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Teach me on Taylor guitars

Discussion in 'Acoustic Heaven' started by Vladimir, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Hmmm, very insightful Moosie. I like that analogy of Taylor for acoustics and PRS for electrics and maybe why both are considered "modern". Both companies developed their guitars "later" and my guess is that they were developed for contemporary playing. That might be the reason I tend not to select either for my own kind of old school playing. Being a Gibby fan, I must admit that I enjoy playing my wife's GS Mini, but only because I don't have a dread and that small Taylor puts out a surprisingly good dread sound.
     
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  2. Telepathist

    Telepathist Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 19, 2013
    Oregon
    I bought a Taylor 414ce and found out later Mick Jagger plays one too:
    IMG_6315.JPG
     

  3. Marc Muller

    Marc Muller Tele-Meister

    Age:
    57
    218
    Oct 10, 2006
    NJ
    Great company, wonderful guitars that sound great when hanging out on the couch. Late 90's Brazilian 814.

     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017

  4. wyclif

    wyclif Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 29, 2011
    Philadelphia
    I own an older Taylor 810 that was made in the very early 1990s that I bought new. This was before they discontinued that model for years and then brought it back with some changes. It's still a beautiful guitar, there are no dings on it at all and it looks the same as it did when I got it even though I play it a lot at home (without a belt buckle).

    The 810 is a wonderful all-purpose acoustic. It will never satisfy a bluegrass Martin dread traddy, but that's OK because this instrument is great for a wide variety of music.

    It's also the easiest-playing acoustic I've ever owned by far. And the build quality, fit and finish, and hardware quality are tremendous. I remember how impressed I was when I got this and looked inside the soundhole and there was no sign of any glue oozing anywhere (much different than the cheapo acoustic I had as a teen!)—completely dry inside even though it was a new guitar. I also wanted a bolt-on-neck acoustic and since I work in technology I had no bias against CNC construction and understand the superiority of the process.

    That's really what I think you're getting for your money with a Taylor: the build quality and wood quality. In truth, I'm really a Martin guy, but the Taylor has a different, brighter sound.
     
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  5. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    The thing that really got me thinking about iconic guitar makers is how much I'm seeing Collings (and now Waterloo) everywhere. Not cheap, of course, so they probably won't take over the world, even though the guitars easily rival the best of Martin and Gibson. Easily. So, they fail the "models at all price points" that the others have to some degree (how cheap does a Gibson get?) (do Martin HPLs count?) etc etc.

    Then I realized that my view of Collings at least, is that they're not necessarily trying to develop their own tonality. They're one-upping the icons at their own game. So, they also fail the "unique tonality" aspect.

    Want one...
     
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  6. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    Haaa, yeah, I'm in the same boat. Not excited about the cost of a Gibson, I settled for an Eastman, which to me is similar to the Collings from a big picture POV.
     

  7. maj34

    maj34 Tele-Meister

    209
    Nov 19, 2013
    Calgary
    While I don't think it was the original poster's intention, I believe the wording of his original post subtly set up this thread to be a bit biased. Most discussions around Taylor are more 80% pure love, 20% MEH. This thread is significantly reversed.

    On TDPRI - I'd venture to guess that 80 to 95% of people own teles. Probably even Fender brand.

    Go on any other forum and ask "What's the deal with that fender telecaster. Why are people paying so much for a Fender American Standard? I don't get it. How dare they charge that price for a plank of wood."

    It's all about what you bond with, and I know some people don't bond with Taylors. For me, at all price ranges, it doesn't bet much better than a Taylor. Maybe sometimes you want a neck like a Martin, but for me, Taylor has the best neck in the acoustic guitar business.

    So to answer your original question, they're commanding this price because:
    1) For some of us, they're incredible in every way, and are either the very best and/or the very best value.
    2) Your paying for the brand.

    Taylor Swift? I think of David Gilmour when I think of celebrity Taylor players.
     

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  8. Tonetele

    Tonetele Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2009
    South Australia
    See the series on Taylor guitars on YouTube. Bob Taylor shows and explains the cutting of a spruce tree to the finished guitar.
    I have a 216-CE and I got it as a favoured customer for $1799 ( normally.That's not expensive. It is also Indian Rosewood laminate. Taylor explains that it is rosewood/poplar/rosewood.
    It has a really good SOLID spruce top and Rob Taylor explains the cross checking, proof of good selection and cutting of the wood and grain as well as what the rest of the wood can be used for.
    I don't think they are that expensive, some model are but I think they're good value for money. That's in $AUD where EVERYTHING is EXPENSIVE.
    They are also very consistent in that most models sound remarkably similar. I picked mine over another because of the nut that was better cut than it's "twin".
     

  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Well, agree to disagree.

    Eastmans are well-made knock-offs. Built to a price point. They fall short of the Martin or Gibson, but they might fall short the least of any, and the price point is not to be ignored.

    You said it yourself: you settled for an Eastman, because you didn't like the high price of a Gibson.

    Collings is a different animal altogether. Collings is modeling after the iconic Martins and Gibsons, and doing a better job in terms of build quality, and yes, perhaps tone. That's really saying something, because when I held my then-new Martin for the first time, I could not imagine anything more perfect. It's still pretty close to perfection, but Collings sets the standard.

    The really amazing thing is that they're not just building acoustics like their brethren (Bourgeois, Santa Cruz, etc). They're building solid body electrics, thinline archtops, full jazz boxes, all to the same high standards.

    The breadth of the model line is the only similarity I see between Collings and Eastman.

    All just my opinion, of course.
     

