Ten Tips for Attending a Taylor Workshop (Road Dog- Spring ’00)
In the fifteen years I’ve been doing workshops for Taylor Guitars, I’ve certainly evolved as a guitar player, performer and teacher, Taylor has grown in size and in quality as a company, and our dealers and workshops have taken similar positive paths. Where once our workshop attendance was spotty and unpredictable, now only massive snow storms, tornados, or other acts of God seem to be able to keep people at home. It’s been a great ride for this road dog, and I suspect that the best is still to come.
Rising above this growth and transformation of the workshop program over those fifteen years of change and evolution, are several enduring themes which I would like to pass along to current and prospective workshop fans. Regardless of your own guitar styles, or those of the the clinicians you’ll be hearing and seeing, I bet that these observations will help you get even more enjoyment and benefit from attending future Taylor Guitar workshops.
1) Let the dealer know that you’ll be coming, for both your sake and his. Giving him at least a rough idea of the number of folks who’ll be attending will help him plan well for the event, and help prevent the all-too-common sight of 20 or more workshop fans, who decided to come at the last moment, wandering slowly around after the clinic is over, trying to massage away the amp-handle imprints from their nether regions.
2) Come early and sit really close. It’s the only way to catch all of the fun, like when sweat begins to pour from the clinician’s face or fingers as he begins to realize just how many hot guitar players there are in attendance, all of whom are sitting right in front , staring at his fingers and watching his every move. If you come late, bring an orange naugahyde beanbag chair and ask politely if you can lie down in front of the stage.
3) If you see the events in item (2) above starting to transpire, try and help out the clinician by asking him some softball questions. Good examples would be, “Say, could you tell us a little bit about your guitar,” or “How did you do that?”
4) On the other hand, don’t ask the clinician what he really does for a living. He’s still figuring that out.
5) Study up on the recent issues of Wood and Steel and on the newest Taylor Guitar catalog, so that you can play “Stump the Clinician.” Example- you could ask a question like, “Could you tell me how much it would cost to order a 912C with Koa back and sides instead of Indian rosewood, cedar top instead of Englemann spruce, and with my mother-in-law’s name inlaid with mother-of-toilet seat across the middle nine frets of the fingerboard?”
6) Buy lots of the clinician’s CD’s and other products after the clinic. You can see item (3) above for part of the explanation. Also, just imagine the fate that the clinician faces if you don’ buy his products- What does he do when he comes to the end of a tour with 200 unsold CD’s which he has to find a way to squeeze into his already impossibly overweight luggage, so that the airlines don’t smack him with a shipping fee?
7) Buy lots of Taylor guitars from your local friendly workshop-sponsoring dealer. Let’s face it- you love the guitars and you want to own more of them, or you wouldn’t have sat on that amp handle for two hours. Workshops mean extra trouble and expense for your dealers and for Taylor, both of whom are taking the very long-term view that staging these events will keep you all enthusiastic about Taylor and about the acoustic guitar. Your feedback and support will keep these events happening.
8) Don’t ask the clinician to play your favorite Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pantera or Korn tune. Bands like these are the reason that we all took up acoustic guitar in the first place, and the reason that your friendly dealer went to great expense to put in an enclosed acoustic room- to allow us all to hide from those very tunes.
9) Please don’t ask the poor clinician to play your favorite Doyle Dykes tune. Believe me, he’s still working on it.
10) Oh, yeah. Listen, clap, ask questions, take some notes or make a tape to remember the good ideas that you hear about, enjoy some good friends and some good music, and generally have a great time.