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A TAYLOR GUITARS QUARTERLY PUBLICATION • VOLUME 47 • WINTER 2006
pure acoustic
t h e g s s e r i e s ta k e s s h a p e
Letters
I’m a 30-year-old mother and wife who
loves to play guitar. I currently own two
Fenders. But after seeing you recognize
my kind of player, my next guitar will be
a Taylor (keeping my fingers crossed for
Christmas). Thanks for thinking of me.
Bonnie Manning
Via e-mail
Aloha, Mahalo Nui
Loa, A Hui Hou
T5 Deposition
Illustration by Rick Geary
Music is very important to our law firm; all the partners play in an
amateur band — the Objections. I just received a T5 as a birthday gift from
my partners. This is my third Taylor, and I am amazed by the quality,
sound, feel, and looks of this instrument. I am now 55 and still astonishingly
good-looking, so I might quit the firm and hit the road. If my partners sue
Taylor for damage done to our firm, I will represent you.
I thought that my 714 was the most beautiful guitar I had ever played.
Not any more.
Joe Williams
Via e-mail
Pilot Program
I got the Fall [2005] issue of Wood&Steel
and took it with me on a flight to New
Jersey, where I did the Springsteen “Light
of Day” benefit at the Stone Pony in
Asbury Park. As I got on the plane with
my gig bag, the pilot, who was standing at
the entrance to the plane, asked me what
kind of guitar I had. I said, “Collings.” He
said, “I have a Taylor.” I said. “Oh yeah,
great guitars.”
Then I told him I had the new
Wood&Steel with me and he asked to see
it. He took it into the cockpit to show his
co-pilot (I guess) and to read it. He came
back out and we talked about guitars; he
has a 314ce. I told him that I bought a
Taylor for “a friend” and had played his,
but that I had some really great acoustics
and couldn’t really justify getting another
one, unless it was something completely
different.
We talked some more and he suggested that I look at the T5. Then I read
Wood&Steel during the flight and read
my name associated with [Boston Red
Sox pitcher] Tim Wakefield — so wild!
So, after the flight, I showed the pilot [the
item about Tim Wakefield] and said, “This
is ‘the friend’!” He said, “You’re Cindy
Bullens?” It was a great little connection!
2
The upshot is, I went on the website
that night after the gig (around 2 a.m.,
because I couldn’t wait) and looked at the
T5s. I watched all the videos, and now I
have to have one! It’s the perfect guitar for
me, with all my traveling and the fact that
I need both electric and acoustic sounds.
I haven’t actually played one yet; I will try
to find one in Nashville.
Cindy Bullens
Nashville, Tennessee
[Ed. note: In addition to working as
a vocalist with Elton John and on the
Grease soundtrack, and as a songwriter
with Nashville stalwarts Al Anderson and
Radney Foster, Bullens has enjoyed a highly
regarded recording career. Her new CD,
Dream #29, features guest performances
by Elton John, Delbert McClinton, and Tim
Wakefield.]
It All Ads Up
I typically read right over ads and
don’t give them a thought. Then I saw
your ad in Guitar Player magazine about
the woman who got nine innings alone
with her Taylor. My friends have known
me to say that “football season is guitar
season.” I may be a football widow, but my
husband is guitar widower.
Aloha from Maui! I met David Hosler,
Rob Magargal, and David Kaye at Bounty
Music on Maui last August, and I hope
they survived their Hawaiian tour [Events,
Fall 2005]. Thank you for the privilege of
having your team come here to serve us. I
have loved owning and playing my Taylor
guitar for two years, and I was planning to
take it in to Bounty for some minor repair
work when I learned about the [Taylor Day
event]. I was excited to have people look at
my guitar who really know Taylors.
It also was fun to watch the guys work
on all the guitars, especially mine, and I
enjoyed learning from them and speaking
with Rob. David [Hosler] told some great
jokes, so he was fun, too. Thank you for the
care with which you handled my guitar.
I am even more sure now that Taylor is
Number One in every way. Please thank
those who thought of the idea to tour
Hawaii. It is deeply appreciated. Mahalo
Nui Loa (thank you very much), a hui hou
(until we meet again). Aloha.
Dale Kreps
Maui, Hawaii
A Cut Above
I have to write about the astounding
quality of your instruments. I have been
a cabinetmaker for 20 years and a guitar
player/teacher for much of that time. My
trade keeps me close to the wonderful
stuff we call wood. It also keeps my hands
close to sharp blades.
Two years ago, I was working at a table
saw and received a rather nasty cut that
required tendon surgery on my guitar-fingering hand. When I rather jokingly asked
the surgeon if I’d be able to play again, he
stopped sewing and said it would be “the
best therapy” I could do. So when the bandages came off, I dusted off my old [other
brand] and started at it.
Well, time, lack of care, and a new left
hand made the old guitar seem even older!
Then I played a Taylor 414-RCE. It fit like
a glove and sounded like a dream, so I
risked divorce to buy her. Six months later,
I had mastered the C chord again and was
on my way to fingerpicking heaven.
I am now fully recovered from the
injury and back to playing [material by]
Jorma Kaukonen, Bert Jansch, Leo Kottke,
Reverend Gary Davis, and others, and my
listeners tell me I am better than before
the “incident”. That’s a long story about
a great guitar saving my hand, my music,
and my job. Thanks for building your
product like I build mine — with pride
and quality materials.
By the way, I saw Artie Traum conduct
a workshop here in Wakefield and it was
a very good time. Artie is a fine musician
and a real down-to-earth guy — my kind
of people.
Bob “Slice” Crawford
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Web TV
Just a quick note to tell you how much
I love the Taylor website. It’s a fantastic
resource and the video content is superb:
I can watch Taylor videos on my laptop,
while my other half watches the soaps on
TV — we’re both happy!
I have a 2001 315ce and I love it to bits.
I’m coming over see my brother in L.A.
next year, and I’m hoping to fit in a factory
visit to see you all. Thanks so much, Bob
and Company; you’re fabulous.
Dave Scott
West Midlands UK
The 15-Year Report
You probably get tired of hearing this,
but I have some praise for your company.
I bought my Taylor 810 in 1989 and have
loved it now for 15 years. In that time, I’ve
had some dealings with Taylor customer
service, which has always been extraordinary. Wood&Steel is fantastic and I’m
sure it is very effective at bringing you
new business. It sure does make me want
a second Taylor.
Recently, I ordered some accessories
from Janet [Reynolds] in the TaylorWare
department. She was terrifically helpful
and polite. Your company is as impressive
as your products, which are stellar. Yours is
a shining example of American business
the way it should be.
Mike Dosch
Via e-mail
Two-part Harmony
I’m a drummer, but I go to all the Taylor
workshops. Recently, I caught Pat Kirtley
at the Candyman in Santa Fe, New Mexico
and he gave us his all, for two hours! By
the way, there was not one Taylor owner
in the audience for Pat’s clinic — he said
that was a first! Keep doing the workshops. I love them, and it breeds a respect
for Taylor Guitars. Thanks again for your
community support. When I sell my big
1959 Harmony Sovereign to a collector,
I will buy that Taylor 110, or even a 200
series model, which are priced right.
John-Hans Melcher
(former percussionist for
Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret)
Via e-mail
After many years of searching and trying all manner of quality instruments in
order to improve on the sound and feel
of, would you believe, a 1966 Harmony
Sovereign, I’ve done it! It’s called a Taylor
710ce-L9. Thank you for this superb
instrument.
Michael Betteridge
Via e-mail
Mute Testimony
Thank you a thousand times. Yesterday,
I opened my new 510ce-L9 at the store,
tuned it up, and played one big E chord,
then muted it — and all the other Taylors
on the wall were still ringing harmonics!
The shopowner and I were so amazed, we
both just broke into delighted laughter! It
was surreal.
Your new Dreadnought voicing is beautiful. Your short-scale is way more playable. Your ES system is simply the most
perfect amplified acoustic ensemble of
sound (string tones, harmonics, thumps,
scratches, and every other sound that
playing creates) I’ve ever heard from a
guitar. And the fragrance of the guitar
— from what source, who knows? — is a
really unexpected bonus.
Who could ever expect a new guitar
not only to sound wonderful, play easily,
and meet all my expectations times 10,
but also smell good? Incredible. I played it
for hours and hours last night. I love this
new guitar!
Bill Cory
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Guru Gone Wild
A heartfelt thank-you to Bob Taylor
and his engineers, technicians, craftsmen,
and administrative staff — you are all
incredible people to have created the finest line of acoustic and electro-acoustic
instruments I’ve ever held in my hands.
I’ve tried all kinds and have been playing
since the Beatles blew up the world with
their atomic array of spectacular music.
As a guru for the high-technology industry for 35 years, I searched local music
stores and pawn shops from the East to
the West Coast and from the Rio Grande
to Toronto, checking out and playing every
guitar I could get my hands on. I thought
Mr. Parker had the right idea, but that
continued on page 28
BobSpeak
Constant
development
is causing
us to be
“luckier”.
IN THIS ISSUE
WINTER 2006
f e a t u r e s
15
8
Bob Taylor. Photo by Rita Funk-Hoffman
B
efore going home for
the recent Holidays,
I opened my copy
of MMR (Musical Merchandise Review)
to see that music dealers had voted Taylor
Guitars the “Acoustic Guitar Line of the
Year” for 2005. I congratulated everyone
in our company, and I thank you, our
customers and dealers, for making such
recognition possible.
That was a nice way to end what was
an exciting year for us at Taylor Guitars.
The T5 had a successful launch and the
players who’ve discovered this guitar have
been very happy with it. Its success isn’t
totally predicated on the fact that it is
so versatile, but rather on the fact that it
sounds so good. We get comments from
players in which they mention that both
the acoustic and electric sounds make
their life onstage easier, but they exclaim
how wonderful the tone is in each of the
settings.
It’s the tone of the T5 that so many
people have fallen in love with. This tone
is the result of many years of acoustic
development and understanding, coupled
with our willingness as woodworkers to
venture into our own designs of electronics. It doesn’t hurt to see artists like Dave
Matthews, Jason Mraz, Collective Soul,
and Prince using their T5s in their latest
videos.
In this issue of Wood&Steel, we are very
happy to introduce the new “GS” guitars.
We decided to pour our attention and
devotion into acoustics for 2006.
For this guitar, we started with
blank paper, or at least as blank a
sheet as we can effectively come up
with at Taylor.
The fact is, we have a design
philosophy that fills in the first half
of all our “blank papers”, but what
remains to be pulled out of thin air
is always exciting and can really be seen
and heard in a new creation when we get
it right. Sometimes, those design sessions
are frustrating, yielding less change than
we’d hoped for. Other times, it works
very well.
From our vantage point, it almost
appears to be luck when something really
works, like the T5 or the new GS, but then
we realize that we are always developing
ideas and that constant development is
causing us to be “luckier”, if you know
what I mean.
The GS (Grand Symphony) is a guitar
with a fresh new voice and a larger size.
Still, it’s all Taylor in appearance, sound,
and feel — just a new Taylor like one
you’ve never heard. This guitar will be
arriving at Taylor dealers in April. Be sure
to check it out. ■
1
he GS Guitars
T
If the unveiling of the T5 threw
a wrench in the guitar world’s
gyroscope, our latest innovation
boldly proclaims that at Taylor
the acoustic guitar still reigns
supreme. By Jim Kirlin.
Story begins on page 15.
6
5 Today
T
New colors, tops, pickup options,
and left-handed models add to
the T5’s runaway momentum,
plus tips from the T5’s creators
on getting the most from the axe.
8
he New Taylor
T
Stomp Boxes
On the heels of the ES, the K4,
and the T5, we introduce two
control boxes designed to “enable
your rig” for live performance.
By Andy Robinson.
10 S
essions: Just Like Artie’s Thumb’s Blues
Artie Traum has the blues and
he’s willing to share via this
thumb-thumper’s guide to a classic American idiom.
12
d e partme n ts
2
3
4
5
7
14
22
23
26
29
32
Letters
Bobspeak
Kurt’s Corner
From the Editor/
On the Web
Events
Q&A
Mixed Media
WorldView
Soundings
Almanac
Seasonal Tips
12 T
he Wood&Steel
Interview with Corey Harris
Buddy Blue talks to the man who
provided one of the highlights
of the PBS docu-series, Martin
Scorsese Presents the Blues:
A Musical Journey.
18 O
n Review
New releases from the Farmers,
Brandi Carlile, Jim “Kimo” West,
Rich Eckhardt, Eugene Ruffolo,
and Jonathan Kingham. Reviewed
by Marc Harris, Julie Bergman,
Kenny Weissberg, Dan Forte,
Bryan Beller, and Jim Kirlin.
3
Kurt’s Corner
W I N T E R
I
’ m writing this on our
last day of business in
2005. The last day we
build and ship guitars, speak with customers on the phone, have meetings, and
plan for the next year. It’s a good day to
reflect and to look ahead.
We had an incredible year this year.
We launched our first electric guitar,
the T5, in May, and Taylor has been one
of the Top 10 selling brands of electric
guitars in the US ever since — with only
one product!
We entered the year with some guitars
in inventory, but we’re ending the year
with just 24 unsold guitars on hand, and
with a good chunk of the next six months’
production already sold. We had demand
from our dealers for several thousand
more guitars this year than we were able
to produce. After several record months
of shipping, we’re ending the year with
our highest-ever revenue.
We’re busting at the seams for space
and need more production capacity. To
that end, we’ve negotiated a lease for an
additional build-to-suit structure next
door, and it’s already under construction.
We also added another building in Tecate,
Mexico, and successfully moved our
Baby and Big Baby production there. Our
work force and management there has
become well grooved-in, and the place
is running very smoothly. It’s been five
years since we started our Tecate facility,
Managing Editor
Jim Kirlin
Assistant Editor
Amy De Groot
Art Director
Rita Funk-Hoffman
Graphic Designer
Erin Fitzgerald
Jenny and Kurt Listug at the Taylor holiday party. Photo by Marina D
which is a 45-minute drive from our facilities in El Cajon.
We hired and trained several new sales
people who are getting their own territories for 2006. We’re making our sales
territories smaller next year, so that our
sales people have fewer dealers to service
and can thereby give each of their dealers
a higher level of service.
We piloted the concept of “Taylor
Days”, where we send factory technicians
to a store to tune-up and restring customers’ guitars, and answer their questions.
Some of these were done in conjunction
with a workshop conducted by a Taylor
clinician, others were not. These proved
to be extremely popular. We’ll be doing
more in 2006.
Looking ahead, we’re about to launch
our first new body shape since 1994. It’s
an entirely new sound for Taylor guitars,
but distinctively Taylor. I think it will
be very popular, and reach guitarists for
whom we haven’t made the right guitar
— until now.
We’re also introducing new electronics developed by the same people who
produced our Expression System and
K4, and we’re adding some new color
and pickup options to the T5. You can
read more about all these exciting new
developments elsewhere in this issue.
Here’s wishing you a prosperous and
expanding New Year! ■
2006-07 HOLIDAY / VACATION SCHEDULE
If you are planning to visit Taylor Guitars in 2006, please be aware that we normally are open Mondays
through Fridays, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Pacific Time) and always are closed on weekends. Factory tours begin promptly
at 1 p.m. and you need not make a reservation unless you are part of a group of ten or more, in which case please give us
at least two days’ notice by calling the number below and asking for the factory tour manager.
Please take note of the weekday exceptions below; on the following dates, the entire complex will be closed,
and no one will be answering phones. We wouldn’t want anyone to suffer the fate of the Griswolds in National Lampoon’s
Vacation (there’s no Taylor Moose out front to tell you we’re closed).
For more information about tours and/or for directions to the factory, see the “Contact” page of our website. If you
live outside of the San Diego area and can’t remember if we’re going to be open on a certain date, please call us at
(619) 258-1207. We look forward to seeing you!
4
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2 0 0 6
Editor
John D’Agostino
Monday, February 20 (President’s Day)
Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day)
Monday-Friday, July 3-7 (Independence Day vacation)
Monday, September 4 (Labor Day)
Monday, October 16 (Taylor Guitars Anniversary)
Thursday-Friday, November 23-24 (Thanksgiving)
Monday, December 25, 2006—Friday, January 5, 2007 (Holidays, Company Vacation)
Contributors
Bryan Beller • Julie Bergman • Buddy Blue
Bob Borbonus • Gary Correia • Jonathan Forstot
Dan Forte • Marc Harris • David Hosler
Len Jaffe • Deborah Liv Johnson • Wayne Johnson
David Kaye • Mike Keneally • Pat Kirtley
Kurt Listug • Tom Mulhern • Chris Proctor
Andy Robinson • Simone Solondz
Bob Taylor • Artie Traum • Kenny Weissberg
Technical Advisors
Zach Arntz • David Hosler
Tim Luranc • Mike Mosley
Brian Swerdfeger • Glen Wolff
Photographers
Randi Anglin • Pat Boemer • Larry Clark • Erin Fitzgerald
Rita Funk-Hoffman • Marshall Harrington
Dena Hickman Wolff • Pat Hier • Randy Hoffman
David Kaye • Pat Kirtley • James Steinfeldt
Illustrators
Erin Fitzgerald • Rita Funk-Hoffman
Rick Geary • Elwood Smith • Tom Voss
Circulation
Lyndsey Butler • Sheila Dupre • Sara Gill
Tina Murillo • Suzie Reed • Mary Warren
Production Services
Pacific PreMedia
Bordeaux Printers, Inc.
VQS Enterprises, Inc.
Distributors
Western Graphics
Publisher
Taylor-Listug, Inc.
©2006 Taylor Guitars. TAYLOR, TAYLOR GUITARS, The Stylized Taylor Guitars
Logo, TAYLOR QUALITY GUITARS and Design, WOOD&STEEL, DISCOVER THE
INDIES, the Peghead Shape Design, Bridge Shape Design, Taylor Pickguard Design,
and QUALITY TAYLOR GUITARS, GUITARS AND CASES and Design are registered trademarks of the company. 300 SERIES, 400 SERIES, 500 SERIES, 600 SERIES,
700 SERIES, 800 SERIES, 900 SERIES, BABY TAYLOR, BIG BABY, PRESENTATION
SERIES, GALLERY Series, LIBERTY TREE, K4, TAYLOR K4, TAYLOR GUITARS K4
EQUALIZER, TAYLORWARE, TAYLOR EXPRESSION SYSTEM, and EXPRESSION
SYSTEM are registered trademarks of the company. 100
SERIES, 200 SERIES, NYLON SERIES, BABY LIBERTY,
TAYLOR ACOUSTIC ELECTRONICS, DYNAMIC
BODY SENSOR, DYNAMIC STRING SENSOR,
SIGNATURE Series, T5, T5 THINLINE FIVEWAY,
TAYLOR GUITARS T5 THINLINE 5-WAY, T-LOCK, and
WAVE COMPENSATED are trademarks of the company.
Patents pending.
from the editor
I
f you fly into San Diego
International Airport/
Lindbergh Field in early
2006 and disembark at
Terminal 2, you’ll have a
chance to see Made in
San Diego/Played Around
the World, an exhibit that
showcases several of this
region’s musical-instrument icons. Presented
under the auspices of the
Made in San Diego/Played Around the World exhibit at Terminal 2,
San Diego County Airport San Diego International Airport. Photo by Andy Robinson
Authority’s
Cultural
Exhibits Program, it’s the
handiwork of the Museum of Making
and Guitar Player), Marc Harris (editor/
Music, itself a fascinating repository of
contributor to major guitar publications),
musical instrument memorabilia, archival
Randy Hoffman (pro musician, photogmaterials, and interactive fun located in
rapher, award-winning music journalist),
Carlsbad, just north of San Diego (museu- Len Jaffe (singer-songwriter/guitarist,
mofmakingmusic.org).
concert promoter, founding member of the
The airport display case devoted Songwriters Association of Washington,
to Taylor Guitars features a koa XXX, DC), Deborah Liv Johnson (singer-songa Liberty Tree Guitar, and a guitar Bob writer, journalist), Tom Mulhern (former
Taylor made in 11th grade. Also repre- Guitar Player stalwart, writer/editor of
sented are Deering Banjos, Carvin Guitars numerous magazine columns and books
and Pro Audio, Azola Basses, Dell’Arte on audio and musical equipment), Dylan
Guitars, Snider Amplification, and Wild
Schorer (former editor of Acoustic Guitar
Thing Trumpets. There’s even a one-of- magazine, Telluride Bluegrass Festival fina-kind, doubleneck electric guitar hand- gerstyle-guitar champ, author of instruccrafted in 1957 by the late Walter James
tional guitar and transcription books),
Harvey (1922-1981).
Simone Solondz (journalist, former
Made in San Diego/Played Around the
editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine), and
World accomplishes two things: it reveals
Kenny Weissberg (former music jourthat sun-baked San Diego is home to nalist, long-time producer of San Diego’s
some prestigious instrument makers, Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay series,
and it provides a breather after the
current host/deejay of the acclaimed radio
interminable schlep from the Terminal
show, Music Without Boundaries, streamed
2 gates to the baggage-claim area. The
Saturday mornings at 91X.com).
exhibit, on display through March 31,
In addition, several of Taylor’s esteemed
2006, is visible on the second-floor land- clinicians have shared their expertise in
ing just past the escalators that take you
print, among them Bryan Beller, Wayne
down to the baggage area.
