Three decades of guitar genius near San Diego
It wasn’t an auspicious beginning. Thirty years ago, a 19-year-old guy named Bob Taylor decided to open a guitar shop in the San Diego County town of Lemon Grove. The night before, it had rained like hell.
Accordingly, job one on day one for Taylor and partners Kurt Listug (now the company’s CEO) and Steve Schemmer (he sold his interest in 1983) was to mop up the floor of their new workshop with sawdust. “It was fun,” Taylor recalls in an official company history on the Taylor Guitars website. “What did we know? We were just kids.”
These days the only thing Taylor Guitars is mopping up is the competition. Last year the company built almost 70,000 acoustic guitars, generating sales in excess of $50 million. Meanwhile, the roster of musicians who play Taylors, without endorsement, ranges from one of Bob Taylor’s musical heroes, John Fogerty, to San Diego’s biggest superstar, Jewel. And then there’s Neil Young, who, for Taylor, is in a class by himself. “He’s still playing the 12-strings he bought 25 years ago. I have just one picture on my office wall, and that’s of Neil. I’m a big fan.”