesce as an inspiring visual whole. Choose from a rich array of inlay, binding and purfling options; opt for a burst finish or perhaps an aged toner top for a vintage look; add a premium wood accent like a backstrap, armrest or truss rod cover. You can
short scale, 12-fret, or an alternative neck profile like a slim-carve or V-carve. The beauty of BTO is that you can go in almost any direction you want to get the tone, looks and playing experience you crave. And it doesn’t have to be fancy; sometimes less truly is more. Joining the BTO menu for 2013 is the option of a deep-body Dreadnought, which produces an extra powerful sound, and the ability to order our new Grand Orchestra body style in a variety of wood pairings and appointments. Our program ranges from acoustic steel-strings, including baritone and 12-string models, to nylon-strings, the T5 and the T3. To learn more about the BTO options available to you, contact your local Taylor dealer. Many have visited the Taylor factory and are well-equipped to help you design your guitar. You can also call us directly if you have questions. And once your order is placed, the turnaround time is among the shortest in the industry. Whether you’ve already envisioned your dream guitar or want to explore your options, we’d love to help you create a Taylor guitar personality that perfectly complements your own.
If you live in the U.S. or Canada and have questions about the Build to Order program, contact your preferred Taylor dealer or call us at 1-800-943-6782. For customers outside North America, contact your local Taylor dealer.
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Sustainability Taylor’s commitment to responsible forestry includes working closely with our community partners around the world
As a forward-minded manufacturer, we take our responsibility to the environment seriously. The same innovative thinking that fuels our guitar-making refinements is also applied to the responsible management of natural resources in forests around the world in order to safeguard their future. By working closely with our supply chain partners, we strive to develop the most sustainable models of harvesting trees and processing wood.
One notable example is a major initiative to improve the way ebony is sourced and milled in the country of Cameroon. In 2011, Taylor partnered with Madinter Trade, an international distributor of musical instrument woods, to create a new company, TLM (TaylorListug-Madinter), which assumed ownership of a major ebony mill, Crelicam, S.A.R.L., located in Cameroon. Guided by Taylor and Madinter’s progressive vision for the ethical procurement and
trade of ebony, TLM has developed an operational strategy that is transforming the way ebony is harvested and bringing investment and enrichment to local Cameroonian communities. The initiative might not have taken the path it did if not for the efforts of Taylor and Madinter to invest the time and resources to thoroughly understand the realities of the ebony trade in Cameroon, as well as the working conditions of the mill they would eventually
own. After several extended visits, considerable research, and conversations with many involved in harvesting ebony, including sawyers who work in the forests, Bob Taylor and his TLM partner, Vidal de Teresa Paredes, uncovered some troublesome realities of the ebony trade. These included substantial waste in the process of providing the instrument market with pure black ebony. We chronicled these discoveries in the summer 2012 issue of Wood&Steel (“Ebony’s Final Frontier”), and Bob later spoke about the company’s call-toaction in a YouTube video, “The State of Ebony,” in which he shares his dismay at learning how much variegated ebony was being left unused on the forest floor because there was no market for it. Already an at-risk wood due to illegal harvesting in other countries, Bob and Vidal realized that black ebony could not be taken for granted, and that the entire instrument industry would need to adjust its aesthetic standards for ebony in order for the wood to survive for future generations to enjoy. “We need to use what the forest gives us,” Bob emphasizes in the video, “and we need to live within the truth of the forests.” This truth has led TLM to not only change the way that ebony is harvested, but also to improve working conditions and to bring training, tools and other resources to the Crelicam employees. A year after assuming ownership, clear progress has been made. Employees received pay increases and bonuses, and an onsite cantina was built to provide them with free lunch every day. Technical teams of Taylor employees representing fields such as milling, machining and finance have made multiple trips to Cameroon to share their skill sets with their Crelicam colleagues. Our tooling department has made and installed machinery and tools there to help employees work more effectively. We also hired a professional environmentalist, Anne Middleton, to work and live full-time in Cameroon addressing issues of legality and traceability, and to work with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community leaders, and government officials. While much hard work remains, TLM is committed to transforming the ebony trade in a way that supplies instrument makers with a value-added ebony product that has been legally and ethically sourced and helps Cameroonian communities better their lives.
