Taylor Guitars NAMM 2016 Interview
Exciting times ahead for Taylor Guitars in 2016
Since 1974 Taylor Guitars have been crafting some of the most beautiful guitars in the world. Their attention to detail and focus on playability has seen the brand lauded as one of the best musical instrument manufacturers by leading musicians. 2015 saw the release of the gorgeous Grand Auditorium guitars and 2016 looks like another great year for the brand.
We spoke with Andy Powers, master luthier at Taylor, to discuss the new range of Taylor guitars released in 2015 and what the renowned manufacturers have up their sleeve for 2016 ahead of their NAMM appearance in January.
Earlier this year, Taylor introduced a limited run of Grand Auditorium guitars with tonewood options of quilted sapele, curly mahogany or blackheart sassafras. Could you go into a bit more detail about how these woods affect the tone of the guitar?
Each piece of wood is as unique as a fingerprint. This said, to a degree, woods can be generalized as if they fall on a continuum where working and sonic characteristics blend over into each other. These three distinct woods share some common musical traits-beautiful clarity, strong projection, a focused midrange.
Departing from their commonality, a player can hear an emphasized upper register brilliance from the sapele, a stronger low midrange warmth with the curly mahogany, and a more complex overtone component with the blackheart sassafras guitar. All three woods share a beautiful balance, with their own subtle distinctions. View the range of Taylor Grand Auditorium guitars here.
How has the recent update to the 900 Series improved the quality of these instruments?
The 900 series guitar has always been a luxurious instrument designed to inspire players. In the spirit of our desire to continuously improve our instruments, we took a fresh look at every detail of the 900 series guitars.
The aesthetic details to delight the eyes, the sonic attributes of new internal structures and construction methods, down to the tactile qualities of how the instrument feels to the player. All of these refinements were to enhance the player’s musical experience by offering the most expressive instrument in every way.
How has the Taylor 300 series been expanded in 2016?
There have been a number of updates to all our guitars as we are dedicated to refining every instrument we produce. Two of the additions we are proud of are the 12 fret grand concert models as well as a dreadnought 12 string models. Both of these designs offer distinct and unique personalities to complement the music of a wide variety of musicians.
One other new attribute included in the 300 series line is the introduction of Tasmanian blackwood on the back and sides of our mahogany top models. Tasmanian blackwood has become one of my favourite tonewoods. It has a uniquely beautiful richness and complexity which complements nearly every playing style.
Could you give a run-down of what people can expect from Taylor at NAMM 2016?
Players can count on our dedication to making every instrument the very best it can be. They will see a selection of new models, notably a suite of unique 12 string guitars ranging from our largest body shape the grand orchestra, to our smallest grand concert. These different designs emphasize distinct aspects of a 12 string instrument and tailor the response to the varied playing approaches of guitarists.
As well, there are new 12 fret grand concert models throughout our line. Finally, there are significant changes in our 500 series guitars to further optimize the responsiveness and musicality of these mahogany instruments resulting in more volume, richness and projection than ever before.
How are these announcements unique compared to previous Taylor models?
In the past, we’ve focused more narrowly on a single series or model. This year, we’ve taken a more broad look at the instruments we are making and applied our efforts in refining each model to continue improving the musicality to enhance the artful experience of the players.
How do the new models at NAMM build upon what Taylor has done in the recent past?
We are fully committed to building the very best instruments we are capable of making, and doing it in a way that benefits both musicians and our forests. This year, that commitment is seen throughout all the instruments we offer. We recognize there are many varied approaches, styles, and musical tastes, and want to offer our best work to players of all backgrounds whose preferences lead toward different tonewoods and designs.
Lastly, how do you see the acoustic guitar industry progressing over the next 5-10 years?
I believe we’ll see ever improving instruments as well as greater awareness and responsibility in caring for our forest resources. Now is a very exciting time to be a guitar maker and player. Never before has there been such blending of innovation, craftsmanship, and material awareness.
I firmly believe the guitar will continue to make strides forward into the future, as both builders and players challenge each other into reaching new musical heights. We are privileged and thankful to be part of the guitar’s evolution.
To view the full range of Taylor guitars, click here to visit the Dawsons website.