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Archive for the ‘Guitars’ Category

Position Is Everything

Nope, even though I’m displaying an amp to the left, this post isn’t going to be about describing gear. It’s about a subject not too many people talk about, but often just assume everyone knows. And that subject is about positioning your amp, and where you are in relationship to it when you play.

Why is this important? Simply because how an amp sounds up close and at a distance are oftentimes worlds apart. I don’t know how many times I set up my gear based on being up close to my amp, only to hear it sound like shit off-stage and through the PA.

That creamy overdrive that sounds so luscious when I’m 3 feet away can sound like mush in the audience area. Or cleans that I think are too harsh up close actually sound fantastic off-stage.

The reason for this is because as the sound waves travel from the speaker they interact with the air molecules and bounce around and through them. Plus, there’s also a bit of a Doppler effect going on. Since sound travels at constant rate of speed, it reaches the player faster because of his/her proximity to the amp and just a little slower getting to the audience. That small difference in time can have an impact on tone.

Case in point: Before I did last year’s youth retreat for my church, I had set up my Katana 50 and pedal board at home, so I wouldn’t have to worry about dialing it in at the venue. Once at the venue, because the stage was a bit small, I had everyone put their amps offstage on the back line, and just had everyone lean their amps back against the wall so the speakers could angle up. In that configuration, I was about 15 feet away from my amp.

Once we did sound check and we got our volumes worked out, I found that all the time I had spent dialing in my sound at home was completely wasted! My tone was absolute shit! It was way too warm. I was not cutting through the mix at all! So I added treble on both the amp and all my pedals, which took a considerable amount of time while we warmed up for our first set. Talk about a high blood pressure moment! Luckily I got it mostly dialed in by the time the teens arrived, then made some minor adjustments over the next day, and all was well.

So what I learned from that experience was that I now flat-line everything before I go to a venue. I don’t bother tweaking beforehand because I know that the room will dictate what I need to do.

If I’m familiar with the venue, I now always tweak while standing at a distance so I can get close to what I need for the venue, then just make minor adjustments once I’m there.

This past weekend, we went back to the same venue for this year’s retreat. But because I was so busy leading up to the retreat, I didn’t get a chance to tweak my gear. I just loaded up my car and drove to the retreat center. Thank goodness I didn’t spend any time dialing in my sound beforehand.

The retreat center completely changed their sound system! Instead of the 21″ ceiling-mounted mains and huge subs they had before, they replaced them with what amounted to a DJ PA, and not a very good one. The rich tones that I absolutely dug last year were supplanted by speakers that produced WAY too much midrange. Luckily I had a great FOH guy to work with, and we spent about an hour getting everyone dialed in.

And through it all, I spent a lot of time going back and forth between the stage and my amp. This time, I had a smaller group, so I had the amps placed to either side of the stage, pointing in. With my Katana Artist, I ran a TRS cable directly into an XLR port and had my bassist do the same from his amp. We were just going to get enough volume on stage to hear ourselves, and let the FOH guy deal with the balance and EQ. But just to make sure the audience was getting a good sound, I went back and forth from my amp to the floor.

It really did sound A LOT different up close. I actually thought I sounded too warm. But because of the PA’s mid-range hump, that warmness created a zero-sum game. Plus, I had our FOH guy scoop the mids a bit to help things along.

So you see, what you hear up close can be worlds apart from what your audience hears…

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I just finished my morning set of a three-day weekend youth retreat. Except for one set where I used my Gibson J-45 because I thought something had gone wrong with the T5z, I used the T5z for all the other sets throughout the weekend.

To give you a bit of context, this is an annual retreat for my parish’ youth ministry. It’s an incredible retreat that is planned by the teen leaders themselves and music is a core component of it. We don’t do long sets at a time – usually about 15-30 minutes each set, depending on the activities; except for Saturday night where we play for three hours straight (with 15-20 minute breaks, so it’s not bad).

And though we don’t play long sets, there are lots: 4 on Friday, 5-7 on Saturday (sometimes we need some filler – this year we did 6), and 2 on Sunday, though the first set is a free-for-all warm-up set where we do pop and classic rock songs while the participants socialize and write “love lines” which are little notes to different people.

It’s an exhausting retreat. I write the theme song every year and plan out all the sets with the teen leaders leading up to the event to get lighting and lyrics hammered out, so it’s a lot of work even beforehand; not to mention the audio setup as my band configuration changes from year to year. But it is one of the most rewarding things I do as a musician and praise & worship leader and I look forward to this retreat every year.

