Backstage Pass Radio

S1: E23: JR Robison (Taylor Guitars) - A Spokesman For Tonewood (Remastered)

December 15, 2021 Backstage Pass Radio Season 1 Episode 23
Backstage Pass Radio
S1: E23: JR Robison (Taylor Guitars) - A Spokesman For Tonewood (Remastered)
Show Notes Transcript

JR Robison is a District Sales Manager at Taylor Guitars. In this interview, we discuss guitar collecting, tonewoods, models, and new guitars out from Taylor Guitars. We also talk about JR's recent move from Ramona California to San Antonio Texas so that he can better serve his reseller community.

Taylor Guitars was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, and has grown into the leading global builder of premium acoustic guitars. Renowned for blending modern, innovative manufacturing techniques with a master craftsman's attention to detail, Taylor acoustic guitars are widely considered among the best-sounding and easiest to play in the world. The company is a pioneer in the use of computer mills, lasers and other high-tech tools and proprietary machinery, and today, Bob Taylor is widely recognized throughout the musical instrument industry as the visionary acoustic guitar manufacturer.

Today, Taylor employs over 1,200 people and produces hundreds of guitars per day exclusively in two factory complexes in the U.S and Mexico: El Cajon, California, and in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. (Taylor does not manufacture any guitars in Asia.) The company maintains an active dealer network, with Taylor guitars sold through hundreds of retail locations in North America and with international distribution to 60 countries, including a distribution warehouse and factory service center in the Netherlands.

Our site has a wealth of information about what goes into making a Taylor guitar and how to make this very important decision. We have guides for how to find the right fit for you. Learn about the subtle differences in shapes and styles. Delve into different types of woods and construction, which are vital to the flavor and tone of an acoustic. Explore the Taylor line by series to find the look and style you want for your instrument.

Every guitar player needs a great acoustic guitar – or several – in their collection. Finding the right acoustic guitar for you can be a daunting process even for the most seasoned player. If you are new to shopping for guitars, then it is even more critical that you learn all you can before you make your first purchase. If your first acoustic guitar is not the appropriate choice for you, then it can dramatically reduce the enjoyment you will get out of your instrument. If you are a new guitar player, the wrong guitar can be downright discouraging. You want a guitar that fits you, is effortless to play, and has the rich, beautiful tone you love to make it the instrument you dream of playing hour after hour.


JR Robison Master

Thu, 12/23 7:53AM • 39:41


guitar, roadshow, taylor, sound, buy, play, tailor, backstage pass, taylor guitars, people, rosewood, big, music, clinicians, texas, wood, grand, solid wood, gs, player, Randy Hulsey, Backstage Pass Radio, Randy Hulsey Music, PODCAST, Randy Hulsey Music


JR Robison, Randy Hulsey, Adam Gordon


Randy Hulsey  00:00

Hey everyone. I'm excited to be here in San Antonio with today's guest. I met him some years back when I was working in a consulting role at a local tailor, guitar, reseller and service center in the Cypress area. He is the district sales manager and a 17 year veteran of Taylor guitars, and he recently moved here from California. So we will give a nice Texas Welcome to the one and only Jr Robeson right after this. This is backstage pass radio, the podcast that's designed for the music junkie with a thirst for musical knowledge. Hi, this is Adam Gordon. And I want to thank you all for joining us today. Make sure you like subscribe and turn alerts on for this and all upcoming podcasts. And now here's your host of backstage pass radio. Randy Halsey. JR, welcome to the Lone Star State feel welcome. Thank you. Thanks for meeting me down here. And I guess this is considered downtown San Antonio, we're at the Marriott and I was in town doing a little business and I said let's kill a couple of birds with one stone. So here we are. So now you just moved from San Antonio, from Ramona, California. Right. Is that right? Tell me a little bit about the move what brought you to Texas and a little background there.


JR Robison  01:28

I have been working on the whole Texas move for I guess about eight years. Together guitars as a company, you know, we've always had sales reps that live kind of in Elko own or live in San Diego or Southern California and then they traveled to their territories. And as the business has changed over the years, more and more of our sales reps have actually started out living in their in their territories. And and so I kind of finally just just pulled the trigger. Been working on my my daughter was the one that was kind of the the holdout, right, my wife's always wanted to go, but just kind of I think COVID And just being shut down and not being able to see your friends and all that she was like, Okay, let's do it. Let's do it. So I have some of my friends that give me a hard time. It's like, man, she'll understand people move all the time and military kids, right, things like that. But I just, you know, moving a kid in the middle of junior high, that's tough. Yeah, she had to be on board and she hasn't she loves it here. We all love it here. We're really happy.


