I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 12 (around forty years) and have owned quite a few guitars in that time. Everything from second-hand acoustics with warped necks and worn-out varnish, budget acoustics with actions so high they would (literally) make your fingers bleed, and budget electrics. I’ve never had a really high-end guitar before so a couple of years ago, after neglecting my solid-body electric for literally months at a time, I decided I wanted to re-discover my passion for playing again.
I knew it had to be an electro-acoustic and so I started researching Martins and similarly priced models. Taylor guitars were not on my road map until I was telling my sister of my planned purchase and her well-informed son Ben (also a guitar player) asked me what my budget was. When I told him he said, ‘you’re in Taylor territory there’ which planted the name in my head.
Some months later I ventured to a decent city-centre guitar store with my old Yamaha AES620 in tow hoping for a px deal. In my mind, I was coming home with a Martin GPCPA5. This was the guitar I had researched and it sounded like just what I wanted.
On entering the store I handed over my old Yamaha and said what I was looking for. The Martin was duly delivered and I was shown a soundproof booth where I could let rip. My technique was pretty poor with such a lack of practice so I was glad nobody else could hear. The Martin felt nice, sounded nice plugged and unplugged but it didn’t wow me in the way I expected. The assistant asked how I was getting on and offered me a few comparisons. Sure I said, recalling my nephew’s words, do you have any comparable Taylors?
I was handed a Taylor 314ce. Sitka and rose wood with a matt finish on the sides and back which I immediately liked. I struck a chord and the tone rang like a bell, a really bright but well-balanced tone. I played the Martin again which sounded dull and flat in comparison, to my ear at least.
Next I tried a Gibson, probably the most uncomfortable acoustic guitar I have ever tried to play and so quickly rejected it. After a few more contenders I was brought a Martin in all mahogany which had a sweet deep tone. Nice I said, enquiring the price, £3,500 came the reply. Take it away I said, but even at a much lower price point the Taylor was still drawing me back.
What decided it for me was not only the brilliant deal I was offered but also the versatility of the 314. Strummed, flat picked, finger picked and even playing classical that really belongs on a nylon guitar, this one instrument could do it all. I also loved the expression system.
So the deal was done and since purchasing I’ve played guitar more than I have in far too long, mastering and re-mastering pieces that I thought I would never play correctly again. The guitar makes me smile every time I open the case, it’s a joy to play and to record with via the ES2.
Buying a Taylor is like joining a family, once you become a member I doubt you’ll ever want to leave. I’d certainly love to add a few more to my collection. The more you find out about Taylor as a company, the stronger the loyalty you feel (well I do anyway). I remain grateful to my younger and better-informed nephew for bringing me to this wonderful brand. As the title of this post says: ‘Thanks Ben’