Ranch & Coast Magazine

October 2023

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B OB TAYLOR GRADUATED FROM SAN Diego's Madison High School in 1973 filled with teen angst over how to go forth and make a living. He figured he'd do what was expected — sign up for community college. e not-yet- co-founder of Taylor Guitars got on his motorcycle and drove from the family home in Clairemont to the nearby campus of Mesa College. "I got in the registration line," Taylor recalls. "e windows were way up there, and there were ten lines of kids stretching so far back. I just stood there." A life-defining moment ensued. He thought: "I can't do this. I can't go to college. I just can't. It would be awful." After about 15 minutes at the back of the registration queues, he turned around, peeled out on his bike, and left. It makes sense now. Taylor was and is a creator. A builder. As a kid, when he wanted a skateboard, he made one. Same with a bicycle. It was in his genes. Twila and Richard Taylor were do-it-yourselfers. Mom sewed clothes; Dad built furniture. His parents often bought old couches and completely reupholstered them. Young Bob learned by watching and doing, especially in shop class at Hale Junior High. "I had the greatest teacher, Mr. [Ernest] Labaskida," Taylor says. "He'd come in on Saturdays and open the shop so I could work. He worked with me really closely and taught me lots and lots of stuff." Taylor was a shop class savant. He placed second and first in consecutive years in a statewide industrial arts exposition. He'll never forget being a ninth grader on his first PSA flight to Sacramento to claim his blue ribbon. at's when he got a first taste of prime rib (and accidentally discovered horseradish looks a lot like sour cream). He kept learning by trial and error. "A lot of parents and teachers don't let kids do things," he says. "at's what was great about my high school shop teacher, Mr. [Larry] Kaiser. I told him I wanted to make a guitar. He let me. My heroes, I think, are the people who just didn't tell me no." Kaiser handed him a book called Classic Guitar Construction. Taylor spent all of his junior year making that first guitar as an independent study project. "He took care of the rest of the class and just checked up on me once in a while for support," he says. Kaiser, now 91, says he remembers Taylor as a "very focused, dedicated, and talented student. Bob was taking honors classes but told me he was bored. He researched all the tools needed to make a guitar, learned how to use them, and proved his ability. So, I made an exception for him." No Strings Attached With a 50th anniversary approaching, guitar industry legend Bob Taylor has finely tuned his company for lasting success BY RON DONOHO Focus business PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF TAYLOR GUITARS ranchandcoast.com 64 OCTOBER 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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