San Diego Music Awards will honor Taylor Guitars

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Taylor Guitars is a local company building guitars right here in San Diego for 40 years. The company will be given the Industry Award at the San Diego Music Awards at Humphreys Monday night. 

Jason Mraz, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Jewel and countless other musicians have all played Taylor Guitars.

Bob Taylor made his American Dream come true out of Lemon Grove, where he began to make and sell guitars, one at a time.

“I was 19, Kurt was 21. We’d been working at a little guitar shop called American Dream. We put down $3,000 to cover the lease and it was ours,” said Taylor.

“When a truck from SDG&E came down the street, the goal was to not fear they were there to turn off our power,” he added.

The power stayed on, and the company became a powerhouse in the field.

In the 1980’s, they made guitars that stood out in a crowd, and even sent a special guitar to Prince. He dug it, and that helped them out.

Taylor connected with their customers.

They expanded, built a factory in El Cajon, then one in Tecate, a distribution center in Amsterdam, and bought a saw mill in Cameroon.

1,000 employees now craft an average of 700 guitars a day.

Cutting Ebony wood from Cameroon, and selling it to the industry is a recent venture, but doing it carefully, sustainable, re-planting what is taken, is key for Taylor.

He has hired 65 people there, and coming up with programs to create more jobs.

“Life is like that, you are driven to do something for one purpose and you find other purposes, higher purposes. For us it’s a better life for our employees,” he says.

Bob Taylor is making sure there is music in the classroom. He partnered with the San Diego Music Foundation 14 years ago.

Guitars for Schools has put 2,000 baby Taylor Guitars in 100 San Diego schools, benefiting 47,000 kids.

“Sometimes I look at it, and say, when did we build all this? This is a lot of work. How did we get all this done? Blows my mind,” said Taylor.

The San Diego Music Foundation will award Taylor Monday night at the 24th Annual San Diego Music Awards.

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