Following on the heels of their American Dream series, Taylor has introduced the new GT Urban Ash and GTe Urban Ash. Ushering in a new body design, the Grand Theater, the GT Urban Ash was inspired by their highly-popular GS Mini line. Re-designed from the ground up, this new guitar design features fresh new body and neck dimensions, new C-Class bracing, and all solid-wood construction. Designed for ease-of-play and, perhaps most of all, fun, the GT Urban Ash offers all the comfort of a small-bodied guitar with the full sound you'd expect from a much larger instrument.

We caught up with master guitar designer Andy Powers to discuss how these instruments came together, from scaling to wood selection to their new cantilevered C-Class bracing design. 

The HUB: Hey, Andy! Seems like the last time we spoke was when the new American Dream line was coming out. Amazing guitars. How have things been going for everyone at Taylor?

AP: Mostly weird, mostly good. I mean, we’re getting to do work. We’re getting to build guitars. I love all of that. It’s kind of interesting to watch the ways that people take to different circumstances I suppose, because some good things do get to come out of all of this kind of disruption.

One of them is that musicians all over the place, people in general, are taking up playing music in fresh, new ways. I mean, I can’t tell you how many, I guess, formerly non-musician friends that I have who have started playing music for themselves. “Oh, well, I’d always wanted to learn to play. Now’s my time. I’m going to start playing guitar.” And so, they’re spending time with their families, playing songs for themselves, with their friends in their backyards. I’m like, “Well, that’s a wonderful thing. That's a great thing to come out of all of this.”

So, amidst all the tragic stories, and the uncertainty, and the disruption that you hear about, man, there are some really beautiful silver linings.

The HUB: Yeah. Nice. So, let’s go back. I’m assuming that this happened long before the pandemic but, let’s talk about the new GT Urban Ash guitars.

AP: Yeah. GT.

The HUB: So first off, I had one here for a little bit and played it. It’s an amazing little guitar. So, going back to the start, what opportunity were you looking to explore with this design?

AP: Yeah. Okay, well, I guess I could say that I, as a musician and a guitar maker, I believe that instruments should be enjoyable to play. Right? We’re supposed to have fun doing this, otherwise why bother? You know, it’s supposed to be an inspiring process, a creative process, an enjoyable process, and so I’m always wanting to build and play instruments that are fun to play. And so, for that reason I really enjoy our GS Mini guitars because they are a lot of fun.

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: And there was a time when we would think, maybe we could build like an even cooler version; maybe we could take this a little further. Maybe we could make a solid wood version. Maybe we could try some different things.

I think I first started working on what became this new GT guitar back in 2013, so back in 2011, 2012, not terribly long after we introduced the GS Mini, I started building solid wood prototypes of a GS Mini. So, I started to hotrod those guitars. I did some that was like, I mean, French polish put together with hot hide glue, like all kinds of crazy stuff, and go, “Yeah, just see what if.” You know, I’ll really push this particular design as far as it wants to go. But the reality is, you know, right from the outset, it’s a small guitar. There’s only so much you can do. And if I want it to sound bigger, I kind of need to make it be bigger. It’s got to actually be a little bigger in order to do that.

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: And so, I guess in 2013-ish, right around there, I started playing with this idea that I could build a guitar that’s halfway in between what you would call a travel-size guitar and a full-size guitar. Like, I think of it as a mid-length.

Let’s talk about it like piano design for a minute. Piano design is really interesting because it’s really easy to look at the size of a piano by the size of its box, by the case that holds the strings. But if you were going to design a piano, what you actually design first is the string length and then build everything around it. You decide how long are these strings and that determines everything that you do next. And that's the same with guitars. Even though we tend to talk about maybe the width of a body or the size of a body, it really is the size of the strings that are a driving factor for all of those criteria. And so, I took a different approach with this guitar and went, “What is the string length I want?"

