guitarguitar Visits the Taylor EL Cajon Factory! EXCLUSIVE Videos

Published on 03 March 2023


It was a typically sunny day in Southern California (‘glorious’, as we Brits would say) when guitarguitar made its way through the town of EL Cajon, to the headquarters of Taylor guitars. We’d been invited on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see the Taylor premises, meet the staff and even enjoy some valuable time with their top people. As you may expect, we hardly needed convincing!

Taylor are known throughout the industry as innovators, as much as they are builders of some of the best guitars in the world. They’ve risen to the top of the acoustic guitar making world quite on their own terms, with Bob Taylor’s vision and desire for a different way of making guitars.

We’ve long since been fans of the brand - and are of course one of their biggest UK dealers - so the notion of actually heading out there to California was too good to pass up!


The Journey

As the day dawned last September, staff from various guitarguitar stores made their way to London before grabbing a flight across to Los Angeles. Taylor had a long weekend planned for us, and the itinerary was packed with tours, meetings, interviews and more. It was work, but let’s not pretend it wasn’t a great ‘day at the office’, so to speak!

El Cajon lies a little North East of the wonderful city of San Diego, which itself sits at the border between the US and Mexico. Perpetually sunny, it’s like a lush oasis amidst the otherwise desert-like environs of Southern California. El Cajon sits several miles in from the coast, and the extra height offered by its lofty hillside vantage provides a very tropical background for guitar building. If you like guitars and sunshine, then this place will be very hard to beat, frankly.


The Taylor Factory

guitarguitar were in El Cajon in order to learn more about Taylor’s process of guitar building, along with the ethos, practises and attitudes that collectively get poured into every Taylor guitar. It was a learning mission for us, and what better way than to learn first hand?

Taylor wanted to give a better understanding of their actual day-to-day building process, as well as some insight into how their guitars are conceived, designed and finally manufactured. We were invited to bring our camera equipment, and meetings were set up with several of the company’s spokespeople and staff members, in order for us to get in deep with the details!

Best of all, we were afforded some rare time with both Bob Taylor himself and Andy Powers, the company’s Chief Guitar Designer, President and co-CEO. We really couldn’t have asked for more, and the idea all along was to fully document the weekend and share it all with you, via videos and posts. This is exactly what we’ve done, by sorting through our footage, editing it into a coherent series and presenting it all for you all as a sort of mini-series!


Videos of Our Trip

So, what kind of things can you expect to learn from our videos? Well, there are a number of points we wanted to hit, from building methods, to design ideas, to the inclusion of machines versus hand-building. We wanted to learn more about Taylor’s famous sustainability focus, and their attitudes towards what makes a viable timber for guitar building. We asked about bracing, inlays, neck joins, custom shop decorations…if we could think of something to ask, then the question was voiced, and we’ve kept a record of it all.

You’ll see footage of our pasty British selves roasting under Californian heat as we check out the stacks of quality lumber arranged outside in the yard.

You’ll follow us into the factory itself to witness timber being cut, shaped and sanded, frets being selected, and Taylor guitars slowly taking shape in front of our eyes.

You’ll meet people like John Mahoney from Street Tree Revival, who work closely with Taylor to make the most of ‘Urban Wood’ - trees that live in normal urban areas - to use the timber more productively and save on carbon emissions.

As mentioned, we’ll be seeing some exclusive interview content with Andy Powers and Bob Taylor, but there’s loads more to get stuck into! We’ll be uploading each video sequentially, and including them here in this blog too (so do check back in!) but our first video focuses on the production side of things. A thousand guitars a day? How on earth can Taylor build to those kinds of numbers and keep the quality built in, not to mention character and passion? Well, they do, and you’ll know all about the process when you watch our first video! Click below to join us on the first part of our journey, and remember to check back in soon for more instalments on what was the trip of a lifetime.

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I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

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