Bob Taylor has never been one to copy the work of other guitar makers. From the distinctive look and feel of a Taylor guitar to its signature tone to the cutting edge manufacturing methods Taylor has pioneered, Bob has always been an innovator, and his guitars are widely recognized as true originals.
With such a track record, it's no surprise that Bob had been asked for years when he would make a solid body electric. His answer was usually ambivalent, somewhere along the lines of "not anytime soon." But anyone who knows Bob also knows that if an innovative idea comes along to excite him, things can change in an instant.
The hybrid Taylor T5 came to life this way, because it gave the guitar world something new. It bridged the acoustic and electric worlds in a way that created its own guitar category. It brought something versatile to players.
It inspired them in a new way.
The solid body electric market, by comparison, was already crowded with competitors, many of whose guitar designs reference the established Fender or Gibson styles, or involve an assembly approach, incorporating stock pickups and other components. If Taylor ever were to take the solid body electric plunge, the company would have to bring something truly unique to the party, something that would inspire electric players in a different way, like the T5 did. Most likely it would start with a fresh take on pickup sounds.
The Pickup Artist
Taylor's advances in the realm of pickups have been formidable in recent years, starting with the groundbreaking Expression System® acoustic pickup.
One of Taylor's senior product developers, David Hosler, became an expert on magnetics, steeping himself inthe history of magnetic pickups with one of the world's pioneers in that field, Mr. Rupert Neve. That led to the T5, in which Taylor crossed the threshold into the electric world, experimenting further with the design of magnetic pickups.
Hosler continued to advance his magnetic pickup designs, working toward a new, more "electric" iteration of the T5 featuring a metal bridge. But this new generation of pickups had a unique sonic personality that made a strong case for a different type of guitar altogether. "The pickup justified a new idea," Hosler recalls. Bob Taylor agrees. "This pickup clearly told us the guitar was going to be a solid body. It changed that minute."
A Guitar Is Born
With an inspiring pickup as the nucleus of it all, Bob, David, and the rest of the product development team committed to designing an electric guitar Taylor-style, entirely from the ground up, in a way befitting of Taylor's innovative heritage. It's all new: an all-aluminum bridge that's a feat of engineering and art; a new tone control; a new body aesthetic that blends contouring with other features unique to Taylor. Nearly everything is original, yet will feel incredibly comfortable to longtime electric players. This guitar embodies the very best of what an electric guitar can offer: high-performance, killer good looks, playability, and above all, inspiration. As an editor from a popular guitar magazine put it after an extended test-drive, this guitar is "alive."