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Build your Own Custom Taylor Guitar with CME!
Do you dream of a Taylor acoustic guitar that’s uniquely yours, brought to life with Taylor’s renowned craftsmanship? The Taylor Custom program makes it easy to turn the Taylor of your dreams into a reality—giving you the opportunity to design your own personal signature model, which will stand out as a unique expression of your musical and aesthetic tastes.
As a Taylor Custom dealer, Chicago Music Exchange will work with you to help you choose from an assortment of Taylor’s finest tonewoods, which have been hand-selected by CME's CEO Andrew Yonke and Director of New Product Dan Bordonaro—including non-standard species and premium grades—as well as a rich palette of feature options and premium appointments that’ll help you bring your distinctive Taylor dream guitar to life!
To give our customers the next level, we went out to the factory ourselves and picked out some of the best woods they have available! While only some of those models are in the shop, now, some are still in production. Here’s a look at some of the new arrivals that we have so far.
As an example of the premium customization that Taylor has to offer, just take a look at the custom models first displayed at Taylor’s annual event “The Catch”—held as part of The NAMM Show 2022—which CME purchased after the event.
Whether you’re looking for Grand Concert Blacktop with Big Leaf maple back and sides; or, maybe a Grand Symphony with hand-selected quilted maple back and sides, plus paua Spring Vine inlays floats your boat; or maybe you’re on the hunt for a hybrid hollowbody T5z design with a gorgeous hand-selected quilted Big Leaf maple top and Byzantine inlays in green abalone that set it apart from the crowd—you can choose from any of our pre-selected Taylor Custom models, or fully customize your own signature Taylor model at Chicago Music Exchange!
Step 1: Choose a Shape
Not only does an acoustic guitar’s body shape help define the fundamental voice of the guitar, but it’s also an important consideration in terms of physical comfort, since your arms will be wrapped around the body of the guitar for as long as you’re playing it.
Sporting the curves of the Grand Orchestra (Taylor’s “Jumbo” body style) scaled into uniquely compact proportions—including a shorter, 24 1/8-inch scale length for a slinky and responsive handfeel—Taylor’s Grand Theater (GT) body shape employs C-Class bracing to pack the tonal depth of a full-size guitar into a form that’s easy to play. With dimensions that fall between the travel-friendly GS Mini and Grand Concert body shapes, the GT represents Taylor’s reimagination of the parlor-style guitar for the present day.
With its shorter, 24 7/8-inch scale length the Taylor Grand Concert body shape favors the fingerstyle player, as well as single-note lead and solo guitar arrangements, issuing notes with precise clarity and offering easy action even on the highest frets. The model’s smaller body makes for a comfortable feel, without skimping on rich, robust tonal resonance, or valuable volume.
The brand’s flagship body shape, the Taylor Grand Auditorium’s medium size offers balanced highs and supportive lows, making it a versatile choice that’s fit for nearly any playing style. Boasting bold, balanced tone, the Taylor Grand Auditorium provides vibrant, well-defined sound across the entire tonal spectrum, thanks to a more tapered waist than a traditional dreadnought, making the Taylor Grand Auditorium the Swiss Army Knife of Taylor’s body shapes.
The Taylor Grand Symphony models offer the high-fidelity voice and immersive, reverb-like effects produced by a larger air chamber coupled with V-class bracing and an innovative soundport cutaway, with a modern feel and articulate response—as well as easy access to the upper frets allowed by the contoured cutaway.
The Grand Pacific is Taylor’s round-shoulder dreadnought, designed to deliver a different flavor of Taylor tone: a warm, seasoned voice in which notes overlap in a way that recalls traditional acoustic guitar recordings, requiring no studio enhancements. With Taylor’s V-Class bracing, the Grand Pacific pumps out clear low-end power, making the Grand Pacific’s voice more musical and usable, while remaining as versatile as a Grand Auditorium and as assertive as a traditional dreadnought.
The Grand Orchestra is Taylor’s biggest, deepest body shape, designed to represent the latest evolution of the Taylor “Jumbo” style. Featuring a wider waist than typical jumbos, Grand Orchestra models harness V-Class voicing architecture to unleash a powerful sound—projecting a deep rumble and rich sustain, while also boasting heightened touch sensitivity for wide dynamic range and increased versatility.
Step 2: Choose Tonewoods
The sonic flavor and characteristic sound of any guitar comes from the tonewoods used on its top, back and sides—plus, their visual beauty can also be its own source of artistic inspiration.
Hand-selected by CME's CEO Andrew Yonke and Director of New Product Dan Bordonaro, the wide variety of wood options offered through CME’s Taylor Custom program means that you can design a guitar that delivers both the sound and looks you’ve been looking for. In addition, with Taylor Custom instruments, you’ll be able to choose from types and grades of woods not typically offered through Taylor’s standard guitar line.
A guitar’s top wood tends to have the greatest impact on the overall sound of the guitar. The unique acoustic properties of top woods help color a body shape’s fundamental sound.
The key is to find the wood that matches up best with your playing style. Popular “soft” top woods include various spruce offerings—like Sitka, Lutz, or Adirondack, for example—as well as “hard” tonewoods, like mahogany and koa, for more focused fundamental frequencies.
Helping to fine-tune the voice of your custom instrument, the unique acoustic properties of bood woods help “flavor” a guitar shape’s fundamental sound. Body woods also boast an inherent visual appeal that can be deeply inspiring, with characteristics that differentiate a guitar and showcase each as a truly unique instrument.
Popular body woods include the tonewood superstar, Indian rosewood, or the midrange powerhouse, tropical mahogany—to the cannon-like cocobolo, and the beautiful Hawaiian koa.
Step 3: Choose Features/Appointments
This is where the process gets really fun! Add an elaborate fretboard inlay made from koa or abalone, for example; or give your guitar a bold outline with bloodwood binding. Choose an alternative neck profile that perfectly fits your hands and playing style; or, add an armrest to give your guitar a beautifully sculpted look and extra playing comfort for your strumming arm.
Whether your aesthetic preferences are understated, elaborately detailed, or somewhere in between, this is your chance to commission a singular work of art and craftsmanship. In all, Taylor offers dozens of customization options, from major features like the Expression System 2 electronics to dimensional features such as scale length and nut width, to aesthetic touches like color finishes, truss rod cover, and the material of the Taylor headstock logo. You can even select from several available bracing patterns to further distinguish the voice of your Taylor.
Step 4: Submit Your Order Through CME
As an authorized dealer of Taylor Custom guitars, Chicago Music Exchange will walk you through the ordering process, help you make final selections, and place your order for production, then keep you updated regarding turnaround time, so you can get your Taylor Custom guitar as soon as it’s ready.Visit us in the store, call us, or chat us online to learn more about how you can place an order for your next Taylor Custom guitar with Chicago Music Exchange!