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Taylor Guitars

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Taylor Guitars

Taylor Guitars
Industry Musical instrument manufacturing
Genre Guitars
Founded 1974
Founder(s) Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug
Headquarters El Cajon, California, United States
Products Guitars, electronics
Employees over 750 world wide

Taylor Guitars is an El Cajon, California‐based American guitar manufacturer, specializing in acoustic guitars, as well as semi-hollow and solidbody electric guitars. It was established in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug. Notable players of Taylor Guitars include Taylor Swift, Miyavi, Jason Mraz, Jewel and Art Alexakis.


In 1972, at age 18, Bob Taylor began working at American Dream, a guitar making shop owned by Sam Radding, where Kurt Listug was already an employee. When Radding decided to sell the business in 1974, a triumvirate of Taylor,[1] Listug, and Schemmer bought American Dream and renamed it the Westland Music Company.[2]

Needing a more compact logo suitable for the guitars' headstock, the founders decided to change the name to "Taylor" as it sounded more American than "Listug" and because as Kurt Listug put it, "Bob was the real guitar-maker."[3] Listug became the businessman of the partnership while Taylor was responsible on design and production. In 1976, the company decided to begin selling their guitars through retailers. In 1981, facing financial difficulties, Taylor Guitars took out a bank loan to purchase equipment.[4][5]

As of 2012 Taylor Guitars had more than 700 employees in two factories: one in El Cajon, California and the other, in nearby Tecate, Mexico, where the company's lower-priced models of guitar are made. Taylor guitar cases are also made in the same factory. In early 2011, the company opened a Taylor distribution warehouse in the Netherlands to serve the European market[6]


Starting in January 1999, Taylor began making its guitars with a patented, bolt-on neck; the NT neck (new technology). It differs from other guitar necks by using a continuous piece of wood all the way to the 19th fret to support the fretboard.[7] The standard practice in guitar neck construction is to support the fretboard up to the fourteenth fret with the unsupported portion being glued to the (constantly moving) soundboard. The NT neck fits into a pocket on the top of the guitar body with the desired angle being achieved by small, accurately milled neck spacers (shims). Over time, guitars sometimes require the neck angle to be realigned (referred to as a neck reset). This process is greatly simplified by Taylor's system allowing the replacement of different sized neck spacers to return the neck to the required angle. Prior to 1999, Taylor Guitars had a simpler bolt-on neck design. These guitar necks allow for simple adjustment later if needed. Traditional (Non-Taylor) guitars with a glued neck with a dovetail need to be disassembled to be adjusted.[8][9]

Taylor's proprietary pickup system, the Expression System, consists of a humbucking induction pickup mounted in the neck and a pair of dynamic soundboard transducers wired to an on board preamplifier designed by Rupert Neve.[10] The entry-level 100 and 200 series use an externally similar system known as ES-T, which utilizes a single under-saddle pickup and no soundboard transducers. The first generation system was powered by a pair of AA batteries. Starting with 2007 production the electronics use a 9-volt battery similarly to common piezoelectric and microphonic pickup systems in other guitars.

Model identification

Regardless of brand, the shape of the guitar plays a major part in its sound. Likewise, each wood used resonates differently, so the choice and blend of various tonewood is also important.

A Taylor instrument's configuration can be determined strictly by model number. The model number should appear on a label inside the guitar.

The model number is made up of three numbers that identify the tonewoods, number of strings (six or twelve) and body shape. Letters at the end of the model number identify additional characteristics, such as a cutaway body for greater access to higher notes on the neck or the inclusion of electronics with which to amplify the instrument.

Prior to 2013, the company employed an alphanumeric model number system which changed several times. At first, the model was identified with the system that appears below. In the interim, models were also referred to by an alphabetical character describing shape followed by a single number for series. As of 2013, the Taylor line of guitars was reorganized under the following (original) nomenclature and naming convention.