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: So, if you drop tune a guitar, E flat through E flat, you lower its string tension quite a bit, right, so you get that real kind of loose, comfortable feel. But I don’t necessarily want to play E flat through E flat! Actually, I want it concert pitch, but I want the physically larger diameter of a big string. So, I don’t want to gauge down on string size. I want the looser feel. I want it at concert pitch. You know, "you want your cake and eat it, too" kind of an idea.

The HUB: Wow.

AP: So, the tension is exactly the same as if you tuned E Flat to E flat and put a capo at the first fret to bring it back to concert pitch. So, I took that thing, including the smaller fret spacing that you would have resulted with, and designed the entire guitar around that set of proportions.

The HUB: So, you take a 25.5-inch scale guitar, you put a capo on the end. How do you design for the string running the extra length beyond the capo, you know what I mean, in order to have that tension?

AP: Yeah. I didn’t want that part. I want to take it away.

The HUB: Okay. Cool.

AP: Essentially, the way you design for it is you go, “That extra little bit of string length could either be good or it could be bad.” It just depends on where you put tuning pegs, how you treat it, what you do with it. In this case, I wanted the entire guitar to shrink a little bit and yet give me the bigger sound that I wanted out of the more typical size guitar string set, as well as this unique voicing.

The HUB: Yeah. So, the strings that you would put on this would be a standard acoustic gauge string?

AP: Yeah. Yeah, it’s like you're going to take an ordinary set of light gauge strings and string it up just like you would any other guitar, but what you're left with is a totally different hand feel and different response out of the guitar.

The HUB: If I had to describe it, maybe it’s slinky, maybe it’s bouncy; it’s that sort of added feel of having that lowered tension. How do you think people are going to respond to it?

AP: Essentially, it’s easy to play is what it translates to. It ends up being a really fun, approachable, friendly kind of guitar to play. It doesn’t have like the seriousness that you would get out of like a high-tension, long scale design.

Now when you play, you pick up like a big dreadnought guitar or a GP, there’s this certain like forceful, high strain, directness in the sound. This guitar is way more… friendly.

It ends up being easy to get around on. It’s like the guitar doesn’t take itself too seriously. You know, it’s just meant to be picked up and played and have fun with.

The HUB: Yeah. You know, and when I was playing it, I sort of felt this vibe. I don’t have very large hands, but even on a ukulele, I feel very crowded. So, I got a tenor ukulele because I want some more room.

AP: Yep.

The HUB: And so, it was a really nice amount of room for an acoustic, in order to cram your fingers in there. Can you talk about the width of the fretboard and how that plays into comfort?

AP: Yeah. It’s kind of funny. I mean, this guitar literally in the middle of everything, right? And so, we’ve got this scale length that's kind of living in this, almost like a blackhole of string lengths where there isn’t much out there that has a string length that's in between. But all of the other aspects of this guitar are also sized to be appropriate for that string length, so the size of the body, the size of sound hole, the size of the bridge, the width of the neck even.

And so, this particular neck, if you're looking at nut width, commonly you’ll see measurement like 1 11/16” or 1 ¾”. This one’s actually in between the two, it’s 1 23/32”. If you were to split the two most common American guitar nut width dimensions, this one’s halfway in between. And it feels like this just right kind of size because it’s not too small and it’s not too big. It ends up being comfortable. In fact, while we’ve been developing this guitar, it had the nickname of Goldilocks. This was actually the Goldilocks guitar because it wasn’t too much of anything and so anybody can have fun playing it. Whether you're a beginner, whether you're a pro, whether you're a recreational player, whether you've got a lot of experience or not, it kind of works for everybody and it ends up being an enjoyable instrument because of that.

Taylor GT Urban Ash Acoustic Guitar

The HUB: Yeah, Goldilocks, is a really nice way to put it. It’s sort of like you’re making a compromise on size, without compromising anything, actually. It’s sort of like you've achieved this really strange thing for people is where you move to the middle and somehow it does resonate with everybody, you know. So, let’s talk about the body size and shape itself. Building out from this idea of a string length first, how do you then get a body size that can support that sound and still be considered not a full size and not a travel? How do you just end up designing the body so that it fits in that realm?