This year, I was excitedly anticipating putting the T5z through its paces because I knew that this would be the ultimate test of the guitar as I would use it as both an electric and an acoustic. And now that I’ve finished the retreat and have had time to chillax, I’m smiling just thinking about the T5z. After this gig, it’ll probably become my #1.

But let’s make no bones about it: It’s an electric guitar. Yes, even Taylor places it in its electric guitar lineup. But after I heard Eric Rachmany playing it, and having now experienced it myself, the acoustic tone from the acoustic setting on the guitar has had me all conflicted since I got it.

But don’t take my word for it, here are some clips I recorded this morning, running the T5z directly into my audio interface. I didn’t touch EQ at all. After you listen to the clips, you’ll understand why I’m a bit conflicted.

Now you can see why I’m a bit conflict as to what the T5z is. The flat sound is great. It sounds like a raw, plugged-in acoustic guitar. But when I add reverb and room ambience, it sounds like a mic’d acoustic! At least to me, Taylor hit the ball out of the park with this.

Now, considering the title of this article, let’s not mistake this particular post and equate it to my original review of the T5 back in 2007. Back then, the acoustic sound was only okay. And the electric sound was… well… not very pleasing to me, and I ended up kind of bashing the guitar. But it’s a whole new ballgame for me with the T5z. The acoustic tone – which you heard in the clips – is very acoustic.

And the electric tone, well, there’s no mistaking that it’s an electric guitar, but in the electric guitar settings, I can get a variety of tones out of it from Tele to Semi-Hollow Body tones. It’s such a FUN guitar to play.

But this is where I get a bit conflicted, especially when I play in acoustic mode. I consciously know that the T5z is an electric guitar. It feels like an electric, it plays like an electric, and though I’m playing 11s for a beefier string feel, the short scale length lets me bend notes like an electric. The jumbo frets force me to fret super-light, just like on an electric guitar.

But when I hear the acoustic sound coming out of my amp, my subconscious mind puts me into an acoustic-guitar-playing mode. In that mode, especially when I’m strumming, I can get a bit violent with my playing, something I picked up from studying Michael Hedges’ technique 40 years ago. That causes a few problems; mainly knocking my guitar out of tune. I’ve had to make a conscious adjustment to back off my percussive style and just let the guitar do the work.

So to be perfectly honest, I’m still getting used to playing the T5z. But despite that, the sound it produces is SO incredible that I’m looking forward to putting in the hours to discover what sounds the guitar can produce.

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…not matter what you do.

I’m spending this weekend up at Camp Hammer in the Santa Cruz Mountains to lead praise & worship for my church’s annual Youth Retreat. This is a great venue tucked in the middle of the woods, just south of Big Basin, sitting in a clearing carved out of a dense forest of Coast Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world. This is the second year that my church has used this facility for the annual retreat and I love it here.

Last year, what was incredibly impressive was the sound system in the worship space. They had two big, ceiling-mounted mains with big subs in a 75′ X 40′ space. Lots of power – perhaps more than needed – to get the band’s sound out. Plus they had two big monitor wedges at the front of the stage so hearing ourselves was not at all an issue.

This year though, they changed the sound system. Now they have two 15″ active speakers mounted above smaller subs. To put it in perspective, you’d see a setup like this for wedding reception. It’s not bad, but it certainly lacks the depth and richness from the big mains we worked with last year.

Which brings me to the crux of the article…

Like most gear nuts, I’m obsessive about my sound. I’ve got lots of gear because I’m obsessive and have wanted to catch that unicorn we call tone. And from my amp, my tone pleases me.

But going direct out of my Katana Artist into the PA? Well… Let’s just say that I don’t know if I can fix it. And no, it’s not the Katana. I’ve got it dialed in to provide a very rich signal, and at church and recording, it sounds very close to its projected tone. What is getting produced in the PA is a very tinny tone, that combined with the reverb of the room makes my guitar sound like a Tele with some slapback delay.

My FOH guy and I have been working since yesterday afternoon to get it dialed in and save the settings on the board. We’ve rolled off the highs and added some bottom-end and that helped a bit, and we backed off the mid-range, but it’s such a fine adjustment with the mid-range, that if we get below a certain threshold point, it’s like a blanket has been thrown over the mains.