Supporting Other Sustainable Initiatives Taylor’s growing legacy of building pioneering paradigms of wood procurement also includes our work sourcing mahogany in Honduras with GreenWood Global, a non-profit organization
that seeks to empower forest communities to support themselves through sustainable forestry practices. Together with GreenWood, we’ve provided the framework for a local, shared economy through which several forest communities participate in mahogany harvesting. Using a small-footprint method of felling one tree at a time, we’re able to minimize the impact to the delicate balance of the rainforest. Regular exploration of new sources of existing tonewoods is ongoing. We’re currently working with representatives in Fiji to procure a regular supply of plantation-grown Fijian mahogany that was planted by the British a century ago. We’re also exploring the use of alternative tonewoods in Tasmania that can be sustainably sourced and that we think guitar players will love. Any sourcing relationships we cultivate are guided by our internal Responsible Timber Purchasing Policy, which provides a framework of due care and ethical standards for our purchasing decisions and requires our suppliers to do the same. No matter where our travels take us, Taylor Guitars remains committed to being a responsible partner to our wood suppliers around the world, and to promote sustainable forestry as a model for the musical instrument industry.
Innovating for Minimal Impact Taylor’s sustainability practices aren’t limited to sourcing wood in the forest. Innovations in the way we use tools and technology, coupled with our use of other lean manufacturing methods, also have helped reduce waste. By modifying our cutting specifications for mahogany trees used for necks, we’ve been able to increase the yield of guitar necks from each harvested tree by about 50 percent. We’ve balanced our use of abalone for guitar appointments with other beautiful alternatives including paua, a close relative, and wood inlays that are laser-cut for high-efficiency use. Our polyester gloss finish produces virtually none of the volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions of nitrocellulose lacquer finish, which is commonly used on other guitars. And when a guitar is ready to be shipped, our eco-conscious partners come into play, such as Reflex Packaging, which uses recycled materials to produce the proprietary guitar box inserts that protect guitars during transport. Ultimately, when you pick up a Taylor guitar to play music, we want you to know that your choice supports sustainable manufacturing in many ways.
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Above: Leandro Bailon (center) from Taylor’s factory in Tecate, Mexico, installs a new guide on a bandsaw at Crelicam’s mill in Yaoundé as Jesus Jurado (left) from our U.S. factory and Crelicam mechanic Vincent Lumpungu look on; Below (L-R): Crelicam employees Michel Awoa Onguene, Jean Mba Beka and Bekono Elono; Opposite page (L-R): Employees of the Crelicam mill in Yaoundé: Franck Destin Oyie Owona and Jean Martial Owono
Changing Steel Strings, the Taylor Way
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Service & Support We’re here to help you get the most out of your guitar-playing experience
Ernesto Martinez sights down a fretboard to check the alignment of a guitar’s neck at Taylor’s Factory Service Center in El Cajon, California
As a full-service manufacturer, our commitment to customers begins with making great guitars but doesn’t end there. The Taylor experience is about offering you personalized service every step of the way, whether you need help finding the right guitar or your Taylor is in need of repair. Our dealers know that one of the selling points of Taylor is the service that comes with our guitars, and you can count on that as long as you own yours. From the friendly service and repair experts at our Factory Service Center in El Cajon, California, and our European headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to our network of factory-trained authorized repair technicians out in the field, we’ll help you keep your guitar in great playing condition and answer any questions you have. If your guitar needs a tuneup, you can send it in for one of our comprehensive Service Packages. If it needs more extensive repair work, rest assured that it will be in great hands. To help you maintain your guitar, we’ve made a wealth of guitar care resources available at taylorguitars.com, including demonstration videos and tech sheets, which together cover topics like guitar humidification, restringing techniques (see next page), and getting the most out of the Expression System® pickup. Our service philosophy is also shared in a personal way through our dealer network. Guitars and music naturally bring people together, which is why we love visiting local
communities and bringing our passion for guitars to new and old friends at in-store gatherings like the Taylor Road Show, our one-on-one Find Your Fit consultations, and other events. In 2012, we presented more than 450 in-store events around the world, and they continue to be as popular as ever. Once you become part of the extended family as a Taylor owner, we encourage you to register your guitar with us. This not only helps us provide warranty service more efficiently, but you’ll also receive other owner benefits, including a free lifetime subscription to Wood&Steel (in the U.S., Canada and much of Europe), which will keep you up-to-date on our latest guitar developments, noteworthy Taylor artists, and much more. You can register your guitar online at taylorguitars.com/ register.