Randy Hulsey  02:20

That's awesome. When I when I saw that you had moved out to Texas, I said, Well, that's where most people want to move to California. And you know, sometimes vice versa. But I thought at first maybe this was a a family move. Like maybe her family was from here, your family was from here, and you guys were trying to get closer to family. But it was kind of not even along those lines. But



much to the chagrin of my my family have a really big family in San Diego and obviously Taylor guitars is still there. And I'm going to be visiting California a lot. But, you know, we I spend half the month when the world was turning in my travel was happening and tapping again. Now thankfully, I was on the road half the month. Wow. And when you spend entire days I mean you you travel for your work too, right? So you spend entire days to get to where you need to work. And then entire day to get back. Yeah. And then you always feel rushed. You always feel tired. You're never kind of yourself, you're always off so and then obviously I mean, Texas, I mean I could have lived anywhere I cover Texas to basically you know Tallahassee Florida okay. And it see Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas was always kind of where I wanted to be in San Antonio is perfect because you know if you need to get everywhere central central and airports. 25 minutes Yeah, you've


Randy Hulsey  03:35

got Austin you got Houston that are all a two hour shot away. I mean, I think door to door it's, I'm on the west side of Houston. So it's about a two hour and 40 minute drive door to door which is I mean, Hell's driving around in Houston. You could sit in traffic for two hours. So you're from California, you you know this all too well. Right?



Well, where I live, Ramona is you have to drive through an Indian reservation to get to Ramona. It's it was 40 minutes from from Taylor and Okon, and then a good hour from the Air Force very remote.


Randy Hulsey  04:03

Exactly. Now, I think the we met some years back. We were talking a little bit about that before we got started. I don't remember how many years but we've known each other for some years now. And I guess when I met you it was at a tailor roadshow at Great Southern music with Kevin and just and of course, but I guess the the pandemic kind of derailed the whole roadshow thing, right. What's, what's the story of the roadshow now has it picked back up? Are there plans to pick it back up? Is it not going to go again? Like can you give us any insight around the roadshow specifically? Sure.



Yeah. I mean, we had a whole schedule of road shows planned for that spring. So I remember flying home. March 13. Right. And that was kind of when everything kind of stopped. So we had to put those on hold, obviously. And if you remember, I mean, you've been a great southern music and guitar guy for a long time. Remember the Doyle dykes clinics? Sure, members? Absolutely. We had Stephen proctor or consumed Chris proctor. We had. We had I mean, so many different clinicians. I


Randy Hulsey  05:07

don't know why I'm blanking on Wayne Johnson.



Thank you. Well, wait. Johnson still, you know, was doing roadshows with us all the way up to like, you know, you know, the pandemic. But our events have always evolved, right. And when the roadshow started, it was three people. It was the sales guy. It was a product specialist. And it was a it was a guitar tech. And remember, we did a restring demo, and we did the whole thing. So I think that we might be due for maybe a new event. We'll see how the roadshow has evolved. But I think we'll always do events right now. I think we're maybe get into some the tail end of the year, but it's most likely going to be going to be next year. Yeah. And for the


Randy Hulsey  05:43

awesome and that's great news. For the listeners that have no idea what we're talking about. Maybe they're not guitarist, maybe they're just music lovers in general. What what is a road show? Why does somebody care about a Taylor guitars roadshow?



Yes. That's a really good question. Because yeah, they're it's funny. Every night we would do them there'll be 50% or more new people that have never been and you've done them so long. We've done been doing them since What 2006 You think that and we everyone has seen a roadshow? So basically, what it is, it's a gathering of folks. We talk about the things that make Taylor guitars unique. We talk about our body shapes our tone woods, we think those are the three kind of main things that give a guitar its sound, the player, the shape, and then the wood that you use, and there's always new products to tailor I mean, we never rest on our laurels. We're always kind of innovating and coming up with new things. So we would always have our core things that we covered you know, body shapes and tonewoods are and then hey, these are the new limited editions. Here's the new model. We have all these amazing accessories now right we always wanted a robust accessories division now we do you have all these guitar straps that match the inlay is on the on your guitar, nakliye guitar picks that change completely change the sound of the guitar and getting


Randy Hulsey  06:52

the low Fufu. Now



I mean, there's there's a lot of opportunity there.


Randy Hulsey  06:58

So basically, it's a gathering where you can talk to the experts about the guitars, you have the clinicians that come the Wayne Johnson's of the world right? They play these guitars. Of course they make them sound better than you'll ever make them sound right which is which is which is discouraging in itself. But let's let's talk about Wayne for just a second. What a great player. He is cowboy buddy, too. Yeah, so I met him through you had a couple of the the Great Southern music roadshows Grammy winner, a Grammy winner, yeah, he, he's toured with I think it was Manhattan transfer. And I think he was tied in with Ricky Lee Jones and Elton John for a while.



