Taylor Baby Taylor
Still owned: No
When Kat asked me what I wanted for Christmas in 2007, I said “It seems silly, but I’d like a Baby Taylor.” It’s a half-scale travel guitar which is also popular as a first instrument for kids. Asking for a Baby Taylor didn’t surprise her; she knows how I am about the T5 and the 410. But her mom just had a guitar custom-built by Bernie Lehmann, a luthier in upstate New York, and the two of us have been nerding out about rare woods and inlays and other cool things you get to play with when you have an acoustic custom-built. So when Kat — who usually dozes off when I start talking about Engelmann spruce vs. Sitka spruce with her mom — suddenly says, in the middle of a game of WoW, “What’s your favorite tone wood?” I got more than a little suspicious.
Oh no, I thought. The Baby Taylor is pretty simple and straightforward; it’s fairly affordable, and I’d played one at Gryphon and loved the sound. They only make it in two flavors, spruce and mahogany. She’s not going to do something crazy, is she? Maybe her mom got her all excited about that luthier and they hatched a plan. It doesn’t help that she just visited…
So over dinner about three weeks before Christmas, I said, “I think I know what you’re up to.” The conversation turned into a “yes/no/no comment” interrogation, but when I suggested that she had two accomplices, she said “yes.” That would be her mom and the luthier, right? So we made a deal: I would write down what I thought she’d gotten me and seal it in an envelope, to be opened Christmas day. She, in turn, didn’t want to guess what I’d given her (because I thought she figured it out from my awkward questions) but she wrote down her guesses about my guesses and put those in a different envelope.
This morning, the last gift was opened and it was a piece of paper which read:
Dear Dan –
Left your gift hanging around. You’ll find it well hidden — don’t get sucked in.
I just laughed my ass off. Kat found a way to sneak an Easter egg hunt into Christmas morning. Sure enough, in the closet with the vacuum cleaner, was a lovely spruce Baby Taylor, complete with gig bag — just what I wanted!
Now it was time for the letters. Kat opened my letter. It read:
I have reason to believe that you are planning some sort of custom-made travel guitar with your mother and Bernie Lehmann. If not an actual guitar, then certainly a guitar accessory or perhaps another stringed instrument.
I’m crazy? You’re crazy.
Your Loving Husband
Kat’s sealed reply:
You now know you got a Baby Taylor. I believe you thought that I got a custom guitar made for you by Bernie Lehmann — mom’s guitar tech.
Funnily enough, I had two accomplices to try to figure out what flavor of Baby Taylor you wanted, after I called Gryphon and they told me there were three options — all mahogany, spruce top over mahogany, and spruce over maple. After freaking out about what to get, a trip to Taylor’s website told me that they were wrong.
Clearly, they weren’t the only ones. She later admitted that her clairvoyance was due to her accomplices, one of whom was Kimzey, who I’d babbled to about my fears that Kat was going overboard en route to rehearsal. She set me up so Kat could spike.
In my defense, I had the spruce model of Baby Taylor specified on my Musician’s Friend wishlist, but Kat hadn’t thought to check there. If she had I never would have suspected anything and my imagaination wouldn’t have run away with me. But other than that — as usual — Kat thought of everything and was always at least one step ahead.
The Baby Taylor has a pronounced V-shape to the neck, and while it was plenty loud, had a great tone, and impressed the hell out of people during the singalong on a company retreat, the ergonomics ultimately made me feel it was time to part. I sold it through the legendary Westwood Music in LA in 2011 and while I have been tempted by the more comfortable Mini GS, I haven’t made the jump yet.