We tweaked for well over an hour yesterday during warm-up and sound check and did some more tweaks early this morning before our sunrise Mass. But to no avail. Even our vocals are sounding a little harsh. I brought good mics to this venue: Heil and Sennheiser mics. Even they sound horrible.

But here’s the thing: Despite the fact that I’m disappointed in the sound, there’s not much I can do about it. Period. I’ll try a couple of more things when we do our next set before lunch, but I’m just going to put up with what the PA can give me. My amp tone is as expected: It’s full and rich.

Besides, as long as my sound quality – or lack thereof – doesn’t hinder my ability to get the teens rocking with me, it’s all good. After all, I’m here to serve them, not my obsession with sound.

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Happy (belated) New Year!

I realized that I hadn’t written a new year’s greeting in a LONG time; we’re talking years. So I thought it would be a good idea to wish everyone a good and prosperous coming year, not necessarily filled with money and new gear – though those are always good – but abundance of joy and fun and family or whatever truly fulfills you.

As far as gear is concerned, this was a good year for gear for me. I went from not really getting anything new for several years, to scoring some great gear.

Around mid-year, I decided to finally fix up my Godin Artist ST. This made me a little nervous because I had never had a guitar with a Floyd Rose on it. And I’m not really a tremolo guy in the first place, so I did a bit of work to lock it down. I think I did a pretty good job, but I was more happy that I didn’t break the damn thing!

Next up came my beloved Gibson J-45 Avant Garde Walnut Burst. For me, this was a dream come true guitar. I’ve wanted a J-45 for a long time and that this guitar was constructed of sustainable materials yet has all that J-45 mojo that I fell in love with year ago… Wow! I’ve been loving it!

Next came my BOSS Katana Artist back in August. After I gave my Katana 50 to my youngest son for his birthday, I needed a new, versatile amp that I could use for performance and silent recording (though I still use IRs with my tube amps).

The Katana Artist is the first amp I’ve had that I could use with both acoustic and electric guitar. It has a big sound and the Waza Craft speaker and bigger cabinet make the tone so deep and smooth.

For me versatility is of utmost importance. Not just because I’m being cheap but because I play so many styles of music I need to have gear that is flexible enough to play those styles. Sure, in the past, I’ve had different rigs for different kinds of gigs, but I’m also at that point in my life where I just want grab and go. I don’t really spend a lot of time any longer obsessing over every subtle nuance of every single component in my rig.

To that end, when I recently rediscovered the Taylor T5 and saw the T5z in action, I knew that I had to evaluate it. My thought was that if it worked as advertised, I’d have flexibility in both my amp and my guitar. It did not disappoint, so I got it just a couple of weeks ago and haven’t had a smidgen of buyer’s remorse.

In other notable gear news, I went completely digital with my sheet music. I had already started doing that for my solo acoustic gigs with my old iPad, but when I replaced that with my Surface Pro, I decided to do all my gigs digitally. It has been a real boon for my church gig, and has made sharing music with my other band members so very easy. It’s also a lot greener as I don’t print many copies any longer.

Even for Christmas Eve Mass where I’d print out several stacks of paper to distribute to participants, this time, I notified everyone to either print out their own copy or download the PDF and use a tablet. My daughters did just that, and it made it so easy for them.

Amazingly enough, I only purchased one pedal this year and that was my T-Rex Quint Machine which is an octave up/down and perfect fifth generator. I love that little pedal and use it to give me a 12-string sound when I need it, or lay down bass lines for looping. Pretty cool stuff!

And finally, after years of great use, I had to replace my trusty Fishman SA220 SoloAmp that I’ve been playing through for years after it started making some funny noises and started buzzing. I think I played over 1000 gigs with it, lugging it all over Northern California!

I replaced it with the incredible JBL Eon One. Talk about having close to a hi-fi sound in a PA. I’ve gigged with it several times since I’ve had it, and while I’m not gigging with it, I play my Spotify lists through it at home. It was great for the holiday get-togethers we had this Christmas season.

Yeah, this year has been a great year for gear. I don’t anticipate any more major purchase in the near future – sheesh! I’m not broke, but I’m pretty satisfied as far as gear is concerned!

ROCK ON!

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Let me qualify before I go on: I actually don’t care if a guitar is handmade or if the wood is carved by a machine. All I care about is that the guitar plays and sounds good. I’m not going to advocate one over the other.