AP: It’s really about looking at the proportions. It’s the overall proportions and size of the curves.

Okay, so if you take rulers you can figure that out. If I were to scale maybe using some, like, middle school math, you scale the string length down and you could also scale the body down a certain amount. Well, that works to a degree, but really you need to be matching the tension and resonance of what those strings will do with an appropriately scaled and shaped body. And so, I worked on the proportions between this scale length and the lengths of the body, the width of the body, the curves, the upper bout, the lower bout, the waist, and until everything sat in the spot where it would want to work.

Interestingly, it’s almost identical to a Grand Orchestra body if you were to shrink that Grand Orchestra into a size where it was a little smaller than a Grand Concert guitar. It’s actually about the same width across the lower bout, but the body length is different. It’s a very modern, steel-string guitar set of proportions so it’s distinctly different than a conventional parlor guitar, which is a very elongated body and real narrow. This one is a very modern set of guitar curves, but put down into a very compact package.

The HUB: And the Orchestra is currently the biggest body that you have, right?

AP: That's true. That's true. It’s a big, large body, kind of in the realm of a traditional jumbo guitar and almost an archtop guitar size. But, if you were to take that and then take an otherwise great set of modern curves and resize it, you end up with something that also works really well.

The HUB: Yeah. I’m just imagining someone in Photoshop just grabbing the corner and bringing it down.

AP: Yeah. It’s actually really tricky because if you look at a picture of this guitar without something next to it for a sense of scale, it’s really difficult to tell what it’s doing.

With most guitars, especially travel guitars, you have some cues. If you look at a GS Mini, have you ever noticed that the sound hole looks a little larger than a typical guitar sound hole? Well, it’s because the sound hole size on a GS Mini is fairly typical and the body itself shrank around it. That's part of one of the GS Mini’s unique characteristics. And so, if you were to look at it in a photograph on a website, it’s going to look like a typical modern steel-string guitar.

The HUB: Yeah. That's crazy. You know, I saw in some of the specs and data that came through ahead of the interview, there was a little note that said, “The sound hole is smaller, but that actually contributes to a louder volume.” Can you explain how that works?

AP: Yeah. Okay, sound hole size is one of the variables in what a scientist would call a Helmholtz resonator. Yeah, I know, it’s terrible. We’re going to make this a little more approachable.

Have you ever taken a soda bottle and blown across the top of it and you kind of make that “ooo ooo” sort of sound?

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: Okay, well, you can do a few different things to alter that sound. Okay, you can change the size of the bottle by adding liquid to it, or you can change the size of the opening. You can change the length of the neck of the bottle, but nobody really bothers with that aspect on the guitar very much. But a guitar body, what you're really listening to as one element of its resonance response, is you're listening to the sound of the air that's inside the body. It’s like a mechanical amplifier in that way, and so that particular resonant frequency influences the way that this guitar sounds by a pretty great deal. And so, we’re controlling the size of the sound hole, plus the size of the body to get the kind of resonance you want from the entire instrument.

The HUB: Yeah. Okay.

AP: And so, if I were to make the sound hole a lot smaller, the pitch of that air mass actually goes down in frequency to such a degree it would start to choke itself and it doesn’t influence the guitar string fundamental register any more. So, it’s kind of like this funny relationship that you work out to where this size body, this shape body, this bracing pattern, this guitar note register … everything wants to have a certain set of relationships, so you want to maintain that, and by doing that correctly, you end up with a very dynamic guitar.

The HUB: Got it! So, what that leads me next to then is the C-Class bracing, or cantilevered bracing, as I read.

When we spoke about the American Dream, we spoke about V-Class and how it became malleable enough to move into all these other models. Did C-Class stem from that V-Class expansion?