  10. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Holic

    539
    Jun 25, 2016
    Texas
    I've seen the alternative brands blossom in the Bluegrass crowd. 20 years ago the only Bluegrass guitars players that didn't have a Martin were the ones that were still saving up to get one. Now there are many alternative brands that are a good choice that Bluegrass players aren't embarrassed to have. Interesting to read about some Bluegrass pickers that are famous enough to get any brand for free and see what they changed to when they left their Martins (Doc Watson, Dan Crary).
     

  11. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Dec 12, 2004
    Ohio
    If you often hv to use a capo going up the neck bc of higher action, Taylor's neck shim system is the way to go.

    Playability with chords, triads and etc ALL over the neck!

    Brilliant, but an older idea.

    .
     

  12. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    I was just speaking from a POV of breaking into the threesome gang. Of course Eastman and Collings are two different animals and are breaking into the major three from different directions, just like Taylor did. Collings at about twice the price of Eastmans are just using a different strategy.
     
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  13. Vladimir

    Vladimir Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Age:
    48
    Mar 17, 2003
    Zagreb, Croatia
    That's exactly the sound and style I'm after. Excellent video!
     
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  14. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    Sadly Collings are probably more like 4x the price of an Eastman...

    @Obsessed, I'm not arguing with you here. Just thinking out loud, pondering what it means to be an iconic guitar maker, and thinking in general about competitive advantage, in any industry.

    I don't see either of these breaking into the big three, to become another iconic brand.

    To become an iconic brand requires covering new ground – development of a true guitar-related competitive advantage – and doing so in a way that's accessible to a large segment of the market.

    Collings advantage is real, and guitar-related. They set a new, very high bar for quality. But instead of covering new ground, they seem most interested in replicating the past, in all it's toneful glory. Also, because of the high price point, a Collings is not accessible to the general market. The young musician can't afford one. They might be 50 years old before they can comfortably do so. All those years of 'bonding' with a brand... didn't happen.

    Eastman's advantage seems to be mostly incidental to their geography. Take the same exact company, and house them in Austin, TX (Collings home), or Nazareth, PA, and they'd be going under. They've perhaps covered new ground but only in the sense that they've raised the bar of manufacturing in China, to nearly match that of the US. The guitars appear, like Collings and many others, to be recreations of Martin and Gibson glory years. Except they aren't. In fact they're not even to the level of a new-production Martin.

    No, I think Eastman will be popular "for the price", but nothing more. The guitars are good, FOR THE PRICE. Not iconic.

    Collings may well just continue to set new bars for quality across electric and acoustic lines, but at the prices required to support the result they achieve, I don't see them becoming a household name anytime soon.


    PRS is the only acoustic builder I can think of who's even vaguely a challenger to iconic status. No, not because their acoustics are a household name LOL. But they do have a good-sounding, if non-traditional, guitar (of course Taylor's still considered non-traditional, too); it uses completely different bracing, unlike any other popular model; and they have shown the ability to not only maintain high production numbers, and high quality, but also to "dumb it down", and offer models at a spectrum of price points.

    If I were PRS, I'd be madly interested in what tipped the scales for Taylor in the early days. Was it their famous playability? The NT neck is obviously a competitive advantage, but early on, I doubt that convinced most players to buy. Possibly the opposite.

    :)
     
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  15. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    72
    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    Funny, we all have different demands and perceptions. the last thing I want is boomy bass, especially one that goes muddy when the strings are a couple of days old, but I don't want that bright loose Taylor sound either, it has to be tight. Maton rules! :D

    FWIW, Bruce Sexauer has defined "modern" has heavy, acoustically reflective b&s, and traditional as the thin, resonant b&s used in prewar Martins.
     

  16. crumjack

    crumjack TDPRI Member

    Age:
    41
    72
    May 8, 2016
    Indiana
    As someone who bought a Taylor earlier this year, I know their electronics sold me on them. I wanted something around $500 for open mic nights and something I can easily sell in a year if I upgrade. I found a used 114 that will get me there. It is a little bright but some Martin phospor bronze strings help.

    Down the road when I'm shopping all solid with a $2k budget, I may go for a Martin over a Taylor. But I think my story explains part of Taylor's success and why they have introduced the Academy line. Get people used to your entry level stuff and they are more likely to buy the next model up the next go round.
     
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  17. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    72
    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    Before you shell out big $ on a higher-end Martin or Taylor, try to do a side-by-side comparison between them and the Mexi (100 and 200) series Taylors. You might be surprised. :)
     

  18. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Age:
    60
    Jul 18, 2010
    Western Connecticut
    I know sometimes dreads are too 'boomy', but I read John's "remarkable bass", and Sexauer's "resonant back & sides" to be saying the same thing. It's perhaps not hard to make a boomy dread. It's hard to make one that has a complex low end.

    I recall PRS (himself) saying that the back on his guitars are meant to be totally unforgiving. That any vibration dampened the reflection, and hurt the tone. In theory, not wrong. But as an absolute? Modern indeed.
     

  19. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    I get what you are saying. To be "iconic" takes something more. How Taylor did it, I'm not sure, but it goes to show that it can happen. A few too many stumbles by Martin and Gibson could open the door for Collings or Eastman. Or maybe even a string of top guitarists in a new genre could make it happen. Personally, I'm probably too old to be open to a whole new acoustic flavor, but the next generation could define a completely new sound. An interesting discussion Moosie.:)
     
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  20. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    72
    Dec 3, 2014
    Toowoomba, Australia
    It's a pity that you and other can't hear my Maton all-laminate M300. It is something of a revelation if you are used to Martin and Taylor type bass sounds. Piano-like is how I think of it., but I do sacrifice some volume when fingerpicking.
     
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