Customer Service Contact Information For general questions about service and repair from the U.S. and Canada, call our Factory Service Center in El Cajon, California (1-800-943-6782). Our hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. If you have questions about buying a guitar, we encourage you to speak with a Taylor dealer, or you’re welcome to call our service team. We’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction. (For European residents, see our contact information on page 67.)
The restringing process is the same for 12-string guitars, except that you should trim each bassside string the equivalent of two tuner lengths past the post into which it’s inserted and three tuner lengths each for the treble-side strings.
Slot-Head When restringing a slot-head guitar, trim the strings 1-1/2 tuner lengths past the post. Position the tuner hole as shown (fig. A) and insert the string.
1 Though there are many variations on the process of restringing a steel-string guitar, not all of them are equally effective. Some interfere with tuning (too many wraps), while others make strings vulnerable to breaking (too few wraps). The method we use here at Taylor was developed over the course of decades, on thousands of guitars, and has proven to be easy and effective. We’ve detailed the steps below. To watch a video demonstration of this, and to read our guide to changing nylon strings, visit taylorguitars.com/support. 1. Position yourself comfortably to change strings. A workbench is ideal; sitting on a sofa and resting the neck of the guitar on the sofa arm is another viable option. Loosen the bass-side strings — 6th (Low E), 5th (A), and 4th (D) — by turning the tuners clockwise with your left hand while holding tension on the string with your right hand. Next, loosen the treble-side strings — 3rd (G), 2nd (B), and 1st (High E) — by turning the tuners in a counterclockwise direction. 2. When all the strings are loosened, use wire cutters to remove the bridge pins. Using the saddle as a cantilever, exert gentle pressure to pull out the bridge pins. Now, gently lift out the old strings from the bridge and discard them. Removing the old strings provides a perfect opportunity to clean your fretboard. Cover the guitar’s soundhole with a towel and clean the fretboard with 0000 gauge steel wool. You can rub pretty hard without damaging the fretboard, but be careful not to let it touch the body. 3. Once your fretboard is clean, it’s time to restring. Begin by inserting the ball end of the 6th string, followed by the bridge pin. Push the bridge pin down and pull up on the ball end until it catches. Pull gently on the string to verify that it is “locked” in place. 4. Stretch the 6th string over the peghead. Using wire cutters, trim the string at the 5th string post.
Here’s the big difference: One wrap goes on the inside; the rest of the wraps go on the outside of the string end, toward the tuners (fig. B).
5. Turn the 6th string tuner so the hole in the tuner is at a 45-degree angle, then insert the 6th string and turn the tuner in a counterclockwise direction to tighten the string. The string end should protrude approximately 1/8th of an inch from the tuner hole. 6. Tune the string to pitch. Two to three wraps is perfect for the bass strings. More is not better. Repeat the procedure to install the 5th string. As with the other bass strings, stretch the string the equivalent of one tuner length past the post into which it’s inserted.
7. For the 4th string, simply measure one tuner length of slack before snipping the string and tightening. 8. Trim each treble string end 1-1/2 tuner lengths past the post into which it’s inserted. For the 3rd string and the other treble strings, the hole in the tuner should be at a 45-degree angle, as shown. Tighten the treble strings in a clockwise direction.
Tool Tip 5
9. The treble strings (G, B, and High E) require approximately six wraps. 10. Keep the bottom-most wraps of the treble strings below the edge of the tuner holes to avoid creating a kink, which could cause the string to break. 11. Gently stretch each string several times until the string stays in pitch. Tune your guitar and you’re ready to play!
Visitors to the Taylor factory often admire the time-saving power tool we use to string guitars in our Final Assembly department. For years we’ve used a cordless impact driver that we modify to run faster. We recently came across one made by Makita (model TD020D) that runs faster without requiring modification. You’ll also need a drill bit peg winder attachment, which you can buy from Planet Waves (planetwaves.com), or opt for the quarter-inch Zap-It EZ-Winder sold through Stewart-MacDonald (stewmac.com).
