So last night attended the Taylor Roadshow at a store about an hour from home. Nice store, good selection of moderate to expensive guitars (not the stuff brought by Taylor). The owner started the show with some of his history w/ Taylor. Apparently he was recruited as a dealer by Bob Taylor himself walking in the door in the early 80's. About 20 minutes.
The rest of the show was handled by the regional rep from Taylor. Interesting side note all Taylor employees are based in San Diego, so this rep splits his time between east and west coasts. They bring along a player to demonstrate the guitars. There was also a third guy, who was knowledgeable, but I think his main job might have been roadie/pack mule.
The 2nd section was discussing body shapes, and how they sound and fit within different types of playing. There were several A/B comparisons, and none were played plugged in, just miked into a Bose L1 II. Then there was discussions/demonstrations about different woods. There was an exotic Redwood topped guitar that EVERYONE universally loved the vibe from. And this section finished up with demos of the baritone guitars. All together this was about 40-50 minutes.
Now the fun part, the "Petting Zoo". About 40 minutes to try out anything in the store, and ask the reps and store people questions. Now the Taylor people obviously brought more higher end stuff, starting around $1800 and up. But the store had a nice selection of moderate Taylors of their own. Starting around $800. Also available was a fair selection of Taylor electrics that would be demoed later.
You all remember I just bought a Breedlove guitar after liking it more than a used Taylor 314 that was available. The store had a 314, and a 310, which I A/B ed. And they had a couple of similar Breedloves to what I bought. If the used Taylor I was offered was a 310 instead of a 314, I would be owning a Taylor right now. I guess I just wanted a dreadnought.
So what items struck me? There really is a kind of magic in the small bodied, 12 fret attached guitars (I think these are the Martin 000). I also love the sound of Cedar topped guitars! There was a wonderful Mahogany/Cedar Ground Auditorium. The other thing I noticed was a consistency. The 300 series GS neck felt just like a 600 series GS neck. There was also a consistent playability across the lines as well. I was also told that by special order, pickups can be deleted from cutaway models, in the 300 series and above. This results in about a $300 savings.
Now what did I fall in love with? The T5! This is more an electric guitar that can act like an acoustic, rather than an acoustic that does electric. I played one unplugged, and I was just smitten, it just felt wonderful. This is a guitar that responds well to a light touch. You can strum it pretty stiffly, but not like the abuse you can throw at an ovation acoustic. It does have pretty low action, and you can get the strings slapping the fretboard pretty easily. I WILL OWN ONE!! I'm even half thinking about selling some stuff to fund the purchase. I think I'm going to have to try a few over the next year or so, because there are 3 levels available. The classic, w/o edge binging or anything fancy. The standard w/ simple inlays, binding and chrome. Then the custom w/ pretty inlays and gold hardware. So I guess I better start saving that tip money again!
The other (surprising) guitar I fell in love with is the GS mini. A 7/8 scale travel guitar that didn't sound or fell like a toy, but a real guitar. I spent about 10 minutes with that one alone. It was just that much fun. Interestingly they introduced this model in June, and expected and prepared for orders around 200o pieces through the rest of the year. Apparently they left the guitar show w/ orders for 4500 pieces. They are currently on allocation with 12 -14 week lead times. Retail is about $500. I just might have to get one of these a well.
So back to the Roadshow. The last section was a quick run through of the electrics of Taylor. First comparison of the ES pickup system and miking a guitar through the same PA system. Then the easy retrofit pickup designed for the GS mini. Then the T5 and T3 electrics. This was about 30 minutes. Then it was finished up with random door prize drawing for T-shirts (got one), strings and picks.
About 30 people were there, and I think they sold 4 or 5 guitars. All told about 3 hours. Now it you attend, be prepared to fall in love, and then have your heart broken as you have to leave your new love behind (This means you WB1). But there really is no pressure to buy, and nothing is off limits. The reps even encouraged us (with the store owners hearty consent) to try the $15,000 McPherson on the wall. They acknowledge this is a extended sales pitch, but they try and aim it more towards information about acoustic guitars in general. And lets face it what better way to make the sale than to get the product right in your hands, rather than just words or sounds online.
I can think of a lot worse ways to spend 5 hrs (remember 1hr one way drive) of my time. I'm going to have to keep an eye open for next year.