How I Met Bob Taylor: A Guitar’s Journey Home – Part II of II

Bob Taylor comes across as a personable laid-back guy in his shorts, sandals, and Taylor t-shirt, but it didn’t take long for me to realize what a sharp and innovative mind this man had.

Warren and Bob chatted for about an hour while a number of staff members listened in. They were as curious as I was to hear about the early days of the company and the history of Warren’s guitar.

Bob clearly remembered making this particular guitar.  As he ran his fingers over an imperfection in the wood, he commented “I remember that.  I had a challenge working around this knot here.”

Over the course of the afternoon Bob shared all about Warren’s 1974 dreadnought Taylor.  As it turns out, Warren’s guitar was crafted from a Brazilian Rosewood body and a Spruce top.  This was especially interesting since Brazilian Rosewood, a highly sought after wood for guitar bodies, is no longer available outside of Brazil due to an embargo implemented in the late 1960′s.  The Spruce top had wide grain, something unusual for the time since luthiers sought out straight grained wood at the time, viewing wide grain as lower quality.  The industry has recently seen a trend shifting back to wide grained wood for it’s tonal quality and beauty.  Bob smiled as he recalled picking through piles of lumber to hand-select exactly what he needed from a local San Diego lumber yard.

It was then that Bob shared some news made my jaw drop.  But since I was behind the camera…here’s Warren’s expression when he was told his guitar was the first in a series of 10 guitars that were probably the first official Taylor guitars ever made.

What are the chances, right? I just love this story.

So anyway, Warren had kept the guitar’s warranty in the case all these years. Turns out it was signed by Bob Taylor himself.

The afternoon came and went, and I was left with a deep respect for Bob Taylor as a craftsman, innovator, and industry leader as President of the top-selling acoustic guitar company in America.  It’s satisfying to know that behind these beautiful guitars is a really great guy and a factory with ingenuity and integrity in every detail.

Warren packed up his Taylor, and we said our goodbyes.

But we weren’t headed home yet – we had one more stop to make.  No visit to the Taylor factory would be complete without sampling the amazing sounds these beautiful instruments produce!

If I had an extra $4,000 to drop on a guitar, this would be my choice: the Spring Limited Edition Koa 12-Fret Acoustic/Electric. I was shocked at how comfortable the 12-fret felt (as opposed to the typical 14-fret).  This is accomplished by moving the bridge down the top away from the hole.  Besides the comfort factor, there’s just something about the harmonics of strumming closer to the center of the strings that adds a rich warmth and a lot more volume than expected.  Apparently Koa, being a particularly dense wood, starts out very bright and mellows to a rich warm tone with age and play.

As they like to say at Taylor, the worst a guitar ever will sound is the day you buy it!

I also enjoyed the beautiful T3 hollow body (right).  Look at that craftsmanship!  Sigh.

So, that is the story of how Warren Brown discovered that he may possibly own the first Taylor guitar ever made, and how she found her way back home.

P.S. – I happened to find a video of Josh Mundt doing the repair work on Warren’s Taylor.  Check it out on YouTube.  If you’re interested in reading more about Taylor’s early history, check out the fascinating essay on their site or the coffee table book on Amazon.

happy strumming,


Donovan - July 17, 2010 - 11:57 am

Amazing story. Congratulations Warren! Daniel, I love how you manage to catch people smiling like that. I’m sure those pictures will be cherished as part of a very special memory!

Melanie - July 17, 2010 - 12:04 pm

Yay! Beautiful photos of an incredible story! Wow!!! :)

daniel + megan - July 18, 2010 - 4:38 pm

Thanks Melanie, thanks for reading!

megan - July 18, 2010 - 4:44 pm

Thanks Donovan, I agree that Daniel has a knack for catching expressions. I think its because people feel comfortable to be themselves around him. Thanks for reading!

Janell - July 19, 2010 - 2:20 pm

Daniel and Megan, I LOVE your blog. All of the articles are interesting, brilliantly (and often humorously) written, and the photos are gorgeous. Keep it comin’! And, by the way, great story, too. I love how you both so often seem to be in the right place at the right time to catch a great moment. It’s magical.

Terry Hartley (Josh's mom) - July 20, 2010 - 5:06 pm

Great story with amazing photographs. It is heartwarming to see people who are so committed to making quality instruments that will give years of pleasure to the owners. Now all we need is for Warren to give a performance which you can also photograph!

daniel - July 20, 2010 - 11:19 pm

Terry, I get the same feeling when I think about what an amazing gift it is to create such quality instruments for musicians! A good tool is a joy to work with. I’m trying to convince Warren to begin playing his guitar for worship with us at Mountainside Communion. No luck yet, but I’ll keep working on it. =)

daniel - July 20, 2010 - 11:25 pm

Thanks Janell! That means a lot coming from such a great writer! We feel blessed to have been granted the ability to experience and convey those magical moments to others.

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