Taylor Guitars

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Taylor Guitars
Industry Musical instrument manufacturing
Genre Guitars
Founded 1974; 42 years ago (1974)
Founder Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug
Headquarters El Cajon, California, United States
Products Acoustic, classical & electric guitars
Number of employees
over 750 world wide
Website taylorguitars.com

Taylor Guitars is an American guitar manufacturer based in El Cajon, California. They specialize in acoustic guitars and semi-hollow electric guitars. The company was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug.


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, 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. Kurt Listug said, "Bob was the real guitar-maker."[3] Listug became the partnership's businessman while Taylor handled design and production. In 1976, the company decided to sell 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 has their lower-priced models and cases made. In early 2011, the company opened a Taylor distribution warehouse in the Netherlands to serve the European market.[citation needed] In 2005, Taylor Guitars began also producing electric guitars.[citation needed] In January 2014, the U.S. State Department honored Taylor Guitars with an Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) [6] citing Taylor's commitment to responsible practices in obtaining ebony for its instruments.


In January 1999, Taylor began making guitars with a patented, bolt-on neck they called the NT (new technology) neck. It differs from other guitar necks by using one continuous piece of wood all the way to the 19th fret to support the fretboard.[7] More common practice in guitar neck construction is to support the fretboard up to the fourteenth fret, and glue the unsupported portion to the soundboard. The NT neck fits into a pocket on the top of the guitar body, achieving the desired angle with small shims. Guitars sometimes require a neck angle realignment (neck reset). Taylor's system achieves this by changing the shims to adjust the neck angle. Prior to 1999, Taylor Guitars had a simpler bolt-on neck design. Those necks can also be adjusted without the more complex process of ungluing the neck joint.[8][9]

Taylor uses their own pickup system, the "Expression System," which consists of a humbucking induction pickup mounted in the neck and a pair of dynamic soundboard transducers wired to an on board preamplifier designed by Rupert Neve.[10] The entry-level 100 and 200 series use an externally similar system known as ES-T, which uses a single under-saddle pickup and no soundboard transducers. The first generation ES system was introduced in 2004. It had 2 transducers: one mounted to the bridge, and one on the lower bout of the sound board. Also, it had a small single coil neck pickup mounted in the neck joint. All wired to the onboard preamp which has 3 knobs for volume, tone, and blend. This early ES system and was available on the higher end models 500 series and above as well as the 30th anniversary limited edition series starting in the fall of 2004. It was a custom order for the 300 and 400 series, and could be retro fitted to some older Taylor guitars with the NT neck design for about $400. And it 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.


The Taylor factory in California

Taylor’s 145,000 square foot manufacturing facility is 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.[citation needed]

Notable players[edit]


  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. ^ George Varga. "Taylor Guitars saluted by John Kerry". U-T San Diego. 
  7. ^ Ford, Frank (May 12, 1999). "Taylor's New Neck Joint". Frets.com. 
  8. ^ "FAQs". Taylor Guitars. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Machining beautiful music". American Machinist. July 30, 2005. Retrieved May 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ Rudolph, Barry. "Taylor Guitar Expression System". 

External links[edit]