Taylor Guitars is a company whose legacy stretches back to 1974, when Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug joined forces after having met at a guitar shop called, quite appropriately, American Dream. Since then, the company has become renowned and universally respected within the music products industry. According to Taylor Guitars’ Master Guitar Designer, Andy Powers, “We’re passionate about crafting the best instruments we’re able to build and making them available to players around the world.” To that end, the company strives for continuous improvement in how the instruments are made and what they’re made with. “In other words,” Powers continued, “we want to do a great job in everything we do. That simple commitment is what has guided our company since it first began, creating a reputation for excellence and propelling us to a market-leadership position.”
Taylor Guitars, never a company to rest on past successes, is motivated to redesign and refine existing products and series when improvements can be made. “First and foremost, we’re a company of instrument makers,” Powers emphasized, “and we consider the guitar to be deserving of our very best efforts.” So, whether subtly refining an existing instrument or creating a completely new one, Taylor’s process is a traditional one, starting on the bench and relying on traditional tools and hand craftsmanship. “We make prototype instruments and then we play them,” he stated, adding, “An instrument isn’t complete until it’s being played.” The next step for Taylor is to determine whether the guitar is great…something the company would want more players to experience. According to Powers, “If so, then we set to translating it into modern tooling and processes that will allow that exact instrument to be made in our factory.”
One of Taylor Guitars’ most recent makeovers birthed the redesigned 700 Series, which, up to now, was one of the few remaining guitar classes in the company’s acoustic line not to have been reimagined in the past couple of years. Asked what the impetus was for the series redesign, Powers responded, “Quite simply, there were good ideas that we wanted to implement. We wanted to continue to push these particular instruments forward in their musicality, helping them to do a better job of serving musicians.” Some parts of the redesign, he said, had been stewing for years, whereas fresh inspiration drove other aspects of the makeover. “Once all the pieces are together,” he declared, “the whole picture emerges.”
Asked about some of the typical goals of a guitar redesign—tonal enhancement, aesthetic improvements, fresh playability features, and added accents and distinctive touches—and which ones guided Taylor’s redesigned 700 Series, Powers responded, “All of them,” adding, “A great instrument should always be a cohesive whole, with all aspects of the instrument affirming each other.” He elaborated further, saying that the look, sound, feel and function of a guitar should all tell the same story: that is, the story of a dynamic, responsive, musically captivating instrument. Zeroing in on the redesigned 700 Series, Powers described the guitars as having “a very western and organic personality steeped in the tradition of flat top guitars.” He continued, “Yet, they’re equally comfortable with the modern precision we bring to all our designs.”
The redesigned 700 Series is composed of 10 models, ensuring that there’s a guitar to suit nearly every player’s preference. The models are as follows: 710e Dreadnought; 710ce Dreadnought Cutaway; 712ce Grand Concert Cutaway; 712e 12-Fret Grand Concert; 712ce 12-Fret Grand Concert Cutaway; 714e Grand Auditorium; 714ce Grand Auditorium Cutaway; 714ce-N Nylon-String Grand Auditorium Cutaway; 716ce Grand Symphony Cutaway; and 756ce 12-String Grand Symphony Cutaway.
Asked about the most beloved features, Powers first mentioned the guitars’ Lutz spruce top, finished naturally or with a Western Sunburst. He said, “We love the way this new color gradient—with its toasted honey-brown hues—complements rosewood’s variegation and the wood binding, top trim and pickguard, not to mention the unique sparkle of the Lutz spruce.” Indeed, although Taylor’s guitar crafters firmly believe that an instrument is more than just the sum of its features, Powers is particularly fond of several 700 Series details, including western Douglas fir herringbone rosette, koa binding, half-herringbone top edge trim, green abalone “Reflections” fretboard inlay, weathered brown pickguard and a new internal structure assembled with protein glue.
Asked about whom the redesigned 700 Series guitars are best suited to, Powers’ answer dovetailed with Taylor Guitars’ earnest commitment to creating high-quality guitars to serve musicians and fill the world with music. “This may sound elliptical,” he said, “but the redesigned 700 Series instruments are really good for people who like to play guitar. Novice and pro players alike will appreciate the playability and responsiveness.” The high-quality, stage-ready instruments are equipped with Taylor’s ES2 pickup system, Powers said, and they have a particularly robust, broad response that’s well suited to strumming, flatpicking, country, rock, blues and even the occasional ballad. “I would be doing the guitars a disservice to pigeonhole them into specific uses,” he declared. “They fit so many playing styles so well.”
That being the case, it’s probably no surprise that, thus far, Taylor has been very pleased with the response from its player community. “The feedback has been extremely positive,” Powers enthused. “Many people like the optional Western Sunburst finish and the slotted head design (on the Dreadnought and 12-Fret Grand Concert models), as well as the warm tone.” And, excitingly for the company, the enthusiasm is continuing to build. He added, “The new 700s are the feature story in the summer edition of Wood&Steel, which is Taylor’s proprietary magazine, and we’ll be featuring the instruments at our in-store Taylor Road Show events this fall.” It’s really been a non-stop sprint since the redesigned 700 Series instruments bowed at Summer NAMM, capitalizing on the excitement of a major industry event to burst out of the gate.
The products, which are currently shipping, have an MSRP of $3,898, with $200 added for the Western Sunburst finish. The instruments are a fitting contribution to Taylor Guitars’ growing legacy, and they’d be a great addition to your inventory.