Johnson, Mike Keneally, Pat Kirtley,
n recent years, we’ve welcomed some
Chris Proctor, and Artie Traum.
excellent non-staff contributors to the
Since its maiden issue in mid-1994,
Wood&Steel fold, and I’d like to acknowl- Wood&Steel’s pages have been bookendedge and thank them for their journalistic, ed by two of Southern California’s best
illustrational, and photographic contribu- illustrators — Rick Geary (“Letters”)
tions to this publication.
and Tom Voss (“Seasonal Tips”). Geary’s
In alpha order, our outside writers
credits include regular contributions to
have included Julie Bergman (folk-blues
National Lampoon (1979-1992), MAD,
guitarist, former music-biz publicist, cur- Spy, Rolling Stone, the San Diego Reader,
rent feature contributor to Acoustic Guitar, the New York Times Book Review, the
Guitar Player, and other music publica- Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Uniontions), Buddy Blue (founding member of
Tribune, and Los Angeles and San Diego
the Beat Farmers, current music columnist
magazines. Voss has done illustrations
for the San Diego Union-Tribune), Dan for a number of top advertising agencies
Forte (Stanford journalism grad, con- and publications, and his original art has
tributor to Vintage Guitar, Guitar World, been recognized in some prestigious jur-
I
ied shows, including that of the
New York Society of Illustrators.
High-quality prints of selected “Seasonal Tips” works are
popular items in our online
TaylorWare catalog.
More recently, we’ve been
honored to feature illustrations
by Elwood Smith (“Sessions”),
whose work appears in the
New York Times, Forbes, Time,
Newsweek, and Rolling Stone
(and on the cover of the Artie
Traum/Chris Shaw/Tom Akstens
CD, Big Trout Radio).
Photographers have been
a huge part of the Wood&Steel
story from day one, and although we can’t
list everyone whose work has appeared
herein, several deserve special mention:
Randi Anglin (Nashville-based voting
member of the Recording Academy who
has photographed many of the biggest
names in music), Pat Boemer (BFA with
Honors from the Art Center College of
Design in Pasadena, California, photographs featured in Digital Imaging magazine, art photography featured in group
exhibitions, Award of Excellence from the
Creative Show-San Diego), Mike Campos
(guitar and TaylorWare photography),
Marshall Harrington (longtime guitar
“glamor shot” and Taylor catalog photographer, clients include Intel, Nissan,
Reebok, TV Guide), Pat Hier (proud
Taylor owner who balances a day job in
Crete, Nebraska with an interest in photography and music), Randy Hoffman
(see contributing writers, above), Robert
Sanders (award-winning digital photographer whose clients include Tony Hawk,
Qualcomm, Easton Sports and BMG
Music), James Steinfeldt (Photographer
of the Year at the 1998 Los Angeles Music
Awards, photos placed in Rolling Stone
[Bob Dylan, Madonna] and SPIN, CD covers for Miles Davis, Willie Nelson, John
Denver, Dee Dee Ramone), and Chris
Wimpey (various Taylor ad campaigns
and catalogs, has shot for Lexus and the
2006 advertising campaigns for HarleyDavidson and Kawasaki Motorcycles).
And a special heartfelt thanks to Dale
Van Zant, who for years squired this publication through the critical, high-tech,
pre-press production phase to make it
look as good as possible. Dale has moved
on to another line of work, but his high
standards and selfless work ethic remain
a benchmark for Wood&Steel.
— John D’Agostino
On
The
Web
What’s new at taylorguitars.com
T5 soundcheck
Capping what might be our most
ambitious website project yet,
we’re excited to announce the
launch of the T5 Soundcheck. In
this feature, we give you the power
to hear exactly what the T5 can do.
Choose a T5. Pick an amp. Hit the
5-way switch, then go.
You can compare the T5’s different
top woods. Or get that “dirty” electric
sound. Strum through a PA. If you
don’t already own three T5s and a
bunch of cool amps, this is
the next best thing. Look for it
in the T5 section.
video library
Visit our See/Hear section, where
our “Factory Fridays” series continues with a two-part segment about
milling master-grade koa, and in
February, with a new installment on
finish and colors. After reading Artie
Traum’s “Sessions” piece in this issue,
hop online for a virtual lesson with
Artie on thumbpicking your way
through the blues. And join professional studio engineer Gary Hedden
(Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Michael
Jackson) as he reveals his secrets
about recording an acoustic guitar.
Look for additional information on the Taylor website,
including audio and video content, when you see
these icons associated with Wood&Steel articles.
Read this and other back issues of Wood&Steel online (news/events)
5
T5 the Next Generation: New Options for ’06
While many people were reacting to
the sonic boom of the T5’s 2005 debut,
the minds behind the innovative guitar
were working on new options that promise to increase its already broad appeal.
Specifically, an expanded palette of colors,
premium tops, a new pickup option, and
a left-handed model rachet things up a
notch for the second generation of the
Thinline Fiveway.
The new finishes — Sage Green, Lake
Placid, Pearl Blue, and Crimson Red
— are striking, and strikingly different
for Taylor. They look like something you’d
see on a classic electric guitar, and that’s
no accident.
“Our new colors definitely give the
T5 more of an electric-guitar vibe,” says
Product Specialist Brian Swerdfeger. “All
four colors are rendered in small-flake
metallic, which gives you depth and
dimension while avoiding the ‘gaudy’ look
of some metallics. And they all look great
with the white binding.
“In a sense, these finishes reflect the
ongoing romance a lot of us have with
cars and guitars. Some of the finishes on
the most iconic electrics of the past were
borrowed from the hot cars of the day.
There was a natural correlation between
cars and guitars, and we’ve carried that
forward with the new T5 colors. When
you see the chrome appointments and the
colors and the white binding all together,
you get the sense of looking at a great
hot-rod.”
T5 Tone Tips: A Guide to Getting Started
The immediate pleasures of the T5 are
well documented, no more eloquently or
extravagantly than by new owners who
continue to send us detailed mini-journals of their experiences (see Q&A this
issue). In the spirit of shared discovery
we offer our own tips on getting the most
out of a T5 — information that should be
useful both to those who’ve already put a
T5 through the paces and to those who are
just opening the guitar case and wondering, “Now what do I do?”
Important Safety Note:
Before you plug into any
amplifier, make sure it is properly grounded for both safety
and proper shielding. In addition, carefully check to make
sure that the ground lug is not
broken off of any amps, extension cords, or power strips in
the AC chain.
live sound, is processed, compressed, and
“effected”. Modern music is full of cool
sounds like chorus, delay, and overdrive.
Don’t leave them out of your recipe.
Choose the Right Amp
Electric
Try the T5 through an electric amp first
(the same amp you would use to for any
high-quality electric guitar). The T5 is
a fully electric guitar, capable of driving
high-gain distortion, and you easily can
FullyitElectric
drive a band just by plugging
in and
grinding a few chords! Be sure to check
out the “High-Gain Tips” video on the
Taylor website, in the Performance Tips
section of “See/Hear”.
Start with full distortion in the center
switch position on the T5. Put the amp
on overdrive or go through your favorite
stomp box and drive it. Move through
positions 2-5. Only position 1 has a body
sensor and should be avoided at full gain.
Tone Tip: With the amp in distortion
DELAY - 9
PHASE
X-DRIVE
mode, go to switch position
MASTER5 on the T5,
dial the treble up past the center detent,
in conjunction with the under-fretboard
pickup, will give you jazz tones and overdriven-neck-pickup sounds that are out of
this world — they just sound so good!”
The technical explanation of the
effect of adding that pickup is that you’re
increasing the aperture that the electronics have on the strings and on the magnetic field; it just does things, physics-wise,
that create new sounds.
“You can even get Strat-like tones,”
Swerdfeger adds.
Also new for 2006 are lefty T5s, aka
“answered prayers” for the many lefthanded players who’ve been jonesing
for a T5.
To see the new colors and read
about the new options for 2006, see
the T5 section of our website. Consult
your local authorized Taylor dealer
for ordering instructions.
Start with the T5 tone controls in the
halfway up toward “wide open”. Turn the
Fully Acoustic
center detent position and volume slightly
bass knob the same amount in the opposite direction (down). This will slightly higher.
Set the amp EQ flat to start. If the EQ
bump-up the mids. Use the T5 volume to
ELECTRIC
controls are active on the amp or PA, be
control the amount of drive.
Switch to the clean channel on the amp. sure to start in the flat or “no EQ added”
ELECTRIC
position, then dial-in EQ to taste. If the
The T5 has amazing tones available in
OR all
EQ controls are not active, turn them all
five positions.
up slightly, maybe around 3, and work
from there.
Acoustic
Note: The T5 and ES pickup systems
The T5 offers an incredible tone palette
ELECTRIC
magnetic. If you plug into an amp or
when run through a good acoustic amp or are ACOUSTIC
PA system. Just plug-in and dial-in what PA channel that is set up for a piezo
you want. Switch through different posi- pickup system, you’ll need to start with
fresh EQ settings.
tions and turn the tone controls.
FullyFully
Acoustic
Acoustic
FullyFully
Electric
Electric
Optimized setup: Electric and
Acoustic amps together
Optimized
ELECTRIC
ELECTRIC
ELECTRIC
ACOUSTIC
ELECTRIC
ELECTRIC
ELECTRIC
OR OR
A
Use Effects
Consider this: no one listens
to dry, flat sounds! Everything
we hear, from recorded CDs to
As if the new solid colors weren’t
enough of a tease, we’ll also be offering
new premium wood tops as options on
our 2006 T5s. Joining the existing forest
of T5 woods are a master-grade quilted
maple, and some of the most amazing
koa we’ve ever used (see the “Killer Koa,
Part 1 & 2” video in the Factory Fridays
section of our website).
But the super-charged changes don’t
end with visual aesthetics. An important
new custom option enables you to order
a neck-position humbucking pickup on
any new T5.
“The neck-position humbucker replaces
the body sensor and turns the T5 into
more of an electric guitar,” Swerdfeger
explains. “All the positions will still sound
good through an acoustic amp or PA,
although you might surrender some of the
super-zingy top end. But the new pickup,
B
INPUT
BOTH
ELECTRIC
ELECTRIC
ACOUSTIC
ACOUSTIC
X-DRIVE
X-DRIVE
PHASEPHASE
MASTER
MASTER
A/B
DELAYDELAY
-9 -9
6
Optimized
Optimized
ELECTRIC
ELECTRIC
ELECTRIC
BOTH
Pick a good high-gain amp
and a clean PA or acoustic amp.
Incorporate an A/B/Y box (see
page 8) and some effects. Switch
between a great overdrive setup
on the gain amp and a totally
clean sound on the acoustic amp.
Then hit “both” on the A/B box.
Now cancel all your appointments and prepare to have some
serious fun!
The Walnut Valley Festival
September 14-18, 2005
Cowley County Fairgrounds
Winfield, Kansas
Temperatures remained in the low 90s
for much of the Walnut Valley Festival
— better known as “Winfield” — as
attendees were treated to performances
by guitar hero Tommy Emmanuel, the
Wilders, the Greencards, and many others. In addition to the concerts, acoustic
players are drawn to Winfield by the
National Championship competitions
held in a number of musical
categories, including flatpicking and fingerstyle guitar.
Roy Curry from Tennessee
took home a W10e for placing
third in the flatpicking division,
while Oregon resident and
Solid Air Records artist Doug Smith chose a
W14ce after placing third
in the fingerstyle category.
Special mention goes to 16year-old Adam Gardino from
Colorado Springs, Colorado,
who in his very first trip to
Winfield made the top five
in the fingerstyle competition,
playing his 214.
The festival kicked off on
Wednesday night with the annual Taylor
Guitars Concert, this time featuring past
Winfield fingerstyle champion and Taylor
clinician Chris Proctor playing for a
standing-room-only crowd.
On Thursday, the festival was in
full-swing. The PR department’s Lonny
Brooks and David Kaye and Regional
Sales Manager Steve Bernstein were the
eye of the storm of activity at the Taylor
booth, which didn’t let up until Sunday.
They were joined by Jim Baggett of Mass
St. Music, our dealer in Lawrence, Kansas,
who brought more than 25 Taylors for
visitors’ playing and viewing pleasure.
And, for the first time ever, Taylor brought
veteran guitar tech Tim Luranc to do free
diagnostics and re-stringings for wideeyed Taylor owners.
A number of top-notch performers
got a long-awaited chance to audition our
T5, among them Emmanuel and Andy
Taylor guitar tech Tim Luranc re-strings a Taylor owner’s guitar at Winfield.
Photo by David Kaye
McKee, who plays percussive fingerstyle
a la Preston Reed. McKee had never even
held a T5 before, and after he coaxed lush
tones from it he was moved to exclaim,
“Sweet guitar — I really can’t believe
how easy it is to play!” A total of 12 Taylor
guitars were sold at Winfield, among them
a 30th Anniversary XXX-MS, a 912ce, and
a T5-S1.
SAN FRANCISCO
BLUES FESTIVAL
September 23-25
The Great Meadow at Fort Mason
San Francisco, California
Founded in 1973 by Tom Mazzolini, the
San Francisco Blues Festival celebrated
its title as “America’s longest continuously running blues festival” by holding
its 33rd annual
installment in
late September.
The event manages to retain
the community
spirit common
to festivals of
the ’60s, and
always
has
attracted
a
world-class
lineup of musicians to the
historic Fort T5 raffle winner Barrie Broadbent at the San Francisco Blues Festival.
Mason grounds, Photo by Lonny Brooks
which have the
Golden Gate
Bridge as majestic backdrop.
ing B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Stevie Ray
Since its inception, the SFBF has hosted
Vaughan, Etta James, and Bonnie Raitt.
some of the biggest names in blues, includThis year was no exception, with par-
ticularly electric performances by Huey
Lewis and the News, Jimmy Dawkins, the
Fabulous Thunderbirds, blues harmonica
master James Cotton, and an amazing set
by Mavis Staples.
Taylor’s Lonny Brooks held down
our exhibitor’s booth, demo-ing guitars
throughout the weekend, giving many
bluesers their first glimpse of the T5, and
even contributing to the relief efforts for
the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Barrie
Broadbent of Millbrae, California was
the lucky bidder on a Taylor T5 Standard
we raffled off, raising $2,500 that was
donated by the festival organizers to the
New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund. The
N.O.M.R.F., founded by Benjamin Jaffe,
director of Preservation Hall, distributes
grants to New Orleans musicians of all
genres who apply for relief and lack the
economic means to pursue their craft,
replace their instruments, or gain access
to live performance venues.
Music events we’re co-sponsoring
and/or exhibiting at during the first trimester of 2006 include: Folk Alliance
Conference, February 9-14, Austin,
Texas (folk.org); Wintergrass Bluegrass
Festival, February 23-26, Tacoma,
Washington (acousticsound.org/!wg_
home.htm); SXSW, March 15-19, Austin,
Texas (sxsw.com); Dallas Guitar Show,
April 21-23, Dallas Texas (guitarshow.
com); MerleFest, April 27-30, Wilkesboro,
North Carolina (merlefest.org); Tulsa
Guitar Show, May 6-7, Tulsa, Oklahoma
(tulsaguitarshow.com). Please come by
and say hello!
To ensure that you don’t miss the Taylor
events coming to your area, register for
our free “E/vents” reminder e-mail program by going to our website, rolling your
cursor over the “news/events” tab, and
clicking on “Taylor Calendar”. You’ll see
where to click to enroll. Once enrolled,
you’ll automatically be notified a month
in advance of every event.
If you’d rather not receive e-mail notices, simply refer to our online Calendar for
information, which is updated daily. ■
7
New Stomping Grounds: Taylor Introduces Two New Quality Accessories
Taylor’s Universal A/B/Both box allows a player to run
a Taylor T5™, Taylor acoustic, or any brand of electric guitar,
acoustic guitar, or bass to two separate outputs. Foot switches are used to toggle between amps, PA systems, and other
destinations, or to activate both outputs at the same time.
The box initially was conceived with the T5 player in mind,
says Taylor Special Projects Manager David Hosler. “Players
might want to send their signal directly to a PA system for
clean acoustic sounds, and then switch to an electric-guitar
amplifier for electric clean and high-gain tones. Or they might
want both sounds happening at once.”
The box features a 1/4-inch unbalanced input jack, two 1/4inch unbalanced output jacks, two road-ready foot switches,
and three individual LED status lights, and is housed in a
8
sturdy, pedalboard-friendly aluminum enclosure. While there
are other A/B/Both boxes on the market, the Taylor box is
uniquely useful in that the three LED status lights make it easy
to keep track of where you’re sending your guitar sound at all
times. Because the “A” or “B” indicator stays lit even when
the “Both” switch is activated, you’ll always know where your
signal is going when you switch out of “Both”.
The A/B/Both box also can run in reverse (two inputs and
one output). When used this way, it allows a player to plug-in
two guitars and have them share one output, and that enables
two different guitars to be ready to go at all times. The player
simply selects a guitar using the A/B footswitch, which automatically mutes the guitar not in use.
As part of our continuing effort to develop useful and exciting tools for the gigging guitarist, we’re kicking off 2006
by introducing two new Taylor control boxes — the Universal A/B/Both and
the Expression System Tuner Mute Balanced Breakout™.
The ES Tuner Mute Balanced Breakout is a footcontrolled mute switch for tuning offline, and was designed
exclusively for an Expression System-equipped Taylor guitar.
This handy little box allows you to keep a tuner connected
and mute your signal when desired, all the while maintaining
the pure, balanced signal path of the ES. It also includes a
high-quality audio transformer that sweetens your tone and
eliminates switching surges caused by mixers with undefeatable phantom power.
The box features balanced XLR input and output jacks, a
tour-ready mute switch, and an independent 1/4-inch output
for an electronic tuner, and is housed in a sturdy, pedalboardfriendly aluminum enclosure.
“It was designed so that players with Taylor ES electronics can mute their guitars and tune silently onstage without
compromising the high-quality balanced signal of the onboard
system,” explains David Hosler. “The Balanced Breakout also
is a bit of a ‘tone machine’; we use a high-quality audio transformer in it, so you’ll not only maintain a balanced signal, but
you’ll also get the sonic benefit of that transformer simply by
plugging in.”
The control box can also function as a microphone mute,
offering on/off foot-switchable control for any dynamic microphone (such as a Shure SM58). This is a great way to help
avoid feedback problems when the mic is not in use.
Both control boxes will be available in early 2006, through both Taylor dealers and TaylorWare. Suggested retail list price is $118 for
each. Consult your local dealer or taylorguitars.com for more details.
9
Sessions
Opposing Thumbs:
Thumping Your Way to Great Blues
by Artie Traum
otherwise would. Once the thumb established a steady groove, blues players would pick out melodies on the treble strings with their
first, second, and third fingers.
In the key of E, for example, the thumb hits the low 6th string (root E) on every beat, or plays the downbeat of each measure. In
the key of A, the thumb hits the open 5th string (root A) and in G it would be on the 6th string, 3rd fret. Simple? You bet. But getting
a proper feel for this style of playing, as exemplified by Brownie McGhee, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Big Bill Broonzy, or Doc Watson,
might take some serious practice.
Generally, the thumb plays the root of each chord, although some players might hit a 3rd, a 5th, or some other interval. It’s good to
bear in mind that there are no absolute rules in this regard. Try pinching the bass and treble strings together and you’ll be on your
way to playing fingerstyle blues.
Example 1
This example for beginners gets your
thumb and picking fingers warmed up
in the key of E:
Example 2
This example also is for true beginners, to get your thumb working back
and forth:
Illustration by Elwood Smith
O
pposing thumbs are said to be an essential feature of primates, which my
encyclopedia defines as mammals with “opposable thumbs and big toes.” We
human primates can use our thumbs for hitchhiking, pressing stamps on envelopes, or scratching our ears. By comparison, the big toe is not quite as useful,
or even noticeable, unless you stub it while looking for a midnight snack.
The thumb plays an essential role for guitarists who wish to play acoustic blues.
It also establishes the rhythmic foundation for fingerpicking in genres that include
country music, slack key, contemporary-guitar compositions, and songwriting. By my
measure, there are three ways to use your right thumb in blues: thumping, alternating
bass, and snapping the strings.
The old-time blues players — Lightnin’ Hopkins, Son House, Mance Lipscomb,
Charlie Patton, Blind Blake, and Robert Johnson — played by “thumping” on the bass
strings with the right thumb. Because they often played solo guitar, the thumb was a
kind of rhythm section that kept the time going, the way a bass player and drummer
10
In fingerpicking styles, the thumb tends
to alternate between strings. In E, for
example, the thumb would move back and
forth from the 6th string to the 4th string
on every other beat — back and forth,
back and forth, steadily creating a groove.
