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  • 2020 Issue 3 /
  • Letters: House Concerts, 12-Strings and a Happy Birthday

Letters

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House Concert

My son, Uriah, and I were stuck home on quarantine for 10 days, and we spent countless hours playing guitar. That kid has become addicted to the guitar. I swear, he can hear me start to play from across the house and he’ll come running with his guitar in hand. It’s been a blast.

Chris Cassidy 

12-String Love

Today, I picked up my new Builder’s Edition 652ce WHB. It’s a fantastic guitar. Previously, I had a 562ce, and it had been the best 12-string ever. But, this 652ce is really something! Thanks, Andy, you really did a great job putting this guitar together.

John Carter

Wood&Steel Online

There is really a special feeling when I get a new print issue of Wood&Steel in my mailbox. I usually carry it around with me and read it cover to cover. Today I was on your website and discovered a new electronic version of your magazine: 2020 Issue 2. I couldn’t help but click on it to explore what is new in the wonderful world of Taylor!  So, with this digital copy, I quickly checked out a real go-to section for me: “Ask Bob.” This absolutely blew me away! Not only because Bob does such a wonderful job of explaining his response to the bearclaw question, but because additional pictures and video from the supplier made a world of difference for an easy-to-understand explanation. Home run! Use this technology going forward and it will continue to help educate all of us!

Bart Marshel Goodyear, Arizona

Editor’s Note: Glad you enjoyed it, Bart. Incidentally, Bob answers more questions on video in this issue.

All in the Details

On the “Strings and Picks” episode of Primetime Live, Andy Powers was asked why Taylor guitars were shipped with Elixir Strings. Part of Andy’s reply was that by using a coated string (like Elixir), they knew the guitars would arrive at a dealer with good-sounding strings on the guitar. I just wanted to tell you how good that idea is. Two years ago, I went to Guitar Center in Tyler, Texas, with my mind made up that I was going to buy [another guitar brand]. I had done my research and was comfortable with what I had learned about the “low-end” models. When I got to the store and found the model I was interested in, I picked it up and strummed a chord…and it sounded like crap. I looked at the guitar and saw that the strings were nasty and worn. So much for that idea. I then played every guitar (under $1,250) in the store looking for something to fill my need. Then I spotted the Taylor 110ce and gave it a go. It rang like a bell. I had never even considered a Taylor until that moment. Fresh strings are the reason that guitar sold that day. That’s what I like about Taylor — attention to detail.

Marshall Endsley Athens, Texas

Code Name: Project Ebony

Editor’s Note: This letter is from a longtime Taylor owner and acquaintance of Bob Taylor. The two have emailed back and forth over the years.

Bob, I wanted to share something I thought you would get a kick out of. As you may recall, I work in corporate strategy for Mitsubishi Chemical, focused on our long-term planning and mergers/acquisitions. Last week we announced our latest acquisition, a carbon fiber recycling company in Germany. When we work on acquisition projects, we always use an internal code name to avoid using the company’s real name. In this case the code name was “Project Ebony,” and you were the inspiration. I have admired the work you are doing in Cameroon on the conservation and responsible use of ebony since you made your first investment there. I remember reading about the huge percentage of ebony that ends up as waste because it’s not perfectly black, and your conviction to use your market power to change this.

The carbon fiber world is in the same situation. About 30 percent of the carbon fiber that is manufactured globally ends up as waste and generally goes to landfills because people don’t have access to or confidence in recycled carbon fiber. I decided three years ago that this is a big company problem that only someone with the proper market power can solve, and I set out to do something about it. We have since made a number of investments in establishing a complete supply chain for this waste material so we can give it a second life, and Project Ebony was the latest move in this direction. We have built a new factory in Mesa, Arizona, that will make compounds with recycled fiber, and are currently building a new facility in Germany that will use it to make large, stiff panels for automotive and consumer electronics. We aren’t there yet, but we will get there, and it will be the crowning achievement of my career.

When my Japanese colleagues asked why I called it “Project Ebony,” I explained your work with ebony and how you used your company’s brand reputation and market power to make a difference. I wanted to share this with you to let you know that your admirable work is cascading into some unexpected areas — something you should be very proud of indeed. Thanks for the inspiration, and keep up the good work!

Ron Denoo

Bob replies: Ron, what a fantastic program you’ve started. It’s wonderful to have vision and position to make such initiatives come to pass. Good on you. And thank you for informing me that my work added a little inspiration for your work. I refer to mine as demonstration projects. I tell our team and the press that while we can’t change the world with the small size of our projects, we can perhaps inspire bigger, better, more capable companies to follow suit in their own projects. That’s where the real impact happens! And I always say that things happen because some person wants them to happen. So this story from you is another proof of the concept that we influenced something good. Thanks, my friend. It puts wind in my sails.

Birthday Gift

Today my guitar had its 15th birthday. On July 20, 2005, my 714ce began its trip from the factory floor in El Cajon to my home in University City [in San Diego]. Not a great distance, as I think of the 160,000 guitars that Taylor created last year and all the corners of the world they must have touched. But UC was a good place for that guitar to land.

A good guitar is like a birthday gift, and that’s exactly how I feel each day when I take my 714ce from its case. Like unwrapping a gift only better, since I’m always pleased with what I find: lovely, understated design, beautiful materials, impeccable fit and finish.

The tone of the Engelmann spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides has matured, but it still has the qualities that appealed to me at the start. The Engelmann is warm but not cloying, and the overtones are lovely under a clear, fundamental tone across the musical range. I’ve considered replacing this guitar, but in multiple head-to-head comparisons, I’ve never found anything more pleasing to my ear or as versatile.

As a guitar player, I’m still a novice, let’s say advanced intermediate, in fingerstyle. I also pick and strum, and this guitar sounds great in each of those styles. I’m pleased to say that I continue to improve (a shout-out to Mark Bacilla, my terrific teacher). And again, like unwrapping a gift, I’m increasingly able to draw out more of this guitar’s beautiful sound.

I’ve read about your history, and it’s fun for me to draw the line from your high school industrial arts background to the guitar in my hands. It makes you a part of my musical endeavor, and so it seems natural, on my guitar’s birthday, to write you this fan letter. Thanks very much to you and the Taylor team, and my best wishes for your continued success.

Harry Eisner San Diego, California