When Bob and Kurt first began crafting guitars, one of the body styles they inherited was the iconic Jumbo, whose lineage traced back to the archtop guitars of the 1930s. They applied their own interpretive design touches to the curvaceous shape, which would prove to be a good fit for their 12-string models. The Jumbo’s distinctive “mustache”-style bridge was a carryover from Bob and Kurt’s pre-Taylor days at the American Dream guitar shop (it was designed by San Diego artist David Randle), where the two had first met.
In the ensuing years, Taylor’s seminal Jumbo 12-string 855 (the rosewood 12-string model played by Neil Young in the concert film Rust Never Sleeps) evolved considerably, both cosmetically and structurally, to suit the changing needs and tastes of players. The mustache bridge would give way to a more modern design, and other aesthetic refinements gradually transformed the Jumbo 12 into a more contemporary — and distinctively Taylor — acoustic package.
This Builder’s Reserve offering celebrates Taylor’s “vintage” era with a tribute to the classic Jumbo 12-string. Our design team began by revisiting our original Jumbo shape, which features a full 17-inch body width across the lower bout. Additional retro touches include early 800 Series appointments like our small diamond mother-of-pearl fretboard inlays, an abalone triple-ring rosette, and of course, the unmistakable bridge, which features camel bone bridge pins with abalone dots. Gold Gotoh 510 tuners tastefully complete the throwback aesthetic.
From our wood reserves we selected some of our finest sets of figured Hawaiian koa for the back and sides, outlined with crisp white binding. A Sitka spruce top bolsters koa’s shimmering tonal response with the help of Adirondack spruce bracing. With modern design features like our NT® neck and Expression System® electronics, this guitar artfully embodies the company’s progression from its homespun early days to the latest performance-enhancing innovations.
In keeping with this year’s theme of Builder’s Reserve acoustic amplifier pairings, we’ve chosen sets of beautiful koa for a matching Expression System amp cabinet. Traditional cabinet details like dovetailed corner joints showcase solid craftsmanship and elegant simplicity.
When first built, our Jumbo 12-string delivered a fresh take on a classic design. This Builder’s Reserve beauty does the same, and makes looking back more fun than ever. As with our other guitar/amp offerings, these will be sold together, and 30 pairs will be made.