Natalie Cole. Yeah, Natalie Cole and Ricky Lee Jones, John Tesh, he is oh man. In fact, if you you know the shreds videos on YouTube, so there's a Nick Saban shreds the Alabama coach. Yeah, and it's Wayne Johnson playing in the John Tesh band, but it was 20 years ago and Nick Saban and Wayne Johnson there they you know, yeah, hard pressed to tell them apart. Yeah, there might


Randy Hulsey  08:04

right. Whoa, well, as a clinician, how, how does Taylor come up with clinicians? How did they choose the clinicians? Like, how did they get a hold of Wayne? What how do they know about Wayne? Like, what, what goes into that? Do you? Are you aware of that process? Yeah, we've never



been the kind of company that will go out and headhunt people and, and, you know, dazzle them with dollars. And really, it's like, Oh, you like our guitars? And that kind of starts the conversation. So all these people play our guitars. And we've never paid our artists you see some somebody playing a tailor. It's because they love Taylor, they believe in it. So usually the relation start relationship starts there. They're a fan of the guitars and then we become a fan of their music or, you know, I don't know which comes first the cart of the horse there. Right. But the clinician program as its me as it stands, it's, it's done. I mean, the clinician concerts, you go into a store, you have this amazing performance, but people want the information they want to know the nuts and bolts of the guitars. Sure, that's why the roadshow evolved into that and you know, not only are you going to be amazed by the player, but you're also going to get some of the nuts and bolts and info to


Randy Hulsey  09:07

me from a consumer standpoint, would you say it's a fair statement? Or am I way off base to say that if someone is in the market to buy a tailor guitar, the roadshow may be about the best place and the best time to buy one from a from a pricing perspective, or is that or is that not the case?



I mean, it's a great night yeah, to buy a guitar Gotcha. We always try to in we always say Make no mistake we're trying to tempt you tonight we would love Absolutely. Bob Taylor says it all the time. We have to sell guitars to make more


Randy Hulsey  09:37

guitars. Absolutely. Well, it's a business at the end of the day right



is but I mean the guitar and and we talked about this before we started recording is just this is the renaissance of the guitar ever. The guitar business is booming. Everyone has to have a guitar. I mean, across all brands, I mean, it's everyone's picking up the guitar.


Randy Hulsey  09:54

You're not cool if you don't have one. That's it. Don't it's cool for a long time. We may not be cool, but we do guitar. No All right. We're the pioneers. Tell me about your music background. I know you play guitar and piano. But tell me a little bit about the background. Is there one or the other instruments in? Certainly your bias because you're a tailor guitar employ. But I mean, sometimes you would think somebody would gravitate to the guitar, but they're like, Oh, the piano is much more fun to me. Um, it's more enjoyable. Tell me about your music background.



It started with piano. I remember Guns and Roses and November rain. That was like that came out when I was in ninth grade. And my grandma lived next door to us in a little granny flat and she had a piano and I played her a tape of the song and I said, Hey, can you can you teach me how to play the song? And she said, I can't do it by ear. She's like your grandmother, my mom would have been able to do that. But your great grandmother, but how about you go through all of these reels and she was a player piano. So the real she had and all the sheet music she had and find a song that I'll teach you and it was let it be by the Beatles. She masking tape on the keys. She had the left hand, you know, color in, you know, in one color ink in the right hand color, another color ink and I sat there and I just, I mean, destroyed her ears. She ended up moving the piano over our house.


Randy Hulsey  11:14

Hey, you got to go through hell before you get to heaven. Right. That's that's the old adage. blesser, man. Yeah. So you were playing an instrument before you even started at Taylor guitars?



Yes. Yeah. So I picked up the piano. Well, it's a heavy thing. I picked up the keyboards at 15. And then a guitar was shortly after, I had a group of friends in high school, you know, a lot of like a lot of folks that we all sort of, you know, congregate and one person learns one thing, and then it's sort of competitive to they're like, oh, man, he knows he minor. Yeah. Exactly. So that kind of graduated. But even even to this day, like, there's so many guitar players that were diamond doesn't right. Yeah.


Randy Hulsey  11:51

Well, I'm poured out of the same mold. I was classically trained pianist first and then gravitated to the guitar because I thought it was much more cool to the chicks are right, you know, now, let's talk about your guitars for a second. I know that you've said that compared to a lot of people that you really don't have that many. But how many guitars do you have in your quote unquote, collection?



I got about 20. You know, that's that, hey, I say that. I only have 20. I just obviously when you're in guitar sales, you meet a lot of folks that have a lot of a lot of guitars and guitar collection. So 20 is a humble, respectable and amazing thing. I've sold so many. So the ones that I have are they're the ones Yeah, the keeper. Sure. Yeah. No trade Baden in there. Yeah. And I think that's why are you trading something?