First digit identifies the series. All guitar models within each series share the same back and side tonewoods and appointments (decorations).
Second digit indicates the wood used on the top of the instrument as well as whether it is a six-string or twelve-string model; a 6-string spruce top is identified by the number 1 in the second digit; a 12-string with spruce top is identified by the number 5). A six-string model with a hardwood top (such as mahogany, koa, redwood, etc. is identified with a 2 in the second digit; a 12-string with a hardwood top is identified with a 6 in the second digit.
Third digit identifies the body shape. Shapes are also referred to by abbreviations as DN (dreadnought), GC (Grand Concert), GA (Grand Auditorium), JM (Jumbo), GS (Grand Symphony) and GO (Grand Orchestra) respectively.
Named after a battleship and introduced by C.F. Martin in the early 20th Century in rise of the popularity in American Country Music. It was the very first Taylor guitar shape with refinements made to make it unique to the Taylor brand. It has a boxy shape with a shallow waist.
2=Grand Concert
Smallest full-sized Taylor. Introduced in 1984, it was designed as a response to a resurgence in acoustic fingerstyle music. It’s shorter, shallower, and narrower than a GA. This shape was optimized for fingerstyle players.
4=Grand Auditorium
Introduced as an Anniversary model in 1994, it became Taylor's most popular shape because of its tonal balance and versatility. The GA is the same width and length overall as the DN, but the tighter, deeper waist of the GA gives it a more rounded look and less bass response.
First addition to the Taylor lineup after the dreadnought. Inspired by Gibson, it was used mainly as a 12-string. This shape was discontinued in 2011.
6=Grand Symphony
Introduced in 2006, this body relates closely to the shape of a GA, but is slightly larger with subtle expansions that include a slightly higher and wider waist and a bigger, more rounded lower bout for more bass response.
8=Grand Orchestra
Introduced in 2013, it was redesigned as a successor to the Jumbo. The GO models are Taylor's largest guitars and feature a slightly bigger silhouette and a deeper body than the Grand Symphony, creating more air volume to help produce a deeper low-end response.
The model number can also contain letters after to indicate the following options:
“C” to indicate a model with cutaway
“E” to indicate models with onboard electronics.
“-N” at the end to indicate Nylon String option
As an example, a Taylor Guitar with model number 614ce would indicate: a 600 series guitar (6), 6 string with spruce top (1), Grand Auditorium Shape (4) with a cutaway (c) and the Expression System® electronics. (e)

Series Identification

100 Series features a body made of laminated sapele (back and sides) with a solid Sitka spruce top, black binding and a white three-ring rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available
110, 110e, 110ce, 114, 114e, 114ce
200 Series features a body made of laminated rosewood (back and sides) with a solid Sitka spruce top and white binding with a white three-ring rosette.The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available:
210, 210e, 210ce, 214, 214e, 214ce
300 Series features solid sapele back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top, black binding and a white three-ring rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available:
310, 310e, 310ce, 312, 312e, 312ce, 312ce-N, 314, 314e, 314ce,
354, 354e, 354ce, 314ce-N, 316, 316e, 316ce, 356, 356e, 356ce
400 Series features solid ovangkol back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top and white binding and a white 3-ring rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available: 410, 410e, 410ce, 412, 412e, 412ce,
412ce-N, 414, 414e, 414ce, 454, 454e, 454ce, 414ce-N,
416, 416e, 416ce, 456, 456e, 456ce
500 Series features solid Tropical Mahogany back and sides and has the option of a solid mahogany or Sitka Spruce top, with ivoroid binding and rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available: 510, 510e, 510ce, 512, 512e, 512ce, 512ce-N,
512 12-Fret, 512e 12-Fret, 512ce 12-Fret, 514, 514e, 514ce,
554, 554e, 554ce, 514ce-N, 516, 516e, 516ce, 556, 556e, 556ce, 518e
600 Series features solid Big Leaf Maple back, sides and neck, with a Sitka spruce top, white binding and an abalone rosette. The fingerboard is African ebony. The 600 series color options include: Natural (Standard), Amber, Koi Blue, Trans Red, Trans Black, Trans Orange, Honey Sunburst, and Tobacco Sunburst.
Models available:
610, 610e, 610ce, 612, 612e, 612ce, 612ce-N, 614, 614e, 614ce,
654, 654e, 654ce, 614ce-N, 616, 616e, 616ce, 656, 656e, 656ce, 618e
700 Series features a solid Indian Rosewood back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top, Ivoroid binding and an abalone rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard. Most 700 Series models are finished in Vintage Sunburst.
Models available:
710, 710e, 710ce, 712, 712e, 712ce, 712ce-N, 712 12-Fret, 712e 12-Fret, 712ce 12-Fret,
714, 714e, 714ce, 754, 754e, 754ce, 714ce-N, 716, 716e, 716ce, 756, 756e, 756ce
800 Series feature solid Indian Rosewood back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top, curly maple binding and an abalone rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available:
810, 810e, 810ce, 812, 812e, 812ce, 812ce-N, 812 12-Fret, 812e 12-Fret, 812ce 12-Fret,
814, 814e, 814ce, 854, 854e, 854ce, 814ce-N, 816, 816e, 816ce, 856, 856e, 856ce
900 Series features solid Indian Rosewood back and sides with a solid Sitka spruce top, rosewood binding and an abalone trim and rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard. This model is characterized by significant amounts of detailed abalone inlay on the fretboard.
Models available:
910, 910e, 910ce, 912, 912e, 912ce, 912ce-N, 914, 914e, 914ce, 954, 954e, 954ce,
914ce-N, 916, 916e, 916ce, 956, 956e, 956ce, 918e

Presentation Series and Koa Series follow the same pattern, but instead of using numbers in the model identification, they are identified with their initials, PS (Presentation Series) and K (Koa Series)

