Taylor Guitars is a name that resonates with quality and innovation in the world of acoustic guitars. The story began in the early 1970s in El Cajon, California, with a guitar-making shop called American Dream.

It was here that a young Bob Taylor, fresh out of high school at age 18, started his career in the industry. And where the seeds of Taylor Guitars started to sprout.

Founding and Early Years

taylor guitar

Sam Radding, owner of the American Dream guitar shop, decided to put it up for sale in 1974. Seizing the opportunity, Bob Taylor, along with co-worker Kurt Listug, bought the company and renamed it Westland Music Company, laying the groundwork for what would become Taylor Guitars.

Upon taking over the business, Taylor and Listug were faced with the challenge of carving a niche for themselves in the competitive guitar market. Their approach was to focus on quality craftsmanship and innovation.

By doing so, they began to attract the attention of musicians who valued the distinctive sound and playability of their guitars. The brand Taylor Guitars was not simply born; it was sculpted through meticulous attention to detail and a clear focus on producing premium acoustic guitars.

Expansion and Innovation

Taylor Guitars has been a prominent name in the world of acoustic guitars, with a track record for embracing growth and innovation. Taylor’s advancements transformed guitar making.

Growth and Manufacturing Developments

Prompted by their visionary outlook and commitment to quality, Taylor Guitars invested in advanced manufacturing technologies in 1981, which included laser cutters, computerized mills, and various proprietary tools.

Established in El Cajon, California, this move allowed for unprecedented precision and playability in their guitars. The integration of craftsmanship with innovative technology has been a defining trait of Taylor Guitars, ensuring each instrument meets high standards.

Innovations in Guitar Design

Guitar design at Taylor has always focused on enhancing both tone and playability. With this goal, they introduced the T5 series, a lineup that bridged the gap between acoustic and electric guitars, catering to versatile playing styles. Always evolving, the designs integrate feedback from musicians to meet and often exceed expectations.

The NT Neck and Expression System

Taylor’s revolutionary NT Neck design changed the acoustic guitar landscape. This neck joint improved the stability and made adjustments easier, enhancing the guitar’s playability.

The Expression System, developed in partnership with audio-industry titan Rupert Neve, provides a natural-sounding acoustic guitar pickup system. It exemplifies Taylor’s quest for a pure tone, capturing the true essence of the guitar’s sound.

Artist Associations

Taylor Guitars has built a reputation through strong alliances with prominent artists across various music genres. These partnerships have not only elevated the brand’s status but have also influenced guitar design and playability.

Prominent Musicians and Partnerships

Many popular musicians have embraced Taylor Guitars, making them their go-to instruments for both studio recordings and live performances. Here are a few notable artists:

  • Taylor Swift: Known for her heartfelt lyrics and country-pop melodies, Swift has often been seen performing with a Taylor guitar, her name aligning serendipitously with the brand.
  • Dave Matthews: As the frontman of the Dave Matthews Band, he frequently strums a Taylor, contributing to the guitar’s association with the jam band scene.
  • Jason Mraz: Celebrated for his acoustic vibes, Mraz’s choice of a Taylor echoes his smooth vocals and laid-back style.
  • Zac Brown: Fronting the Zac Brown Band, Brown’s use of Taylor guitars solidifies their place in modern country music.
  • Leo Kottke: A master of the twelve-string guitar, Kottke’s virtuosity is often paired with the depth and clarity of a Taylor.
  • Neil Young: Legendary for his songwriting, Young has also been known to pick up a Taylor, adding to the diverse tapestry of its artist associations.

Signature Models and Influences

Taylor Guitars has not just been a favorite choice for musicians; it’s also collaborated with them to produce signature models that capture the artists’ unique sounds and playing styles.

  • Jason Mraz Signature: This model reflects Mraz’s style and requirements for live acoustic performances.
  • Taylor Swift Baby Taylor guitar (TSBT): A modified version of the Baby Taylor guitar with Swift’s own touches, this 3/4 size guitar is perfect for small hands and as a travel guitar.
  • Zac Brown Band: A custom Taylor reflects the band’s blend of country, folk, and Southern rock.

These signature models don’t just serve the artists’ needs; they often influence the market, inspiring other guitarists to explore the qualities that make Taylor Guitars distinctive.

Global Presence and Market Expansion

As Taylor Guitars grew, they’ve expanded their reach far beyond their Californian roots, establishing a significant presence across the globe and in major markets like Europe and Asia.

Expansion into Europe and Asia

United States to Europe: Taylor’s first major international steps took them to Europe where they’ve catered to a diverse customer base with a wide range of acoustic and electric guitars. From the Netherlands, Taylor successfully accessed the European market, satisfying a growing demand among both professional and amateur musicians.

Venturing into Asia: The expansion didn’t stop at Europe. Taylor’s reputation for quality and innovation found a welcoming audience in Asia. High-quality wooden guitars resonated with the musical cultures there, from Japan’s intricate fingerstyle communities to China’s burgeoning pop music scene.

U.S. and International Retail Stores

North American Presence: Within the U.S., Taylor Guitars’ products are distributed widely, available in various retail stores across the country. They’ve become a staple on the shelves of any notable guitar shop from the east to the west, setting high standards in the musical instrument manufacturing industry.

Stores Outside the U.S.: Just south of the United States, in Tecate, Mexico, Taylor Guitars operates a facility contributing to their North American operations. Their international retail store footprint also includes locations across Europe and Asia, putting Taylor guitars in the hands of people all over the world.


Taylor Guitars has solidified its place in music history by introducing features like the patented Expression System and the NT neck, enhancing playability and sound in ways that have resonated with musicians globally.

Taylor’s timeline showcases a constant push for improvement, evident in their meticulous attention to detail and commitment to quality. They started small in that Lemon Grove, California shop and grew into a company that sets high standards in the guitar-making industry.

And along the way they’ve picked up endorsements from popular musicians in all genres of music.

The brand’s success is built on a keen understanding of a guitarist’s needs, combined with the drive to offer something exceptional.


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