Inspiration / 6 May 2021

Boyce Avenue Live Session Part 3: All About Taylor Guitars

Boyce Avenue talk Taylor Guitars

Boyce Avenue are known for their creative and flawless cover songs and a huge part of their sound come from their guitars – more specifically, Taylor Guitars. For a band that relies so much on the acoustic guitar, it’s little surprise that Taylor are their guitars of choice.

The trio professed their love for the world-class acoustic guitar brand during the virtual Q&A session with Boyce Avenue held last month with participants from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Read on to find out more about the Taylor models that the band have owned and play and the reasons why they love the brand so much.

Read more: Boyce Avenue Live Session Part 2: Performing Online, Leveraging Tech and Being in a Sibling Band

What are some of the Taylor Guitars you have used and why do you love them?

Daniel: We use a multitude of different styles of guitars. For Example, we’ve used a Taylor 12-string, a Taylor classical guitar, even a baritone – for us, the fun part is about pushing our covers to be more interesting by tapping into some of the other types of guitars that Taylor has available. That seems to have been a trend that has been fun for us to experiment with for the last three to five years. Recently, we’ve been using the classic group guitar quite a bit. 

Alejandro: Yeah, I’m having a phase of loving the classic guitar. Sometimes we do go through phases, or your brain and ears push you towards a certain sound, but traditionally, we’re predominantly acoustic based.

The majority of the time, we use Taylor’s CE models because we do use the cutaways a lot – they are just so practical, especially live. And then every one of our models does have the electronics in it. Because you never know what guitar you might need, especially when on tour or on the road, you might do a morning show or something like that where they need you to plug in. 

Alejandro playing his Taylor Builder’s Edition K14ce, a stunning Grand Auditorium with a torrefied sitka spruce top and Hawaiian koa back and sides.

I’m also personally drawn towards the 14 (Grand Auditorium) and 16 (Grand Symphony) body shape, especially the Grand Auditorium. It’s a little bit more of the round, bigger, fuller. All three of us recently got ourselves one of the latest Builder’s Edition model – a K24ce, K14ce and the 816ce with the really unique soundhole. It’s just fun for us at this point and we’ve very blessed to have built and developed this relationship with Taylor. We’re not crazy gearheads or anything like that, but we’ve acquired a decent amount of guitars from Taylor and I’m proud to say I’ve used them all.

Fabian: I feel like we’re in a rather blessed position because we’ll get comments on our videos from young musicians who are looking to buy their first guitar and they’re thinking, “what’s the one that I should drop the money on?” I’m guessing that they’re probably looking for the more versatile model in the hope that they can do a bit of everything. We’re in the fortunate position after so many years of collecting so many guitars that we have different ones that suit different things. If you’re doing a song that requires more finger plucking, we might gravitate towards a certain model. Then our sound engineer, Adam, will experiment and build tests to see which sounds better. If it’s for strumming with a pick, then we might use a different guitar. We do have the awareness to pick which Taylor guitar for each cover specifically.

A: Honestly, any Taylor we’ve used is fine for somebody starting out. We’ve used a Baby Taylor in an original song called “Cinderella” because the sound of it – though smaller and not as rich as its bigger counterparts – just had the right sound and vibe to it. We’ve also used the GS Mini on the Game of Thrones instrument. Again, just because we felt it had an almost medieval vibe to it. It had a sharpness to the soloing I was doing. Of course for Fabian’s rhythm stuff he uses a more full-bodied Taylor for a bigger low end. So, honestly, any Taylor guitar from the bottom up is great. They’re just such great instruments.

How does Boyce Avenue get such a detailed tone with your acoustic guitar recordings? Are there any special tricks that you apply in the process? Maybe Adam (Boyce Avenue’s sound engineer) can chime in?

D: We can’t give away the secret sauce! [laughs] But yeah, it’s all basically Adam. It’s years of experimenting with microphone placement on little variables like weather to use a pick or fingers for a certain song.

F: He’s done some really cool stuff – like even this recording studio, we built from scratch. It’s amazing. We chose not to do a traditional vocal booth because we knew that Adam had this ingenious idea where he built these movable partition walls that help isolate the sound when you’re in there doing vocals and guitar recordings.

Martin and Gibson have their own certain sound which are great. But it’s something about Taylor’s combination of all three – the looks, the sound and the electronics that I think sold us personally.

Out of so many guitar brands, why Taylor and how were you first introduced to it?

A: For me, the biggest introduction was definitely Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls. We saw that he was using them around the Let Love In album in 2006 and he started using Taylor Guitars exclusively. We also love Alter Bridge. Mark Tremonti would play a Taylor when they did their acoustic songs. We still kept looking at different guitars, but the combination of sound, aesthetics and electronics really fit our touring needs across the board. No doubt, other guitars sound great. Martin and Gibson have their own certain sound which is great. But it’s something about Taylor’s combination of all three – the looks, the sound and the electronics that I think sold us personally.