Randy Hulsey  12:39

I learned a long time ago. Once I buy a guitar. I don't get rid of it. I just it's just kind of a rule of thumb for me, because I've kicked myself in the ass so many times, like, Gosh, I wish I still had that guitar. So yes, um,



no, cuz you sometimes get to play him like, like for like an EF 335. Yeah, that is an amazing guitar. And it's like, I grab a guitar collection. Every respectable guitar player has seven years 335 And I'm like, I owned it. I played it. And I just never I never kind of resonated with me and but I would love to see it hanging on my wall. I hear you, but it wasn't my thing. And so I can say, hey, I bought this guitar. I got to check that box. I owned it. I knew it wasn't for me. So I never have to wonder like, ma'am, I wish I can get any s 335.


Randy Hulsey  13:25

I hear you. I hear you now. I think people would find it a little interesting to know that being an employee of Taylor guitars, it's not just Taylor guitars that you have in your collection. Oh, no,



all of us. I mean, I don't know any anybody that works at Taylor that just owns Taylor guitars. I mean, there's so many wonderful guitars out absolutely. You got to have everything. Yeah, gotta have got to have the Martin the D 18. D 28. Gibson, J 45. Gotta have one of those. Right?


Randy Hulsey  13:52

I heard you make references. Your guys were talking about callings and guitars like that. Like who doesn't want to callings right



yet? Bob? Bob actually, Bob Taylor said this. He said when I look at a colleague's you know, I just I wonder how they did it. Yeah. You know, he said that about Bill Collins. He's like, how did they make a guitar? That was it's this close to perfect? Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  14:09

yeah, they are amazing instruments. I mean, great. So that's kind of a great segue into a little tailor talk talk a little bit about the bracing to the to the listeners and why the bracing on a guitar. We talk about V class and different bracings of a guitar. Why does that matter?



No, that's a really good question and something we didn't really think about too much. When you think about a not to turn the subject away but maple for example, right Maple is the if you get on the forums and you read Maples bright and you know I don't like guitars that are made of maple things like that. And that's changed throughout the years because a lot of companies Taylor included, they were just using the same bracing but with all these different woods. It's like it's an X brace, soundboard on a maple back inside guitar and it's braced the exact same for mahogany, exact same for rosewood, co etc. So Andy powers our master builder. When he came to tailor, he started voicing every guitar for its shape and for its wood. And that sort of gave way to V class bracing. So, the big challenge with bracing is and bracing the soundboard, the top of a guitar. You want it to be stiff enough to be strong hold string tension, but you want it to be flexible enough to where it'll sound good. And you get a lot of volume. So we make the comparison a lot with banjo heads, and solid body electric guitars. solid body electric guitars are hard as a rock that sustain for days Spinal Tap, right? You hit a note and it just goes on forever, right? That's from the rigidity or the stiffness of the top. A banjo head is like a drum head that's super flexible. It's loud. It'll take your head off, but it but it goes away instantly. Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  15:48

the sustain is not quite the same. It's



composed opposites. Yeah, he class kind of gets the best of both worlds, you have two braces that are parallel to the sound hole. So you get that stiffness, and you get that flexibility. So you have the loud guitar. But with the intonation, that's what we didn't expect. We didn't expect the intonation to improve like, you can play guitars and play them play first position D chord. And then you go and you try to play a D chord position up the neck and it's just slightly out of tune right? You can see it on a tuner V class, you can play in any position all the way up the neck and it's in tune now. It's scary. Cool.


Randy Hulsey  16:27

And I think a lot of people don't realize that that's where the sound comes from with an acoustic guitar is the movement of the top of the guitar.



Yeah, called the soundboard. Think of it like your amp. Yes, for sure.


Randy Hulsey  16:37

And what makes one guitar more expensive than another guitar for the for the casual listener out there. I know we're on guitar talk today. But what why is Why is one $6,000 In one, why is one $100?



Yeah, it's great question. I mean, a lot of things you can see they're obvious value, right? You see fancy in lace, and you see fancy binding and trim. And the tonewoods themselves can be very expensive. And really the difference between a solid wood guitar and a laminate, wood guitar, we call it layered wood that tailor because not all laminates are wood. If you go to some guitar, guitar makers, they laminate things that are like for Miko, or plastic, you know, things and that's okay, there. There's a lot of great builders that use different materials, but we we kind of always want to build their guitars with wood and make that distinction. So you can spend, I don't know $10,000 on a guitar that doesn't look at it that that obvious value is not punching in the face. Right, but it's got prewar Brazilian rose thing on it. Yeah. Macassar ebony, right. There's so many wonderful tone with Hawaiian koa. Yep, there's different grades, there's a double A master grade, there's cocobolo gosh, there's, there's just so many exotic tone with