AP: Yeah, it did. It’s the same basic concepts. Now, if we go back for a minute and touch on what those are, as they drive the V-Class design, you're looking at sustain being a function of the strength of the top parallel to the strings, especially, or the rigidity, and volume, coming from the flexibility of a top, right. You need to displace air in order to have sound pressure. That's what we interpret as volume. So those were kind of the guiding principles behind the V-Class design. Now, the V-Class design, because of its structure, tends to make a very linear response, and it’s very shapeable, so you can adapt it very well to a lot of different woods, different body shapes, different kinds of responses.

In the case of this GT guitar, it has some kind of extraordinary characteristics around it because the body is overall a lot smaller. There's less surface area to work with. Typically, that fact alone would want to emphasize the high-end of the guitar’s register. So, when I designed the guitar, I knew right from the get-go I wanted to deliberately alter the voicing of this guitar to, I don't know, not artificially, but to exaggerate the low-end response, so when you play it, it takes the fun factor up of this little guitar to a point where you don’t feel like you're giving anything up. You want the physicality of the smaller instrument; the easy- neck, the fast playing shorter scale, the small body size… but you want it to really sound big. So, I wanted to kind of exaggerate a part of the response curve that would have been lost, or at least diminished somewhat. And so, in taking the V-Class idea and altering the way that all of the parts work, so much so that it became a different design, you end up with this really unique voice that sounds remarkably big for how small the guitar is physically.

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: You get a lot of the same benefits, the intonation improvement that you’d see out of the V-Class design. You have this volume and you have a good, long sustain, but it is inherently a different design making this thing work.

The HUB: So, what’s actually happening in there in the new design?

AP: Well, let’s see. If we were in person I could draw you some pictures. It kind of works like half of a V-Class top to give one part of the response, the action it needs, and the other half allows even further flexibility in a specific part of the guitar’s response. So, you end up allowing one part of the guitar, one frequency range, to take more prominence in the overall sonic picture. It’s got a big cantilever brace at one part—that's where the name is stemming from—this one part, one component, functions almost like a — I picture a diving board. It’s anchored pretty strongly in two places and then if you walk out towards the tip and bounce up and down, boy, you get a lot of really big springy movement out of that diving board. This guitar top gets a lot of really big, springy movement in one aspect of the guitar’s resonance response.

The HUB: That's great. So, were there any happy accidents along the way of developing this, or could you just see the path and you went right down it?

AP: This was pretty clear. I mean, there's always happy accidents, but this was pretty clear. We had a pretty clear idea of what the guitar needed to be. I mean, you can imagine all the guitars that kind of, they sit around it. Some are a little bigger and there’s some guitars, like a GS Mini, that are smaller. I knew I wanted a guitar in this size range with this kind of scale length, this kind of response. I knew what it needed to be. “I’ve just got to delete all the wood that isn’t that guitar, and then we’re going to have it and it’s going to be great.”

The HUB: So, you guys are going to be bringing in a new tone wood — a new smoked eucalyptus for the fretboard?

AP: Yeah.

The HUB: So, can you talk a little bit about it in terms of tone woods we might be familiar with and how it relates to them? What we might expect from the feel or the sound?

AP: Yeah. Okay. So, I guess I’d start with why are we bothering in the first place?

We’re heavily invested in the world of ebony with our ebony project in Cameroon, but the reality is, we know that as we continue to move into the future, we want to be building more guitars so that more people can have an instrument to play. At the same time, we don’t want to increase the pressure that any one species feels. So, while we’re planting ebony like no other has ever done, while we’re using…we’re making a more efficient usage of every piece that is available, we don’t want to do anything that adds further impact onto that species. And so, we started looking at alternatives—alternative wood species—with the intention of diversifying that and reducing some pressure.

The smoked eucalyptus is a really interesting example because these eucalyptus trees are grown, they’re commercially grown, specifically for timber usage. Now, essentially, it’s a farmed tree that has a really unique set of characteristics. It can be smoked to get the dark color that we love and it’s a very viable, really good-feeling working option. So as something to compare to, I’m not going to say that it tastes like chicken, you know, but it’s kind of like ebony. It’s got some of the characteristics of rosewood—you’ll hear that similar warmth, and a real fast kind of rosewood-like feel under your fingertips. To some players it might feel a little warmer than ebony—but it’s got physical characteristics — density, sonic — that are somewhat in between an average ebony fingerboard and a dense rosewood fingerboard.

