FRETS.COM Field Trip

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Talk about being ready for the Millennium!
Taylor Guitars
© Frank Ford, 3/9/99; Photos by Richard Johnston, 2/25/99

Well, this time I didn't get to go along. Richard was invited to visit the Taylor guitar factory this year to check out the newly built facility, and I stayed behind to mind the store.

Taylor has greatly enlarged the factory and completely retooled some of their operations. Years ago, Bob told me that his philosophy was that if a company was going to increase production, they had better also increase quality. I have to admit I didn't know it was possible, but after seeing the new instruments, I'm convinced he's done it again!

Richard brought us back some pictures of his trip through the new factory, including some shots of the most important innovation in the new Taylor instruments, the neck joint:

Just look at this cross sectional model. The entire neck heel is mortised into the neck block, and the reinforced fingerboard extension is mortised right into the top. Aluminum inserts in both the heel and fingerboard extension ensure that the bolts will mount the neck solidly.

I've seen a number of the new guitars, and I'm impressed. You really can't tell that the neck sits into these recesses. The joinery is so tight, it's just impossible to imagine how it was done.

Notice also that the top reinforcement is keyed into the top of the neck block for extra rigidity.

Precise neck angle adjustments are made with these laser cut shims:

Here's that recessed joint in a finished guitar body:

Working far beyond the precision of hand fitted joints, a Fadal computer controlled mill is specially tooled and programmed to cut the complex joint:

The top plate registers perfectly against the guitar top, which is secured by a vacuum chuck to keep it rigid during the milling operation.

Here, the mill rotates to cut the pocket for the end of the neck:



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