It is recommended to practice this with a
metronome at various tempos.
While many classic blues guitarists
thumped on the bass strings, Mississippi
John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and
Elizabeth Cotten most definitely were fingerpickers on such songs as “Candy Man
Blues” and “Freight Train”. If the thumb
is steady and keeps good time, everything else falls into place. If the thumb
loses momentum, the entire song will
fall apart.
Recently, I chatted with blues artist
Rory Block, who reminded me of a technique we call “snapping” the bass strings.
“I think it was Willie Brown who
invented snapping the bass,” she recalled.
“He’s the hardest snapping guitarist. You
do it by pulling up on the bass string,
actually getting under it, to give it a percussive snap.”
Big Joe Williams also used this technique, in addition to hitting the body of
the guitar like a percussion instrument.
Funk bass players use this technique, as
well; Victor Wooten, for one, slaps, pops,
and snaps all over the fingerboard.
We tend to think of blues as a standardized form consisting of 12-bars, 16-bars,
or 24-bars, and as a
player you must know
how to stay within this
form. Rufus Thomas,
who wrote the R&B
classic “Walkin’ the
Dog”, once noted
that “12-bar blues
is the backbone of
American music.”
It wasn’t quite that
clear in the 1920s and
’30s. Producer Bobby
Shad — known for
his work with Charlie
Parker and Dinah
Washington, as well
as with many blues
artists — noticed
that Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins
rarely stuck to blues form. “He had no
conception of a 12-bar blues,” Shad told
writer Arnold Shaw. “It could be eightand-a-half [bars] or 13-and-a-quarter.”
I recently came across a story on the
Internet about Hopkins and Billy Gibbons
of ZZ Top. It seems Lightnin’ wasn’t changing chords at the right moment, and when
Gibson commented on this quirky style,
Hopkins said, “Lightnin’ changes when
Lightnin’ wants to.”
Hopkins came from Centerville, Texas
and was strongly influenced by Blind
Lemon Jefferson during the time when
Lightnin’ helped the older musician navigate the streets of southern towns. And
Lightnin’ certainly was a no-nonsense guy.
Many years ago, at the Swarthmore Folk
Festival (near Philadelphia), some friends
and I managed to get backstage to see
him warming up. One friend had learned
several Hopkins riffs note for note, and he
played them for Lightnin’, who shook his
head and said, “Good son, but you need
feeling.” Then he walked away.
John Lee Hooker had a similar sense
of style. “I don’t think about time,” Hooker
once said. “You’re here when you’re here.”
One thing about the guys who invented
the blues: they were a tough, stubborn lot
who didn’t suffer fools gladly.
Many country-blues musicians lived
in isolated areas and rarely got to hang
out together, which might account for
that blues subgenre’s loose form. Muddy
Waters once told folklorist Alan Lomax,
“We settled down way out in the country, where there wasn’t another house in
sight.” Similarly, Howlin’ Wolf was born
in the small community of West Point,
Mississippi. He learned guitar whenever
he could take a break from “fixing fences,
picking cotton, and pulling corn.”
In those heady, early days, blues
riffs, ideas, and traditions were passed on
whenever musicians
ran into each other
on the streets of
Greenville, Mississippi,
Houston, Texas, or New
Orleans, Louisiana.
Memphis Minnie
was from Algiers,
Louisiana, but moved
at age 13 to Memphis,
where she played guitar in clubs under the
name “Kid” Douglas.
She was one of a
handful of women
blues
performers
at the time, and she
knew many styles of
music, including gospel, jug band, and
blues. Her guitar playing was so good she
is said to have beaten Big Bill Broonzy in
a guitar contest.
The original bluesmen (and women)
were ruthlessly competitive. They tended
to upstage each other and show-off their
speed licks. A guitarist was said to “cut”
a fellow musician whom he out-played,
and there was a lot of bragging and boasting at jam sessions. But in spite of all the
bravado, the old bluesmen acknowledged
other players as sources of inspiration.
Fred McDowell, a shy and quiet genius
from Tennessee (and a major influence on
Bonnie Raitt’s slide playing), admitted he
“learned a lot from one fellow, Raymond
Payne. He was really good.” Muddy Waters
gives credit for his wounded, volatile style
to Son House and Robert Johnson, two
undisputed geniuses of the Delta. Muddy’s
playing skills sharpened through endless performances at rough juke joints,
fish-frying parties, street-corner gigs, and
eventually in working-class clubs in the
slums of Chicago.
Let’s look at an essential blues riff in the
keys of E and A.
John Lee Hooker
told a newspaper in
Atlanta, Georgia, “I
don’t play a lot of fancy
guitar. The kind of
guitar I want to play is
mean, mean licks.”
To further your blues education and develop those chops, check out
Happy and Artie Traum’s Easy Steps to Blues Guitar Jamming:
Play Along and Learn! — the new instructional DVD
released on Homespun Tapes. In just under two hours, the
Traums teach you the techniques and raw materials you need
to play six blues standards in the keys of E and A (e.g. “Key to
the Highway”, “Trouble in Mind”), and then provide the rhythmic
backing so you can jam with them. Although the DVD is filled with a
lot of material for all skill levels, it’s designed to enable even a novice to
learn and play along (homespuntapes.com).
The ideas in Examples 3 and 4 recall
the styles of Brownie McGhee, Lightnin’
Hopkins, and such contemporary artists
as Keb Mo, Bonnie Raitt, and Taj Mahal.
Please note that while these figures capture the essence of acoustic blues, they
aren’t exact stylistic replicas of any particular artist’s riffs. Certainly, less is more
with these exercises.
At times, you’ll want to play a full E or
Example 3
Lighnin’ Hopkins Riff in the Key of E:
A chord. Mostly, though, you’ll be focusing on the “inner” strings, which makes it
that much funkier. Sliding into notes, or
hammering-on, will enhance your style.
Bending the strings, whereby you lift a
string so it moves up a half or a whole
tone, is another technique you can use to
enliven your sound.
B.B. King was one master who never
felt comfortable using a slide. Instead, he
learned to bend strings and use vibrato to
approximate what he heard from bottleneck players. “I learned to trill my finger,”
he said.
Vibrato can be achieved by planting
your finger(s) on a string and moving
your wrist back and forth. The faster your
wrist moves, the deeper the vibrato.
John Lee Hooker told a newspaper in
Atlanta, Georgia, “I don’t play a lot of fancy
guitar. The kind of guitar I want to play is
mean, mean licks.” I’ve heard that Hooker
was a kind, generous man, but when his
thumb started hammering on the bass
notes, it was simply scary.
continued on page 28
11
T
H
E
C
W
O
O
D
&
S
T
E
E
L
I
N
T
E
R
V
I
E
W
orey Harris snuck
up on the blues
COREY
HARRIS
milieu a decade
ago
with
his
debut album, Between Midnight and
Day. Here was a young upstart playing
old-time country blues with the vir-
By Buddy Blue
tuoso chops and natural conviction of
such legendary figures as Charley
Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and
Robert Johnson, and the blues world
trembled in awe.
Where so many others had taken
similar journeys deep into this music’s
past, inevitably only to come across
as forced or downright spurious,
Harris managed to sound as if he’d just
stepped out of a time machine from
the year 1928 — no small trick for
a college-educated language teacher
“I think
from Denver.
Not content to exist as a mere revivalist, Harris on subsequent outings used
the blues as the foundation for a myriad of musical adventures: 1997’s Fish
there are
different
types of
Ain’t Bitin’ grafted on New Orleansstyled brass; 1999’s Greens From the
blues for
The glue binding these projects together was Harris’ seemingly supernatural
ability to make everything he recorded
sound completely musical and unaffected,
as opposed to the well-meaning but ultimately artificial results of a musicologist’s
experimentation.
His latest CD, Daily Bread, finds the
36-year-old swimming in the rich, blue
waters of the Caribbean, effortlessly connecting the melodic and rhythmic dots
from Jamaica to Mali and back to America.
Harris recently spoke with Wood&Steel
about his past and future, his passions
and techniques, the state of the blues
today, and how his Taylor 514ce helps him
to fulfill his musical vision.
Garden explored the blues roots inherent in funk and even hip-hop; 2003’s
different
Mississippi to Mali found Harris bringing the blues back “home” to Africa
— a voyage also chronicled that year
in the PBS docu-series, Martin Scorsese
Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey.
12
types of
people.”
Wood&Steel: I love your new CD,
Daily Bread, and like most of your albums
it came as quite a surprise to me. What
would you call it — reggae? Caribbean?
Corey Harris: I don’t know what I’d
call it; to me it’s just “roots”. It definitely
has some reggae in there, but it’s not really
a reggae record. We try to keep it simple
and keep a message in there, try to have
it be about something other than simple
entertainment.
W&S: Having been categorized as a blues
musician early on, do you consciously try
to get away from that pigeonhole, or do
you just go wherever the path leads you
as a musician?
CH: People are always going to say
certain things about you, that you
should do this or do that, but you gotta
do what you want to do. I just try to be
myself, that’s all.
W&S: So few people have been able to
get that raw, raspy, Charlie Patton kind
of vocal style you had down on your
early albums without sounding phony
and affected. Now your vocal style is much
more clean and smooth. Do you view the
voice as an instrument like a guitar, which
W
I
T
H
you utilize to draw different tones and
feelings from?
CH: I’m always learning how to be a better singer. I’ll sing different songs in different ways, you know, try to hit the vibe
that’ll get the song over to the listener. I’d
say the voice is definitely an instrument.
All my favorite singers have different ways
of singing.
W&S: Who are some of your favorite
singers?
CH: Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Ella
Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong. I like B.B.
King’s singing, Stevie Wonder…wow,
there are so many to choose from.
W&S: You were an anthropology student, and many people who approach
recording as anthropology come off as
sounding like they’re trying too hard. How
have you been able to avoid that syndrome
and keep your music sounding natural?
CH: I think when a lot of people do
that, they tend to step outside of themselves, they’re not expressing what they
really are, you know? I don’t go outside of
myself in my music, I always try to express
what I really feel inside, the way I see
things. To me, that’s it — keep it genuine
and about something grounded. I try to
write from experience, or if I’m singing a
song, I try to relate to it one way or another as opposed to just singing something I
think sounds cool.
W&S: You’re playing guitar in a new
style on this record, yet you’re utilizing
cyclical hooks and grooves that remain
blues-based. It’s like the vocabulary is different but the feeling remains the same. Is
blues so deeply grounded within you that
it always informs your guitar playing?
CH: Yeah, definitely. That’s how it all
started out for me, so it seems natural that
I’d refer to that. Actually, I didn’t start out
playing blues, but when I started to play
guitar well, I realized I needed to learn
how, because it was a foundation for so
many different kinds of music. When I
was coming up, I heard a lot of musicians
saying that if you could play the blues, you
could play anything — and that’s really
true, you know?
W&S: That is true, but very few
modern guitarists have mastered the early
country-blues style to the degree that you
have. How does a well-educated, middleclass kid from Colorado find that connection with the cultural and emotional
elements of a style so far removed from
your own experience?
CH: I grew up in Colorado, but my family is all from the South. That was the
reference point. Somebody would die and
we’d all go down South, and I’d see where
my mom was from. As a black kid dealing
with the family history, the things you’d
hear from your elders about what it was
like when they were coming around, and
what it was like when their own elders
were coming around, that had something
to do with it. Plus, there’s a big black community in Denver. Even when we moved to
the suburbs, we were always involved and
in touch with our people.
W&S: I grew up in an integrated neighborhood in the ’60s, and the black kids
had no interest whatsoever in the blues;
they looked at blues as “Uncle Tom” jive.
They were all listening to Wilson Pickett
and Aretha Franklin, but there was no
interest in seeking out the roots. You’re of
a younger generation — has that outlook
changed with time?
CH: I think it’s always that way, just like
kids now don’t want to listen to Wilson
Pickett, you know? Every generation wants
to be on the cutting edge, they want to be
happening. If it ain’t goin’ on, the youth
don’t want nothin’ to do with it. I think
one thing about black music is that it
never gets into much nostalgia. It does
what it does at the time that it does, and
when that time is over, they move onto
something else.
W&S: How do you feel about hip-hop as
an extension of black musical and cultural
heritage? Is it a positive thing? Is it really
even music?
CH: I think it definitely is real music,
but it kinda depends…like I tell my kids,
there’s a difference between being a rapper and being an MC. You take someone
like Mos Def or Chuck D, they are truly
MCs, whereas someone like P Diddy is
not an MC. He can rhyme and he’s got a
little rap and flow, but he’s not truly an
MC. An MC has really mastered wordplay;
these are cats that read the dictionary. The
power of words and sound is elevated to a
height that you don’t really see with some
cat who’s just got a catchy rhyme about a
girl or jewelry or something.
I think a lot of people’s vision of hiphop has been distorted by corporations
and record companies who put out music
that’s just junk — you know, just fun little
jingles that youth can get into so they can
make money. That’s rap music, that’s not
hip-hop in my book. People who really do
hip-hop don’t do it because there’s money
in it, they do it because that’s what they are
and that’s what they do.
W&S: There’s been a real glorification of
that whole bling-bling, what-I-got-thatyou-ain’t got mentality.
CH: Yeah, yeah, there’s
a lot of that. Hip-hop has
become very corrupt and
very hedonistic, but it wasn’t
always about that. When I
first got to know hip-hop, it
was just starting to have the
gold chains and stuff, but
there were more kids wearing natural jewelry with
red, gold, and green or that
had a picture of the African
continent on it. It was more
about what you were inside
as opposed to how much
money you had. I mean,
let’s face it — all these cats
going around showing off all
this money, well, it’s nothing
compared to what the people
who are selling their records
have, the people who wrote
the contract. It’s an illusion.
Most of the kids doing
hip-hop now are middle
class, they don’t come from
the projects or rough, toreup neighborhoods. It’s a stereotype that the media likes
to perpetuate about young
black people as a whole. But
in general, I love hip-hop,
I think it’s great. It’s just
another development from
the same tree that the blues
came from.
W&S: I guess another problem I have with
hip-hop is that kids aren’t
learning to play instruments
anymore. Is that an old
fogey’s attitude?
CH: Well, that’s true and
that is important, but I think
hip-hop came about because
of cuts in school funding
during the ’70s and ’80s.
Kids in inner city schools
didn’t have access to instruments anymore, there were
no band programs anymore,
all that dried up. All the
kids had access to were
their wits, maybe a turntable
and a microphone. I think
what’s going on in society
has a tremendous effect in
how music turns out. If it
weren’t for all the economic
problems that started with
Carter and went on with
Reagan, hip-hop would have
evolved differently.
“I feel
like I’m a
messenger
between
w h a t ’s g o i n g
on over
[in Africa]
a n d w h a t ’s
going on
here.”
W&S: On the subject of instruments, when did you start playing
Taylor guitars, and which Taylor model
do you play?
CH: I have a 514ce. [Piedmont blues
artist] John Cephas suggested that I
try a Taylor and I really liked it. It was
featured in the movie I did with Martin
Scorsese over in Mali. I’ve played it into
the ground; I love it. Now I’m on the
Wood&Steel mailing list and I’d really
like to get another Taylor.
W&S: How much did you use the
514ce on Daily Bread?
CH: It’s the only acoustic I used. I use
it anytime I do an acoustic song. Even
on an electric song, I’d use it for the
“skank”, a rhythm or something.
W&S: Most of my life I was primarily
an electric guitarist — I had acoustics,
but they were cheap models, just to
bang around and practice with. When
I finally started shopping for a quality
acoustic guitar a few years ago, several
people told me I should get a Martin
because my playing is blues-based and
Martins were supposed to have a warmer, rounder, bluesier tone. But when I
sat down with a Taylor, it was life-altering, I couldn’t believe how beautifully it
played and sounded compared to any
other acoustics I tried out.
CH: The thing about a Taylor is that it’s
always consistent. You know what you’re
gonna get, whereas I’ve run across other
brands that just don’t deliver. Other
companies that’ve been around for a
long time have had so many changes in
technology and glues over the years that
now they’re just a name. You gotta look at
the guitar, and for me, Taylor is consistent.
I’ve never picked up a Taylor that didn’t
sound like a Taylor, but I’ve picked up
Martins, for example, where I said, ‘This
doesn’t sound like a Martin.’ I like something you can count on. With Taylor, you
know there’s a certain level it’ll live up to.
It’s always gonna be high-quality.
W&S: Back to what you were talking
about with the Scorsese thing, I found
that segment where you were playing
with [legendary African folk musician]
Ali Farka Toure tremendously moving.
The merging of continents and cultures
and traditions…I actually got a lump
in my throat. If it had that effect on
me as an observer, what must it have
been like for you to experience it all firsthand? What did it mean to you musically
and personally?
CH: Personally, I feel like I’m a messenger
between what’s going on over [in Africa]
and what’s going on over here. I feel like
we need to become closer in music and
in other aspects, because that’s where we
came from. Even though it was a long time
ago, that’s our reference point, that’s where
it started. They realize that over there. No
one sits down and has any philosophical,
highbrow discussions about it, they just
know it’s the case. People over there knew
black-American music, and I was accepted,
whereas very few people over here are into
any African music style at all. Ali Farka
Toure picked me up at this little airfield
about two hours outside of Timbuktu, this
little strip in the sand, and he’s listening
to Bobby “Blue” Bland and Otis Redding.
It’s no big deal to
him. Everyone over
there knows these
cats, this American
music. I think that’s
why I’m here — to
be a bridge between
us and them, and try
to facilitate understanding, musically
and otherwise.
W&S: I’m more of
an American rootsmusic guy than a
world-music guy
— I’m admittedly
very uneducated
about that stuff —
but I’ve always been
able to get into Ali
Farka Toure because
when I listen to him,
it touches me from
continued on page 19
13
Q
I recently got the koa top T5 with
chrome hardware. Kudos for creating an awesome guitar that I love
playing. Everything since the creation
of the Tele, Les Paul, ES 335, Strat, and
SG has pretty much been a re-make or
hybrid, and virtually all of the roundhole acoustic and archtop body styles
and designs came before all the solidbody innovations. I really think the T5
stands as a truly new and innovative
guitar design.
For my eclectic style of playing (standards,
James Taylor,
Police, ’50s ballads,
hymns
arranged for guitar), this guitar
is what I have
been looking for
all my life! I’ve
found it to be
equally good for
solo or duo work
with a female
singer who plays
acoustic guitar about 25 percent of the
time. When my partner plays, I get separation from her acoustic sound, and I
get greater clarity when it’s just me on
guitar backing her voice. And because
the guitar is acoustic, there is enough
decay on the notes to avoid the constant
annoying sustain of an electric guitar
in a solo/duo situation.
Here is how I would describe the five
pickup positions: 1) with a lot of bass
and treble, kind of an older Ovation
sound, but roll-off either bass or treble
and it could be any number of electric
acoustics; 2) gets more of the “woody”
tone of a modern hand-made archtop
(rather than the ’60s Gibson L5 or ES
175 thru Fender Twin tone); 3) maybe a
Tele bridge pickup — there is a sparkle
14
there; 4) Gretsch Filtertron pickups, like
on a Gretsch Country Club (which I
used to have; I also had a Tennessean);
5) there is a little spank there, like a
second- or fourth-position, out-of-phase
Strat sound. When it comes to electric
guitars, I am a “Fender guy” rather than
a “Gibson guy”, so this is perfect for me.
As for the five-position switch, I
sometimes use the number-1 acoustic
position, but primarily I use the second and fourth positions — the modern humbucker and the ’50s archtop
sounds. When we do the Nora Jones
song, “Humble Me”, the third position
mimics a good resonator guitar sound.
Initially, I was getting a little too much
Fender “spank” in all the positions, but
I put the next gauge strings on and got
less string snap, especially while fingerpicking, and that helped tremendously.
Now for a couple of questions.
If I go up a gauge (D’Addario jazz
electric mediums, 12-54), should I get
the guitar set-up, or can it handle a
one-step gauge change as is? Also, is
there a piezo pickup under the saddle?
I know there is a neck pickup under the
body and the “lipstick” pickup near the
bridge (that actually is a humbucker,
too, correct?) Is there another pickup,
magnetic or piezo?
Mark Shuttleworth
Via e-mail
A
Sounds like you’re having fun experimenting with that T5-S2, which was
one of a limited run we offered only at the
2005 NAMM show (thus explaining why it
has chrome and not gold tuners). Now for
your questions.
The change in string gauge is fine;
maybe just a little turn on the neck to
keep it straight would help. There is
no piezo under the saddle; we use a
magnetic body sensor to pick up the
body sound. Yes, the pickup near the
bridge is a stacked humbucking pickup.
And last, yes, there is a body sensor located behind the bridge that functions in the
first selector position.
