Bob Taylor on the future of ebony

Here’s a great video of Bob Taylor of Taylor Guitars talking about the future of ebony wood in the guitar industry, and Taylor’s efforts to support legal, sustainable ebony in Cameroon. When I visited Taylor in January I saw some absolutely stunning pieces of ebony with streaks of different colours in them, pieces of wood which another company might throw out but which Taylor sees the value and beauty in. Heck, my own SolidBody has a very slightly lighter section in the grain on the fretboard which I think looks beautiful.

Below are some shots I took at the Taylor factory of some of their more unique ebony supplies – the type of B-grade wood which Taylor refers to in the video. I especially love the third one, which looks like the cloud bands on Jupiter to me, complete with the huge storm! I envy everyone who has ended up with one of these pieces on their guitars.

It’s stuff like this that makes me proud to play a Taylor guitar.

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The Taylor Project – follow the progress of my gorgeous new custom guitar

I’m a big fan of Taylor Guitars. Their 8-string Baritone is one of my favourite instruments ever. Their acoustics are of course incredible. The GS-Mini is a great idea. And Bob Taylor’s book is an entertaining and informative look into what it takes to build your dream into a business.

Well, this week Taylor came to me with an incredible proposal: configure my dream guitar via the Taylor SolidBody Configurator, they will build it, we’ll document the build process (I’m unofficially calling this “The Taylor Project”), and then I will review it, use it and love it! So I’ve picked out my specs, my order is in, and I’m awaiting an ETA. Once I have my mitts on the guitar I’ll review it in text and video form, and I’ll use it in pedal and amp reviews, lessons, in photos with my band, on stage, etc. I really believe in these guitars from the time I’ve spent playing them in review and at NAMM (and at the Taylor factory), so I’m really excited about this project.

[geo-in country=”Australia” note=””]Incidentally, you can try out the SolidBody for yourself at one of these dealers.[/geo-in]

So what will my guitar look like? Well, I toyed with a few different options before settling on the design for my guitar.

First off, I let my son (who is almost 5) design a guitar. This is what he came up with:

Hmm, not bad, little buddy, not bad. But daddy doesn’t really dig that colour combo. Let’s see what else we can come up with.

First I messed around with this, which I kinda liked, but as cool as it is, it’s ultimately not flashy enough for what I’m into.

Again leaning towards the traditional, I thought I’d go for something with a groovy transparent red finish. But again, not quite me.

So what about something a little bit Texas?

Naah. Maybe I need something a bit more elegant. Something like…

Or maybe…

Not bad. Not bad at all. But then I remembered a particularly sexy SolidBody I saw at NAMM this year and decided to do something very much like that but with a whammy bar…

I do love my single coils, after all. But then again, I also like humbuckers… and I think I prefer black pick guards… so what about this?

All of these would be beautiful guitars, but after a little bit more thought, it hit me.

Taylor’s mini humbuckers.

I loved them when I reviewed a SolidBody way back, and I’ve always loved the middle pickup position on 3-pickup guitars. And for about 12 years now I’ve had a recurring dream about having a green guitar with a quilted maple top. Why not make this into that guitar?

So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you…

The Taylor Project.

Isn’t she a beauty? You can follow her build process here regularly, and as soon as I have a second post about this, I’ll create a whole page to keep updates easily accessible via the site menu bar.

Thanks so much to Taylor for suggesting this very cool idea. Also, Jon from Guitar Noize is doing the same thing, and you can check out his idea here. We’ll do some cool cross-promotional stuff over the next few months. I think you’ll dig it.

BOOK REVIEW: Bob Taylor – Guitar Lessons

Like Henry Ford or George Lucas before him, Bob Taylor is one of those rare innovators whose ingenuity is matched by their creativity. It takes a special kind of mind to be equally enamoured by the process and the outcome, and Taylor’s guitars are a testament to that vision. Every little piece has its place, and every process, tool, template, jig, material and measurement has been scrutinized to within an inch of its life before being permitted the reward of playing a part in making a Taylor guitar. Guitar Lessons is Taylor’s first book, and it explains how and why Taylor Guitars came to be what the company is today.

Guitar Lessons can be read in three ways: as a memoir of a legendary guitar builder for those interested in the instrument from a player’s point of view; as an insight into the design and construction processes from a luthier’s perspective; or as a ‘how to succeed in business’ manual for those who may not have a particular affinity for the guitar building industry but who might like to gather inspiration and advice in whatever form it appears.

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NEWS: Taylor Guitars Road Show comes to Australia

EL CAJON, Calif. – March 10, 2011 – Taylor Guitars, the world’s premier manufacturer of acoustic and electric guitars, is readying its fan-favorite Road Show event for its first-ever tour in Australia. Making a series of eight stops, the Road Shows will kick-off on March 24 in Gladesville, at The Gladesville Guitar Factory, and end on April 5 in Mount Lawley at The Rock Inn.

Now in its fifth year, the Taylor Guitars Road Show brings together guitar enthusiasts and Taylor experts straight from the company’s factory in El Cajon, California for a lively, in-store event. At each Road Show, the Taylor team shares insights on the company’s guitar-making process and demonstrates how body shapes and woods affect tone. After the demonstration, players are invited to take part in the “Petting Zoo”: an opportunity to play a variety of different models, as well as rare and custom Build to Order guitars. Admission to each Road Show is free, and attendees can invite others to join them by visiting the Taylor Guitars Road Show page located at www.taylorguitars.com/roadshow.

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