Best of 2001: Best Factory Tour

Taylor Guitars
1980 Gillespie Way, El Cajon

It's free, given every Monday through Friday (except for holidays) at 1:00 p.m., and all you have to do is show up. The receptionist will issue you a visitor's badge, safety glasses, and a headphone device that lets you hear the tour guide's voice no matter how far away you're standing or how loudly the saws and milling machines in the shops are screaming. On top of that, the story of Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug's rise from scruffy kids in Lemon Grove (back when they started the company in 1974) to some of the world's most successful acoustic guitar-makers is an engaging one. Today more than 250 guitars take shape here every day. The list of those who've bought instruments here includes Dave Matthews, Leo Kottke, Jewel, Neil Young, Clint Black, and Richie Sambora. The tour guide shares information, delivered along with the olfactory pleasures offered by fresh-cut mahogany, flaming maple, Brazilian rosewood, Hawaiian koa, ovangkol, sapele, cedar, and Engelmann and Sitka spruces.

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