Taylor’s culture with that of the countries being served. Our outreach to customers also fanned out in 2012 to include the translation of each issue of Wood&Steel into Spanish, French, German, and for our annual winter Guitar Guide issue, Japanese as well. Our goal moving forward is to develop unique editorial content, such as artist and dealer profiles, that reflect the local Taylor communities in each region. Beyond Europe, we continue to
elevate Taylor’s profile in other countries. Taylor export manager Andy Lund logged thousands of miles as a roving guitar ambassador to Taiwan, Japan, New Zealand and Finland, presenting 26 Road Shows in these countries in addition to stops in Amsterdam for TGU training. Rob Magargal joined Andy in Taiwan and in Japan, where Rob trained the repair technicians for Yamano, Taylor’s Japanese distributor. They also spent time with Taylor’s art-
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ist relations manager for Japan, Hiro Hosozawa, and worked the Osaka Guitar Show. Between the relationships we cultivate with music communities across the continents and our valued wood sourcing partners far and wide, Taylor has fully embraced the diversity of the world. We hope that putting great-playing guitars in the hands of more people will help others do the same.
Europe and Beyond The Taylor community continues to grow as a multicultural melting pot of guitar lovers The guitar’s worldwide appeal has provided fertile ground for Taylor’s international growth as a global brand. Since late 2010, our European headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, have served as Taylor’s transcontinental home base, enabling us to better serve our European customers. A well-stocked warehouse has become a central distribution hub, and our complex also houses sales offices, a first-rate service and repair center, and space for Taylor training sessions, of which there have been many. In 2012 alone, our customer service manager in the U.S., Glen Wolff, and our longtime Taylor repair guru and trainer, Rob Magargal, each made four trips to Amsterdam to train repair technicians from the UK and across Europe. About 70 people received
training in all, including a few store managers who wanted to be able to recognize common service needs on guitars. The hands-on training covered issues such as identifying shipping damage, recognizing signs of excess dryness and humidity, and understanding Taylor’s Expression System electronics and NT neck design. By the end of the sessions, the repair technicians were equipped to handle 90 percent of Taylor’s warranty repairs, along with custom set-ups for customers. Our goal is to continue to strengthen and expand our service network to give customers throughout Europe Taylor’s high level of guitar support. Meanwhile, our two in-house repair technicians in Amsterdam, Uwe Dierks and Roy Willems, periodically spend time at the Taylor factory in El Cajon, California
to stay up-to-date on all of our latest manufacturing methods. Another key goal in nurturing the brand around the world has been to enrich the knowledge base of our dealer network through Taylor product training. Last year we invited several groups of employees from numerous stores located throughout Europe to Amsterdam for a series of two-day training programs, a.k.a. Taylor Guitars University (TGU), which we’ve been successfully presenting to dealer groups at the Taylor factory in the U.S. for the past several years. The events blend the sharing of product knowledge with a friendly immersion in Taylor’s company philosophy and culture. To deepen our bond with customers, we presented 115 Taylor Road Shows throughout Europe in 2012. Our European sales managers all have all spent time traveling with their U.S. colleagues on Road Show tours in the U.S., and this past year, several of our U.S. staff returned the favor, bringing a nice cross-pollination to the mix in a way that blended the spirit of