Mark, you seem to be totally into
exploring your T5, so when you get a
chance, hit our website for more information on sounds and ideas: taylorguitars.
com/guitars/T5/feature
Q
I just bought a XXX-KE [30th
Anniversary koa] and I am still
trying to quit trembling! Wow, you really did a wonderful job with this truly
magical guitar — so impressive! Last
year, I purchased a K65ce-L7 Custom
and I dearly love this darling. Now that
the XXX-KE has joined the family, I
have a question: will you please make
a 12-string model with the short-scale
advantage? Can I custom-order one?
Please remember that we 12-string lovers would very much like to enjoy the
benefits of this revolutionary improvement, and maybe even save our fingers
to play a few extra hours.
Mr. Taylor, your fantastic guitars have
really changed my life. I have read that
you are a 12-string lover also, so you
undoubtedly understand the magic of
the 12 and the benefits of the short-scale.
What a truly incredible day it would be
if these two fantastic ideas joined forces
in one guitar to add another miracle
creation to the Taylor family! Please put
me at the top of the list if one of these
becomes available.
Larry Burkhart
Via e-mail
A
While a short-scale 12-string might
not be on the front burner at this
time, it doesn’t mean we haven’t been
thinking about that. Such developments
begin with building prototypes before
moving on to the tooling-up process,
which is a considerable investment of
time, energy, and labor. But with the people we have here at Taylor, today’s inspirations frequently are tomorrow’s realities,
so keep reading Wood&Steel and checking
our website, Larry, and maybe your ship
will come in!
Q
I’m the proud owner of a Taylor
and I’m thinking of buying a new
one soon. But could you please clear
up a gray issue for me? I understand
that Taylor has provided money and
supplies to high school shop programs
across the U.S. and elsewhere, which is
great; I believe that young people need
to acquire skills through shop classes,
etc. But I feel that sooner or later guitar
buyers like me could be buying guitars
with parts made
by kids. This
raises red flags.
John Nichols
Via e-mail
A
You
can
lower the
red flags. In the
Spring 2004 issue
of Wood&Steel,
in both the
“Bobspeak” column and the
“FYI” feature,
we wrote about
Bob Taylor (center) with students from El Capitan High School’s guitar-building class.
Photo by Erin Fitzgerald
Taylor Guitars’ efforts to jump-start guitar-building courses at two local high
schools — Valhalla and El Capitan, here
in the San Diego area. The guitars these
students make are their own to keep; they
have nothing to do with Taylor except that
we helped get the programs up and running and Bob Taylor himself has feted the
graduates in ceremonies that took place in
our performance venue.
Not sure where you got the idea that we’re
doing this “across the U.S. and elsewhere,”
but perhaps the last line of the “FYI” piece
will assuage your fears: “Hopefully, this
innovative pilot program will also serve
as a model for other school districts, and
attract the attention of school administrators to help generate future funding, so
that the same opportunities will be available to more students.”
Q
I own a Taylor 614ce. Last time
Glenn Tilbrook (of Squeeze fame)
came through this area, he played a solo
show in Northampton, Massachusetts.
He is as accomplished a “live” player/
singer as I have ever seen. That night
he played two Taylors — a six-string
Dreadnought that looked to be either
walnut or koa, and a red 12-string
Jumbo cutaway that I assumed was a
maple 655.
After the show, I asked him what
woods the guitars were made from. He
looked me straight in the eye, shrugged,
and said, “I have no idea.” I do not think
he was joking, but maybe he was just
being coy. Do you guys know what models he tours with? I was not about to go
onstage and look in the soundhole to see
the model numbers.
Point of interest: if Glenn really does
not know which woods were used on his
guitars, can one assume that players of
this caliber just do not care about such
things as long as the instrument feels
right and plays well? I was under the
impression that with each level artists
move up, they get deeper and deeper
into the nuances of everything, especial-
ly equipment. Am I wrong about this?
Anyway, if you get the chance, check out
Glenn’s incredible live solo shows.
James Anas
Via e-mail
A
Happy to solve the mystery. Glenn
tours with a K20 (koa Dreadnought)
and a red 655c (Jumbo maple 12-string
cutaway), so you were right on both
counts. As to the depths to which artists
delve to discover the nuances of their gear,
that ranges as far and as wide as the differences in various artists’ skill levels and
musical styles.
Some recording artists get very involved
in the gear thing; Clint Black is a fine
example of someone whose interest in
his guitars and amplified tone and signal chain seemed to intensify the more
famous he got (see Buzz Marcus’s revealing, two-part “Wood&Steel Interview”
with Clint in the Spring and Summer
2001 issues). Other performers leave the
guitar stuff to their techs and can’t tell
you much at all about their instruments
or equipment — all they need to know is
that something sounds, feels, looks, and/
or works well enough to properly deliver
their music.
There simply is no corollary linking
an artist’s talent, or an artist’s interest in
creating the best-possible music, with his
or her knowledge or expertise concerning
their instruments. Some incredible guitarists and superstars don’t even bother to
change their strings and wouldn’t know a
cutaway from a cold cut; conversely, some
amateur players and weekend warriors
can tell you how the wood cells line up
in their favorite axe. It’s all a matter of
personal inclination and nothing should
be read into either a preoccupation with
guitar specs, or a lack thereof.
By the way, we agree with you about
Glenn Tilbrook’s talent and great performance skills, and there’s a news item
in this issue’s “Soundings” section that
should interest you. ■
GS
pure acoust i c
S E R I E S
T h e GS S e r i e s Ta k e s S h a p e
BY JIM KIRLIN
PHOTOS BY
P P M / PAT B O E M E R &
R I TA F U N K - H O F F M A N
The T5’s sterling rookie season in 2005 has prompted
no shortage of frothy speculation regarding fresh developments for 2006. In the broader context of Taylor’s
electronics advances over the past several years, from
the Expression System to the K4, from the T5’s versatile
pickup system to a pair of new stomp boxes (see page 8),
the momentum certainly seems to be surging along the
lines of amplified tone.
What might be next on Taylor’s design frontier?
Rewind to May of last year. In the immediate
wake of the T5’s official spring launch, a fresh wave of
excitement was spreading as T5 models began arriving at (and quickly exiting) dealers’ stores. The factory was steadily increasing production to fulfill the
demand. The company’s product development group
was already actively exploring the second generation of
T5 ideas, from different pickup configurations to new
color options (see page 6).
Bob Taylor, as the guiding hand of development, had
been assessing the T5’s trajectory and pondering the
R&D focus and possible tooling efforts that would be
necessary to lead the company into 2006. A realization
came one weekend, and early the following week Bob
convened his design team for a product development
meeting at which they would begin charting the course
for the coming year.
Bob’s top priority: to make a strong acoustic statement.
“We certainly were riding high on the T5’s success, and
a lot of people in our product development group were
trying stuff,” Bob recalls, “but the next direction wasn’t
clear. And it occurred to me that there was a whole lifetime to make new iterations and let the T5 develop.”
Bob told his design group that Taylor owed it to customers to let them know that the company’s head was
still very much in the acoustic game.
“We weren’t going to go away and become the electric
guitar company that used to make acoustics,” he continues. “Besides, there were still a lot of ideas that we had
yet to express with acoustic guitars.”
continued on page 16
15
continued from page 15
Bob’s comments provide an update
to the Wood&Steel cover story from the
Summer 2002 issue (“New Frontiers in
Tone”, archived on the Taylor website),
which illuminated a similar mindset of tonal exploration. That period
would lead to the revoicing of the
Taylor Dreadnought and our other
steel-string models; the expansion of
the Nylon Series, the development of
the Expression System, and experimentation with scale length, which
would come to fruition with Taylor’s
30th Anniversary model, short-scale
L9s, and eventually, the DDSM.
For 2006, the renewed focus on
acoustic guitar has spawned an even
more dramatic breakthrough, in the
form of a brand new body shape, a
bold new Taylor acoustic sound, and
ultimately, a new way of thinking
about the Taylor line.
Shaping the Sound
“There was a sound I had in mind,
and a shape that I thought would
yield that sound,” Bob says of the
initial inspiration for the new body.
“The shape centered on the concept of the Grand Auditorium [Bob’s
first original guitar shape, introduced in 1994 to celebrate our 20th
Anniversary] and how it could be
modified, in a way.”
Bob shared his ideas with senior
guitar designers Larry Breedlove and
Ed Granero, giving them some basic
design direction.
“I asked Larry to take the waist
and move it up toward the neck, and
then make the lower bout a little more
‘pregnant’,” he elaborates. “What that
does is add a little bit of real estate in
an area of the lower bout where every
little bit can pay back big dividends.
It’s really all geometry. People don’t
realize that a 14-inch pizza is actually
twice the size of a 10-inch pizza. But
do the math. You make the guitar a
16
little bit bigger, and in reality, it’s a
lot bigger.”
Larry Breedlove says that
although the new body shape does
bear some similarities in shape to
the Grand Auditorium, he never
approached it simply in terms of
re-working the GA shape.
“We worked from certain dimensions, but we really drew a whole
new guitar. In fact, I even used
some T5 lines, initially.”
In addition to pushing the
waist up, Breedlove widened it
3/8 of an inch, lessening the
“pinching” effect that can diminish the tonal output of the guitar.
Coupled with the bigger, rounder
lower bout, the new body geometry
was now capable of producing a
more powerful sound.
“There’s so much energy going
into a guitar via the strings,” Bob
explains. “It’s what I call ‘fixed
overhead’. The question is what
happens with that energy? With
something like the GA, all of the
sound is produced and then stops
at the edge of that guitar; we just
pushed the fence out a little bit on
this new body, so you get a bigger
payback with it.”
Bob feels that the new shape
offers players a truly fresh acous-
GS
i n d i a n
r o s e w o o d
w e s t e r n
“The
r e d
c e d a r
g o a l wa s t o d e s i g n
a g u i ta r t h at h a s a d e e p e r ,
p i a n o - l i k e b a s s , way m o r e
volume, and a good low-end
s u s ta i n , w i t h o u t r u i n i n g
the clarity of the mids
and the highs.”
— B o b T ay l o r
GS
b i g
tic voice, much like the Grand Auditorium did when it was
introduced.
“The GA is the hands-down winner of that particular shape
and tone. Nobody even comes close to the success of that
model in a non-dreadnought guitar. It’s great for fingerstyle
and all-around light rhythm, but it’s not a bluegrass guitar
— a thunderous, low-E and -A-string kind of a flatpicker’s
l e a f
s i t k a
GS
s p r u c e
delight, with that low-end, traditional thump.
“So the goal was to design a guitar that has a deeper,
piano-like bass, way more volume, and a good low-end sustain, without ruining the clarity of the mids and the highs.
The idea was to start with the concept of the GA and make it
more boisterous. And it made sense to go there by changing
the body shape.
“It’s got a great mid-range — if you want, you can get a
little bit of that ‘low-fi’ mid-range chunk that people like to
hear in recording, but you also can play it more clearly if you
want. And if you just want to strum or play fingerstyle, it’s
loud and really bright.”
The new shape was officially christened the Grand
Symphony, or GS. In addition to the body’s modified dimen-
i n d i a n
s i t k a
GS
m a p l e
r o s e w o o d
s p r u c e
sions, other shape refinements, such as a more sloped
shoulder, were incorporated to give the GS unique
aesthetic appeal.
Inside the guitar, as Larry Breedlove
and Ed Granero note, the GS bracing isn’t
a significant component of the new sound
at all. It’s essentially a standard Taylor
bracing scheme, which includes the forward-shifted X-bracing and the relief rout
around the outer edge of the soundboard.
A few other very subtle structural changes were made in top, back, and side thickness, but the distinctive tonal properties
remain predominantly shape-driven.
t r o p i c a l
a m e r i c a n
w e s t e r n
m a h o g a n y
r e d
c e d a r
No Six-String Bling
From the outset, Bob and his team assumed
a back-to-basics design approach with the GS,
focusing purely on tone. In returning to an
acoustic roots concept, he took into account
that for better or for worse, over the last 12-15
years, Taylor has come to be perceived by some
as the “CE” (cutaway-electric) company.
“Part of it is that we did such a good job
of it that everybody said, ‘I want a cutaway
with electronics on my guitar,’” Bob says.
“Pretty soon the guitar is the ‘c and e’,
and in some ways people forget about the
rest of the guitar.”
The decision was made not to make a cutaway version of the GS, at least initially. An
option for electronics is available, but all standard models will be made without them.
Another major distinction of the GS body
shape is that, rather than simply being inserted into each Taylor series up the line, it’s being
grouped as its own separate series, consisting of four different tonewood combinations
— mahogany/cedar, maple/Sitka spruce, rosewood/cedar, and rosewood/Sitka spruce.
Because the emphasis is on tone, all four
models feature the same simple, understated
appointments, including ivoroid binding, an
abalone rosette, and abalone microdot fretboard inlays. Three of the models are priced
the same ($2,698), while the mahogany/cedar
version is $2,598. Without trying to deconstruct the existing Taylor line, the pricing parity of the GS Series
represents an opportunity to break free of
some of the conventions that have come
to govern the other
steel-string series.
The GS also reflects
shifting realities both
in wood supply and
market preferences.
“Everything tends to run through a cycle,
and people’s tastes are changing in terms of
what they want in a guitar,” Bob says. “For a
long time, it’s been a paradigm where, ‘here’s
the plain-Jane mahogany guitar, and here’s
the expensive rosewood guitar, which has to
continued on page 20
17
INDIE ARTISTS
The Farmers
Loaded
(Clarence Records)
Taylors Used: 710ce-L9, DCSM
Thefarmersmusic.com
The Beat Farmers came roaring out of
San Diego, California in the 1980s to earn
a diehard international underground following for its aggressive country-bluesrock. The band carried on until 1995,
when singer/drummer/guitarist Country
Dick Montana died onstage of a massive
heart attack.
Recently, founding members Buddy
Blue (vocals, electric, acoustic, slide, and
steel guitars, banjo, harp), Jerry Raney
(vocals, electric, acoustic, and 12-string
guitars), and Rolle Love (bass) reunited
as the Farmers, rounding out the lineup with drummer Joel “Bongo” Kmak,
a Montana friend and occasional fill-in
during the Beat Farmers’ heyday.
The group’s reemergence has been wellreceived. In September 2005, they were
honored with a Lifetime Achievement
Award at the San Diego Music Awards, and
their new CD, Loaded, was the year’s number-one seller on the milesofmusic.com
website, which specializes in Americana,
alt-country, roots-rock, folk-rock, folk,
bluegrass, and singer-songwriters. The
Farmers beat out such Americana heavyhitters as Ryan Adams, Nickel Creek,
John Hiatt, and Sonny Landreth — a feat
made more appreciable by the fact that
Loaded wasn’t released until October.
Loaded easily ranks among the band’s
best work. Overall, it’s a bit gutsier than
the Beat Farmers’ earlier efforts, perhaps
owing to Raney’s rock influences, and
evidenced in the fierce overdriven riffs of
“Lost in My Car” and the soaring electric
leads of “Beans ’n’ Weenies”. The CD also
is very wide-ranging. Among its exciting
tracks are the psychedelic “Hard Knot”,
with its distinctively Hendrix-y vibe, and
the down-home “Shadows of Glory”, with
its pitch-perfect slide work.
The highlight of Loaded, though, is
“Impressed”, an acoustic strummer in
the fertile key of G major, on which the
Farmers make their own rootsy sound
while giving a nod to the great mid- to
18
To h e a r s o u n d c l i p s f r o m t h e s e C D s , g o t o w w w . t a y l o r g u i t a r s . c o m / n e w s / o n r e v i e w
The Farmers / Loaded
Rich Eckhardt / Soundcheck
“…able to harness classic
American idioms to create their
own organic sound.”
“…the new breed of Nashville
picker: plays country but comes
from a rock background.”
Brandi Carlile / Brandi Carlile
Eugene Ruffolo / The Hardest Easy
late-’60s songs of Bob Dylan. Therein
lies the formula of the Farmers’ success: they’re able to harness classic
American idioms to create their own
organic sound. And nowhere is that
sound better represented than on this
satisfying new album.
— Marc Harris
Brandi
Carlile
Brandi Carlile
(Red Ink/Columbia Records)
Taylors Used: 914ce, 612
Brandicarlile.com
Twenty-three might seem a tender
age to score an album deal with a
major label, let alone put out a mature
debut effort. But when a musician has
been singing and performing since the
age of eight, and playing guitar since
she was 17, that’s already a good number of years spent getting to know the
mic, the stage, and what works to get a
song across.
Brandi Carlile’s self-titled album,
recorded in part in her Washington
State log cabin, might not be the most
adventurous collection of tracks, but
it serves notice that this young singer,
songwriter, and guitarist has the ability to
deliver a song with extraordinary expression, honesty, and grace.
Carlile’s music is a close mix of altcountry and acoustic-laced pop, and her
delivery, alternating between her rootsmusic-flavored lower register and a
soaring falsetto, has drawn comparisons with Patsy Cline. Carlile co-wrote
the majority of the tracks with musical
partner Tim Hanserath, who also plays
guitar and contributes backing vocals.
Hanserath’s twin, Phil, plays bass and
adds harmonies, and Carlile and the
twins share production credit. In the
main, the songs are sparingly produced
and driven more by acoustic guitar
than hard-edged electric.
Carlile’s lyrics and stories tend
toward the darker side of self-discovery, but the narratives flow easily and
pull you in to feel the emotion. A few
songs — “Throw It All Away”, “Fall Apart
Again,” and “Follow” (which features a
late-Beatles-esque arrangement and
production values) — could pass for
solid country-rock standards, while
songs like “Happy”, “Someday Never
Comes”, “Gone”, and “Tragedy” have an
acoustic core, tasteful instrumentation,
and an unpretentious quality that puts
a great distance between this artist and
the rest of the pack.
Carlile already has a strong musical
identity, which might be even more
apparent onstage than in this initial CD
outing, but this is a good introduction
to an artist who has every chance of
becoming a significant player.
— Julie Bergman
Jim
“Kimo” West
Slack Key West
(Westernmost Records)
Taylor Used: 514ce
Jimkimowest.com
“…has the ability to deliver a
song with extraordinary expression, honesty, and grace.”
“…rich, soulful singing…the
ability to evoke deep emotion
line by line...”
Jim “Kimo” West / Slack Key West
Jonathan Kingham / That Changes
Everything
“…his instrumentals all take
place in an assortment of lush,
open, tropical tunings.”
“…a wistful, late-night ambience that flickers with mellow
sophistication.”
On the cover of his new CD, Jim “Kimo”
West stands barefoot on the beach,
clad in baggy shorts, looking more
blissful than Swami Satchidananda
after his 19th epiphany. There is no
accompanying thought balloon, but if
there were, it might read, “Slack key, sí
— Weird Al, no!”
Many musicians lead double lives
(at least), but West’s fluctuations are
true synapse shredders. Not only does he
split his time between L.A. (where there’s
more work) and Hawaii, but to keep the
fresh mahi-mahi and opah on the dinner
table, Kimo has worked for years as musical director/lead guitarist for Weird Al
Yankovic. After playing theatres, casinos,
and state fairs, arousing fans of musical
satire via “My Bologna”, “Another One
Rides the Bus”, and “Like a Surgeon”,
West retreats post-tour to the solace
and sanity of the Islands to decompress and go acoustic.
Slack Key West is his third foray in
a passionate pursuit of all things ki
ho ‘alu (slack key). It could have been
subtitled Seven Shades of Modal, as
his easy-to-digest (just short of New
Age) instrumentals all take place in
an assortment of lush, open tropical tunings. The soothing collection
of 11 originals and three well-chosen
covers is not only reminiscent of slack
key masters Gabby Pahinui and Ledward
Ka’apana, but also harkens back to the ’80s
To h e a r s o u n d c l i p s f r o m t h e s e C D s , g o t o w w w . t a y l o r g u i t a r s . c o m / n e w s / o n r e v i e w
Windham Hill sounds of Will Ackerman
and Alex de Grassi. (West acknowledges
Windham Hill mainstay, pianist George
Winston, for his ongoing entrepreneurial efforts to bring ki ho ‘alu into
the mainstream.)
There is nothing on this CD that will
make you laugh or groan like the stuff
West plays in his other life, where he dons
the spandex and turns the amp up to 10
during songs like “I Lost on Jeopardy”,
“Eat It”, or “Addicted to Spuds”. On Slack
Key West, you get mild-mannered Clark
Kent, not Superman. And if he isn’t able
to save Metropolis, he’s certainly capable
of easing your troubled mind and rocking
your little baby to sleep.
— Kenny Weissberg
Rich Eckhardt
Soundcheck
(independent release)
Taylors used: 610ce, 514ce, NS52ce
richeckhardt.com
Best-known as Toby Keith’s guitarslinger, Rich Eckhardt represents the
new breed of Nashville picker — one
who plays country music but comes from
a decidedly rock background. A product of the D.C. area, he cut his teeth
playing covers of Foghat, the Doobie
Brothers, and Bachman-Turner Overdrive,
and cites the Beatles and Monkees as
early inspirations.
After landing a road gig with Eddy
Raven, Eckhardt moved to Music City in
1989, and has since played with some of
country’s biggest names. But hearing the
Ventures made him “realize that some
songs were complete without lyrics,” and
consequently his solo debut is an instrumental feast.
