PPV Medien's book, Taylor Guitars: 30 Years of a New American Classic, represents a milestone of sorts for Taylor Guitars, and is a fitting way to launch the company's 30th year in business, chronicling the company's rise from obscurity to its status as a force in the field of acoustic guitar manufacturing.
Authored by Northern California-based writer Michael Simmons, the 228 page tome spans the years from company president Bob Taylor's childhood through his early experimentation with guitar-building, and his and CEO Kurt Listug's days working together in Sam Radding's small American Dream guitar shop. The book features full-color photographs of people, places, and things that factored into Taylor Guitars' sometimes painful, frequently humorous evolution. Dozens of guitars are depicted, including instruments Bob Taylor built in his learning years, standard production models, rare custom-built instruments, special celebrity and signature models, and some spectacular limited-edition guitars.
An entertaining and educational read for Taylor initiates and aficionados alike, the book contains a wealth of detail that Simmons was able to extract from the two co-owners, and from others who played a direct or indirect role in the company's story, including such luthiers as Radding, Greg Deering, Rick Turner and James Goodall, and artists such as Leo Kottke and Kathy Mattea. There are a few surprises that might raise eyebrows, some anecdotes and colorful recollections that the two founders never have shared before, and some very candid observations about the difficulties the company encountered on the bumpy road to success.
The Taylor book is also a testament to Michael Simmons' knowledge of and passion for stringed instruments. Simmons learned a great deal about the construction and history of guitars, mandolins, and banjos during a 15-year tenure at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, California, and he has applied that knowledge as review editor at Fiddler Magazine, as co-editor of the Ukulele Occasional, and as frequent contributor to Acoustic Guitar and Guitarmaker magazines. He also contributed entries about Taylor Guitars, the Santa Cruz Guitar Company and Selmer to Acoustic Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia.
"Taylor Guitars: 30 Years of a New American Classic" is available through the TaylorWare section of the Taylor website.