For the last decade I’ve been associated with C.F.Martin & Co., having the series of custom signature guitars that were described in my last blog post.
However, there was a period in the 1990’s when I was actively performing and recording with instruments from San Diego-based Taylor Guitars. I first visited their old factory in Santee in October of 1990 and ordered the small-bodied 812 Sitka/Indian concert cutaway guitar pictured here
At that time, they were making about 10 guitars a day. I was able to choose my own custom serial number. The side-located fingerboard position markers were, for a few years after, described as ‘Juber Dots’. The headstock sports a very cool inlay (by Larry Breedlove) based on the bird tattoo that my wife Hope has on her ankle.
This ‘Bird’ Taylor the lead guitar on this Al Stewart track that I produced and recorded in 1994:
Later, I ordered a Sitka/mahogany jumbo 12 string acoustic to use on recording sessions for a new TV show. ‘Home Improvement’ ran for 8 years and that Taylor 12 string became a signature voice in the musical stings and transitions of the show, featuring comedian Tim Allen as Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor.
The guitar pictured on the cover of my ‘LJ’ album was a cedar top/mahogany body 20th Anniversary model that was customized with a cutaway and became a precursor to their ever-popular 514C model. Notwithstanding that photo, the album itself was mostly recorded with the ‘Bird’ guitar and introduced my playing to a global audience.
As well as performing, recording my own albums and being a studio guitarist, I was an active clinician for Taylor during that period.
On my regular trips to San Diego, I made regular visits to the factory in El Cajon and witnessed their rapid expansion, thanks to Bob Taylor’s re-imagining of the art and science of guitar manufacturing.
On March 18th, I’ll make my annual appearance at Anthology in San Diego, which as well as being one of my favorite venues, has an interesting connection to Taylor. The menus sport covers made from guitar tone woods and the club features a display of the company’s instruments.
It’s impossible to consider the modern acoustic guitar without recognizing the influence of Bob ‘The Guitar Man’ Taylor. He continues to do remarkable work and his efforts toward sustainable wood resources are having an impact on the world of guitar manufacturing.