Interview:Genesis of Taylor GS Series Guitars
Q: What was the inspiration for the GS series?
A: We were riding high on the success of the T5 and having a lot of fun with it. At the same time, I felt it was important for Taylor to come out with a strong acoustic statement in 2006 to let people know our heads are still very much in the acoustic game. We weren’t going to go away and simply become "the electric guitar company that used to make acoustics." There are still lots of ideas that we haven’t tackled.
So there was a sound I had in mind and a shape that I thought would yield that sound. And that shape centered around what our Grand Auditorium Series is and how that could be physically expanded to make it a little more boisterous. The result is a guitar that has deeper, piano-like bass, way more volume, and good low-end sustain without ruining the clarity of the mids and the highs. And that’s what the GS became.
Q: How did you retain Taylor’s trademark midrange response while adding the smooth, solid bass?
A: It’s really all geometry. We moved the waist up and widened it and then made the lower bout a little more "pregnant." That adds a little bit of real estate in the lower bout in an area where every bit of real estate you have there pays back big sonic dividends.
There’s so much energy going into the guitar with the strings and wood vibration. When you give that energy—what I call the fixed overhead—a little more room to breathe by pushing the fence out a bit, you take advantage of it to yield a bigger payback in tone. Also, the number—two fan brace helps to control the midrange clarity versus muddiness. We fuss with that brace until it sounds good.
Q: How do the classic wood combinations chosen for each GS guitar contribute to the tone?
A: We liken it to having four different flavors that add different tonal nuances to the bold, rich, responsive GS sound. The interesting thing is each model responds uniquely to the individual playing style of each player, so we’ve been encouraging people to sample all four wood combinations [mahogany/cedar, rosewood/spruce, rosewood/cedar, maple/spruce]. The GS design takes the existing tonal traits of each wood and adds depth, sustain, and dynamic range. Many people have remarked that a GS right out of the box sounds like a more mature guitar—one that’s been played-in for awhile. The maple GS has probably been the biggest surprise. People who typically don’t care for maple have been blown away by the low-end and sustain.
Q: What’s in the future for Taylor guitars?
A: We always have big plans for the future, which you’ll see unfold in 2007 and later. Look for us to add more focus and continue to define our acoustic, acoustic-electric, and electric guitar lines in the near future.
Be sure to see the complete selection of Taylor acoustic guitars Musician’s Friend carries and check out our Hands-On Review of the innovative GS Series!