Randy Hulsey  17:56

and I think that that's what the casual. Non guitar follower doesn't understand. They just think that they're all wood and they all should just be you know, $300 and each wood is more expensive and they come from different parts of the world. Right right. And they all have their own sound I mean Rosewood does is a warm sound whereas you know, koa has a different sound. And, you know, Maple has a different sound like talk a little bit about the different sounds of the woods. Yeah,



I mean, talk about an excuse to just keep buying guitars right it's a Telecaster with the rosewood board but now with the maple board and you know, go on forever. But with acoustic guitars, I mentioned all those exotic tonewoods they all really can be compared to the Big Three the main food groups, there's rosewood, mahogany and maple, right then you have code that sort of has the the best of you know all three. So you have different things that different applications for different sounds. If you're singing singer, songwriter, and you're just playing, it's just you, you probably like a rosewood guitar that scooped mid range we talk about the singer has a little notch for their voice, the bass and the treble really present, but there's not a lot of mid range in Rosewood, but that doesn't tell you that you can't use a mahogany guitar to be a singer songwriter. You should use a maple guitar to be a singer songwriter. There's just certain applications that are suited for certain certain woods. Exactly. And you just got to go out and experience that's why we were talking about the music store right and people selling online there's always going to be a need for music stores in independence and places for you to go. Guitar Center. Go ahead and try guitars. Touch them, feel them taste them.


Randy Hulsey  19:29

Yeah, because you what sounds good to you. Doesn't sound good to me, right? I mean, our ears are different. We intake, the sounds, the vibrations and everything differently. So I might like warm, you might like bright. I mean, it's what Taylor you have. I have a four, four or five. But my stage guitar is the 814. So yeah, so there you go. Yeah. Rosewood



man auditorium body. Yep. Randy's guitar is the flagship Taylor guitar model. That's you know, if we We have a lot of models we're known for. But if you had to say, what's the flagship tailor guitar model? The 14 C? Yeah, just a great combo.


Randy Hulsey  20:07

Now, what would you say like, for listeners that are not familiar with tonewoods? And they're thinking, Oh, maybe I'll buy a tailor guitar? What would be the least expensive? tonewood? And what would be the most expensive? tonewood? Is there it? Can you tell us that on a scale of $1 value, like least expensive to most expensive?



I would say it's more series specific in wood specific. Okay, so during the pandemic, we released two models, two series, I should say, that are the least expensive solid wood, USA made guitars Taylor's ever made. So the American Dream series, and the Grand Theater urban ash series, and those are about 1400, USA, street price USA. And that is an amazing, amazing value for a solid wood guitar that is USA made. Now, we're finding that the younger the buyer, the least important the solid wood thing is, because if you look at a 224 C eco Deluxe, that's a laminated quote unquote, guitar. Sure, but it's beautiful. And it's got that all right that you and I, yeah, just catches your show, right? But then you look at a guitar that's $14 in solid wood. And you might say, well, that's a little more understated, right? Yeah. But it's technically less money. It's a satin finish and not gloss finish. Right. So we're finding all these different things that 20 years ago, satin finish meant less expensive and nice. Doesn't mean doesn't mean as much anymore. Yeah,


Randy Hulsey  21:38

for sure. And what about production wise at Taylor? How many guitars a year is Taylor guitars putting out



while we're over? 150,000? Wow. Yeah, I think it's like 700 a day now. It's it's absolutely crazy.


Randy Hulsey  21:51

And all of those are not all of them. Because I think there's a there's a facility in Mexico as well. Yeah. So alcohol is one and then you do them in Mexico as well. Do I have that? Right? Right.



Okay, so alcohol is in the San Diego area. And then 45 minutes over the border, you have our Takata Mexico plant. That's where we make our 200 series and below 100 Academy's baby Taylor's just minis our cases, many of them are made down there.


Randy Hulsey  22:17

Okay. Let's talk a little bit about the GS Mini and the Grand Theatre. And I think the Grand Theatre is also referred to as the GT how are these guitars alike? Or are they alike? I mean, I know they're all different guitars, but is there any qualities of both of them that kind of make them kind of alike? Yeah, I mean, you sighs I mean, it can be anything. Sure, sure. So



if you're familiar with the Taylor shapes, the grand concert is our smallest flop shape, right? So the Grand Theater sits right between the GS Mini and the grand concert. Okay, and I've got an old 512 a mahogany grand concert from the from the 90s. And if you I have it on a hook right next to my Grand Theater 811 And my GS Mini, my original GS Mini and they are such a, you know, mama bear, baby bear Baba bear, but it's, they're just a perfect thing. So if you like smaller guitars, you'll really enjoy really all three. But when you compare a GS mini to a Grand Theater, you're you're hearing just a lot more volume, a lot more bass, and not that much more real estate. So you don't feel like you're holding that bigger of a guitar. Sure, but you're definitely seeing where that extra, you know, $800 or so is sure, you can clarify this. In your own words, too. I