The HUB: So, you know, fitting with the whole guitar, it’s in between a couple of other things.

AP: Again, it’s like looking for this middle spot where nothing really lives. It’s just right…if the world was between here and here, this one goes right in the middle.

The HUB: So, in terms of it being smoked, is there some amount of torrefaction that happens in smoking?

AP: It’s part of the wood’s drying process, but it’s actually using a vapor. It’s a very old process that uses a vapor to react with the tannic acid content that's naturally in the piece of wood, which affects a chemical change. It changes the color throughout the piece of wood. So, it’s not like a stain that's on the surface or anything like that. It’s actually a chemical reaction that occurs throughout the piece of wood because of the natural chemicals that are already in the wood.

The HUB: Mhmm. Cool.

AP: Yeah. It’s super fascinating.

The HUB: It’s crazy. I mean, there's so much science in it. It’s nuts.

AP: Yeah. As an example that you might be familiar with, have you ever looked at like a very old building or an old piece of wood, maybe an old barn or something, and seen old steel or iron nails driven into planks, and underneath every single one of them you see like a dark grayish or blackish stain?

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: That is the chemical reaction that happens. There's an oxidizing reaction with certain woods that have high degrees of tannic acid in there that will eventually turn that color.

The HUB: Wow. Cool.

AP: Yeah. So that's kind of what it is.

The HUB: Yeah. And then people end up making coffee tables out of it, and it’s got lovely little spots.

AP: Yeah. Super fun.

The HUB: Nice. All right. So, I want to talk a little bit about, you know, the visual aesthetic. We’ve sort of got an in-between body size, and the in-between neck length, and we’ve got an in-between tone wood for our fretboard, but, you know, the appointments are sort of, not necessarily understated, but they’re sort of classic. We’ve got a classic rosette, the red tortoise shell pick card, pretty simple inlays. So, can you just speak a little bit to why you went with that feature set in terms of the look?

AP: It’s because the guitar was meant to be fun. It’s meant to be approachable. It’s meant to not take itself too seriously. It’s meant to be a guitar that you share with your friends. It’s meant to be a guitar you share with your family, and to that end, we didn’t want it to be overly precious. So, I don’t wat it to be something where you feel like you need to lock it away in a case, or really baby the thing. It’s meant for a good time.

You know what I mean?

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: And so, when we decorated it, and we looked at all the different aspects of what sort of color, what sort of finish, what sort of inlays and the rosette, well, I wanted it to be approachable. I don’t want it to cost too much. I don’t what it to have a sign that says, “Please, ask before you touch,” kind of a guitar. I want everybody to feel like they can be at home picking this thing up, playing some songs and having a good time with it.

The HUB: Mhmm. Yeah, you know, in playing it, it just sort-of, you know, took me on a ride and then I was off for like 45 minutes or so, and, you know, that’s exactly what you want out of a guitar.

AP: Yeah.

The HUB: “Whoa, I can’t believe that much time has passed. I’ve gone on a little ride.”

AP: That's why I was a few minutes late today! I was playing this thing and I meant to only pick it up to look at one detail and, 20 minutes later, I go, “Oh, dang, I’ve got to call in for our Zoom call.”

The HUB: Yeah!

So, the smoked eucalyptus is a new thing for a lot of players. But the spruce top and the urban ash back and sides is a combo that you’ve been doing for a while. Can you talk a little bit about why that combo was right for this guitar?

AP: Absolutely.

Now, the urban ash, that's an interesting thing because we’ve been working with it for a number of years and we just introduced a model, the 324 Builder’s Edition guitar, this past winter with it.