The other day, I was on an online forum where there was this HUGE debate about handmade guitars vs. CNC. The handmade proponents all talked about “soul” and “mojo,” while the CNC proponents talked about consistency and speed.

The reason I call this a “dumb” debate is that many people think that a CNC is just a set-it-and-forget-it appliance. You press a button and out pops a finished guitar. It’s a tool. And make no bones about it, despite parts being cut by a computer-controlled machine with a CNC, the finish and assembly of pretty much all high-end guitars are done by hand.

Personally, as I mentioned at the top of this entry, I don’t care. If a guitar sounds good and plays good, then it is good – at least to me.

I know, I’ll probably piss some people off – especially the ones who swear by getting nothing but handmade guitars. Hey man, if that’s what does it for you, then go for it! For me at least, I’m much more utilitarian with my approach to gear. I’ve got to be able to gig with it and record with it. A guitar’s soul is how I connect with it.

It can be a cheapo guitar like my original Yamaha FG-335 or my $200 Squier Classic Vibe Tele. If I can make music with it, my thought is simply this: Lemme play it.

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Summary: Let’s get this out of the way first: The T5z is an electric guitar that has acoustic capabilities. But its acoustic sound is killer! Unlike in the past where I felt that Taylor couldn’t decide whether the T5 was an electric-acoustic or acoustic-electric, now, I feel the dichotomy between the two is much more clear now.

Pros: You get the best of both worlds with the T5z: A great acoustic sound and lots of tone-shaping capabilities in both electric and acoustic modes. It’s also super-light and incredibly playable with the Les Paul-like scale length. The separate bass and treble knobs give the guitar lots of tonal range.

Cons: Now this really isn’t necessarily bad thing, but it takes a while to dial in the right sound and especially EQ balance. The very thing that’s a pro with the separate bass and treble knobs also can get you in a bit of trouble during a performance if you haven’t done your homework; and yes, that’s from personal experience.

Features:

  • Body – Hollow body, mahogany with a mahogany burst stain and satin finish
  • Back – Mahogany, two-piece, no wedge
  • Neck/Heel – Sapele
  • Fretboard – Ebony, black binding, small diamond inlays
  • Fretboard Radius – 12″
  • Frets – 21
  • Scale length – 24 7/8″
  • Nut – Tusq
  • Saddle – Micarta
  • Tuners – Taylor Nickel
  • Controls – 5-way switch system, Volume, independent Bass and Treble
  • Pickups – 3 pickups: Concealed neck humbucker, Stacked bridge humbucker, Body sensor behind the saddle.

Street Price: $1899 ~ But you can get a deal. I got mine for $1600 at Guitar Center. Granted it was their floor model, but they had just pulled it out and set it up a couple of days before. Chances are, no one played it. 🙂

Tone Bone Score:

Hands-down, by its very nature, this is the most versatile guitar in my arsenal. I’ve been playing it daily since I got it and have performed with it three times. I couldn’t be happier with the T5z.

Can Two Wrongs Make a Right?

It’s a funny thing where two things that individually aren’t very appealing can be combined to create something beautiful. That’s the T5z for me. I was really meh about the T5 when it first came out, and I have never liked Elixir strings. But here I am now with a T5z, strung with Elixir Nanoweb 11s and they feel perfect together!

In demo videos I’ve seen, pretty much every demonstrator I saw mentioned the guitar being strung with Elixirs. That had me raising my eyebrows a bit. It’s not that I didn’t like the feel of Elixirs. I just never liked their sound on any guitar I strung them on. But with the T5z, they’re perfect, and it seems as if Taylor tuned the guitar to work with these strings.

Since I’ve purchased the guitar, I’ve been playing it almost daily and the more I play it, the more I’m loving it for what it brings to the table. Especially for leading praise and worship, where I play a wide range of styles, being able to seamlessly switch between acoustic and electric is pretty freakin’ cool.

Combine that with my BOSS Katana Artist, and it’s simply the flick of a switch on the guitar and a press of a button on my foot controller to go between acoustic and electric and vice-versa. This is the promise of the T5 since its inception that kind of fell flat with me twelve years ago. But today, that promise has been fulfilled.

Fit and Finish

True to Taylor’s reputation for building high-quality instruments, the T5z is no exception. There’s nary an uneven joint nor uneven finish on the guitar. My particular guitar has this wonderful variegation in the grain, that even with the flat, satin finish gives it a 3-D quality.