Opening with the crunchy squawk of
the Jeff Beck-inspired title track, Eckhardt
makes it clear that we’re not in Nashville
anymore, Toto. But the mood quickly
swings to an almost New Age feel for the
acoustic “Old Chanoanon River” (its title
a reference to the Native American name
for the Cumberland) before skipping
to the Austrian-titled, Celtic-sounding
“Zwergelgarten” — two of ten Eckhardt
originals in the set.
Rich’s main acoustic is a 610ce, which
he miked with two Shure KSM 27s. “One
is close, near the soundhole,” he explains,
“and the other is just over the top of my
head and back about two feet.” He also ran
a DI from the guitar’s preamp. He used
the 514ce for rhythm accompaniment
because “its size gave me an even and
less-bassy tone.” It was double-tracked,
using just the microphones, and panned
hard left and right.
The bouncy “Workin’ for Peanuts” shows
off some fancy fingerpicking, and a nonsteel remake of the chestnut “Sleepwalk”
recalls D.C. forefathers Danny Gatton and
Roy Buchanan. Then things get romantic
on the jazzy “Catalina” and on the gutstring, flamenco-esque “Tronar Los Dedos
(Snap Your Fingers)”, which boasts an
instantly memorable melody.
It’s that level of maturity — never
resorting to chops for chops’ sake
(even though he obviously has them
to spare) — that simultaneously illustrates why Eckhardt is so in-demand
and proves that he’s no mere sideman.
Indeed, he’s an artist with a lot to say
— no lyrics necessary.
— Dan Forte
Eugene
Ruffolo
The Hardest Easy
(Oats Music)
Taylor Used: 514ce
Eugeneruffolo.com
Pop songwriting, as a craft, is deceptively elusive and difficult. The writer
makes choices about instrumentation,
harmonic content, form, melody, lyrics,
and myriad other components long before
the song’s final vision is realized. The hope
is that the little pieces blend into one, the
composite parts are forgotten, and only
the song and its true meaning are heard
and understood by the listener. It’s a lot
easier said than done, especially when
trying to convey feelings of loss, love,
sadness, and hope.
Enter Eugene Ruffolo, a New York-based
singer/songwriter/guitarist of the highest
professional order. His vocal talent alone
has landed him session work with artists
as disparate as Garth Brooks, Livingston
Taylor, and Tony Bennett, and his voice
can be heard on countless Hollywood film
soundtracks. But his rich, soulful, singing
(certain passages conjure up a modernday Bill Withers) is but a piece of his true
talent: the ability to evoke deep emotion
through his own material, line by line,
seemingly at will.
The Hardest Easy, Ruffolo’s third album,
is his take on the dangers and aspirations
of love. On the title track, he makes his
mixed feelings clear — affairs of the
heart, described in fragile detail, are not
without effort, fear, pain, and wavering
resolve. He’s certainly not afraid to get
dark. “Irreplaceable” and “A Kiss for Your
Travels” are desperate, plaintive wails in
song form for a dearly departed friend,
and the ironically titled “Gracefully” could
be a candidate for the songs-to-stab-yourself-over hall of fame (“We walked here
together/it takes two to break the vow/
from glory to ashes/yeah, just take a look
at us now”).
Just when you think all is hopeless and
lost, Ruffolo smiles and winks with “Run
to You”, a spry, clever, “I’m in love with
you” ditty with a bouncy groove, major
tonality, and a quirky string arrangement,
all of which could fit perfectly on side
two of the Beatles’ “White Album”. And
the uplifting album closer, “Only Love”,
speaks for itself in its yearning for The
One True Thing, no matter what the cost.
Ruffolo’s songs are so holistically
complete that it’s easy to gloss-over the
rewarding instrumentation. Backing
vocals, percussion, strings, and even lap
steel guitar weave in and out, seamlessly,
almost unnoticeably. You can be lulled into
forgetting that acoustic guitar anchors
nearly every track. In particular, “The
Hills of Sicily” (co-written with Taylor clinician Artie Traum) features a beautifulsounding, room-miked guitar and rich,
complex harmonic textures that make you
wonder how he keeps it so simple with so
much songwriting and instrumental talent at his disposal.
But that’s how Ruffolo’s craft works,
and its simplicity in execution only serves
to illuminate how far a heart can rise, fall,
and rise again. Utterly conventional, yet
somehow effortlessly unique in its beauty
and emotional expression, this album
landed square in my chest and is stuck
there still.
— Bryan Beller
Jonathan
Kingham
That Changes Everything
(Exact Records)
Taylor Used: 510
Jonathankingham.com
Romantic balladry is slippery turf. It
takes a special knack for nuance to craft
love songs (in this case an entire album’s
worth) that conjure the feeling without
laying it on too thick or setting off the
cliché alarm. Fortunately, award-winning
singer-songwriter Jonathan Kingham
applies a sensitive touch on That Changes
Everything, a classy assortment of candlelit confessions.
Kingham’s smoky baritone is the
perfect mood setter, infusing his original material with velvety warmth as he
pays homage to the vintage R&B and
torch-song traditions. Kingham’s melodic
phrasing forms each song’s emotional
centerpiece, while spare, well-appointed
arrangements, including piano, B3 organ,
and archtop and pedal-steel guitars match
the expressiveness of his voice. The pareddown production enhances the intimacy
of the record and gives every element
room to breathe; the effect is a wistful, understated, late-night ambience that
flickers with mellow sophistication.
Kingham dims the lights and gets his
groove on with the jazzy R&B opener,
“Every Little Step”, the album’s most uptempo track, as his husky vocal cascades
over silky hollowbody electric, gently
shimmering B3, and laid-back horn fills.
From there, Kingham lights his torch on
the softly swinging “All That’s Missing
Is You”, his aching vocal reminiscent of
Lyle Lovett, tinged with pedal-steel and a
sultry sax solo. Kingham works in mostly
hushed tones the rest of the way, employing tasteful restraint, heightening the
emotional impact of his sentiments.
Thematically, That Changes Everything
illuminates the full spectrum of love, from
its heart-fluttering beginnings to its timeweathered reaffirmation. The title track
toasts the pivotal moment of acquiescing
to love’s pull; “Real Woman” is a tribute
to love aging gracefully; “Better Word For
Love” reflects on the inability of words
to encompass deep feelings. On the slow,
soulful lament,“Only a Dream”, Kingham’s
longing hangs thick in the air before his
voice slips into a pristine falsetto worthy
of a Chris Isaak tune.
After the irony-soaked “I Don’t Love
You Anymore”, Kingham closes with a
beautifully minimal cover of Sade’s
“It’s Only Love That Gets You Through”,
accompanying himself on piano. Though
the album runs its course in under 40
minutes, Kingham takes his sweet time
every step of the way, savoring love’s many
splendors and enduring power.
— Jim Kirlin ■
COREY
HARRIS
continued from page 13
the same place as Charlie Patton or Blind
Joe Reynolds or Skip James.
CH: Right! They’re very hip to American
music over there. They check stuff out and
they travel. They’ve been doing that for
decades — longer than a lot of us have. It’s
something that’s universal to me. It goes
beyond the words to the songs. There are
certain vibes, the vibration of the singing
and playing comes through.
W&S: Alvin “Youngblood” Hart got
angry with me not long ago because I
wrote a story saying that as much as I
loved his country-blues playing, I couldn’t
hang with his electric rock records. He
sent me this nasty e-mail implying I was
a bigot, that I was in the yoke of the
oppressor, and he refused to tap-dance
for my benefit and whatnot. I must admit,
I took a bit of umbrage at that! Is there
some implication of bigotry among white
people who love old-time country blues?
CH: Wow…people hold their music
right on their sleeve, with their heart.
Sometimes people will have hostile reactions [laughs]. We might say we don’t care
what people think, that we’ll do what we
want, but obviously, we want people to like
what we’re doing. Whew! [laughs]
W&S: What’s your opinion on the state
of the blues today — its health, its longterm prospects for the future?
CH: I think there are different types of
blues for different types of people. I don’t
think the meaning of the blues was ever
tied down in the first place, and it’s more
vague than ever now. In general, blues
is something that’s gonna be sold in the
marketplace as a commercial product.
But the kind of music that R.L. Burnside
or Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown played
— yeah, that’s dying out, plain and simple.
Even if we all go out and learn all those
songs and reproduce them note-for-note,
it’s still dying out. We should appreciate it
and do what we can to let people know it
exists and play the music and everything,
but music reflects an era and time period,
not simply entertainment or nostalgia.
There’s different music for different
times, and this is not really blues time
anymore. Blues time was back when my
mom and them were coming up and a bit
before that. Everything has changed. It’s
cool to know where you come from and to
continued on page 28
19
continued from page 17
get fancier to help justify the cost.’
The statement we’re making with the
GS Series is that all woods are getting
rare. Mahogany is becoming more
rare and harder to get than rosewood.
“So one reason we’ve compressed
those prices is to let people know
that it really is all about the tone with
these guitars. We’re not going to say
one guitar is way more valuable than
another guitar based on the wood.
We’ve broken down the lines of the
decoration, so it’s not like you have to
buy into the idea of a fancy guitar to
get the rosewood.
“These are just guitars; they’re very
workmanlike, they’re elegant with ivoroid binding and nice little abalone
rosette and microdots on them. Pick
the one that you think sounds the
best. You don’t really have to pick the
one in the line that you can afford,
because if you can afford one, you
can afford all four. It’s really about
getting back to basics, yet it’s a guitar
that needs to be played, because it’s a
sweet-sounding guitar.”
Big Voice, Pure Joy
“This is a real player’s guitar”,
assesses Taylor product specialist
Brian Swerdfeger, whom many readers may recognize from his T5 demonstration videos on the Taylor website.
Swerdfeger is a busy gigging guitarist
who worked on the T5 with Taylor
Special Projects Manager David Hosler
and Bob Taylor, and on the prototype
refinement of the GS over the last
several months. He’s also a self-confessed gear hound who owns numerous acoustic and electric guitars. As a
discerning player, he recounts his first
impressions of the GS.
“It felt like the Taylors I’m used
to, and it played great, but it was a
completely different sound. I mean,
I’m usually surrounded by different
guitars, but every once in a while I
pick one up, start playing, and later
realize, this is the first time I’ve played
20
for a half an hour straight just for the
pure joy of it.
“Something about the GS struck
me on the emotional side and just
made me want to play. It has such a big
voice, plus a fun aspect. I would play it
one way, grab a different pick, play a
little harder, play a little softer, finger-
pick it, de-tune it. Before I knew it, I
was probably an hour and a half into
an evening of discovery, which was a
lot of fun.
“The GS is the first guitar in a long,
long time, probably since the GA in
the acoustic guitar world, that says,
‘Here’s a new voice that’s inspiring,’”
GS
S E R I E S
Girthy and Giving
Last fall, Taylor product specialist Brian Swerdfeger took a few GS
prototypes out to music stores in Orange County, California.
Below are some initial impressions from players.
Corey Witt, Brea, California
“‘Girthy’ is definitely the word I would use to describe the GS. I own a
25th Anniversary, all-mahogany 314-MCE, which to me is just the perfect
Taylor. I casually play Taylors at stores all the time, and while they’re all
beautiful guitars, none compares to mine. This was the first time I played
a Taylor and felt like it really resonated and had the girth and the warmth
that I feel my all-mahogany one does. And what’s notable is that my wife,
who doesn’t know anything about guitars except for the fact that they’re
the ‘other woman’, heard it, too. It actually felt louder than my all-mahogany, but it didn’t feel boomy like a Jumbo. The GS has that sweet spot in the
lower-mids; they just felt so round.”
Ian Williams, owner, Rockit Music,
Brea, California
“For me, the beauty of Taylors is the articulation; you hear those notes
and all of that pretty upper end as well. I thought the GS had a nice way of
marrying that nice clarity with bottom end.”
Brian Tong, Costa Mesa, California
“I’ve owned other Taylors, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve never really
liked the Taylor tone. I love their playability, but to my ear, they just never
gave me that deep, visceral, ‘bone-resonating’ feel. But with the GS, the way
the top moves…I felt an instantaneous feedback in the way it vibrated.
What I like the most is the natural compression of the wood to where
there’s no sort of dead feeling when you hit it harder. It felt a lot like my
favorite OM in terms of how it projected; it gave me that initial push, but
compressed really nicely to where, when I laid into it, everything smoothed
out. It kept giving me more the harder I played it, and it kept giving me
more the softer I played it. I never felt like it let me down.”
Body Type: 6-string GS
elixir medium
Strings: Cutaway:
none
Electronics: none
Body: width: 16 1/4”
depth: 4 5/8”
length: 20”
width at waist: 10”
overall length: 41”
width: 1-3/4”
Neck heel length: 3 1/2”
scale length: 25 1/2”
no. of frets: 20
material: ivoroid
Binding
body: ivoroid
fretboard: ivoroid
peghead: none
heel cap: ivoroid
soundhole: none
Purfling
material: plastic
size: 3-ring
Rosette material: abalone
Inlays
peghead logo: mother-of-pearl
fretboard: 4 mm abalone dots
Finish
back/sides: gloss
top: gloss
neck: satin
TUNERS: taylor gold
BUTTONS: gold
NUT/SADDLE: tusq
BRIDGE PINS: ebony w/ab dot
he adds. “And when you run across
a sound you’ve never heard before,
it inspires new songs. Now I have
this instrument that can articulate
what I hear in my head.”
Swerdfeger’s feelings were validated when he started taking GS
prototypes out on gigs (see “Girthy
and Giving” sidebar).
“People would hear it and say,
‘What’s that?’ — not because they
visually recognized it as a new
shape, but because it had a voice
they hadn’t heard from other
Taylors. A lot of people didn’t expect
it from a Taylor. That’s another fun
thing about the GS. It’s a sound that
Taylor isn’t known for, yet it’s not
someone else’s sound. It’s a very
distinguished, complex sound. If
you’re a connoisseur, when you play
this guitar you’ll find things in it
that you would expect from the
most boutique-y specialty builders
— yet at an amazing price.”
Returning to the notion of the
GS as a “player’s guitar”, Swerdfeger
points out that it’s an instrument that can really be driven
dynamically with one’s picking/
strumming hand.
“I’ve noticed that really good guitarists who’ve played a long time
can get all kinds of amazing voices
out of one acoustic guitar, because
they know how to lean into it or
back off, or move their hand closer
to the bridge or neck. I think the GS
guitar is so dynamic in that sense,
from really quiet to blistering loud.
There are so many subtle nuances
and complexities in there.”
While both Swerdfeger and
David Hosler can talk at length
about their personal impressions
of the GS, both stress that rather than trying to define the tone
themselves, people should play and
Look
for
GS Series
A guitar of the caliber of the Taylor GS Series deserves a case of equal distinction.
A rugged yet elegant chocolate brown, alligator-inspired, polyvinyl exterior wraps
the sturdy 6mm, 5-ply archtop shell. Inside, the rich texture of crushed velvet covers
thick layers of open and closed cell foam for a tailored, glove-like fit. Custom touches
include a removable, formed heel pad, an adjustable, padded headstock wedge, a
wooden belly band, gold-plated hardware, a combination lock, and hand-stitched
leather handles.
Pricing:
GS / Tropical american
Mahogany
Western Red Cedar
$2,598
GS / Indian Rosewood
S i t k a Sp r u c e
$2,698
g u itar s i n sto r e s starti n g
GS / Indian Rosewood
Western Red Cedar
$2,698
GS / Big Leaf Maple
S i t k a Sp r u c e
$2,698
A p r i l 1, 2 0 0 6 . V i s i t
listen to them on their own. And
they encourage people to play all
four models, because each one
really responds uniquely to an
individual player.
“I think we proved that inhouse,” Swerdfeger says, “where I’d
be playing or David would be playing the cedar/mahogany model
and getting great sound from it.
Then Bob Taylor would pick it and
it just wouldn’t sound the same.
But then Bob would pick up the
spruce/rosewood guitar and sound
spectacular on it because he has a
really light touch, and for the way
he plays, that’s his sound. Almost
the opposite is true for me — I
sound clunky on the spruce/rosewood guitar.
“So, that’s what led us to the idea
that these are all going to be priced
the same, because we can’t say one
is better; depending on your playing style, it might not be. It’s like
having four different flavors, each
of which is completely valid and yet
totally subjective.”
In reflecting on the GS project, Bob Taylor sums up the merits
of reaching forward and designing a guitar that truly offers
something new.
“The GS has allowed us to refresh
ourselves, and to refresh the experience with players. It’s important
for us to continue to develop some
new frontier. We need it. Customers
need it. The industry needs it. This
is all an ecosystem, and our role
in that is to take a cool idea and
turn it into something a person can
find in a store and take home and
play. I try to never forget that role.
It’s our contribution to inspiring
new music, by giving players a new,
great sound.” ■
t a y l o r g u i t a r s . c o m f o r m o r e d e t a i ls .
21
SHORT SCALE,
HIGH MARKS
LA GUITARE
À DEUX TÊTES
Guitarist Acoustic / Jan 2006. This
lavishly produced French magazine has
a two-page story about the T5. Dusting
off the college Français, we were able
to translate the headline (“Two-Headed
Guitar”), and we could read enough to
discern a predominantly favorable slant
to the article (nice photos).
THIN LINEUP
Guitar World Acoustic / Dec 2005.
The T5 is featured in a roundup of
10 thinline acoustic-electrics. The story
(“The Thin Crowd”) traces the development of the hybrid concept back to
Gibson’s 1982 launch of the nylon-string
Chet Atkins Standard (followed by the
steel-string SST in ’87),
and notes the influence of semi-hollowbody
electrics like the Gibson
ES-335.
Among the variety of solidbody and
chambered-body models that guitar makers have introduced since then, the T5 is
rightly lauded for not just blurring but
transcending the categories that have long
defined the “acoustic-electric” realm. The
T5’s pickups and five-way switch dramatically distinguish it from the other
guitars in the pack (including the Godin
Multiac Steel SA, Gibson Americana
Pioneer Cutaway, and Fender
Acoustasonic Strat), most of
which utilize a piezo pickup platform. As in most other magazine
reviews, the T5’s extraordinary
versatility and amp compatibility are cited for giving the player
a diverse range of tonal colors.
Also in this issue, the cover
story on Neil Young mentions
his Taylor 12-strings; the “First
Stringer” section features three
artists who play Taylors (Iron &
Wine [Sam Beam], Ali Handal,
and Bob Burger); and an LR Baggs ad
shows Jim Messina playing his DDSM.
Acoustic Guitar / Nov 2005.
Our short-scale 710ce-L9
came up anything but short
in a gear review. Then-editor
Scott Nygaard starts by recalling how the “bassy whomp”
of a Martin D-28 established
a defining acoustic voice for
a generation of players in the
’60s and early ’70s. While the arrival of
companies like Taylor and Larrivée introduced a more balanced, refined contemporary tone, Nygaard acknowledges, the
robust low-end of a D-28 remained a
sonic benchmark for many. If Nygaard is
implying his own subjective preferences,
he also professes that the 710ce-L9 “is the
first Taylor I’ve played that duplicates the
vintage D-28’s woody boom….with the
first strummed G chord, my face brightened and I was off, boom-chucking like
one possessed, ripping into G-runs and
launching first-position flatpicked leads
with abandon.”
But Nygaard quickly realized that this
was no Martin clone. The short-scale’s
slinkier feel made it easier for him to play,
“great for bending and wiggling strings
— even in the first position”, which also
caused him to lighten up his attack. The
guitar’s strong point, he felt, was versa-
TAYLOR DAYS ARE
HERE AGAIN
MMR (Musical Merchandise Review)
/ Nov 2005. A nice item in the “Upfront”
section details the runaway success of
the “Taylor Day” events we launched at
various dealers’ stores in 2005. The multipronged efforts combine a regular workshop featuring a Taylor clinician with a
diagnostic/re-stringing session conducted
by techs from the Taylor factory and a
meet-and-greet with the Taylor Regional
Sales Manager for that area of the country.
We did 43 such Taylor Days before the
year ended, and more are in the planning
stages for 2006.
To ensure that you don’t miss the
Taylor events coming to your area, register
for our free “E/vents” reminder e-mail
program by going to our website, rolling
your cursor over the “news/events” tab,
and clicking on “Taylor Calendar”. You’ll
see where to click to enroll. Once enrolled,
you’ll automatically be notified a month in
advance of every event.
If you’d rather not receive e-mail notices, simply refer to our online Calendar for
information, which is updated daily. Do
a search for “Taylor Day” to get specific
dates for those events.