For the players who aren’t familiar with what that is, we started looking at new forestry models as a way to add to the woods that we already are familiar with. We started looking in our own backyards and saying, “Well, there are all kinds of trees planted throughout every city in the world already. What about those?” They’re planted for noise barriers. They’re planted for visual barriers, for windbreaks, for all kinds of different reasons, erosion control, all sorts of stuff, and people plant them without much thought to their end of life usage.

We all know that these trees get taken out and replaced. Typically, they’re ground up and turned into mulch, but some of them are really great usable trees. Some of them are guitar-quality trees, and so we started looking into different species that would make a really great guitar. This Shamel ash that's been growing throughout Southern California for decades, man, happens to be a fantastic guitar-building wood.

In terms of its sonic response, it’s a lot like mahogany. In fact, the origins of that species are from the same part of the world, same Central American countries. It’s actually known as a tropical evergreen ash, and so it ends up with very similar characteristics to the mahogany you're familiar with. It has similar drying, seasoning, sawing, gluing, finishing, and, more importantly, tonal aspects, so we’ve started to use that. And in the case of this new GT guitar, it’s a perfect fit for what the guitar stands for, as well as the way we wanted it to sound, because it has a very fundamental forward kind of response—it’s a very direct but warm and clear kind of a sound. So, when we have, you know, the punch out of a classic spruce top and we pair that with this urban Shamel ash on the back and sides, it’s perfect for the way that guitar needs to work.

Taylor GT Urban Ash back view

The HUB: In telling this story, you can really feel how all the elements begin to line up. The sound hole needs to reproduce these frequencies. The cantilever “diving board” needs to reproduce these frequencies. The back and sides need to reproduce these frequencies, and then it all adds up to everything working together to create this full sound.

AP: Yeah. A great instrument — it’s like it affirms itself.

The way that I would describe it is, it should sound the way it plays, and play the way it looks. When you experience that guitar, you want all of the elements to complement each other in a very cohesive way. You want it to feel a certain way so that it drives a player toward making the kinds of sounds that it does well, and you want it to look in the right way that reminds you of how it sounds, and remind you of what the thing is meant to be used for so that all the different aspects, all the elements, the sensory aspects of that instrument, they all align.

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: That's when an instrument feels right.

The HUB: There's a really interesting finishing touch too to the guitar and it’s where the top and the back meet. It’s this chamfered edge that sort of…

AP: Yeah.

The HUB: …it almost has like, a binding look to it. How do you do that?

AP: With difficulty.

The HUB: Yeah.

AP: It’s actually very difficult to do because, there's no secret.

If I’m not having fun playing this, if I’ve got a big, you know, welt on my forearm after an hour of playing it, ah, that's a failure, man—I’m not into that—and so that was one aspect.

To keep this guitar very straightforward, almost like a GS Mini, we wanted to eliminate some of the unnecessary decorative elements. So, this guitar has a chamfered-off corner around the bodies and we’re using some more traditional, almost violin-like woodworking techniques in a very modern way to get this guitar put together so that it does have, you know, a really attractive aesthetic, it has an attractive function. It ends up as the just right sort of thing for this guitar.

The HUB: Yeah. You know, I’m just imagining there's the frame there, and then you have to set the top in, and you got to figure out how…or maybe you build them all together and then you sheer off the edges.

AP: No. It wouldn’t be doable if we didn’t have the ability to so carefully create tools to build every one of these guitars. So, we don’t allow any, we’ll call it, accidental customization. Now, every aspect of every one of our guitars, but especially this guitar, every aspect is controlled so that it comes out ideal every time, on purpose.

We’ll call it the indexing, the exact location of where all the parts go. It’s like you can make parts accurately, but if you can’t assemble them in exactly the right relationship every single time, it’s a failure. So, with this guitar, there’s a higher level of control in its manufacturing than even I’d say any other guitar that we’ve made up to this point. We continuously try to push forward and make better and better tools to continue improving our accuracy rather than just relying on the way that it used to be done.

The HUB: So, is the advancement a function of Taylor advancing over time, or Taylor advancing over time and having to work at a smaller scale on this guitar?

