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Old 09-18-2000, 11:26 AM
Marc Durso Marc Durso is offline
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Posts: 522
Post #100/100 Taylor GSLJ Living Jewel Series

As an introduction to this group of fans of the most innovative guitar company today, let me share my experience with one of the highest examples of their manufacturing skills. I am a very big fan of the 14 series, especially the koa and walnut models. But this guitar is one special piece of wood.

A friend of mine, Bart Ghormley, has had quite a nice collection of guitars, owning Taylors, Breedlove Ed Gerhard, Goodall CJ and Standards, and Lowden D models, but his latest is the #100/100 Taylor GSLJ Living Jewel Series, the very last guitar in this inaugural series of very special guitars. He has his eye on another specialty guitar now so this Taylor is for sale.

Pics of this guitar, which do it far better justice than my
descriptions can be found at http://albums.photopoint.com/j/albumlist?
u=1141467&auth=false and click on "Bart's guitars". If that link doesn't work, here's his email address:
bghorm@flinet.com The background on this series of guitars
can be found in Taylor's Wood and Steel issue Volume 23
Winter/2000.

Now, this Taylor lives up to its name, Jewel, for the Aqua-
blue finish glistens and shimmers in the light. The Spruce
top has silking throughout and suggestions of bear claw
figure across the very tight grain.

The "rosette" is of Japanese nishikigoi carp (koi) in red, black, orange and crystal white inlays of polyester faux-
pearl, Color Core, reconstituted turquoise, coral and
stone. These precisely cut designs encircle the ivoroid-
lipped soundhole and swim up and down the ebony fretboard,
overlapping the different surfaces of the top and tongue,
creating an image of depth in the "water".

There is a state beach , John Lloyd Beach park, here in Ft.
Lauderdale. The sand bar reaches far out into the ocean.
You can stand in chest deep water over a 100 yards from
shore, so the waves usually ripple gently into shore. The
waves stir up the sand bed in billowing puffs that settle
into winding, criss-crossing, undulating ridges, ridges
that are the mirror image of this guitar's highly quilted
Maple back. Quilt lines span the entire surface in this
beautifully bookmatched back.

The straight grained, finger joint neck contrasts with the
cotton candy cloud forms of the quilted sides. The guitar
is a constantly moving visual experience.

Top is bound in white ivoroid with b/w/b purfling, then a
wide white band, and a second set of b/w/b purling. The
back and sides have b/w/b. The neck and headstock are
bound in ivoroid.

And what a visual contrast and treat to move your eyes from
the swirling blue of the exterior to the natural interior.
Superb, exact finish details on all brace surfaces.

As I've come to expect from Taylor, a very low, fast set-up
from the factory. A bit low for my style; I could make it
buzz a bit in solos and chords. As I adjusted my style,
played with more finesse (if that's possible) the guitar
felt like an electric, with such quick response. A player
with real chops would appreciate the fast action.

This guitar is brand new. Right from the factory. No time
for it to be played and to open up. Time is the final
arbiter on any views I might propose. So, I will not judge
as much as report on what it is NOW.

Crisp, bright, popping tone. Expressions of the Maple b&s
and the thin dread(thinner than the Goodall RSC and Lowden
Dread) body depth. One could assume it would work well in
a recording environment because of the clarity. A very
unscientific but fairly reliable 6 to 7 second sustain by
my "calculations" without mixture of overtone.

In A/B comparison to both the Goodall RSC and the Lowden
rosewood Dread, this Taylor has a defined brightness to
it. Different woods, though. With my hard playing style,
it is brash, curt; a voice I often find in Maple/spruce
guitars when I play. It was strung with light Elixirs,
which I do not prefer. Not a lot of meat to the strings
which certainly curtails the trebles from having any body.
I would like to hear the guitar with some Newtone mediums.
And raise the action to help drive that beautiful top. Its
tight fundamental tone is what I have experienced in many
Taylors, regardless of price range. It has a Taylor voice,
a voice I find very different from the Goodall and Lowden sound, for
example.

But perhaps my expectations are unrealistic regarding this
guitar, or just off-base regarding Bob Taylor's intentions
with this whole line of guitars. They are visual
statements. And they fill a need, they perfectly satisfy a
particular customer, along the lines of the visual
extravagance of Laskin and Robinson and Sakashta and Owsley
Smith and all the other superb craftsman that fulfill the
fantastic visual whims of their customers.

This was not designed for the "player" as I understand that term: someone who puts their music out front, to the
audience, in clubs and bars and open mic nights, or
performance spaces or outdoor concerts, who makes a living
from his music.

It's tone, like most Maple/Spruce guitars I've played, except Walker and Lowden, does not fill my needs for my music, for my
ear. It will certainly fill the needs of many guitarists
who appreciate that clarity, that fundamental. But I want
bass and mids that shake my ribs, and trebles that sound
like gongs, an "overtone" voice, a complex voice, colored by rosewood probably but that's mostly up to the luthier.

This guitar will gorgeously grace the walls of a cherry
wood den, alongside Civil war swords or a Rothko. But,
it's still the only work of "art" in that room you can take down and flatpick "The Red Haired Boy" on. That does make it special.

Marc Durso


------------------
Goodall / Thompson
http://communities.msn.com/Handmadeguitars for pics of my guitars
www.acttrue.com
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  #2  
Old 09-18-2000, 08:44 PM
Scott Peterson Scott Peterson is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Ypsilanti, MI USA
Posts: 46
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Marc,

A very good review - very thorough. I agree, that this series of guitars, like the PRS Dragon series, is more about what I call "trophy" guitar collecting instead of playing. It does serve a purpose and much like the Dodge Viper, is more of a "showoff" piece than legitimate series of product.

It is stunning to see, no doubt about that though!



------------------
Scott Peterson

Marilyn Mack Group
Marilyn Mack Group MP3.Com Site
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"Sleeping and eating were never as important to me (as playing the guitar)."
Chet Atkins
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