COUNTRY
CLAMORING
RIBBONS AND
GUITARS
Electronic Musician / Nov 2005. The
cover story is about recording with ribbon (or velocity) microphones, and the
cover photo is a beautiful shot of
a Taylor 110, poised and ready
to “sing” into an expectant ribbon mic. Ribbon mics are known
for their “punch”, natural room
sound, and excellent low-end
definition. The article, “Capture
That Vintage Vibe”, focuses on 13
quality ribbon mics for the project-studio owner, organized in
groups by price and physical construction. The 110 pictured on the
cover belongs to EM Senior Editor
Gino Robair, who told us in an e-mail,
“Feel free to mention it’s my personal guitar. I love the sound of that instrument.”
these short-scale dreads because of their
playability, vintage warmth, and powerful
ES electronics. Previously you’d have to
install aftermarket electronics in a vintage
or vintage-reissue dread to get this combination of vintage whomp and acousticelectric sound. But not anymore.”
Country Weekly / Nov 7, 2005. Taylor
sightings in this issue included Alan
Jackson, Neil Thrasher, Pam Tillis’s band,
and Craig Morgan.
Chevy/CMA calendar. Chevrolet and
the Country Music Association teamed to
tility, inviting him to play “up-the-neck
jazz chords” as well as fingerpick. He
reckons that the axe would be especially
loved by players who employ a variety
of techniques.
Nygaard also raves about the
Expression System, calling it one of the
best amplification systems on the market. He mentions that as he cranked up
the volume (playing through a new AER
AcoustiCube 3), a couple of passers-by
remarked how natural it sounded. His bottom-line assessment: “There will certainly
be a lot of guitarists falling in love with
For the latest Taylor media coverage, visit taylorguitars.com/news/news.html
22
produce a full-color 2006 calendar prior
to the November 16 CMA Awards, held
for the first time in New York’s Madison
Square Garden. The “April” photo featured longtime Taylor player Billy Dean
crouched in front of a Chevy pickup with
one of his all-koa K20 Dreadnoughts.
Dean’s latest CD is Let Them Be Little.
LEO AND MIKE’S
EXCELLENT
VENTURE
Guitar World Acoustic / Oct/Nov
2005. An article about the latest collaboration between Leo Kottke and Phish
bassist Mike Gordon has two photos
of Leo playing his signature Taylors.
Also, a “First Stringers” review of Brandi
Carlisle’s CD mentions her 914ce and
612 (see “On Review” this issue for Julie
Bergman’s review of the CD).
ETC.
New York / Sept 2005. The venerable
city magazine’s “Best Bets” page sports
a full photo of the T5 with a description titled “An Acoustic That Blows the
Amps” and directs readers to Rudy’s
Music Stop in New York City.
Music Inc. / Sept 2005. There’s
a nice nod to Taylor in the “NAMM
News” section (“Taylor T5 a Bonafide
Hit”), and info on the new Doyle
Dykes Anniversary Edition in the
“Gear” section. ■
Sebastian, Alejandro Sanz, guitarist
Vicente Fernandez, Juan Gabriel guitarist Gustavo Farias, and others, has
created a frenzy among the pro
community. Many stores are already in
negotiations to become part of the
dealer network, which will make Taylor a household name in Mexico in the
very near future. We look forward to
a great future with Taylor Guitars in
Mexico and are very proud to be part of
this family of guitar craftsmanship.”
Many of those popular and emerging Latin artists, including Maná, La
Ley, Bacilos, Chayanne, Julieta Venegas,
Juan-Carlos Formell, and Reik, already
play Taylors, so it was not surprising
that the sixth-annual Latin Grammy
Awards show, held November 3 at the
MEXICAN GUITAR ON
Taylor Guitars has established a
formal presence in the Latin American
retail market, forging a relationship with
Elizondo Music, a distributor based in
Guadalajara, the capital of the Mexican
state of Jalisco. In March 2005, Elizondo
officially debuted the Taylor line at the
Soundcheck Expo, the Mexican equivalent of the U.S. NAMM show, held at
Mexico City’s World Trade Center. More
than 12,000 musicians attended the event,
according to Elizondo Music President
Raul Elizondo, who deemed the show “a
great success” for introducing Taylor to
Mexico’s “pro” music community.
“Music is like a religion in this country,
and guitars are a main instrument in
the music,” Elizondo reflected after the
event. “Many musicians don’t have access
to high-quality guitars like Taylors, so
they were very excited when they saw
our booth. We had great attendance, and
many prominent musicians stopped by,
including members of the band Molotov,
guitarist Arturo Ibarra from the legendary Spanish rock band Rostros
Ocultos, songwriter Sergio Fachelli, Sin
Banderas, Benny Ibarra, members of the
band Maná, renowned producer Memo
Gil, Timbirichi, and many others.”
Elizondo says that the Taylor Expression
System impressed many of the pro musicians, who were well aware of Mr. Rupert
Neve’s audio-design legacy, yet were
amazed that such
quality electronics
were available on an
acoustic
guitar. The
T5, not
surpris-
ingly, also added to the excitement at
the booth.
Given the high-end market position
of Taylor relative to the income limitations among portions of the Mexican
customer base, one might wonder how
commercially viable Taylor can be
south of the border.
“The truth is that when you see
and feel a Taylor, you don’t want to let
go,” Elizondo explains. “This is exactly
what happened during the Expo, and
we feel that this will happen across
the country. Musicians had never been
exposed to such quality craftsmanship
and are willing to save for that
guitar after they play one.
“The number of
Hispanic pro-end users,
like Maná, La Ley, Pepe
Aguilar, Sin Bandera, Joan
Clockwise from top: Latin
artists Aleks Syntek, Marco
Antonio Solis (photo by Oscar
Elizondo), and Sergio Vallin
of Maná
millions (a month earlier, La Ley had
staged its official final concert at Luna
Park Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina).
Chances are good that we’ll be hearing
more from Cuevas, who plans to pursue
a solo career.
Taylor player Julieta Venegas (Soundings,
Summer 2004 issue) also performed at
the Latin Grammys, and another past
winner, Marco Antonio Solis (who again
was nominated in the Best Male Vocal
Album category), was a 2005 presenter.
Two weeks before the program, Solis had
played his red T5 for a crowd of thousands
at one of Southern California’s premier
venues, the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim.
“Also, I recently was invited to the House
of Blues in Hollywood to see Aleks Syntek,”
Elizondo relates. “I showed him Marco’s
T5 and he fell in love with it and ended
up playing it during his concert. He will
take delivery of his own T5 in Mexico City
and wants an 815, as well.”
Taylor-playing melodic-pop group Reik
also was nominated (Best New Artist)
and served as presenters. But the biggest winner of the night was Colombian
rocker Juanes, who walked away with
Latin Grammys for Best Rock Song, Best
Rock Vocal Album, and Best Music Video
honors. Juanes performed solo vocal, just
his voice and a Taylor.
GUITAR SIGNED BY
ROBBIE WILLIAMS
RAISES £20,000 FOR
CHARITY
A Taylor 614ce signed by British
pop star Robbie Williams raised £20,000
(about $35,000) at a late-November charity event in London. Taylor Guitars’ UK
distributor, Sound Technology,
donated the
Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, was
awash in our guitars.
Lead singer Beto Cuevas of the Chilean
rock group La Ley played a T5 during
the band’s farewell performance. The
repeat nominees, who formed in 1987
and already had a Grammy and a Latin
Grammy to their credit, exited in grand
style by performing energized renditions
of “Mentira”, “Aqui”, and “El Duelo” for
a television audience numbering in the
black-stained maple beauty to be
auctioned off during a fundraising ball
at the Royal Lancaster Hotel to benefit
the Willow Foundation. The winning
bid of £20,000 — a record for the event
— came from the chairman of Liberty
Bishop, an accountancy firm specializing
in providing services for UK and international contractors, particularly those in
the IT sector.
The Willow Foundation was founded
years ago by former Scotland and Arsenal
football (soccer to Americans) goalkeeper
and British television sports commentator
Bob Wilson and his wife Megs in memory
of his daughter, Anna. The organization
funds and organizes “special days” that
provide seriously ill young adults with
a respite from the routine of illness and
treatment that can dominate their lives.
Recently launched as a national charity, Willow hopes to help the estimated
12,500 people in the UK, aged 16-40,
who are diagnosed every year with a
life-threatening illness.
“This wonderful gift [the 614ce]
achieved an extraordinary result for the
Willow Foundation,” said Wilson. “We are
indebted to both Sound Technology for
donating it and to Kim Scott, Chairman
of Liberty Bishop, for his generosity in
purchasing it.”
David Marshall, Managing Director
of Sound Technology plc, added, “As our
chosen charity, we are delighted to have
helped the Willow Foundation raise such
a significant sum of money, and are very
grateful to Taylor Guitars for their help
with this project.”
For more information visit willowfoundation.org or soundtech.co.uk.
continued on page 24
L-R: David
Seaman and
Bob Wilson
hold a 614ce
signed by
Robbie
Williams
along with
TaylorWare
items
23
continued from page 23
BOB AND DAVID
IN JAPAN
In October, Bob Taylor and David Hosler
traveled to Japan for the second time to
visit our distributor, YMT, headquartered in Tokyo. Their first official event
was a dealer summit held at the YMT
National Showroom and Service Center
in Tokyo. In attendance were storeowners and sales staff from many of the 38
Taylor dealers that cover Japan. Some had
traveled six hours, one way, by train to
attend the gathering.
“It was a fantastic time of fun and
information-exchange with them,” Hosler
reports. “We discussed numerous topics,
from the increasing popularity of Taylor
guitars in Japan to wood combinations
and the sounds of different body shapes.
YMT has built a fantastic service and sales
center, where they have a dedicated staff of
sales and product support persons, as well
as skilled and gifted in-house techs.”
According to Hosler, the dealer summit
started on an interesting note. A sales
staffer from Aomori, in the northern
region of Japan, had created a list of questions to ask Bob. The person spoke very
little English, and was hoping that someone would be able to translate.
“What at first looked like a difficult situation actually turned into a
really cool time for all of us,” Hosler says.
“It was impressive watching the entire
group working together to translate the
24
questions to us, and then explaining the
answers to each other in Japanese. It was
amazing and quite humorous at times, but
totally successful. Immediately after the
summit, we held an interview session with
two national Japanese magazines, including Acoustic Guitar (Japan).”
The following day, Bob and David
accepted a personal invitation from Ichiro
Katayama, President of Takamine, to visit
their new factory. Bob and Ichiro have
been friends for many years, and it was
a great honor for the Taylor duo to be
invited to tour their new facility. The
Takamine factory is located on Takamine
Mountain, in the Kiso Valley — a twohour train ride south. After a delicious
lunch consisting of numerous traditional
Japanese dishes, the group drove up the
mountain to the factory for an afternoon
of hospitality and friendship.
“When we returned to Tokyo, we had
dinner with guitarist Kazumi Watanabe,
his wife Coco, and YMT staff members,”
Hosler recalls. “Kazumi is a fantastic
player and a national treasure in Japan, and
he’s very popular in American
jazz circles, as well. He gave
the T5 a huge endorsement at
NAMM 2005 and continues
to talk about it in Japanese
music magazines.”
On Friday night of that
week, YMT and Taylor Guitars
sponsored an evening concert featuring four acts — all
Taylor players — in the Shibuya district
of Tokyo.
“The hall was equipped with one
of the best sound systems I have ever
experienced,” says Hosler, “and the bands
took full advantage of it. The concert was
absolutely great — fantastic players and
performers, all Japanese.” Among them
was Yoshiyuki Sahashi, who performed
with his Life on the Longboard Band and
accompanied many of the guest artists.
The following day the Taylor team took
a four-hour train ride to Osaka for lunch
with two more local dealers, then conducted a combination re-stringing clinic/
T5 demo at the local Taylor dealer, Yamaha
Music. There was more guitar-playing fun
and four Taylor guitars were purchased
before the night was over.
“On the way back to Tokyo the following day, we stopped in Kyoto to tour the
various temples,” Hosler says. “Kyoto is an
absolute must-see for anyone who travels
to Japan. It is an amazing area that leaves
a lasting impression on anyone who visits.
We arrived in Tokyo late that evening for
dinner with a well-known Japanese producer/writer and our good friend Hiro,
of Leo’s Music, a successful ‘pro’ instrument rental company not unlike Center
Stage and Lighting in the States. Hiro is
real Taylor fan and owns several beautiful Taylors that he refers to as ‘the best
guitars in Japan!’
“One of the major impressions with
which we left Japan is that the popularity
of Taylor Guitars and acoustic guitar playing in general is at an all-time high. YMT
and Taylor are significantly contributing
to that trend by supporting the culture
of acoustic music in Japan with a dedicated and passionate
staff of professional
people who really
love what they do!”
3958 MILES
WITH
KENEALLY,
BELLER,
AND THE
T5
Above left: Bob Taylor and David Hosler pose
after a meal with staffers from Japanese distributor YMT and friends; Above: a temple in
Kyoto. Photo by Bob Taylor
A tour journal by
Thomas
Supper,
Marketing and Sales
Manager for Taylor
Guitars at our distributor, Meinl, located in
Neustadt (Bavaria), Germany.
4
9
3
5
6
2
7
1
Top: The Keneally/Beller tour route; Above: Mike
Keneally warms up for a workshop in Vienna.
Photo by Thomas Supper
Sunday, October 2, 7 a.m. Time to
leave Neustadt for the long ride down to
Aosta, Italy to pick up Mike Keneally and
Bryan Beller for a one-week Taylor workshop tour of Germany, specifically to show
the T5 to our dealers and their customers.
It had been my big wish to get Mike over
here ever since I saw him rocking the
Anaheim Hilton during a Winter NAMM
show 15 years ago. I couldn’t imagine
anyone better suited to this “job”.
After a quick stop to pick up Max (a Meinl
trainee) to show him “life on the road,” we
head down to the Swiss/German border
(I couldn’t pass by historic Montreux,
Switzerland without showing Max where
the Deep Purple song, “Smoke on the
Water”, was born). Then it was up to the
mountains, through the big tunnel where
the Swiss/Italian border is and down again
to lovely Aosta Valley [the smallest Italian
1 Aosta, Italy
2 Neustadt, Germany
3 Berlin, Germany
4 Hamburg, Germany
5 Cologne, Germany
6 Walldorf, Germany
7 Freilassing, Germany
8 Vienna, Austria
9 Amsterdam, Netherlands
region,
located at
the “hub”
of the Alps,
surrounded
by Europe’s
four highest
mountains
— Mont
B l a n c M o n t e
8
Bianco, Matterhorn-Cervino,
Monte Rosa, and Gran
Paradiso — all more than 13,000
feet high].
After 12 hours on the road, we
meet Mike and Bryan and a film
crew in a nice Italian restaurant
in the middle of nowhere (Mike
and Bryan were guests on a DVD
shoot for a German drummer).
The next morning, we leave Italy
and return to Neustadt around
midnight, where we’re met by
Mike’s European road manager,
Pieter van Hoogedam from
Amsterdam, Holland.
Tuesday, October 4, first
workshop day. After a quick
stop at Meinl to meet the boss,
Mr. Meinl, and show the guys our
facility, we hit the road through
the former East Germany to set
up our first workshop at Just
Acoustic Guitars, in Berlin. Mark
Bazaniak, the store manager,
gives us (and his customers) a
really warm welcome, with snacks and
Italian red wine. It is always a pleasure
to hang out with Mark and his crew in
Berlin; I’ve known him for a long time,
and our relationship is a cool mixture of
friendship and straight business.
Mark was well prepared; a nice and
interested crowd showed up and we had
a wonderful evening. Mike and Bryan
played as though it was a stadium gig,
while we stood in disbelief at the things
that are possible using the T5 — am I
still on the same planet? Mike’s use of the
T5 was amazing as he switched so fast
between the acoustic side and the rock ‘n’
roll rig that our brains could hardly keep
up — and he was using regular, borrowed
gear from the shop. Those two hours
totally kicked my knowledge and understanding of the T5 to a new level, and I
already had been working with the guitar
for a while! (Mark and Ray, thanks again
— you rule Berlin!)
Wednesday, October 5. I agreed to
a late checkout at the hotel because this
would be an almost 24-hour day. I drove
us to the former East Berlin, past the
Reichstag, the Brandenburg gate, and ending up at Potzdammer Platz, which used
to be the “dead zone” back in the cold war
times. It remains a very strange feeling to
drive on a road where you still can see the
marks on the ground where the wall used
to be. I explained to the guys that you
could hold your hand out of the window
and it would be in East Germany, while
your body would still be in the West!
Enough sightseeing. We hit the road to
Hamburg for our second workshop day. A
shop called Amptown would be hosting
us; they’d had a “grand opening” a couple
weeks earlier after moving to a new location inside Hamburg’s well-known “The
Bunker”, leftover from the bad days of
WWII. When we started right on time
at 7 p.m., store manager Michi Palow
and acoustic department manager Frank
Elwart couldn’t believe that more than 90
people had shown up, because this was the
last date confirmed and they had not had
time to publicize it in a big way.
An enthusiastic crowd celebrated a
great evening, in which Mike and Bryan
had to do more Frank Zappa material
because a couple of hardcore Zappa fans
were in the audience. Again the T5 shined.
Mike had to sign tons of CDs — more
than 30 for one customer! (Thanks again
to Michi, Frank, and the whole Amptown
crew for setting up such a well-prepared
evening for us all!) I decided to cancel our
Hamburg hotel reservation and drive the
four hours down to Cologne, site of our
next workshop.
Mike and Bryan had requested that
we rent a rehearsal room so they could
rehearse the next morning with a drummer and violinist for an upcoming gig in
Amsterdam. We arrived in Cologne at 3
a.m., and after a short night’s sleep Mike
and Bryan left for rehearsal. A few hours
later, we were saying, “Hello, it’s nice to be
in Cologne at Beyer´s Guitar Center. Let’s
have a cool evening together.”
The Guitar Center workshop rocked.
They had a well-prepared stage for Mike
and Bryan, drew another big crowd, and
again I had to stop the guys with hand
signals because they were oblivious to
the time. Our thanks to Peter Alexius,
acoustic floor manager of Guitar Center/
Cologne, who did the scheduling, let us
use his rehearsal room, provided overnight accommodations for Mike’s violin
player, and made a perfect workshop possible, and without whose unselfish help all
our plans for Cologne could not have happened. Also, thanks to the Guitar Center
boss, Winni Beyer, who drove to his second store in Bochum to get a rehearsal
drum set for Mike’s drummer. We’ll never
forget your support!
The next morning, we said goodbye
to Max, our Meinl trainee, who left by
train for home. It was a great experience
for him to hang out on the road with us
“old rabbits”, and it helped to prepare
him for future tasks in the world of guitar
business! For Pieter, Mike’s road manager,
Max’s departure was a blessing — he no
longer had to sit between all the boxes of
Wood&Steels, merchandise, and luggage.
Thanks to my GPS, we were able to avoid
some serious traffic jams on the short
drive down to Walldorf, near Heidelberg,
where Franz Schobert, manager of Session
Acoustics, awaited us. Franz loves to
host musicians from all over the world,
whether it is the acoustic guitar festival,
Dan Crary, or Beppe Gambetta, and being
so well received made us feel like we
were home. Because the European NATO
headquarters is in Heidelberg, some
American friends showed up for the
workshop and an audience of more than
85 made it an unforgettable evening. Mike
broke the ice by asking a question and
rewarding the person with the correct
answer with a free copy of a Sounds of
Wood&Steel CD I’d given him. We did that
for the rest of the tour.
Bryan was in seventh heaven meeting Geli [Angelika Taylor], the pro bass
player on Super Idol, Germany’s version
of American Idol. One moment in the
workshop stands out for me: Mike broke
a string on a T5 Custom Koa but kept
playing while pointing to the string, hoping for a replacement guitar. Franz kept
pointing to the wall, where there were
three different T5s to choose from. Mike
kept pointing and playing, Franz would
respond by pointing to the wall as if to
say, “You have your choice — which do
you want, the spruce top, the maple top, or
another koa?” The whole audience started
to laugh. After the workshop, the “spare”
T5 Mike had played found a new home
with a proud, excited customer. (Thank
you, Franz — we’ll be back!)
Saturday workshops always are a bit
difficult because there are so many things
to do on a late Saturday afternoon. But
while driving from Walldorf to Freilassing
(border town to Salzburg, Austria), I was
sure that George Oellerer, Andy (of SoundAndy), and Giancarlo of Musikhaus
Oellerer had done a perfect job preparing
for our T5 performance. Over many years
of working together, George, the owner,
has become the “man of special requests,”
and his demanding customers
know that they always will
find hard-to-find Taylors on
his newly designed “Taylor
Wall”. Whether
it’s Anniversary models, LTDs,
or simply guitars with outstanding wood figures, George, Andy,
and Giancarlo carefully choose
guitars, and their customers love
them for it!
This workshop, like all those
before it, went very well, and we
were really surprised that SoundAndy used a Midas 56-channel
console and a big touring P.A.
system to give Mike a 10,000seat-venue sound! Because of the
workshop’s early starting time,
we were able to spend a lot of
Diane Magagna. Photo by Erin Fitzgerald
time afterward talking to interested customers about the T5 and
and the masterminds, Mike Keneally
its possibilities. This is a good
and Bryan Beller! And above all, thanks
time to acknowledge Mike and Bryan for
to Taylor Guitars for making the T5 and
devoting so much time to discussion and
for sending such wonderful clinicians all
to answering customers’ questions after
over the world; they help us to understand
the workshops.
your passion for making guitars!