Randy Hulsey  23:31

think a lot of people don't realize that. The smaller the body of a guitar, the less work you have to do to get sound to come out of it. Right. Whereas the bigger bodies, you really have to dig into him to get that top to move in. You do on him. Right? Correct. So can you talk on just a little bit of I don't want to get down into too much technical weeds, but Segi that in your own words, because I think you'd probably explain that that whole concept and theory I think far better than I can I



think you nailed it, man. You know, when you think about the the pebble across a lake, right and a big guy doing a cannonball in that same lake, right? They're gonna have different effects. Think of the soundboard like that lake. Right? So on a bigger guitar, you have that huge lake, you have to get moving. So the bigger the person has to be to get that, you know, to do that effect, right. Yeah. So yeah, people love small guitars, because they can finger pick them get a lot of of response out of them. But the size is really the important thing too. Because, you know, a lot of us they we have our heroes and they've got these big guitars you think of the album covers? Absolutely. Then you get one and you're like, gosh, this is amazing, but my shoulder hurts. So it's a really good good argument to have different shapes our grand orchestra. This is our jumbo or kind of traditional shape. That's our 18 So 618 80 Yep, that is the body shape that plays like in response, like a grand concert or GS Mini or Grand Theater, but you got that big body too.


Randy Hulsey  24:54

Yeah, yeah. Now you love your GT. Don't I love it? Yeah,



I'm just Yeah, go for it.


Randy Hulsey  25:00

I think that a lot of people think that there's not much of a science that goes into buying the right guitar, I think a lot of people will go into a store and say, I'll have that one because it looks a certain way. It's like eye candy. And that's certainly not a bad way to buy the guitar. But but let's talk about the real way to buy a guitar. Like if I came in and I said, Hey, Jr, you know, I'm going to be playing live shows. I'm mainly a fingerpicking kind of guy, right? These are questions that you as a salesperson at a retailer, or reseller, when asked like, how are you going to use the guitar? What's your playing style? Because this is how you should be buying the guitar. Right? Correct. So can you in your own words, kind of explain the art of buying the right guitar for the player that you are



yet? I love that question, too. I can talk about buying guitars all day long. Because I do it not all day long, and help people do it too. So I think all those questions you ask are valid. I think the big thing too is what do you own already, because they're they're just some folks that are just going to have all strats. And they just love that. And you know, they they may never need anything else. But they're just they're into strats. And they've got one that's blue, and one that's pink and one that's green or whatever. But really, you have to find the one that speaks to you. And the one that complements what you already have. And what you're already having the collection because you want to treat your guitar collection like you run a studio. Sure. And anybody that comes in, it's like Alright, well I got my 14 You want that versatile, that workhorse right? You want to be able to kind of cover everything. I'm gonna get my 14 I'm sorry. I want to do kind of a bluegrass thing. Alright, well, hey, get we got the grand Pacific the 717 Eat Right. Oh, we have a Martin D 2845. G 45. There's all these kind of things that are that are sort of suited for that. Oh, I want to get a twin. Okay, de tele. Yeah. So I think really, the best thing is complementor that what you have already find the one that speaks to you. And don't get too hung up on what the headstock says, Yeah, where it's made, right. Cuz I mean, you've done it, you've probably played a $200 guitar. That's just like, I have to own this. Sure. I don't care that it's 200 bucks. Right. Exactly.


Randy Hulsey  27:16

I think it just looks cool, right?



I mean, it's I bet customers actually say, hey, so this is kind of a weird question. But and not just one customer at multiple customers is, if I buy this guitar, will will people think it's a nice guitar? And be like, yes, yeah. Well, but that's a real


Randy Hulsey  27:31

thing. Yeah. And and I didn't want to go like too far into a rabbit hole. But I think for the casual listener of this show, you know, put some thought into the guitar, what your buy in, like Jr said, What is What do you already have? How does it complement what you already have? But if you have nothing, you know, consult that professional go ask those questions. Let them ask you questions about your playing style. How hard of a player are you? Do you rock out? Like, you know, Green Day or you just a subtle player? Kind of like a James Taylor? What kind of songs are you playing all that makes the difference in what kind of sound you're going to get? Yes, out of the guitar, right. And



people are shy though, when they come into guitar stores. They, they're, you know, I've always said that, like they don't ever play like they play. Yeah. So when you when you're trying to analyze the way someone plays, and you're asking them to do it, they get really insecure. And so really, as a as a guitar salesperson, we always talk about that, make sure that they're comfortable. And and you can ask them those questions, because they're not going to give you the right answer. You're going to sell them the wrong guitar, they're not going to be happy. It's going to be a bad experience for everybody. So the real thing is don't don't jump to the end. Absolutely. Come out and hang out. Right. You mentioned Great Southern music, right? Great place, you can go and hang out and play guitars. And it's really welcoming things like that. There's a lot of great stores like that.