Repair technician Roy Willems with Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora’s all-koa double-neck Taylor at our service center in Amsterdam. Sambora happened to be in town for the opening date of his solo tour in October. When the guitar was dropped prior to the show, his guitar tech had called Taylor in the U.S., completely unaware of our repair facility in Amsterdam. A couple of phone calls later, Willems and service rep Sander van der Sluis arranged to meet with Sambora and the tech at the concert venue, where they identified a whiplash crack in one of the necks. Sambora insisted on playing the guitar that night, after which Willems whisked it back to the shop to repair it. He was able to return it to Sambora the following afternoon in time for soundcheck. Above: Taylor sales manager for Scandinavia, Peter Samuelsson (left), with a guest at the Helsinki Musiikmessut in October; Below: A group of Japanese music enthusiasts at the first annual Taylor Guitars/Tokyo Acoustic Underground music event, organized with the help of Yamano Music, Leo Music and guitarist Masaki Toraiwa (photo by Viola Kam); Opposite page (top photo): Taylor’s marketing manager for Europe, Dan Boreham (far left), and Andy Lund present a demonstration on shapes and tonewoods at a dealer training event at Taylor’s headquarters in Amsterdam; Opposite page (below): Repair technician Roy Willems checks the neck angle on a guitar during a training session
Contacting Taylor From Europe Taylor’s European Factory Service Center is open Monday through Friday from 09:00 to 17:00. To schedule an appointment for service, Taylor owners in Europe can contact the service team using the toll-free number for their country, as listed below. Additional information for each country can be found at taylorguitars.com/dealers/international
Taylor Guitars/European Headquarters Maroastraat 113 1060 LG Amsterdam, Netherlands Main: +31 (0)20 667 6030 Customer Service: +31 (0)20 667 6033 Fax: +31 (0) 20 667 6049
Toll-Free Telephone Numbers Belgium (Dutch): 0800 710 74 Belgium (French): 0800 237 500 11 Denmark: 00800 237 500 11 Finland: 00800 237 500 11 France: 00800 237 500 11 Germany: 0800 181 38 61 Ireland: 00800 237 500 11 Netherlands: 0800 020 02 23 Norway: 00800 237 500 11 (land line) 0800 139 26 (mobile) Spain: 00800 237 500 11 Sweden: 0800 237 500 11 Switzerland: 0800 848774 UK: 00800 237 500 11
From Other Countries Outside the U.S., Canada and Europe, sales and service questions are best answered by our international distribution partners. For a complete listing of Taylor distributors worldwide, along with contact information, visit taylorguitars.com/dealers/international
CLOTHING / GEAR / PARTS / GIFTS
shirts for the Taylor fan A) Taylor Dri-Fit Polo Dri-Fit fabric draws away sweat to keep you dry and comfortable. Embroidered Taylor logo on chest. Made by Nike. (Charcoal #2705; M-XL, $49.00; XXL, $51.00)
B) Men’s Antique Logo T 100% cotton, fashion fit. (Moss #1431; S-XL, $22.00; XXL, $24.00) A
C) Men’s Logo T 100% pre-shrunk cotton. Standard fit. (Dark Brown #1920, S-XL, $20.00; XXL-XXXL, $22.00) D) Men’s Long-Sleeve Zodiac T 100% combed cotton, ribbed cuffs. Zodiac rosette design. Standard fit. (Navy #2000; M-XL, $28.00; XXL, $30.00) E) Men’s Vintage Peghead T 100% combed cotton, fashion fit. (Black #1480; S-XL, $24.00; XXL-XXXL, $26.00)
F) Taylor Work Shirt Permanent press, stain-resistant poly/cotton blend. Two front pockets. Distressed screen print over left pocket and on back. (Charcoal #3070; M-XL, $34.00; XXL-XXXL, $36.00)
Pictured left (L-R): Ladies’ Long-Sleeve V-Neck Hoodie Lightweight 100% cotton slub with subtle texture. Features Taylor Guitars script graphic over 800 Series inlay elements. Slim fit. (Black #4501; S-XXL, $34.00) Men’s Long-Sleeve Badge T 100% preshrunk cotton, super soft lived-in look and feel. Generous cut for greater comfort. Rib knit cuffs. (Chili #2070; M-XL, $28.00; XXL, $30.00)
Renee, a night shift supervisor in our Body department, and Rich, a warehouse supervisor, each do their part to ensure an efficient production workflow. Renee adds a light layer with our Ladies’ Long-Sleeve V-Neck Hoodie, while Rich debuts our new Men’s Long-Sleeve Badge T.