The last official tour day started with
— Thomas Supper
a bombastic wake-up concert, courtesy
of a traditional Austrian marching band
DIANE MAGAGNA GOES
playing right in front of the window of
INTERNATIONAL
Bryan’s hotel room! Once on the road,
On October 1, longtime Taylor sales
we travelled to Vienna, Austria, where we
staffer Diane Magagna assumed a new
were guests at Musik Prodiktiv’s house
role as International Sales Manager. In
fair. Big stage, big lightning, and Jennifer
essence, she’ll be responsible for all of our
Batten — former Michael Jackson guitarinternational business, working closely
ist — conducting a clinic right before we
with our overseas distributors and reportset up the gear!
ing to Robert Sandell, Taylor Senior Vice
Mike and Bryan met some friends from
President of Sales.
Prague and we had a great tour finale.
Diane had been the Regional Sales
Shopowner Martin Sobotnik couldn’t stop
Manager
for the Northeastern sector
smiling and telling me how cool the guys
of
the
U.S.
since she started at Taylor
are. He decided to keep another T5 in
in
January
1993,
but she arrived with a
Austria, which he took from the Meinl
long
résumé
of
experience
in the interbooth that my two colleagues, Matthias
national
market.
and Rolf, were running there.
“In 1975, my husband and I started an
We left Vienna and started the murderexport
company, Cobble Hill Associates,
ous 800-mile drive to Amsterdam, where
with
the
objective of taking Americanthe Mike Keneally Band had a show at the
made products overseas,” Diane says of
legendary Paradiso Club. For me, it was
her early days in the business. “I was
time to say goodbye to the guys and head
very lucky when two people in the music
back to Germany.
industry took a chance on me — Michael
I can´t say “thank you” enough to eveGurian of Gurian Guitars and Ron Lazar
rybody involved in this fantastic 10-day
of Dobro. Those associations and several
trip — Mark and Ray in Berlin, Michi
other product lines became the basis of
and Frank in Hamburg, Winni, Peter and
our overseas business, and off I went —
Dennis in Cologne, Franz, Holger and
selling American-made products around
Geli in Walldorf, Georg, Andy, Giancarlo,
the world, going door to door. What
Sound-Andy in Freilassing, Martin, Meinla thrill it was to travel the world and
Matthias and Headliner-Rolf in Vienna,
make relationships and friendships that
Pieter van Hoogedam from Amsterdam,
would last 30 years.”
There was speculation that Diane was
L-R: Bryan Beller, Winni Beyer, Mike
the first American woman to sell U.S.
Keneally, and Peter Alexius at Guitar Center
in Cologne. Photo by Thomas Supper
continued on page 27
25
SHINING RAY
Music & Relief concert that raised funds
and other support in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina. The three-hour, commercial-free program aired on MTV, VH1,
and CMT, and featured a mix of live
private benefit concert featuring Mo to
and taped performances and messages, raise funds for the local non-profit Voices
broadcast from staging areas in New York, for Children organization. Unfortunately,
Los Angeles, Nashville, and Atlanta, along
most of Mo’s music gear had been stolen
with satellite feeds from bands during
the previous night from the band’s van.
their concerts in other cities that evening.
Taylor already had contributed a
Other Taylor artists included Dave
614ce as an auction item (it would fetch
Matthews (914ce), Jewel (her older
$3,000), so Mo played it throughout the
914ce), Maroon 5 (814ce), Alan Jackson
show, along with an 810 that was loaned
(custom 610), Three Doors Down (710), to
him
through a local
Rob Thomas (914ce), the Radiators
audio
produc t ion
(814ce and another GA), and Mark
comBroussard (T5).
The big surprise in the ReAct
Now sequence was Sir Mick Jagger
strumming his 414 on a rendition
of “Waiting on a Friend” during the Rolling Stones show
in Milwaukee (Jagger
bought the Taylor, sans
pickup, some time ago
in the UK). Earlier in
the summer, Bob
Borbonus had
GOT LIVE PICKUP IF YOU
spent
some
WANT IT
time with Jagger
On October 10, the Goo Goo Dolls
and Keith Richards
performed a pair of tunes on NBC’s Today
at A&M Records durshow, entertaining a live crowd from the
ing a private listenprogram’s outdoor stage at Rockefeller
ing event to preview
Plaza in New York City. Frontman Johnny
the new Stones record,
Above: San Diego Padres pitcher
Rzeznik strummed a 915ce on the first
A Bigger Bang. In addition to
Scott Linebrink. Photo by Scott Schorr;
song, “Better Days”, a single that appears
showing the Glimmer Twins some
Right: Actor Terry O’Quinn on the set
on the compilation Sounds of the Season
T5s, he talked Mick into letting us
of the show Lost
— The NBC Holiday Collection. The band
install a pickup on his acoustic in
also used Taylors in the video they shot
case he wanted to play it live.
for the song on October 3.
Prior to the Stones’ November 11
On September 10,
concert at San Diego’s Petco Park
the band and its 915ce
(home of the Padres baseball team), pany, Unisound 2.0. As if the logistics
were among a raft
Charlie Watts’ drum tech bought
weren’t already askew, it started raining
of Taylor
acts
an 814ce and Jagger bought
halfway through the outdoor show, forcwho performed
another 414 to use as a backup.
ing everyone to seek shelter in the living
in the ReAct Now:
room of the home that hosted the event.
MO MONEY FOR KIDS
KPRI co-owner and afternoon deejay
A pair of Taylors helped save
Robert Hughes said the audience ultithe day in October when bluesman
mately was thrilled with the more intiKeb Mo and a San Diego radio
mate performance, and he thanked Taylor
station found themselves in a
and Unisound for rising to the occasion.
bind. Independent rock station
“I know Keb was particularly impressed
102.1 KPRI-FM had organized a
with the 614ce,” Hughes informed Bob
Borbonus the next day. “Who wouldn’t
be?” Keb also signed and personalized
the guitar for the winning auction bidder,
Loretta Morris.
Voices for Children works to ensure that
abused, neglected, and abandoned children who have become dependents of the
San Diego County Court will have a safe
and permanent home. Using a network
of trained and educated volunteer Court
Top: Brian Ray. Photo by Bill Bernstein; Above (L-R): Keb Mo picks on an 810 with guitarist Clayton Gibb
Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs),
Paul McCartney launched his fall 2005
“US” tour of America with a September
16 concert in Miami. As the entourage
snaked its way across the country, the
reviews were almost unanimous in their
praise for the show, and especially for a set
list that included some long-unperformed
Lennon-McCartney songs.
The 63-year-old former Beatle was
ably backed by a young band that featured drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr., guitarist Rusty Anderson, keyboardist Paul
“Wix” Wickens, and guitarist/bassist
Brian Ray, who wielded an ES-equipped
Taylor 655 played through a K4. Sound
engineers (including FOH knob-pushers)
told Taylor Artist Relations Manager Bob
Borbonus that the ES/K4 combination is
“the best acoustic amplification system
[they’ve] ever heard.” The tour ended with
two dates in late November at the Staples
Center in Los Angeles.
ON
For more Soundings, visit www.taylorguitars.com/news/news.html
26
the organization works with key agencies,
legal counsel, and community resources
to serve the best interests of children both
inside and outside of court.
To raise additional funding for the organization, KPRI in November issued another Live Tracks CD compilation, recorded
by various artists visiting San Diego during the past year [see “Soundings”, Winter
2005].
“We’re pleased to once again acknowledge Taylor Guitars (with the Expression
System) as ‘the official acoustic guitar
of KPRI Studio i,” said Hughes, alluding to the sterling reputation of our
axes among many guest musicians
who perform acoustically at the station. “One of the stand-out tracks is
Jars of Clay’s ‘all-Taylor’ version of
America’s
‘Lonely
People’.”
TAYLORSPOTTING
It would come as no surprise if music
players were to list a Taylor guitar among
items deemed essential for survival and
sanity were they stranded on a desert
island. Apparently, actor Terry O’Quinn
is one of them. O’Quinn plays castaway
John Locke on ABC’s hit show, Lost, now
in its second season. On the recently
released DVD set of 2004’s debut season,
O’Quinn is shown in one of the “behind
the scenes” features playing a Taylor 30th
Anniversary Commemorative 714ce-L30.
On September 26, NPR’s daily All
Things Considered program broadcast a
story about a new CD, Oh Say Can You
Sing?, which showcases the musical talents of 11 major league baseball players.
Among those who scored album cuts
were San Diego Padres hurler and Taylor
ON
man Scott Linebrink, former St. Louis
Cardinals shortstop and Hall of Famer
Ozzie Smith, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Florida Marlins first
baseman Jeff Conine, and two Cleveland
Indians — centerfielder Coco Crisp and
first baseman Ben Broussard.
All Things Considered host Melissa
Block spoke with the album’s producer,
Scott Schorr, about bringing the project
to life, and about each player’s personality and musical interests. The record
spans a mix of genres, including country,
rock, hip-hop, bluegrass, and soul, and
includes both cover tunes and originals.
Linebrink chose to cover the song “Wave
on Wave”, written by his friend and fellow Texan, country singer-songwriter Pat
Green. There’s also a nice photo on the
NPR website of Linebrink in the studio
with his Taylor 310.
STILL ROCKIN’
Add old-school roots rocker Dave
Edmunds to the list of T5 lovers. He just
took delivery of his second — one is for
use in London, the other for New York
— and e-mailed us a thank-you. “I can’t
really find the words to describe how
pleased I am with her — perfect fingerboard dimensions, sounds unbelievable,
classy looking, and very easy to play.
Absolutely perfect for Atkins/
Travis fingerpickin’ style —
and I have two! Once again,
thanks for the best guitar
I’ve ever played.”
Some might be surprised that Rock & Roll
Hall of Famer Dion has
released a new acoustic
blues CD, but Bronx in
Blue is more a return to his
roots than a departure. Born
Dion DiMucci in the Bronx in
the late ’30s, the always-evolving
artist would have hits spanning
several decades — from the teen doowop of “I Wonder Why” and “A Teenager
in Love”, to such early-’60s solo classics
as “The Wanderer” and “Runaround Sue”,
to his elegiac 1968 folk-pop hit single,
“Abraham, Martin, and John”. If the blues
wouldn’t seem a likely next step in that
progression, it’s entirely natural to the
Dion.
“This music is part of my very fabric,” he recently told Austin-based writer
Dan Forte in an exclusive for Wood&Steel.
“There was no rock and roll when I was
a kid. I grew up on Jimmy Reed, Howlin’
Wolf, and John Lee Hooker. Rev. Gary
Davis used to sing on the street in my
neighborhood in the Bronx, and my friend
Willie Green, who was a janitor of a tenement building, played guitar, so I picked it
up from him.
“You put country music and blues
together, and it’s almost like if you turn
blues into a major key — you get rock and
roll,” Dion continued. “You get what Chuck
Berry and Fats Domino and I were doing,
like ‘blues-country’. But that’s what we
called ‘rock and roll’ back in the ’50s.”
On Bronx in Blue, Dion does justice to
the music of Reed, Wolf, Robert Johnson,
and Lightnin’ Hopkins, employing his
“backpack guitar,” a Baby Taylor.
“[The Baby Taylor] almost sounds like
an official Delta blues guitar — to me,
anyway. That guitar has a lot of midrange.
It’s not the big bass and the fullness, but
you grab a chord, and it just jumps right
out at you — bing! It’s right in the middle.
When you’re playing some guitars, if they
sound too pretty, you can’t get what you
want out of them when you’re playing that
kind of music.”
The Baby obviously is special to Dion. “I
accidentally left it in Italy and had to pay
$435 to get it back [via] Federal Express,”
he laughs. “That’s more
than the case
Top: Dion’s Bronx in Blue; Above right:
Poster for the new Glenn Tilbrook
DVD One for the Road
and the guitar cost me. But I just like it,
and it’s worth it. All guitars sound different, even when they’re the same model,
same specs, made from the same wood,
but you have a favorite among them. That’s
why I didn’t just buy another Baby Taylor;
I wanted that one.”
FRESH SQUEEZED
Fans of Glenn Tilbrook (of the band
Squeeze) should know that on January 24,
2006 filmmaker Amy Pickard’s documentary, Glenn Tilbrook: One for the Road (The
Story of One Man, Two Guitars, and an
RV!), is being released worldwide on DVD
by Image Entertainment.
The film, which took several years to
finish, was already in the works when
Tilbrook and Pickard visited the Taylor
factory in December 2002 to have his K20
and red 655ce (with Florentine-cutaway)
worked on. Tilbrook performed at a local
club, the Casbah, before leaving town.
In describing her interest in doing
the doc, Pickard said she was expecting
luxury tour buses and five-star hotels, and
was surprised to find Glenn touring in a
used motorhome and bedding down at
roadside campgrounds. Still, “it was worth
it to be able to tour with my musical hero
and to be able to capture Glenn on film,”
she says.
In addition to its “video verité” components, Glenn Tilbrook: One for the
Road boasts exclusive live (acoustic)
performances of such Squeeze hits as
“Tempted”, “Black Coffee in Bed”, “Take
Me I’m Yours”, “Up the Junction”, and
“Hourglass”, as well as Tilbrook’s
solo material. The film
provides an intimate
look at what it’s like
to be an established
artist in today’s
musical climate,
and has gotten
rave reviews on
the film festival
circuit. VH1 Classic
is set to world premiere the film to coincide with the January
DVD release.
For her part, Pickard
is seeking sponsorship for her own
RV trek around America to promote the
film, and is hoping to publish a companion book to the movie. To view trailers
from the film and for more information,
visit glennmovie.com or glenntilbrook.
com. ■
continued from page 25
products overseas, but even if that’s difficult to verify, it’s irrefutable that she broke
new ground. “Early in her career, Diane
spent a lot of time pioneering the acoustic guitar business with musical instrument importers and distributors abroad,”
says Sandell. “In combination with her
success selling Taylor products to U.S.
dealers, we think her experience in the
export market will be put to good use
representing Taylor and helping distributors to grow Taylor’s market
share in their areas.”
“I’m very much looking forward
to representing the Taylor brand
overseas and getting reacquainted
with many old friends and places,”
Magagna adds. Responsibility
for the crucial Northeast U.S. territory has been assumed by our
Sales Department’s longest-tenured
staffer, Regional Sales Manager Rick
Fagan.
— has dedicated the entire second floor
to acoustic guitars, where they keep 18 to
22 Taylors in stock at all times. While I was
there they sold a 914ce and a PS10ce to
one customer, while in another part of the
store a rep from another guitar company
played a T5-C2.”
After a day visiting the stores in Sydney,
Dena and her hosts flew to Broad Beach
on the Gold Coast for the yearly AMAC
DENA DOWN UNDER
Diane Magagna will get valuable help with the foreign market
from International Sales Assistant
Dena Hickman, whom Senior Sales
VP Sandell credits with having
carried a significant portion of the
international-sales load over the past
year or so.
“In addition to handling the internal operations for the International
Department here, Dena has attended several trade shows in the U.S., Germany, and
Australia, and has visited dealers in several foreign countries,” Sandell said. “She’s
done an exemplary job and will continue
with all her export duties and responsibilities, reporting directly to Diane.”
Last September, Hickman traveled to
Australia for a visit with our distributor, Electric Factory, whose headquarters
are in the Melbourne suburb of Preston,
Victoria. On arrival, she was the guest
at a welcoming party, and the next day
she was shepherded to Taylor dealers in
Melbourne and Sydney.
“Their stores are a lot like ours,”
Hickman said on her return. “Most of
them had acoustic rooms, and one incredible store — the Bass and Acoustic Center
Top (L-R): Mick Richardson from Acoustic
Centre and “Canada” John Schoenenborn of
Electric Factory, South Melbourne, Australia;
Above: John Schoenenborn at the annual
AMAC show. Photos by Dena Hickman Wolff
trade show, a sort of Australian NAMM.
Most Aussie dealers attend the event, and
many were drawn to the Electric Factory
booth, which was configured to simulate a
nightclub, complete with bar.
“All the dealers I met at the show
were impressed with our lineup of Fall
LTDs, especially the 814ce-L10,” Hickman
reported. “And there was lots of praise for
the T5.”
Although the flight from Southern
California to Australia is more than 15
hours — said to be the longest continuous
route in the world — Dena said she felt
right at home in Australia and is looking
forward to her next visit. ■
27
Letters
continued from page 2
didn’t work out. I was a guitarist bored by
what was in my arsenal of instruments,
still just a guitarist after 40-plus years of
playing. Then I heard of your T5.
The T5 is the most wonderfully manufactured, clearest-sounding “grand piano”
of guitars I have ever played. She also
has the most gorgeous curves I’ve ever
caressed in my life. Since I received my
T5-C1, I’ve undergone a transformation
and changed my way of thinking.
I play through a Peavey acoustic amp
and find the “sweet spot” to be everywhere
on this guitar. Then I chuck it up to the
barn for a run with the Mesa Boogie
Dual Rectifier with a 4X cabinet. This
guitar can go from squeaky-angel clean to
mud-bug blues in an instant. Nothing else
has the agility of this true 21st-century
masterpiece.
I feel that you built this guitar just for
me. I want to assure you all that I will play
and write only beautiful music on my new
best friend. Then I will be buried with my
Red Edgeburst T5, so that when I get to
Heaven, I’ll be able to play live.
Charles F. Jewell
Deering, New Hampshire
Drop us a line online! Send your e-mails to [email protected]
Sessions
continued from page 11
By the way, I learned to play these riffs on
acoustic guitar, but recently I’ve been trying
the same blues ideas on the T5. Because of
the slinky action and the raw sustain from
each of the pickup positions, the T5 can help
you sound more like a Chicago blues player
than a country-blues guitarist. And because
Example 4
Lightnin’ Hopkins Riff in A:
28
it maintains the feel of a Taylor acoustic,
the T5 is a logical step for acoustic players
who want that electric sound.
Lightnin’ Hopkins once said that many
people know how to play guitar, but they
don’t “feel it in their heart.” My brother
Happy Traum took lessons from Brownie
McGhee in the 1960s, and Brownie was
fond of saying, “The blues is a feeling.”
Regarding this lesson, your assignment
is always to look for the emotion inside
what you are playing. Many people try to
play the blues. Good musicians feel what
it’s all about. ■
Ta k e a t h u m b p i c k i n g
lesson with
A r t i e Tr a u m o n l i n e a t
taylorguitars.com
/see-hear/
COREY
HARRIS
continued from page 13
know the roots of American music — we
have to — but we also have to speak to
where we are now, and we have to do it in
a way that’s real and that’s talking about
something. That’s what I try to do — I try
to know what’s up with history, but I ain’t
living in history, I ain’t living in the past.
W&S: Do you find it depressing or offensive that the most popular “blues” artists
out there today are kids like Jonny Lang
and Kenny Wayne Shepherd?
CH: Well, there you go. For me, coming
up how I did and with what I knew the
blues to be, I can’t put them in the blues
category even though they play blues
music. It’s just not the same thing. Record
companies are happy to market it as the
same thing and people will buy the line
that it is the same thing if they don’t know
any better. I’m not gonna say they’re not
any good, but I’m not gonna put them in
the same realm as Buddy Guy.
W&S: I think the blues of white guys
like Johnny Winter or Eric Clapton is valid
because they’re playing and singing from
the same universal root of emotion as
their forebears. They sound like themselves, as opposed to merely parroting
black phrasing, inflection, and vernacular.
CH: I think it all depends on how they
sound, where they’re coming from with it.
As listeners, we make our own decisions.
W&S: I interviewed R.L. Burnside shortly before he died, and he said the blues will
never die. My fear as a fan is that it might
be doing just that. How many real blues
musicians are left out there?
CH: I think there are more than what we
see. Blues didn’t come from a cool place or
a popular place, it came from places that
were marginalized and pushed under the
rug, that no one wanted to talk about, and
I think it’ll still kind of be like that. I don’t
think blues will ever die, but it ain’t gonna
be the same. Times progress and things
always have to change. Right now, we’re in
a time of evaluation, looking back to see
what we’ve done and kind of putting it all
back together in different ways.
To me, that’s what hip-hop is, it’s like a
collage. You say what you’re going through
and put a rhyme over it, and that could
be anything: it could be “I got this much
money and I’m a ‘player’,” or it could be
“I’m suffering and I’m oppressed.” It could
be anything you make it.
W&S: Where are you headed now, musi-
cally? Are you working on your next CD
or any other projects that are close to
your heart?
CH: Well, I’m supposed to be working on
a record with Scott Billington and Irma
Thomas in Lafayette, Louisiana. I’m not
sure what songs they wanna do, but I’ve
heard that it’s gonna be less of an R&B
thing, no horn section, more of a folk kind
of thing. We’ll see where they’re going
with that. Other than that, I’m always just
trying to think of songs that I can put out,
and a lot of the stuff I’ve been writing is
like reggae and African-style. The next
record should be more along the lines of
Daily Bread. It’s always hard to tell what
the chicken is gonna look like before the
egg hatches.