There are three knobs: Volume, Bass and Treble. For the volume, there’s a detent notch which sets the volume at line level, making it very easy to set the gain going into an amp or PA.

The ebony fretboard is smooth as silk and feels oiled despite being completely dry. The jumbo fret wire really makes the guitar so much more electric in feel and combined with the shallow-C neck profile, yeah, this is an electric guitar.

The ONLY thing I wish the guitar had was a clear pickguard to add a bit of protection to the top. Though my strumming technique is pretty good, I use very thick, beveled picks, plus I keep the fingernails of my right hand long for fingerstyle playing.

I damaged the top of my Simon & Patrick with just my fingernails, but that was exacerbated by my thick pick occasionally striking the soundboard. The T5z top is mahogany so it’s much harder than spruce, but I can see rub and smudge marks on the guitar (not gouges, mind you) and for something this pretty, I want to protect it as best I can.

You can find a clear plastic guard on EBay here. It’s static cling, so you don’t have to worry about adhesives. Nice. I ordered a set today. EDIT 1/2/2020: I just found out from the seller that the static cling pickguard will not work with the satin finish. He was very gracious and refunded my money.

Playability

Yowza! This guitar is incredibly approachable whether I’m playing acoustic or electric. The smooth fretboard allows my fingers to just glide up and down the neck. Because it’s an electric guitar, the action is low, but not so low that it causes string buzz.

The jumbo fret wire took me a little while to get used to as I only have to use a light touch to fret a note or play barre chords. I actually had to make the most adjustments playing barre chords, ensuring that my index finger was flat. If I roll my finger too much to the side, my knuckle would bend the string. This actually forced me to lighten up my grip, which was a good thing.

From a soloing perspective, the jumbo frets make playing similar to playing scalloped frets; not quite, but they’re big, so a light touch is necessary. But digging in with jumbo frets provides for so much expression.

The most incredible thing with the T5z’s playability is that without a neck heel, reaching the upper bout of the neck is SO easy. My mate and I were doing some jamming before Mass the other day and I worked my way up the neck. I started chuckling at how easy it was to get to those high notes and not have to stretch!

A note on the string gauge. The guitar comes standard with Elixir Nanoweb 11s. The thicker gauge gives a slightly acoustic feel to the strings. But the Les Paul-like scale length makes bending super easy. It really feels like playing an electric guitar with thicker gauge strings. Also, the thicker gauge prevents too much bending while just fretting notes. Going any lighter on the gauge, at least to me, would make the guitar very difficult to play.

How It Sounds

I have yet to record demo clips for the guitar. With my kids home for the holidays, that was relatively impossible. I’ll post some in the next few weeks. Despite that, I’ll do my best to describe the T5z tone.

Tone Controls: Complicating Things

This is NOT a bad thing. But the independent bass and treble knobs kind of complicate things because not only do you get a wide range of tones just from the various switch positions but the EQ controls give you lots more range within a single position. Because of this, it takes a bit of time to dial in the guitar. Though I like pretty much every sound I’ve discovered thus far, I don’t know if I’ve found my personal sweet spot for each position. That said, let’s continue, shall we?

There are 5 switch positions. When describing the sound, it’s best to do it per pickup position as each engages the pickups in different ways, thus providing different tonal possibilities.

Position 1: Neck HB and Body Sensor

This is the only position that engages the body sensor and is considered the “Acoustic” mode. The body sensor is what gives the T5z that natural sound while the guitar’s plugged in. I really don’t know how it works, but it sounds way better than a standard, under-saddle transducer. When I saw Eric Rachmany playing his T5z, I was amazed at how gorgeous his acoustic tone was.

And having played the guitar myself, up close and personal, I know I’m playing an electric guitar, but the acoustic tone is incredibly rich. With more bass, I can get a dreadnought tone; backing it off and turning up the treble will give me more of a concert body tone. Mind you, it’s important to keep in mind that this a plugged-in acoustic sound, not an exact reproduction of an acoustic guitar.

Position 2: Neck HB

I have to admit that I haven’t really played with this position that much. Without the body sensor, which provides treble much like the way the Seymour Duncan Mag Mic’s microphone works, the neck pickup is warm and a little dark. Even cranking up the treble in this position, the tone is still very warm. It would be perfect as a rhythm, playing-in-the-pocket setting.

