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How fretboard woods influence sound, stringing tips for DADGAD, and the origin of Taylor’s headstock shape.

Ed. Note: Taylor’s master builder, Andy Powers, answers this round of questions, with Bob Taylor sharing the origin story of Taylor’s iconic headstock design.

How much does the type of wood chosen for a guitar fretboard affect the sound of an acoustic? Read Answer

I own several Taylor guitars and love them all, including the 914ce. I play fingerstyle and singer/songwriter music such as Nick Drake and John Denver. I just recorded a song with John Denver’s closest family member. I also wrote a song for a new movie production in the UK.
These are unlikely and improbable events for a burned-out hillbilly lawyer who is struggling to stay alive due to severe Long Covid. Nonetheless, I practice and play for eight to nine hours daily. The sound of the Taylor guitars alone affords solace and refuge from all of life’s distractions and noises. I’m grateful to you for building such excellent-sounding acoustic guitars.

At 68, I’m probably too old to be a part of the music industry. However, I do have a good recording studio in my home.

My question relates to buying a “go-to guitar” — the best acoustic sound for recording and, if feeling better, playing for others. This will probably be my last purchase, but I want this to be my favorite-sounding guitar that could only come from Taylor. If I felt better, I would simply go to various dealers and play these good-sounding guitars. What guitar do you think is your best acoustic guitar for the purpose I just mentioned? I’m aware that much of this is subjective, but I love the bright sound of a Taylor, and I want to get the best. For the record, I’m actually a much better guitar player than I was a former prosecutor, judge and trial lawyer. Thank you for your consideration. Read Answer

I often play Celtic music in DADGAD tuning and have a 2005 mahogany/cedar 514ce tuned this way. I have used light strings for years and now use Santa Cruz strings specifically for this tuning. The basses are powerful, and I really like this, but it is not very comfortable.

My point is this: A 12-fret guitar would be perfect, but I like to have a sound with powerful bass and good string tension. What solutions can be adopted, and which formats are most suitable for having a powerful sound and at the same time a comfortable guitar like the GC with 12 frets? Would it make sense to think about a Grand Auditorium with 12 frets? Read Answer

I’ve always been a great fan of your guitars — I went through a G.A.S. [Guitar Acquisition Syndrome] phase and now own a number of them. I have 14-fret models, 12-fret models, various scale lengths, etc. When I go from one guitar to a different one, I find myself playing very poorly for a while until I get the feel of something different from what I played last. Is this normal, or am I simply a poor guitar player? When I’m in the groove, I can close my eyes and have an out-of-body experience playing. I’m finding that harder to do when I’m switching guitars all the time. Read Answer

I have a GT Urban Ash guitar as well as Grand Concert and Grand Auditorium 500 Series Taylors. I am impressed with the C-Class bracing [on the GT]. Has C-Class been tried on a Grand Concert-sized guitar, and if so, what was the result? Read Answer

I have been a happy owner of a Taylor for a long time, but I’ve always wondered, what is the name of the shape of the headstock that Taylor uses? Sometimes I seem to see, with a lot of imagination, a mountain — perhaps it reminds me of the greatness and quality that distinguishes these guitars. What is the history behind the design of the headstock? Read Answer

Have you ever made a GS Mini with a cedar top? Might that make a good limited-edition model? Read Answer

Why are headstocks on 12-fret guitars usually slotted? I played a 714ce 12-fret in a shop a while back and absolutely loved the rich sound of the 12-fret versus the already amazing 14-fret 714ce (my brother has one). So, I think a 12-fret guitar is somewhere in my future. There was an all-koa limited-edition model a few years back that was 12-fret, yet had the traditional headstock, and it really looked fabulous. I’m also in love with the Gotoh tuners on my main guitar (2009 GSce-C Fall Limited) and would always choose those as an option if I could. Do you plan to offer more 12-fret guitars with a traditional headstock in future, or is this something that can be built to order? Read Answer

I’m a musician who works in manufacturing, and I’m interested in large-scale manufacturing quality control with acoustic guitars. What unique things have you done over the years to maintain the highest levels of quality control across two facilities in two countries when you’re constantly innovating your products? Read Answer

The custom Taylors I’ve seen have gorgeous tonewoods and grain patterns. What factors guide the selection and grading of tonewoods for limited-edition and custom-shop guitars, and how, if at all, does this process differ from standard production models? Read Answer

I love some of the urban tonewoods you’re using from California. With such a wide range of tonewoods available, what’s the most challenging wood you’ve worked with, and what unique difficulties does it present when making a guitar? Also, are there any tonewoods you absolutely won’t use despite their musical virtues because they’re too challenging to work with? Read Answer