A) Tattered Patch Cap Flex fit, two sizes. (Brown, S/M #00150, L/XL #00151, $25.00)
great gift ideas C
B) Driver Cap Wool blend, sweat band for added comfort. Label on back. One size fits most. (Black #00125, $25.00)
C) Taylor Guitar Beanie Featuring Taylor name with a guitar emblazoned along the side. 100% acrylic. (Black #00116, Maroon #00115, $16.00) D) Taylor Scarf Features same embroidery as our Beanie. 69” long x 7.25” wide (Black #00101, $20.00)
E) Taylor Half Zip Pullover 100% yarn-dyed French rib cotton with embroidered logo, imported by Tommy Bahama. (Brown #2800, M-XL, $96.00; XXL, $98.00)
1) Musician’s Gear Bag. Over 25 internal pockets, 9 removable section dividers, 3 large side pockets and outside access to interior compartments. Reinforced backpack straps and a strong luggage handle. Measures 14” high x 17” wide x 11” deep. (#61160, $70.00) 2) Men’s Cap. Pro style cap. Structured Chino twill with Taylor round logo in burgundy and white on front. Adjustable fabric strap with custom embossed peghead clip buckle closure on back. One size fits most. (Charcoal #00375; $25.00) 3) Taylor Mouse Pad. Custom shape featuring a high-quality cloth top and soft surface for a precise glide. Non-slip rubber base. Measures 8” x 9-1/2” x 1/4”. (Red/Cream #71900, $10.00)
4) Travel Guitar Stand. Sapele, lightweight (less than 16 ounces) and ultra-portable. Small enough to fit in the pocket of a Baby Taylor gig bag. Accommodates all Taylor models. (#70198, $59.00) 5) Taylor Mug. Glossy ceramic bistro mug featuring the round Taylor logo. Holds 15 oz. (Brown with cream interior, #70006; $10.00) 6) Guitar Lessons by Bob Taylor. (Wiley Publishing, 2011, 230 pages; #75060, $20.00) 7) Guitar Stand. Features laser-etched Taylor logo, rich satin finish, and rubber pads to protect your guitar’s finish. (Sapele/Mahogany #70100, $70.00; assembly required) 8) ES-Go™ Pickup. Exclusively for the GS Mini. (#84022, $98.00) 9) Taylor Silver Dial
Watch. By Fossil. Stainless steel, Taylor-branded tin gift box included. (#71025, $99.00) 10) Ultem Picks. Ultem is a strong space-age resin with limited flex that produces a clean, crisp tone. It closely resembles real tortoise shell in sound and feel, but unlike tortoise shell, will not fracture. Ten picks per bag; one gauge per bag. Thin (.50 mm), Medium (.80 mm) or Heavy (1 mm). (Translucent gold with brown Taylor round logo, #8077; $6.00) 11) TaylorWare Gift Card. Visit our website for more information. 12) Digital Headstock Tuner. Clip-on chromatic tuner, back-lit LCD display. (#80920, $29.00) 13) Taylor Etched Mug. 15 oz. mug with Taylor hand-etched into one side. (Black #70007; $15.00)
G F) Taylor Men’s Fleece Jacket 80/20 cotton/polyester body with 100% polyester Sherpa lining. Features cuffs with thumbholes, front pockets, and a media pocket with an interior hole for headphones. Charcoal with plush black lining. (#2891, S-XL, $65.00; XXL, $67.00) G) Guitar Hoody Sweatshirt 50/50 cotton/polyester blend, drawstring hood, front pouch pocket. (#2898, S-XL, $39.00, XXL, $42.00) H) Taylor Guitar Straps (L-R): Byzantine (Brown #64030, Burgundy #64000, Black #64010, $80.00); Suede/Web (Chocolate #65010, Black #65000, $32.00); GS Mini (Brown/Brown Suede #66500, $32.00); Taylor Swift (#66000, $32.00); Suede Logo (Black #62001, Honey #62000, Chocolate #62003, $48.00)
Taylor Bar Stool. Easy assembly. (#70200, $99.00) Add an extra $5.00 shipping for each Taylor Bar Stool ordered. Overnight delivery not available.
CLOTHING / GEAR / PARTS / GIFTS
Visit taylorguitars.com/taylorware to see the full line.
A Publication of Taylor Guitars Volume 74 / Winter 2013 Taylor Guitars | 1980 Gillespie Way | El Cajon, CA 92020-1096 | taylorguitars.com
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Because of its complexity, Taylor’s Florentine cutaway, like the one shown on this elegant custom cocobolo Grand Symphony, is something of a woodworking delicacy currently offered only with the Presentation Series, through our Build to Order program, or as a standard model option. The sharp angle requires the cutaway section to be cut and hand-bent from a separate piece of wood before being joined to the side with painstaking precision. Other intricate details, such as the binding and purfling miter joints, also demand exacting craftsmanship. On this guitar, Hawaiian koa was chosen for the binding and back strip, with green purfling outlines for a contrasting color accent.
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