Taylor Custom Guitars

Published on 20 February 2024

Have you seen our latest delivery of Taylor Custom acoustic guitars? It’s no hyperbole to say they are some of the finest instruments we’ve had, and given the brands we’re lucky enough to work with, that’s saying something!

So, Taylor Custom: a pretty interesting concept when you consider how highly spec’d a regular Taylor guitar is! As major Taylor dealers, we regularly stock some rare, unusual and special pieces from the Californian guitar builders. Today, I feel like it's worth a look at some of these Taylor Custom guitars, and check out some of their terms and practises as I go along.

Who wants to see some stunning acoustic guitars? This way!



Taylor Guitars

So, as you may already know, Taylor build the majority of their guitars in El Cajon, California. Guitarguitar paid a visit to the premises a couple of years ago, and interested parties can get off the bus here, as it were, and check out the Taylor Factory blog and video. We’ll wait!

Right, now that we have you back, we’ll use our time together today to explore the upper branches of the Taylor tree. 


Taylor Custom BTO - Built To Order

In terms of the main Taylor ranges, the top-end 800 and 900 series are already as good as guitars can get, so the notion of ‘Custom’ in this regard is much more about personal choice over any idea of ‘better’. It’s about choosing body shapes, timber combinations and decorative details. It’s where the person ordering an instrument can really let their imaginations go wild and free, all safe in the knowledge that their dreams will be made flesh (or wood, I suppose) by some of the most skilled and exacting artisans in the business.


A guitar like this is known as a BTO in Taylor terms. That stands for Built To Order, and you can go through this process with us at guitarguitar (not every Taylor dealer is able to offer this: we are) or indeed pick a fine specimen from the Taylor Custom BTO guitars that we have personally spec’d up. We always want to offer the best, most interesting and most worthwhile instruments to you, and so each BTO guitar is carefully considered by us as we put an order in.

There’s typically a year or longer to wait from initial order to first strum. Part of this is demand, and part of this is due to the more labour-intensive methods used to create a custom Taylor. The choice of timbers is expanded upon to include super-premium grades of wood (check out the Master Grade Koa model further down) and rare examples of things like ‘sinker wood’, which is literally recovered from a river bed after being logged, lost, sunk and forgotten about for a century!


That type of thing is a great story of course, but it does also affect the tone, resonance and sonic performance of the wood, too. For those reasons, sinker woods (and other rare timbers like that) are not available very often and are therefore costly. Taylor Custom is where a person can have access to such woods, and it’s a pretty thrilling thing for a guitar fan!



Shapes & Decisions

It’s not just the woods that you can choose with Taylor Custom. Inlay work is an option, bevelled armrests, wooden purfling and binding, decorative work on the headstock (facings and inlay work) and even second sound holes are elements that can go towards a Taylor Custom build.

Prior to all of that, though, you need to design on the body size you want! As you know, Taylor offer a fairly wide range of acoustic body shapes these days, including their famous Grand Auditorium, the large Grand Symphony and their relatively new Grand Pacific styles. You can then specify scale length, body cutaways (sharper Florentine styles as well as the more usual-for-Taylor Venetian style), slotted headstocks…the options are vast.


Some Wonderful Taylor Custom Guitars

When we order Taylor Custom guitars for stocking our stores, one eye is always on the notion that these have to appeal to other people! We aren’t so much spec’ing them for ourselves as much as we’re taking onboard customer feedback, using our knowledge of what’s popular, and also taking advantage of any rare tonewoods that happen to be available. All of that goes into the decision-making, along with (we’ll admit) an urge to just see some really cool stuff!

Here’s one or two examples from our last Taylor Custom delivery, featuring timbers hand-picked when we took the factory tour.



Taylor Custom Master Grade Koa

I have never seen Koa as attractively figured as on this guitar! This Taylor Custom Master Grade Koa has a body made entirely of the highest grade Hawaiian Koa, and boy does it show! What a head-turner!

We opted for a Grand Auditorium body shape here, because Koa sounds similar to Mahogany. Mahogany is rich in midrange frequencies, so the mid-sized GA body along with Taylor’s V-Class bracing, brings those mids to life and adds sparkle and bottom end. Lovely details like an ebony armrest and some spectacular inlay work on the fingerboard add even more class to this work of art.


Taylor Custom Sinker Redwood Honduran Rosewood

I mentioned sinker woods earlier, and they are used as often for acoustic guitar tops as they are for bodies. This lovely example shows off a premium slice of ‘stripey’ Sinker Redwood from a rescued log. This Taylor Custom Sinker Redwood is a Grand Concert shape which to us is a more intimate, ‘cosy’ body style. We specified a Venetian cutaway and some super-high quality Honduran Rosewood for the back and sides, making this a superb sounding guitar with balance and warmth aplenty.

I think this guitar is a great example of a beautiful, world-class custom guitar that is still relatively subtle in its styling. Owning a Taylor Custom guitar doesn't have to mean having a guitar that’s exceptionally ornate: there are all kinds of ways for a guitar to be beautiful, as this Sinker Redwood Grand Concert demonstrates.


Your Forever Guitar

Deciding to invest in a Taylor Custom guitar is to choose a life companion. This is a guitar that is the best of its kind, using the finest ingredients from across the planet to deliver an exceptional playing experience. For beauty, wonderful sonics and that unmistakable allure of rareness, it doesn’t get more potent than this. Taylor builders are some of the very best in the world, and you can have a piece of that with a Taylor Custom guitar. Click through below to browse our current (incredible) stock, or get in touch to talk about ordering your own.

Click to View our Taylor Custom Guitars



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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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