W&S: One last question: who are some
of your favorite contemporary artists out
there today?
CH: I really like Don Byron, the clarinet
player. He’s somebody who just does what
he wants. It’s funny, people are always
asking if a white guy can play the blues,
and Don Byron learned all this Klezmer
music and presented it, and people got
all hostile and up-in-arms. That proved
a point — as a black man, he can’t just
go out for the love of his clarinet and
perform Jewish music without someone
having to say something about it, whereas
people like Eric Clapton — who I like
— can be accepted playing blues. There’s
a double standard.
W&S: I’m Jewish, and I tell you that it
goes beyond skin color — you won’t be
accepted playing Klezzie in some quarters
without a yarmulke on your head! So who
else are you into these days?
CH: I really like the guitarist Ernest
Ranglin, he’s great. I like [West African
musicians] Lobi Traoré and Djelimady
Tounkara — he’s one of my favorite guitarists. And I really like Damien Marley’s
new record. I liked his last record, too.
I think it’s really cool. With a name like
that, being [the late] Bob Marley’s son,
you know there are certain expectations
and some baggage that come with it —
you know, “What do I do? How do I top
this?” But he took things in a new direction. It’s almost like a street hip-hop thing,
but it’s still reggae, you know? I think
that’s very cool. ■
For more information about Corey Harris,
visit: coreyharrismusic.com
almanac
W I N T E R
2 0 0 6
For information updated daily, including individual clinicians’ concert
listings, and to register for the E/vent E-mail Reminder Program,
visit the Taylor website online calendar at taylorguitars.com/
calendar. To hear sound clips of the clinicians’ recordings, go
to taylorguitars.com/artists/clinicians. Select clinicians’ CDs are
now available through TaylorWare.
ARTIE TRAUM
ACOUSTIC JAZZ GUITAR Roaring Stream Records
P. O. Box 413
Bearsville, NY 12409
Order online at: www.artietraum.
com or call
toll-free: (888) 731-4237 (U.S. only)
E-mail: [email protected]
Management: Jeff Heiman
(253) 761-1542
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: www.artietraum.com
Artie Traum spent a chunk of the
early fall doing guitar-for-hire work on
an album of country cover tunes for
Japanese singer-songwriter Dorothy
Cowfield at Dreamland Studios in New
York’s Catskills region. Joining Artie
on three songs were in-demand Taylor
bassist Jerome Harris (AB1) and drummer Pheeroan akLaff. According to a
mini-report Harris filed with us in early
September, “Artie sounded superb on his
30th Anniversary Limited Edition XXXMC and T5, with the K4 Equalizer also
employed.” Engineering the sessions was
Tom Mark, whose credits include Carla
Bley, Tony Levin, and Jack DeJohnette.
Other projects that have kept Artie
jumping include writing several new
songs and a few guitar instrumentals,
continuing his Artist-In-Residence series
with the State University of New York at
Ulster, and putting together his annual
Happy and
Artie Traum
Solstice
Concert at
the Kleinart/
James Gallery
in Woodstock,
New York.
This year, the
Traums’ very
special guest
was fellow Taylor
clinician Wendy
Waldman, all the
way from Los
Angeles. Wendy
Wendy Waldman and Kenny Edwards at a benefit concert in Los Angeles. Photo by Jaynee Thorne
and Artie have
been writing some material together, and in October
yet is alive and well in us should
WENDY
they conducted a few special Taylor “duo workshops” in
we choose to use our talents.
WALDMAN
Minnesota and Wisconsin.
It’s up to us, and she helped
In new-product news, Homespun Tapes has just
bring it out in me. P.S. She also
released Easy Steps to Blues Guitar Jamming, featuring the
has a great respect for rhythm
Brothers Traum teaching everything you’ll need
guitar, and proved it with her
to play at a jam session. The DVD is available on
abilities. I’ve been to all of the
Artie’s website, artietraum.com. See Artie’s
workshops, and she was far and
“Sessions” article in this issue.
above the best! Regards from
Seattle, Washington.”
Workshops
Greensburg,
Pennsylvania
Vittone’s Music Center
Monday, February 27,
7 p.m.
(724) 837-0877
Lancaster,
Pennsylvania
Prodigy Music
Tuesday, February 28,
7 p.m.
(717) 295-0620
Above: Artie Traum at
Appalachian Bluegrass
Shoppe in Baltimore, Maryland.
Photo by Nick Fleckenstein. Left
(L-R): Pheeroan akLaff, Jerome
Harris, Dorothy Cowfield, and
Artie Traum at a recording session
at Dreamland Studios in New
York. Photo by Tom Mark
Workshops
SEEDS AND ORPHANS
(Independent)
Wendy Waldman
P.O. Box 261815
Encino, California 91426-1815
E-mail: [email protected]
To order CD, visit
www.wendywaldman.com
In November, Wendy Waldman
headed to the Northwest to perform at a festival/conference in
Seattle and to participate in a
songwriters’ seminar in Portland.
Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to schedule workshops for
her at some of our very favorite
dealers, who are long-time supporters of the Taylor Workshop
Program. Wendy reported that all
the events went great, and soon
thereafter we received this e-mail
from happy workshop attendee
Gary Benson:
“I went to see Wendy Waldman’s
songwriting workshop at A-Sharp
Music in Renton, Washington,
and she was fabulous! She has a
humorous yet straightforward way
of teaching us how songwriting
transcends so many musical styles,
San Antonio, Texas
Sam Ash
Tuesday, February 9, 7 p.m.
(210) 530-9777
DAN CRARY
RENAISSANCE OF THE
STEEL STRING GUITAR
Thunderation Music
To order, visit:
www.thunderation.com
Website: www.dancrary.com
Artist Representation:
Sandy Beesley, Thunderation
Music, (760) 726-8380, E-mail: [email protected]
Plans are already in place for
Dan Crary, along with fellow
Men of Steel bandmates Beppe
Gambetta, Don Ross, and Tony
McManus, to do some serious
29
almanac
WAYNE JOHNSON
One Guitar
Solid Air Records
To order CD, visit
www.acousticmusicresource.com
or call (800) 649-4745;
Also available through
www.amazon.com
Wayne’s website:
www.waynejohnsononline.com
Questions or comments may be
e-mailed to: [email protected]
had plenty of time on the road
with the axes, discussing and
showcasing their attributes in
detail at every Taylor workshop,
With his first year as a Taylor
clinician successfully under his belt, and playing them at both his
own concerts and at Manhattan
Wayne Johnson has been hard at
Transfer gigs.
work writing material for his next
Still, some quality studio time
CD, which will showcase his Taylor
is in the very near future, and
NS74ce and his T5. Wayne has
Dan Crary in a recent promotional shot. Photo by Cohen & Parks
touring during the first half of 2006.
The group kicked off the new year with
appearances at the Celtic Connections
Festival in Glasgow, Scotland (January 1315), and in May the guys will play some
gigs in Italy (Genoa and Rivoli) before
crossing the Atlantic to embark on a twoweek Canadian tour. That covers everyone’s home country except for Dan (Beppe
is Italian, Don is Canadian, and Tony is
the Scotsman), so we’re hoping there will
be some U.S. dates in the mix somewhere
BEPPE
GAMBETTA
BLU DI GENOVA
Gadfly Records
To order, visit:
www.gadflyrecords.com
U.S. Management:
Trish Galfano, TG2Artists
Tel/Fax: 919-967-8655
Email: [email protected]
European Management:
SL Promotion
Tel/Fax: +39-010-246-8537
Beppe’s e-mail: [email protected]
Beppe’s website:
www.beppegambetta.com
30
along the way; we’ll keep you posted.
In April, Dan will be heading out to
Illinois, Missouri, and Kansas, and we’ll
be scheduling another workshop or two
to go along with that trip, so be sure to
check Dan’s page on the Taylor website for
updated information.
Workshops
Sterling, Virginia
Melodee Music
(part of all-day Acoustifest ‘06)
Sunday, March 26, Time TBA
(703) 450-4667
Workshops
Edwardsville, Illinois
L-R: Jim Steilberg (Steilberg String Instruments,
Louisville, Kentucky), and Wayne Johnson following
Wayne’s October workshop at the store.
Photo by Mick Sullivan
Mojo Music
Tuesday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.
(618) 655-1600
In November, Beppe
Gambetta embarked on an
almost month-long solo tour
throughout Germany, during
which he had the opportunity
to do a number of Taylor workshops. Beppe (who is Austrian on
his mother’s side and fluent in
German) commented that, “The
appreciation for Taylor guitars in
Germany is really vast, and the
dimension and quality of the
shops are extremely high.”
Beppe’s favorite stops were
BTM Guitars in Nuremberg,
Music World in Augsburg (where
the showcase stage and the PA
system made the workshop seem
more like a rock concert!), and
the Folkladen in Munich, where
more than 100 people filled every
nook and cranny of the shop.
That workshop ended with an
impromptu bluegrass jam ses-
sion. As always, a huge “thank
you” to Thomas Supper at
Meinl for his help in organizing the workshops, and also for
playing host to Beppe’s fellow
Taylor clinicians, Mike Keneally
and Bryan Beller, just a month
earlier on their Taylor tour
(see Supper’s journal entry in
WorldView, this issue).
Beppe returned from
Germany for a brief break
before packing his bags for
Argentina, where he performed
the music of the Italian immigrants, which he’s studied for
many years and documented so
beautifully in his CDs, Traversata
and Serenata. Beppe was accompanied by his wife Federica
Calvino who played guitar and
performed traditional dances,
and Maurizio Geri on guitar and
vocals. The trio played to sold-
we’re looking forward to the results. Wayne
also will be recording a tune on his
Nylon Series Taylor for the next Solid Air
Records compilation CD, which will pay
tribute to “de lovely” Cole Porter. (Wayne
shared in a Grammy win for the label’s
Pink Guitar, featuring the best of Henry
Mancini interpreted by an impressive line-up
of acoustic guitarists.)
In late March, Wayne will be heading to the
Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states on a Taylor
workshop tour, but initial plans were just
starting to come together as this issue went to
press, so check the website for dates as we get
closer. One stop will be for a special “Guitar
Lovers Weekend” at the Weathervane Inn, a
charming bed-and-breakfast in the Berkshires
of Western Massachusetts. Proprietors Jeffrey
and Maxine Lome first contacted us last year
about co-sponsoring a fun weekend concept
for guitar players, and we sent Artie Traum to
give it a test run. Everyone had a great time,
so we’re going to do it again, this time with
Wayne the weekend of March 31-April 2.
Activities include a master class with
Wayne, plenty of time to sit around and play
guitar with other guests, and an open-mic
evening concert. Visit weathervaneinn.com
for more details.
out audiences in Buenos Aires,
Mendoza, and Rosario.
Workshops
Ottawa, Ontario
Lauzon Music Centre
Monday, February 20, 7 p.m.
(613) 725-1116
Burlington, Vermont
Advance Music Center
Tuesday, February 21, 7 p.m.
(802) 863-8652
New Haven, Connecticut
G Guitars
Wednesday, February 22, 7 p.m.
(203) 786-4734
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Wakefield Music Co.
Thursday, February 23, 7 p.m.
(401) 783-5390
Wilmington, Delaware
Accent Music
(Kirkwood Hwy. location)
Tuesday, February 28, 7 p.m.
(302) 999-9939
Louisville, Kentucky
Steilberg String Instruments
Tuesday, March 7, 7:30 p.m.
(502) 491-2337
Beppe Gambetta at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Photo by Garry Harshbarger
almanac
PAT KIRTLEY
CONTRAST
L-R: Rob Hay, owner of the Music Loft in Wilmington, North Carolina, Taylor Regional Sales Manager Aaron Dablow
and Pat Kirtley. Photo by Joyce Kirtley.
CHRIS PROCTOR
THE CHRIS PROCTOR COLLECTION
Sugarhouse Records
P.O. Box 520301
Salt Lake City, UT 84152-0301
E-mail: [email protected]
To order CD, send $18
(checks drawn on a U.S. bank;
includes postage and handling) to
the address above, or order at:
www.chrisproctor.com
Also avalilable through
Acoustic Music Resource
(800) 649-4745
www. acousticmusicresource.com
Chris Proctor and his lovely wife
Tomi embarked on a very memorable Italian vacation in October
(see Chris’s “Ultimate Venice
Tourist” photo for proof). The trip
included lots of sightseeing, great
food and wine (natch), a nice
visit with fellow clinician Beppe
Gambetta and his wife, Federica,
a couple of concerts, and one fantastico Taylor workshop in Milan
in conjunction with our distributor, Backline.
But the adventure-to-remember started out on a scary
note: just a few days before the
Proctors were to depart for Italy,
Chris learned that he had pneu-
monia. After “floating on a sea
of antibiotics for the first week,”
Chris began to feel much better.
“I think that boatloads of Chianti
Classico Riserva made the crucial
difference,” he reported.
Back home, Chris has been
auditioning local studios to find
just the right spot to start recording his next CD, which will be a
return to the all-original-music
approach of his first six CDs. He
also will record an old Stephen
Foster tune with fellow clinician
Artie Traum for another future
project, and he’s been testing
some new strings for Elixir in his
spare time. That, and working off
the few extra pounds he
brought back from Italia.
Workshops
Boise, Idaho
(with Pauly Zarb)
MainString Music, P.O. Box 135,
Bardstown, KY, 40004
E-mail: [email protected]
To order, send $15 plus $2 shipping,
checks or money orders drawn on a
U.S. bank; Other titles available at:
www.acousticmusicresource.com
For instructional videos,
visit www.guitarvideos.com
or call (973) 729-5544
Last fall, Pat Kirtley had
a great Taylor workshop tour
through Colorado, New Mexico,
and the Southeast, including Virginia, North and South
Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
During parts of the trip, he was
joined by Taylor’s new Regional
Sales Manager for the Southeast,
Aaron Dablow. Pat reported that
it was a pleasure to have Aaron at
the workshops, and the attendees
had plenty of questions about
Taylor products for him.
The guys were concerned
about the viability of the workshops in hurricane-weary southern Florida, but every event went
very well, with good attendance
and lots of interest from both
dealers and players. Pat later
commented that the overall feeling from the attendees was that
they very much appreciated a
chance to enjoy some music and
to take their minds off of every-
thing else for a night.
Just before the tours, we sent Pat
a T5 to add to his arsenal, and he
filed this report: “The new T5 has
been extremely well received and
I love playing it. Mine is a custom,
in the ‘Black Burst’ finish, and
it turns heads wherever I go. While
it comes across great on stage, my
favorite experience is just playing
it unplugged, for practice or for
fun. Its acoustic side is very satisfying, and that’s something that
cannot be said for electric guitars
in general. It responds acoustically
like an old archtop, but it plays like
a new Taylor — what a combo!”
Workshops
Glendale, Arizona
Sam Ash
Wednesday, February 15, 7 p.m.
(602) 863-7746
MIKE
KENEALLY
Old Boise Guitar Company
Saturday, February 11, 10 a.m.
(208) 344-7600
Cedaredge, Colorado
Starr’s Guitars
Monday, February 27, 7 p.m.
(970) 856-2331
Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Candyman
Wednesday, March 1, 7 p.m.
(505) 983-5906
Arvada, Colorado
Old Town Pickin’ Parlor
Friday, March 3, 7:30 p.m.
(303) 421-2304
THE UNIVERSE WILL PROVIDE
Mike Keneally and the
Metropole Orkest
Favored Nations
To order CDs,
visit: www.moosemart.com
Mike's website:
www.keneally.com
Contact & management:
Scott Chatfield
(760) 753-7111
[email protected]
Mike Keneally and Bryan Beller at the Flora Theatre in Delft, Holland.
Chris Proctor
in Venice, Italy.
Photo by Tomi Ossana
Photo by Scott Chatfield
In the Summer ’05
“Almanac”, we mentioned that
spanning Mike’s career.)
Mike Keneally had taken to the
If you were not able to catch one
road with bassboy extraordinaire
of the shows, fear not — Guitar
Bryan Beller, guitarist
Therapy Live, a lovingly-crafted
Rick Musallam, and drummer
CD/DVD package made from
Joe Travers, for a very special
digital multi-track recordings of
Mike Keneally Band “Guitar
several of the performances, is
Therapy Tour”. According to
now available for pre-order from
the guys, each performance was
Keneally.com. The first 3,000 cop“magical,” and Mike and Bryan
ies of this Special Edition packopened every show with an allage will be hand-numbered and
acoustic, all-Taylor set, which was
autographed by Mike, and delivery
really cool. (Mike’s T5 was shown
is expected in the first quarter of
off in grand style throughout the
2006.
band’s set list, which included
Various features of this premany new renditions of songs
mium CD/DVD set are still being
worked out, but they hopefully will include an entertaining
band-commentary track, as
well as footage from the MKB’s
Los Angeles show at the Baked
Potato, which was mixed in stereo
and Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound
and makes you feel as though
you’re sitting in the front row.
A Standard Edition of Guitar
Therapy Live also will be released,
probably in March, but wouldn’t
you rather have the super-cool
one? Order yours today.
31
almanac
DOYLE DYKES
CHAMELEON
Howling Wood Records
(a division of Doyle Dykes
Productions)
To order CD, call Echotunes
(800) 927-9848 or
visit www.echotunes.com
Doyle’s website:
www.doyledykes.com
E-mail: [email protected]
Join the Doyle Dykes Forum at:
http://www.doyledykesforum.com
To subscribe to Doyle’s e-mail
list, send a blank e-mail to:
[email protected]
It has become a Taylor tradition that every fall our UK distributor, Sound Technology, hosts
Doyle Dykes
for a couple
of whirlwind
weeks of
workshops,
concerts, and
other perfor-
mances/appearances. According
to Doyle, the 2005 tour was “the
best ever,” largely because he
had two very special travel companions along this time — his
amazingly talented daughter,
“Miss Haley”, and our amazingly
talented Bob Taylor.
The goal of this trip was to
effectively introduce the T5 to the
UK market; to accomplish that
goal, Doyle, Bob, Haley and Sound
Tech’s Robert Wilson traveled
2,000 miles across England and
Scotland. Doyle reported seeing
many familiar faces along the
way, and each workshop was well
attended by enthusiastic Taylor
fans.
Every night, Bob would get
onstage and tell the story of
Taylor Guitars and the development of the T5. Then, Bob and
Doyle would demo the different
capabilities of the new axe, wowing the crowds with the diverse
sounds all coming from the same
Seasonal Tips
guitar. Although Bob originally
was scheduled to be on the tour
for just the first week, he decided
to extend his trip and stayed for
the whole tour!
Another highlight for
attendees was hearing Haley
Dykes perform a couple of tunes
(backed by dad, of course) from
her brand-new debut CD, The
Mystery of Her. Be sure to check
it out at haleymusic.net, and
look for an upcoming review in
Wood&Steel. Congratulations,
Haley!
Cutline
Workshops
Riverside, California
Wild West Guitars
Saturday, February 4, 12 p.m.
(951) 369-7888
Gilroy, California
(presented by Gilroy Guitar
Gallery)
New Hope Community Church
Monday, February 6, 7 p.m.
(408) 847-6350
Springdale, Ohio
Sam Ash
Monday, February 27, 7 p.m.
(513) 671-4500
Left: Doyle Dykes
and daughter Haley at
Lauzon Music Centre
in Ottawa, Ontario.
Photo by Ken Lauzon.
Below: Haley and Doyle at
Stonehenge in England.
Photo by Bob Taylor
Illustration by Tom Voss
N
ow that brilliantly colored leaves have
accessories compartment of your Taylor guitar,
given way to bare trees in some parts of
you can print one out from our website (www.
the country, and the nights have grown
taylorguitars.com/global/pdfs/guitar_humidifier.
colder almost everywhere, many of us will be
pdf). Or, call our Customer Service department
playing our guitars in the warmth of our homes.
at 619-258-6957 extension 212, and we will be
Remember that if you live in “cold country” and
happy to send you a printout.
use an indoor heater, the relative humidity in your
As always, unless you have a humidity-con-
house will drop to a point that’s hazardous to the
trolled music room, you should store your guitar
health of solid-wood guitars.
in its case when you are not playing it. Although
Purchase a Dampit or other soundhole humidi-
it’s very beautiful, your guitar is not a decoration.
fier from your local music store and be ready
Even a few days of exposure to low humidity
to use it if your guitar shows signs of drying
could dry the woods enough to cause damage.
(i.e. “buzzing” strings, lowering action, fret ends
NOTE: To learn from the master about keep-
feeling sharp, etc.). A refreshing little drink —
ing your guitar properly humidified (including
administered via a soundhole humidifier — will
the use of Dampits), check out Bob Taylor in the
restore the guitar’s moisture content.
video “Understanding Humidity”, now viewable
If a Taylor “Tech-Sheet” on the specific use of
a soundhole humidifier was not enclosed in the
32
on our website.

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