Bob Taylor – Searching the World for Sustainable Tonewoods

Bob Taylor, President of Taylor Guitars, and a group of friends are currently on a world tour looking for sustainable tonewoods.

Bob is posting regular updates of his tour on Youtube. You can watch them here:

Traditional tonewoods such as rosewood and mahogany are disappearing fast due to overlogging.

Bob Taylor consequently has two enormous challenges if Taylor Guitars is to survive and prosper into the future:

Firstly he needs to find sustainable sources of new tonewoods with which to build quality guitars.

Secondly he needs to convince a guitar-buying public to say goodbye to traditional tonewoods (perhaps a Farewell Party is needed) and welcome the new sustainable alternatives.

Neither of these challenges will be easy.

Trees take a long time (30+ years) to grow so Bob needs to be thinking 30+ years ahead. How many of us have to think 30+ years ahead just so that we have a job tomorrow?

Now that is a rare challenge!

But he also needs tonewoods in the short term. Traditional tonewoods will be gone well before any trees planted today can be harvested. So the tonewood market over the next 30+ years will be a mixed bag, until people start planting tonewoods to produce a regular, managed supply.

Despite my efforts unfortunately Tasmania is not on Bob Taylor’s itinerary.

In terms of forestry opportunity Tasmania has a poor reputation around the world. The rhetoric here may be “world’s best practice” but that is definitely not how the rest of the world sees us.

Bob Taylor may love Tasmanian blackwood as a tonewood, but as yet he is not prepared to commit his time and energy trying to deal with the many challenges facing forestry in Tasmania.

It will be interesting to watch the videos and see what Bob Taylor & Co discover on their journey.


5 responses to “Bob Taylor – Searching the World for Sustainable Tonewoods

  1. As part of the tour Gordon, Bob and the boys spent time in my workshop. We talked about Tasmanian blackwood, amongst other non-tropical woods, and he said it was probably the perfect tonewood.

    • Thanks Chris,


      How am I supposed to respond to a comment like that given that Bob & Co avoided coming to Tassie??

      Yes Tassie forestry is a complete disaster, but forestry in a lot of places is same or worse.

      We have little positive news to show the world in terms of the future of blackwood. We desperately need outside support to bypass the local bottlenecks/politicians/industry.

      So the “perfect tonewood” continues to sit on a lonely island at the bottom of the world waiting for favor and fortune to come its way.

      Curious that Bob & Co didn’t visit Europe (mainland) and showcase some of the forestry coops that dominate European forestry. Surely there is a future source of sustainable tonewoods as much as the Emerald Isle!

      Maybe next time….


      PS. Did I mention “perfect” as well as profitable (for growers) and sustainable? One day….

  2. Actually Gordon, he did spend two days in Spain.

  3. Hi Gordon,
    I can not understand your comments.
    Why did Bob & Co need to visit Tasmania on there world forestry tour.?
    As Chris Larkin said Bob & the boys visited his workshop they talked about Tasmanian blackwood amongst other non – tropical woods, and Bob said it was probably the perfect tonewood. so the perfect tonewood is not sitting on a lonely Island at the bottom of the world waiting for favour it already is in favour and fortune will come in time.
    Taylor guitars have been promoting blackwood for years so they are giving support.
    Chris Cosgrove Taylor guitars wood buyer has been here twice and on his first visit Andy Powers Taylors head luthier also came along and we visited private farm lands where blackwood was selectively harvested.
    I am sure you have heard the song it takes time well I am sure that Bob & Co will visit Tasmania one day.
    Cheers Bob

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