The 2008 Winter NAMM show is history, but the Taylor buzz created over the course of the four-day trade show, January 17-20, at the Anaheim Convention Center continues to ring out over the guitar world like a thunderous power chord.
This show saw the official music industry debut of the Taylor SolidBody, establishing Taylor as a full line guitar company that has bolstered its industry-leading acoustic heritage with a boffo electric guitar line as well. The buzz had already spread in the wake of our SolidBody limited pre-launch in late November. By showtime, people were clearly primed to check out these beauties firsthand, and by the end of the show, the SolidBody had already been honored with an award from NAMM’s “Best in Show” panel of judges, comprised of six industry experts, including Zach Phillips, editor of Music Inc. and UpBeat Daily magazines. Phillips selected Taylor in the “Trendsetters” category (“Acoustic Guitar Makers Go Electric”).
The entire layout of Taylor’s exhibition space was reconfigured this year to balance the presentation of our Acoustic and Electric lines. The room was effectively comprised of two wings, each featuring a long wall festooned with guitars. On one side were our acoustics, representing the 2008 Acoustic and Acoustic/Electric line — including new GS “ce” models — along with some beautiful one-off fruits of our Build to Order program for the year. On the other side was an eye-popping wall of electrics — a mix of SolidBody and T5 models — which formed a stunning gallery of cascading guitars. Also showcased was an array of custom SolidBody offerings, plus the debut entry in our new Builder’s Reserve program, featuring a small batch of all Bastogne walnut SolidBody guitars.
There was a bold statement to be made by the balanced presentation of acoustics and electrics (totaling about 170 guitars!): that Taylor is every bit as committed to making inspiring electric guitars as we are to acoustics. This was underscored by the fact that more and more guitar players play both acoustic and electric guitars, as many of our guests demonstrated firsthand, wandering from one side of the room to the other, picking and strumming both. Maybe at times it did sound a little more like your local guitar store on a Saturday afternoon than people might expect from Taylor. But they sure seemed happy to be there.
“Watching customers move so effortlessly between acoustics and electrics brought home the fact that these worlds really do converge,” said Taylor’s Brand Marketing Director Jonathan Forstot. “That’s obvious to most players, but as a manufacturer with a largely singular focus up until now, it definitely hit home.”
Spanning between the two display walls and facing the entrances to the room, the central focal point was the Taylor performance stage. Between the pro-caliber truss lighting, the sound (our sound engineer, Gary Hedden, has worked with everyone from Pink Floyd to Michael Jackson), and the 14-foot-long vertical banners that formed a warm, colorful Taylor backdrop to the stage, the whole set-up transformed the room into an intimate Taylor venue with vibe to spare and a killer sound mix that both artists and listeners loved. Virtually every spot in the room offered a good view of the performances.