Taylor Guitars is an American guitar manufacturer based in El Cajon, California and is the #1 manufacturer of acoustic guitars in the United States. They specialize in acoustic guitars and semi-hollow electric guitars. The company was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug.
In 1972, at age 18, Bob Taylor began working at American Dream, a guitar making shop owned by Sam Radding, where Kurt Listug was already an employee. When Radding decided to sell the business in 1974, Taylor, Listug, and a third employee, Steve Schemmer, bought American Dream and renamed it the Westland Music Company.Needing a more compact logo suitable for the guitars’ headstock, the founders decided to change the name to Taylor as it sounded more American than Listug. Kurt Listug said, “Bob was the real guitar-maker.” Listug became the partnership’s businessman while Taylor handled design and production. In 1976, the company decided to sell their guitars through retailers. In 1981, facing financial difficulties, Taylor Guitars took out a bank loan to purchase equipment.As of 2012 Taylor Guitars had more than 700 employees in two factories: one in El Cajon, California, and the other in nearby Tecate, Mexico, where the company makes their lower-priced models and guitar cases. In early 2011, the company opened a Taylor distribution warehouse in the Netherlands to serve the European market. In January 2014, the U.S. State Department honored Taylor Guitars with an Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) citing Taylor’s commitment to responsible practices in obtaining ebony for its instruments, which notably included purchasing their own sustainable ebony mill and increasing its usable timber from 10% to 100%.