Martin Taylor is an accomplished fingerstyle guitar player who’s won awards, fans, and even been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in his native England for his contributions to guitar jazz.
His playing is impeccable, with roots in gypsy jazz (think Django Reinhardt) as well as traditional jazz.
He’s played with well-known folks like Stéphane Grappelli and Tommy Emmanuel (Martin and TE even have a popular guitar duet album out: “The Colonel and the Governer”).
Martin Taylor is interesting to for a few reasons.
- First, his popularity has been somewhat off the American radar, so it’s like finding a “new player” (though I’m well aware he’s been doing great stuff for a long while).
- Second, his playing style spans several interests of mine – jazz, acoustic, fingerstyle, and solo arrangements.
- Third, he seems to work as hard on composition as he does on technique or improvisation.
He also has a great teaching series available at ArtistWorks.com where he gives a thorough insider’s view of his brand of fingerstyle jazz.
So, now for the gear review. What does Martin Taylor actually play? It’s a simple list, here it is.
Martin Taylor Gear
AER Alpha Amplifier – AER amps are awesome for acoustic and jazz. They’re transparent, powerful, and clear. A lot of great acoustic players use some flavor of an AER amp.
Elixir .012s – Elixir strings have become popular because they last a long time and retain their tone. They accomplish this by coating the string to protect it from the rust and degradation that comes from the oils in your fingers.
Martin Taylor has mentioned using a couple types of picks:
David Grisman Dawg Mandolin Picks – The key to this pick is that it’s shorter, giving a blunter corner to pick with. This is actually a great fit for me personally since I usually will take a full size guitar pick and turn it 3/4 so that I’m playing with a blunt corner.
Jim Dunlop Sculpted Plectra Primetone 1.5mm Mandolin Picks – Again, these picks have equally angled corners providing a slightly more blunted playing edge.
There are several guitars that are significant for Martin Taylor’s playing:
Martin Taylor Artistry’ Archtop – This is Taylor’s collaboration with UK-based Vanden guitars to make a personal “holy grail” guitar. Key to the guitar is also the Fishman pickups.
More on Martin Taylor’s Archtops >>
Yamaha AEX1500 – Taylor endorsed this Yamaha archtop in the 90’s.
Peerless Martin Taylor Maestro – More recently, Taylor has endorsed this archtop from Peerless Guitars, a beautifully made guitar emphasizing natural resonance and a more authentic tone.
Martin 000-45 – Taylor also owns (and apparently cherishes) a Martin 000-45 acoustic guitar. This guitar is truly amazing, going for prices in the $80k – $100k range. Crazy. You can check it out here.
http://martintaylor.com/ (really well done site)