Taylor Guitars

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

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


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

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

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

In January 2014, the U.S. State Department honored Taylor Guitars, with the Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) [7] citing Taylor's commitment to responsible practices in obtaining ebony for its instruments.


Starting in January 1999, Taylor began making its guitars with a patented, bolt-on neck; the NT neck (new technology). It differs from other guitar necks by using a continuous piece of wood all the way to the 19th fret to support the fretboard.[8] The standard practice in guitar neck construction is to support the fretboard up to the fourteenth fret with the unsupported portion being glued to the (constantly moving) soundboard. The NT neck fits into a pocket on the top of the guitar body with the desired angle being achieved by small, accurately milled neck spacers (shims). Over time, guitars sometimes require the neck angle to be realigned (referred to as a neck reset). This process is greatly simplified by Taylor's system allowing the replacement of different sized neck spacers to return the neck to the required angle. Prior to 1999, Taylor Guitars had a simpler bolt-on neck design. These guitar necks allow for simple adjustment later if needed. Traditional (Non-Taylor) guitars with a glued neck with a dovetail need to be disassembled to be adjusted.[9][10]

Taylor's proprietary pickup system, the Expression System, consists of a humbucking induction pickup mounted in the neck and a pair of dynamic soundboard transducers wired to an on board preamplifier designed by Rupert Neve.[11] The entry-level 100 and 200 series use an externally similar system known as ES-T, which utilizes a single under-saddle pickup and no soundboard transducers. The first generation system was powered by a pair of AA batteries. Starting with 2007 production the electronics use a 9-volt battery similar to common piezoelectric and microphonic pickup systems in other guitars.

Custom guitars[edit]

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

Electric guitars[edit]

Taylor Guitars started to produce electric guitars in 2005.


The Taylor factory in California

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


  1. ^ "Bob Taylor, Cofounder and President of Taylor Guitars Writes New Book about Life, Passion and Business". Prweb.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  2. ^ "Taylor Acoustic Guitars". Play-acoustic-guitar.com. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  3. ^ "Taylor Guitar Story – From the Beginning". Musician's Superstore. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ Simmons, Michael John (May 2004). "American Dreamers: Bob Taylor, Kurt Listug, and the rise of Taylor Guitars". Acoustic Guitar 137. 
  5. ^ "Taylor Guitars". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Sustainable Ebony". Taylor Guitars. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  7. ^ http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/Jan/30/taylor-guitars-lauded-by-secretary-of-state-kerry/
  8. ^ Ford, Frank (MAy 12, 1999). "Taylor's New Neck Joint". Frets.com. 
  9. ^ "FAQs". Taylor Guitars. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Machining beautiful music". American Machinist. July 30, 2005. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  11. ^ Rudolph, Barry. "Taylor Guitar Expression System". 

External links[edit]