The evening of Thursday 18th June saw the Taylor Guitars Roadshow swing by the new dv247.com store at Romford. Notable was the diverse range of people who attended, which was a mix of both young and old, amongst which were a handful of those just starting out, a number of more experienced players and the odd pro, but obviously all guitar players judging by the way they all eagerly descended on the fantastic array of Taylors present when encouraged to do so at half time.
This well attended event was hosted by genial Taylor sales exec Simon and the very entertaining (and talented) Ron from Taylor’s European headquarters, who employed his considerable guitar chops in demonstrating the range of Taylors on offer to their best advantage. A lot of the evening was spent on just how the characteristics of different woods selected for each series of Taylor guitar affect the tone of the instrument so dramatically and the guys also spent time informing us of the new models in the 600 Series and the reasons they’ve come about. At the end we were treated to a superb demo of the very new and dinky T5z.
If any company has dedicated itself to clarifying the difference that particular tonewoods have on the characteristic tone of a guitar, it’s Taylor. Every wood has its peculiarities; maple and rosewood are bright, cedar and mahogany produce mellower tones. A guitar with a bubinga back and sides will sound noticeably different to one made with koa and so it goes on. The Roadshow served to demonstrate this up close, with useful and revealing A/B comparisons between guitars. Taylor Guitars offer a comprehensive catalogue of body shapes too, and again, the audience (and prospective customers) was able to enjoy a hands-on experience of just how important this factor can be in selecting a new guitar.
There was a special section reserved to explain the new 600 Series, which has been redesigned by Taylor’s luthier in-chief Andy Powers, who has extensively reworked the model to produce better sustain and more warmth, characteristics traditionally lacking in a maple bodied acoustic guitar. The 600 guitars now feature tone-enhancing maple-specific back bracing optimized for each shape, the use of protein glues in construction, thin finishes and ‘torrefied’ tops. Torrefaction is a factory controlled ageing process which uses heat to change the sugar content of the wood on a molecular level. The result: a more resonant, responsive and ‘broken-in’ sounding guitar with more warmth and richness and greater volume.
It’s an undeniable fact that the supply of tonewoods from sustainable sources has diminished significantly in the last two decades and this is area where Bob Taylor is leading the industry with his partnerships with both Pacific Rim Tonewoods, who are dedicated to the re-growth of maple tree in the American north west, and Madinter Trader in the Cameroon in Africa, who are, in partnership with Taylor, cultivating and managing a sustainable source of ebony, an increasingly hard to obtain hardwood. In addition, the problems caused by the amendment of the Lacey Act in 2008 has resulted in the relevant authorities paying more attention to the possibility of illegally sourced rare timbers are being used in guitar construction.
Forward thinking suggests that within the next few years, the diminishing supply of traditional guitar making tonewoods like rosewood and ebony dictates that new materials will have to be sourced. Trouble is, there’s only a limited amount of wood species that can be used to make guitars and more importantly, what buyers will accept. This situation has force guitars makers into some serious decision making, which is why Taylor has teamed up with PRT to ensure a continued supply of maple and why Bob Taylor has empowered Andy Powers to rework maple, a wood that has never featured much on acoustic guitar bodies due to its appearance and tonal qualities, into an acceptable material for construction, hence the new 600 Series.
Looking more electric than acoustic, the smaller body on the new T5z compared to the original T5 is designed appeal to players more accustomed to a sold bodied guitar. Available in four versions, the Custom, Pro, Standard and Classic is more feedback resistant, features a 12” radius fingerboard and jumbo frets. The three pickup configuration is still present: an acoustic body sensor, concealed neck humbucker and bridge humbucker, all controlled by a five-way switch on the top bout. The demo revealed just how versatile this new guitar really is, with its easy transformation between acoustic and electric.
The Roadshow wrapped up with a box of Taylor goodies being handed out and further questions and comments.
Thanks to Taylor Guitars and Simon and Ron for treating us to such an entertaining and informative evening.