Position 3: Bridge HB

This is definitely the rock position, and I love it. It’s bright and a little filthy when played with overdrive. I have been using this setting almost exclusively for solos. But clean, I love the Tele-like tones I can get out of this position.

At Christmas Eve Mass last week, we closed out with a country/bluegrass-style arrangement of Joy to the World. I set my amp to clean with a little slapback delay, boosted the Treble on the guitar, and I got this great, twangy tone that was perfect for the song!

Position 4: Neck and Bridge HBs in Parallel

So far, this has been my favorite setting. Taylor implies that this is more of a Jazz setting. I can see that, but I love how versatile this particular setting is. Pump up the bass and back off the treble and you get a tone that’s reminiscent of an ES-335. Do the opposite and you get that jangly tone of a Gretsch Country Gentleman.

Throw some overdrive in this setting, and for me, this is the perfect position for classic rock. For doing solos, I crank the gain on the guitar past the detente (line level), and the overdrive is smooth and creamy.

Position 5: Neck and Bridge HBs in Series

Running the ‘buckers in series creates a FAT tone, as the gains of each pickup stack. I actually prefer using this position clean. It’s almost like Position 1 but simply lacks that natural, woody tone that the body sensor provides.

Last Sunday at Mass, I used it as my soloing position and pumped up the treble. It was quite pleasing.

Like I mentioned above, I’m still discovering the different tones that the T5z can produce and I really haven’t found my sweet spot for each switch position. But that’s part of the fun in playing this guitar!

Overall Impression

As with anything I give 5 Tone Bones, it’s obvious I love this guitar. And playing it through my BOSS Katana Artist is like the perfect marriage. I now have flexibility in both guitar and amp to get any sound I need!

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When I purchased my Gibson J-45 Avant Garde Walnut Burst earlier this year, a huge factor in my buying decision was that it was constructed of sustainable material. The body is made of walnut, the top is Sitka spruce from a sustainable source, the neck is maple and the fret board and bridge are made of Richlite.

While sustainability and socially responsible manufacturing has been in the back of my mind for years, it wasn’t until I did my research on the J-45 that it really hit home with me.

Gibson has gotten in a lot of trouble over this in years past and I’m glad that they’re finally “getting it.” Their situation is kind of like Apple who was sourcing components from Chinese manufacturers whose factory conditions and production waste were abysmal and treated their workers extremely poorly.

Apple got busted – more from bad PR than anything else – and now takes an active role in ensuring their manufacturing partners treat their workers well and that their manufacturing is more environmentally safe, however dubious the rules are in China, considering the pollution in that country.

What crossed my mind is that I’m at that stage in life where I have the means to buy pretty much any guitar I want and pretty much any time I want. But just because I have the means to do so, doesn’t mean that I can be indiscriminate about how and where the materials that go into the guitars I buy come from.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m being a tree-hugger. But I strongly believe that I as a consumer have a responsibility to the planet and its people, and where I can and as much as I can be aware, apply my purchasing power to companies that not just believe in but actively practice socially and environmentally responsible manufacturing. I will not support a gear company who doesn’t have policies in place that respect our planet and its people.

I applied that thinking to my recent purchase of my Taylor T5z. But I didn’t have to dig too deep with respect to Taylor’s sustainability practices and social responsibility because I’ve been well-aware of Bob Taylor’s practices with respect to these issues. Though I’ve never been a big fan of the Taylor sound, I nonetheless have had a deep respect for how Taylor sources its wood, ensuring that it comes from sustainable sources and is ethically and legally sourced.

More impressive with Taylor guitars is their “Ebony Project.” Taylor purchased an ebony sawmill in Cameroon in an effort to ensure that their ebony is sourced sustainably and that it is processed ethically and legally, following both Camerooninan and US laws.

Taylor has created a video series around their Ebony Project. The introductory message is below:

Check out the rest of the Ebony Project series here.

Other guitar manufacturers have also gotten into the act, and that’s a good thing.

But as far as consumers are concerned, yes, buying a guitar is like voting. Your personal vote may not count for much. But thousands of votes together have an impact. The same goes with buying gear. My refusal to buy a guitar from a company that doesn’t have environmentally and socially responsible practices in place may not have much of an impact. But maybe by sharing this can raise people’s awareness, and at least create a little bit of a ripple in the vast waters of consumerism.

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