I first saw Taylor guitars at a trade show around 1980. I thought they were wonderful. They were so tasteful and didn’t look like any thing I had ever seen before. I liked their body styles, choices of wood and attention to detail. They were beautiful in a subtle sort of way. They very comfortable to play and the tone was perfect. I am really an electric player and I tend to play acoustics as if they were electrics and appreciate well balanced tone response and volume all over the fret board. Taylor did that better than any acoustic I had ever played. The Taylor folks were very friendly and fun to talk with. I gave them an order for several guitars and eagerly awaited their arrival. Before too long they informed me that they couldn’t have me as a dealer as they had other dealers in the area. I politely suggested that they look at a map to see how close I was to ANYWHERE, but alas it was not to be.
My good friend Dan Salomon of Northern Lights Music in Littleton, New Hampshire told me to be persistent and spoke to the folks at Taylor several times on my behalf. Eventually, an old friend of Friendly River, Diane Magagna became Regional Sales Manager for Taylor. Diane has been in the music industry for a long time and had actually visited Friendly River Music early on and did business with us, became a friend, and somehow we lost touch with each other. Diane agreed that Friendly River wasn’t really near any other music stores or practically anything else for that matter, and Diane made the administrative decision that Friendly River Music was going to be a Taylor dealer.
Since them Taylor has partnered with us presenting numerous workshops with Doyle Dykes, Chris Proctor and Artie Traum to name a few. The emphasis was always on the music it was never a commercial event. We always came away with new techniques to practice and the workshops were aimed at all skill levels.
Taylor offered to build me a personal guitar for less than dealer cost and I had a few ideas, but without fail they would always come up with something as a production model that was even better than I envisioned.
Taylor does not make entry level guitars. Every instrument they build has unique qualities that cannot be surpassed. We have new Taylors for about $400 that in my opinion are no less of a quality instrument than the guitars costing ten times that amount. They are only different.
One of my personal favorites is the Taylor T5 thin line electric. It is light weight and has enough volume to be played acoustically. I recently saw Joe Ely rocking out with one and it was awesome. It was black and looked like a relic. I have always been attracted to guitars with character.
The new solid bodies are great as well. Understandably, they are in greater demand around here than the guitars made by those guys who thought they had a patent on the single cutaway solid body electric.
One of the things I like best about Taylor is their service department. We are a service center for a lot of manufacturers and I speak with a lot of tech support folks. Lots of them are really good, but I don’t know of anyone as good consistently as Taylor. Taylors are built differently than other guitars and it was a bit of a learning curve for me. At times they have explained a procedure and asked if I had the capacity to perform it, sent me the part and sent me a check. Their engineering is brilliant and there is no guitar I would rather work on. As a guitar tech, they make me look good. Having a website, they make me look bad. They are do not fit neatly into the electric guitar category or the acoustic guitar category. Perhaps, they will cause me to eliminate that distinction.