Randy Hulsey  28:52

Yeah. And it's good to consult with those people don't be bashful to talk to somebody in the guitar store and ask their opinions. And, you know, it can save you from not that it's a bad thing to buy too many guitars. But sometimes people want to spend their money wisely wants and not buy something and say, Oh, damn, this doesn't do what I thought you know it, and then they're not happy, then it's a brand bashing or I don't like that type that tailor that whatever flavor is right? But that's because they didn't do their homework or they didn't consult the professionals. So



wrong recommendation. Absolutely. And but YouTube, think of all the great stores that do content, and create now you can actually go to websites and see 20 different pictures of the actual guitar that you're buying. Right, right. And then audio bytes and now, you know, people like Alamo music and music, Villa and Wildwood they do these fantastic video. Yes. Where you can hear the actual guitar and they'll even read the serial number right there. Yeah, there's a lot of different ways to take in information. So yeah, do your research. Yep. But let's Just say you make the wrong decision, or somebody gives you the wrong recommendation, guitars are always going to sell. So you you had to sell it for a few $100 less than you bought it for sure. It costs you a few $100 to know that that guitar wasn't for you. And then you can always go back like me mentioning the guitar before. Absolutely. And


Randy Hulsey  30:17

I will say that, you know, there's all there's always this thought process that if I buy a Harley Davidson, I can ride it for three years and resell it. Great, I'm not going to get the same exact amount of money, but they hold their value. And I'll say that about the Taylor guitars as well, if you if you invest and buy the tailor, you know, it will hold its value for a long time. Not only that, but that guitar will sound better 20 years from now than it will the day you took it off the shelf. Just tiny, a little bit about that. Because I think a lot of people think oh, my guitar is brand new. And it sounds the best. That's not true with a great tone would guitar tell tell him about how that guitar will open up over time become more porous and just sound better.



Yeah, that's that's really the beautiful thing. And that's kind of really the biggest justification why you spend more money on a solid wood guitar. Because even though a layered wood or laminate guitar will still open up, it will still age, it'll still sound better over time. It doesn't mature like a solid wood guitar does. So think of like $1 bill when you have the crispest dollar bill, and you want it up in your pocket and you have it in your wallet, and it's up in and out of your jeans. And then eventually it feels like fabric, it feels like cloth, like a Kleenex almost exactly. And that's exactly how wood fibers respond to guitar. So there's things you can buy, there's actual, you know, companies that you can put these little vibrating mechanisms, you can even hook it up to your phone or you know, have a music player. So you have the dynamics, you have the big highs and lows, it's responding to that you got to just just play your guitar. And but it does they do every time you'll pick up a solo guitar. It'll sound better than the last time.


Randy Hulsey  31:56

Yeah, that's That's great information. And for years, I didn't know that either. And just being around, you know, the guys at Great Southern music and just talking to people that are knowledgeable you you pick up and you learn things like that. It's like, okay, all this is starting to make a little sense now. And that's kind of how I bought my guitar. I knew kind of that I wanted the flagship, I knew that I was going to be a live player. So I would need electronic Senate. I knew that I was going to be doing everything from James Taylor to the Eagles live on stage. So I needed maybe a medium sized body to compromise. I don't want too small, but I don't want too big either. So the the auditorium was a nice compromise. That's kind of the mindset that went into me buying the guitar, right. Let's shoot for some quickfire questions. How about acoustic or electric guitar for Jr.



For me personally, it is electric. I have way more electrics than than acoustics. I've my T five is an amazing guitar. The Taylor T five really does kind of play in both worlds. But yeah, it's electric.


Randy Hulsey  32:56

And I would have thought you would have said just the opposite right? That's why I love these quickfire questions because working for Taylor you automatically think acoustic? Oh yeah, but for those that don't know that the T five the T five Z they're a hybrid guitar that can sound like a great acoustic tone wood and then turn right around and blow the speakers out and sound heavy metal or rockabilly or whatever the flavor of the day is right and I've got my own one I just



I know a guy


Randy Hulsey  33:23

put me in touch with that guy. Waylon or Willie.



Oh, that's tough.


Randy Hulsey  33:27

You're in Texas you got to answer that question it



but again but you have to give you got to give respect to alien right you can't just say Willy like seconds right but yeah, it's really yeah really so cool.


Randy Hulsey  33:36

You know summer or winter guy.



Winter. The summer again like oh, what a whim right? He comes to take


Randy Hulsey  33:42

well I've been here all my life and it doesn't get any easier. You're over here,



Sandy Ramona, if you if you Google the weather right now it's hot and remote. It gets over 100 Great. 100 degrees up there. But the humidity is nothing like it's it's legit here. But I always come to Texas in August. Yeah. And doing that a long time.