AP: It is more a project of advancing over time. We look at every instrument as a chance to re-think how we’re going about the manufacturing process.

The HUB: You’re always pushing forward and there is sort of a nod to the history, but it’s not this sort of like, deference to the history.

How do you strike the balance, I guess, for yourselves, and maybe even for the customers to a certain extent, of saying like, “We do recognize the history of guitar building but we’re on our way to the future.” How do you balance that in your philosophy or your approach?

AP: Well, we have a great deal of respect for what’s been done, because like our forefathers that came before us, our maker ancestors, we’re engaged fully in the process of building the best instrument we’re capable of, in the exact same way that every maker that came before us was engaged in the process of building the best instrument they could make, using the tools they had available to them. And so, from the perspective of a piece of wood, whether I were to bend a set of sides over a hot pipe a hundred years ago, or whether I use a machine that we designed in-house and entirely machined, assembled and created ourselves in order to robotically bend that set of sides to the exact shape I wanted it every single time, well, from the perspective of the piece of wood, not much has changed. Except that we can do that repeatedly with a high degree of accuracy.

I have no doubt in my mind that if I were a guitar maker alive 200 years ago and I had access to some of the tools that we have available to us now, you can bet that I’d be using them, because the goal is to produce a really great instrument to make a wonderful playing experience. We will use everything at our disposal to make that happen. If that involves maybe programming and designing a part to be cut into a computer-controlled router cutter, sure, why not? If it means using a laser to cut a part out, instead of a band saw, sure, why not? In the same way that a maker a long time ago would have looked at a motorized band saw and thought, “well, this is much better than a handheld bow saw,” absolutely. Like, “Let the electricity spin the saw around. I’m tired of using this old waterwheel thing.” You know, I don’t see it as a departure from the past. I see it as a continuation of the past.

The HUB: Cool. Yeah. And in the realm of sort of futurizing guitars, the GT Urban Ash is available with electronics built in. Is that an ES2 system that you’ve put in there?

AP: Yeah. It’s a full Expression System 2 pickup system. Now, it really works well with the voicing of this guitar. I know not a whole lot of people at the moment are playing live shows and so maybe you're not thinking about that in terms of its live performance aspects, but what I’ve noticed, especially in the last few months, is the wide range of players that are relying on that pickup system more than ever in the process of creating, you know, live Internet feeds, and doing lessons, and all the ways that they’re using that instrument to interface throughout some computerized medium. That's been pretty interesting. But, yeah, we love playing this thing in front of a crowd or through a PA. It works really great so we’re thrilled with how it’s working.

Taylor GTe Urban Ash with ES2 electronics

The HUB: Nice. So, you know, when I played this guitar, you know, it was sort of like, not being an acoustic player, so to speak, I was like, “Oh, yeah, I might get one of these.” Its appeal is so broad. What do you hope the players will experience when they get their hands on it?

AP: Honestly, I hope they’re going to have fun with it. That's what this guitar is about. It’s meant to have an enjoyable musical experience. The guitar’s not meant to be a super serious thing. This is a guitar that, it’s about playing some music.

One of the interesting things from an electric player’s perspective, when you play let’s say, a Strat or a Telecaster, or a Les Paul or something like that, you're familiar with the general size of how that body falls on you. When you pick this guitar up, you're going to have a relatively similar experience, because it’s closer to what you would feel when you went from an electric guitar to another electric guitar. The small, compact aspect, the physicality of this guitar, is a little more comfortable in the company of an electric guitar than many typical acoustic guitars. So, it’s been kind of interesting because here in the shop, we have quite a few electric players and every one of the electric players picks it up and says, “Oh, yeah, this one actually fits me. This is more what I’m familiar with.” So, it’s a really unique instrument in that it does feel very appealing and very broadly usable for a wide range of musical styles for a wide range of players.

The HUB: Great. That's all my questions. Thanks, Andy!

AP: Thanks. Okay, see you soon!