D: They fit our music and our personality really, really well. We’re very loyal and you never forget your first. All of our first really good guitars were Taylors and we’ve just always 

I play mostly electric guitars and I’m thinking of getting a Taylor soon. From your experience playing so many models, how do their highest end models differ from the rest of their line up and what are the best points about Taylors that you pick out?

A: I think for me the biggest difference with the high end models is just the overall feel, which I think lends itself to a good sound. I don’t think a lot of people even think of just how the neck feels. They may focus on the wood, but there’s a lot of stuff that is important too, like the shape and of course, the feel of the guitar. If it feels good and right, even just the way your hand fits on the neck. For me, that just lends to better playing. There are some guitars that we’ve had where the neck might have been too small. It’s honestly difficult to form certain chords the same way or doing certain fingering styles.

No doubt the high-end models are beautiful – there are bevelled edges on some of the Builder’s Editions, pearl inlays – all that stuff is beautiful. But even on the more affordable Taylor guitars, they all feel quality and feel great. And I think that’s ultimately the important thing. 

Being mostly an electric guitar player, you might want something that feels like you’re playing an electric guitar. You might want something with a lower action or a smaller body. But for me, sometimes I think playing something that’s so different and out of your wheelhouse will force you to be inspired because it feels so fresh and new.

F: It’s kind of cool that you said you’re mostly an electric guitar player wanting to play the acoustic guitar because, in our band, I mostly play the electric guitar too. I’ve never actually bought my own acoustic because Alejandro has so many here that if I ever needed one, I would just grab one from the studio and use it. But recently I felt I really should just have my own, a guitar that’s mine and I can end up passing to my children later on. I started really digging in doing research and I ended up with something different from everyone else. Being mostly an electric guitar player, you might want something that feels like you’re playing an electric guitar. You might want something with a lower action or a smaller body. But for me, sometimes I think playing something that’s so different and out of your wheelhouse will force you to be inspired because it feels so fresh and new.

Fabian of Boyce Avenue playing the Taylor Builder’s Edition K24ce, the full solid, all-koa  Grand Auditorium model.

For me, I was so used to playing small electric guitars that I thought it’d be cool to get something that has a bigger body. So, I ended up with this great 816ce – a Grand Symphony body shape. It was a big difference for me from going from playing electric guitars amplified in hard rock to a Taylor model that’s designed to be played in a symphony! When I’m playing it, I feel inspired because it’s just so different from what I’m used to.

We also tend to use pretty thick gauge strings on our acoustic guitars because we like that big, boomy sound. We play a lot of nice, thick, full open chords and we don’t do many bar chords when we play the acoustic guitar. We also sometimes do open tunings. But on an electric guitar, you want a lower action with thinner strings because of the bends and pulls offs and all that. So it all just depends on what you’re wanting and looking for as far as inspiration and what your playing style is. 

That’s a wrap! Thanks to everyone who have joined us during the live session, and also to you for sticking around and reading our blog! We hope you’ve learned something from Boyce Avenue throughout all three parts.

And a final big shout out to Taylor Guitars for making all this possible. If you’re like many of us and have become totally convinced to want to own, or at the very least, try, a Taylor guitar, you’re most welcome to head down to your nearest Swee Lee store to experience them for yourself. Maybe you’ll understand why Boyce Avenue love them so much!

Shop Taylor Guitars

Read more: Guitarology 101: Acoustic Guitar – Laminates & Solid Wood

Related Reads

Marshall Amplifiers: The Amps that Shaped Rock Music

Marshall Amplifiers: The Amps that Shaped Rock Music

55  years ago, the first Marshall amp left Jim Marshall’s garden shed in West London. Jim was a dancehall drummer and teacher who had a small shop in west London. His shop was frequented by guitarists such as Deep Purple’s Ritchie Blackmore and Peter Townshend from The Who, both of… Read more

Linying and Evan Low, songwriters of The Road Ahead, National Day theme song

Behind The Road Ahead with National Day Theme Song Writers Linying and Evan Low

As the past year or so has reminded us more than ever – music brings people closer, no matter how "distanced" we're told to be. Surely, we Singaporeans know that well. Every year, the National Day Parade theme song gives Singaporeans another thing to talk about but with a pandemic… Read more

Morningstar Engineering MIDI Pedals
#Gear & Tech Tips

10 Questions with Morningstar Engineering

MIDI Controller pedals! For some of us in the guitar community, they are an indispensable performing tool. And to many of us, it sounds like fanciful jargon out of a late eighties space opera. To get the lowdown on what MIDI Controller pedals are all about, we decided to have… Read more