Teja Gerken demos his Taylor grand concert.
by Teja Gerken
April 18, 2016
In 1994, as I was getting interested in playing contemporary fingerstyle guitar, I was looking for a small-body steel-string flattop after many years of playing primarily nylon-string and electric guitars. I was working at Petaluma, California’s Tall Toad Music at the time and was impressed with the playability of Taylor’s grand concert models, especially after hearing Chris Proctor play one in a Taylor clinic. I decided to order a 712c, which was the least expensive rosewood-and-spruce grand concert cutaway that was available at the time. In the 20-plus years since, this guitar has accompanied me to hundreds of gigs, traveled around the world, and is featured on both of my CDs, On My Way, and Postcards.
In the last 20 years, Taylor’s grand concert models and the 700 series have gone through numerous changes, so that a 712 model built today is a very different guitar from my 1994 version. My guitar has a Sitka spruce top and Indian rosewood back and sides. It has the original Taylor grand concert body shape, which is slightly shallower than it is today. It also has a long 25.5-inch scale, rather than the short scale found on current Taylor grand concerts. Over the years, I’ve tried many different pickup systems in this 712c, and it is currently equipped with a Seymour Duncan MagMic in the soundhole. I’ve also installed a Hipshot GT-1 Xtender tuner instead of the standard sixth-string tuner, which makes it possible to lower the lowest string’s pitch at the flick of a switch.
For many years, this was my only steel-string flattop, and even though I now have the choice of several guitars to play, it continues to be a great instrument that sees frequent use. It has a very balanced sound and quick response for playing fingerstyle, and with the MagMic pickup, it works exceptionally well for performing in an ensemble. I use the guitar to teach my tune “Seven Years” in Peghead Nation’s Advanced Fingerstyle Workshop, and the guitar has also been used by Mark Goldenberg and Stevie Coyle for lessons in their Guitar Theory and Fingerstyle Guitar courses.
SPECS: Grand concert body with 14-fret neck. Solid Sitka spruce top. Solid indian rosewood back and sides. Mahogany neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Grover tuning machines. Made in USA. Taylorguitars.com
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