Randy Hulsey  33:59

No formal training or play by ear. play by ear.



I have a customer in Dallas that every time we do an event he always shames me for not knowing how to read music, or like yeah, he's like, your whole life is music and how to read music. I mean, that's and you know, he's right to a point. But and I love the cop out to like I think he even said this as a young idealistic musician. I said, you know, I don't want to hurt my creativity. If you learn how to read music, then you're just gonna play like everyone else. You're not gonna have


Randy Hulsey  34:32

such a cop out. Right? That's an excuse. Yeah, it really is about native Texan or transplant.



I mean, I am a transplant my dad was born in Amarillo. And so I always had a long horn hanging over our fireplace my whole life


Randy Hulsey  34:47

and nobody knew why live but I knew this but nobody else like Mama loves



horses. And he moved away from Amarillo when he was a baby. So but I play that for all it's worth when I've been traveling to Texas for four teen years for Taylor, and it's definitely like well, you know, my dad was born in Amarillo. It's like, but I don't tell him yeah, he was. He was taken away in a bassinet.


Randy Hulsey  35:09

Exactly. Rocker country, your rocker country.



I would say rock but I been invited to sit in with a very talented singer songwriter, London Bailey. She plays all around San Antonio, Austin, Fredericksburg all over and I'm having to learn a lot of country songs. Yeah, and playing a tele and my T five and trying to get that kind of twitching. And the person that plays on her record just smokes me. So you know, it's humbling. Yeah, I kind of wish I learned how to read music because I gotta learn like 30 songs,


Randy Hulsey  35:39

I'm humbled to you know, that's funny that you say that I I've always said, I've said it in these podcasts. I've been a musician all my life. And I haven't even scratched the surface of being a good musician, right? There's so many amazing players. And I'm probably the most humble musician like, I don't I'm good enough to go out on stage and get some nice compliments. I sound good. I have a nice voice. You know, am i Great? No, not at all. But I know just enough to make me dangerous and to keep my jobs where I do play. But how about favorite tailor guitar that you own? Ooh, that's



a great question. Got it changes. I love the GS mini we the whole sales team guy GS minis the ones that were the first prototypes that were at summer Nam when we first released them. I love that guitar. I have a 512. I mentioned from the 90s. And that was a a guitar that the customer sent back because it had a finished problem. And it was one of those rare moments where the repair department say we will replace this guitar for this customer. Because if we have to refinish this guitar, we have to sand off the finish. And let's change the sound of the guitar. So the guy got his his new guitar. And then this one was just available and I got it and I played a million million coffeehouse shows with that and wrote a bunch of songs and yeah, it's probably my favorite. Okay,


Randy Hulsey  37:01

and how about favorite Taylor guitar that you don't own?



My daughter was born at 914. Em, and my grandmother's name was Mildred. And so the milagrow Brazilian rosewood 914. Yeah, that we made. I don't know, it's probably been six or seven years. That's probably the guitar. But it's not V class. Yeah, right. I'm big on this V class is when you play. And you you don't really have to worry about the whole like, okay, the songs in G so I'm going to be cool. And now this songs in a so I better change. I better tune before it. Yeah, yeah, I'm big on V class. So that would be that guitar. But with V class bracing?


Randy Hulsey  37:44

Yeah. Down here. Yeah. favorite band of all time. It's got to be the Beatles. Early Bird or night owl. Both.



It that makes no sense. Right. But it's both. I will get up. I'm notorious for that. I'll be up at 330 in the morning and then go back to sleep for an hour at like six, you know.


Randy Hulsey  38:05

So I want to thank you, Jr. for being on the show coming over and meeting me. I wish you luck here in Texas and continued success. At Taylor guitars. I asked the listeners to like, share and subscribe to the podcast. Make sure that you check out Taylor guitars online at Taylor guitars calm or go by and visit a local dealer in your area. I always recommend buy in local at a boutique reseller because that's how I bought but certainly Jr. would say you can buy tailors anywhere you want to buy tailors but as always make sure to follow the show on Facebook at backstage pass radio podcast on Instagram at backstage pass radio, Twitter at backstage pass PC and the website at backstage pass. Jr. Thanks again for being a great guest. I've wanted to talk to you for a long time. Thanks for being here and taking the time. You guys take care of each other and yourselves and we'll see you right back here on backstage pass radio.


Adam Gordon  39:05

Thanks so much for joining us. We hope you enjoy today's episode of backstage pass radio to keep you on time. Make sure to follow Randy on Instagram, Randy Hulsey music long those and on Twitter at our Halsey music. Also make sure to like, subscribe and turn on alerts for upcoming podcasts. If you enjoyed the podcast, make sure to share the link with a friend and tell them backstage pass radio is the best show on the west for everything music. We'll see you next time right here on backstage pass radi