The Presentation Series features solid Cocobolo back and sides with a solid Engelmann spruce top, ebony binding and is accented with an abalone trim and rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available:
PS10, PS10e, PS10ce, PS12, PS12e, PS12ce, PS14, PS14e, PS14ce,
PS16, PS16e, PS16ce, PS56, PS56e, PS56ce
The Koa Series feature solid Hawaiian koa back and sides with solid koa or (optional solid Sitka Spruce) for the top. The body has Indian rosewood binding and a curly maple rosette. The neck is mahogany with an African ebony fretboard.
Models available:
K20, K20e, K20ce, K22, K22e, K22ce, K24, K24e, K24ce, K26, K26e, K26ce,
K66, K66e, K66ce

Specialty models

Baritone (2009)

First introduced as a 35th Anniversary Edition Guitar in 2009, it joined Taylor’s standard line up as a Specialty Model in 2010. The Baritone model features a 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. It comes in either 6-string or 8-string option. The 8-string models incorporates a pair of octave strings that double the 3rd and 4th (D and A) strings. Solid wood back and sides available for the Baritone model are Tropical mahogany or Indian Rosewood with rosewood binding and an abalone rosette.
Models Available:
Baritone-6, Baritone-6e, Baritone-6ce, Baritone-6ce Mahogany
Baritone-8, Baritone-8e, Baritone-8ce, Baritone-8ce Mahogany

GS Mini (2010)

A scaled down Grand Symphony travel size guitar. It features sapele laminate back and sides with an option of a solid mahogany or Sitka spruce top. It has been acclaimed for having a full size guitar sound despite being a compact size. Although it doesn’t come with an onboard Expression System, an optional ES-Go Pickup can be easily installed for amplification.
Models Available:
GS Mini, GS Mini Mahogany

Baby Taylor (1996)

The smallest Taylor guitar available. The Baby Taylor series has been hailed for its easy-to-transport size and affordability. Features include sapele laminate back and sides with an optional Sitka spruce (identified as a BT1) or mahogany top (identified as a BT2). A larger bodied option is also available called the “Big Baby” (BBT introduced in 2002), which is a 15/16-size dreadnought with a neck that is standard scale (25-1/2”) and narrow width (1-11/16”). The Big Baby however only comes with a Sitka spruce top.
Models Available:
Baby Taylor (BT1), Baby Taylor Mahogany (BT2), Big Baby Taylor (BBT)

Custom guitars

Taylor also has a custom Build-To-Order program that allows anyone to design their very own guitar. There’s an extensive menu of guitar options starting from tonewoods, including species and grades that aren’t offered through Taylor’s standard line; inlay, binding and purfling options; finish options such as solid colors, sunburst, or vintage finishes; wood accents like a backstrap, armrest or truss rod cover; neck options such as scale length and neck profiles. These may be based on any of the 5 body shapes.

Electric guitars

Taylor Guitars started to produce electric guitars in 2005 with the debut of the Thinline Series semi-hollow body T5 model.' Referred to as “Thinline” because of the shallow, partially acoustic body design of the series. The body consists of a solid slab of sapele milled around the edges and hollowed out to form the back and sides. A wood top with stylized f-holes is then fitted to the back and sides. .

T5 (2005-current) – Abbreviation stands for Thinline 5-way. “5-way” refers to the five position pickup selector switch mounted on the top of the guitar which activates different combinations of components in the T5’s pickup system.
T3 (2009-current) – The T3 shares the same body styling as the T5 with some electronic and structural differences. It is a semi-hollow-body because it has a solid center block in the body. It comes standard with a quilted maple laminated top, and has and electric style bridge. The electronics include multiple pickups, coil splitters, and push-pull tone and volume pots. The T3 is available with the optional Bigsby vibrato in the T3/B.

SolidBody (2008-2013) – Taylor’s take on a traditional solid electric guitar. Made from a solid slab of wood with cavities only for the pickguard or direct mounted pickups, and the bridge. SolidBody model guitars featured solderless pickups or a solderless pickguard which permit for musicians to easily change the sound of their guitar. The SolidBody series was discontinued in 2013.


Taylor’s 145,000 square foot manufacturing facility is located about 20 miles east of downtown San Diego in El Cajon, California. A free, guided tour of the Taylor Guitars factory is open to the public every Monday through Friday. The factory has a visitor center that showcases a selection of Taylor guitars, clothing and gifts. Two sound rooms are equipped with amplifiers, enabling players to plug in and play in a private environment.

Signature models

Signature Models: Models inspired by signature Taylor Artists


DCSM - Dan Crary


LKSM - Leo Kottke


NG512 - Nanci Griffith


KMSM - Kathy Mattea
614GB - Gerry Beckley


CBSM - Clint Black
CPSM - Chris Proctor
DDSM - Doyle Dykes
JCSM - John Cephas
JKSM - Jewel Kilcher
KLSM - Kenny Loggins
RSSM - Richie Sambora


JCSM - Jars of Clay
JDCM - John Denver (Commemorative)
RFSM - Russ Freeman
RNSM - Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick)
SHSM - Susanna Hoffs (Bangles)


DMSM - Dave Matthews
JMSM - Jason Mraz
SCCSM - Steven Curtis Chapman
STSM - Serj Tankian (System of A Down)
TSBT - Taylor Swift

Notable players


External links

  • Taylor Guitars official website
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