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What Kind of Guitar Does James Taylor Play?

What Kind of Guitar Does James Taylor PlayOur fascination with our favorite artists will come to no end. This is the reason why many fans still can’t get at ease when they still don’t know what kind of guitar does James Taylor play.

If you’re one of these increasingly growing curious fans, then we’d be glad to tell you that this article is everything you need to know about Jame Taylor guitars.

From the Olson guitars James Taylor had had used all these years to the Signature guitar James Taylor got named after him, we will just about explore them all for you.

The James Taylor model guitars you’ll see here span generations of musical evolution and will pretty much follow the career of the iconic musician himself.

Let’s get right to it!


The Signature Model Guitars of James Taylor

Guitar instrument of professional guitarists musical instrument Of course, what better way to start exploring James Taylor’s guitar choices than by going directly first to the ones named after him?

The James Taylor signature model guitars are a limited edition series that were released in 2002.

This was the time when James Taylor finally reached a 25th year milestone in his career as a lifelong luthier. The Taylor James model was a stronghold collaboration with Jim Olson.

What’s extra special for each of these signature guitars is that they bear a personally signed signature from James Olson and James Taylor themselves. So obviously, you’d expect this to be pricey for such special allocation, but what’s money to a true James Taylor tuning fan?

You can find this trademark signature vividly visible through the guitar’s soundhole. Because the “James Taylor Signature Model” is already laser-engraved with such certification, along with the year of construction and the serial number, you’d always know that you’re holding something authentic and timeless.

Here are the different series and models of these signature James Taylor acoustic guitars:

Fender Telecaster

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Being a revolutionary in the acoustic world, the Fender Telecaster is not surprising to have caught the attention of James Taylor. It’s known that James has been using this guitar brand for years, and not least of those reasons is that this is the world’s first electric guitar that’s solid-body-made.

Taylor also must have loved how this Telecaster is made of bolt-on neck and a maple contoured body. Usually the Telecaster has 2 volume and 2-tone control knobs you can find on the guitar’s front.

One variant of the Telecaster that Taylor would’ve still approve is the Fender Tele Jr. It’s so unique that only 100 units were released in the 1990s.

From the standard Telecaster body shape, electronics control to the scale length defining the Telecaster, this edition has all these features.

The Epiphone Sorrento

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This Epiphone Sorrento is a 50th Anniversary release and it’s probably the reason why James Taylor picked this. It’s an iconic piece, and its maple top and body, laminated to perfection, adds to why it’s a top choice for him.

This one also has a binding system that is as historically accurate as can be. Its rosewood bridge base comes with the original tailpiece known to be a classic design in the acoustic world.

Another interesting thing about the Sorrento is that only 1,962 pieces were made of this one. You can only hope that James Taylor didn’t buy all of these pieces.

This also comes with an official certification from the manufacturer that shows that this is “1962 Collection Certificate of Authenticity”

Some of its other features include:

  • Has mahogany neck rooted in the profile design of the 1960s SlipTaper
  • The Dot inlays here fit smoothly into its rosewood fingerboard
  • Can blend well with the USA mini-humbuckers made with great renown by Gibson
  • Installed with a headstock in its dovewing, with a logo bade proving it’s a classic Epiphone
  • Contains a hard case that has a period-appropriate look
  • Has no binding neck
  • Has nickel hardware
  • Comes with a 12″ Fingerboard Radius

The Gibson J-50

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Experts onine will agree that the Gibson J-50 is the first guitar that James Taylor used. This was released in 1947and really caught the attention of the musician for him to be loyal to its features.

What James Taylor might have loved about this one is that it’s got a natural finish with an iconic sound that you can’t really pin but you know its distinct only to this model.

If you want a brilliant, clear and crisp tone to mimic James Taylor’s vibe of music, then this might be the one to get.

The other interesting trivia about this one, too, is that James Taylor’s technique to use this only involves the thumb and fingernails. You probably already know as a fan that Taylor seems to have a keen dislike against finger pricks, so it’s not surprising why Taylor uses the Gibson with softer and gentler stroke.

To learn James Taylor’s technique with this guitar, see him in action with the Gibson in this video:

The Martin D-28

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Apart from James Taylor, the great Jimmy Page and Hank Williams are also a fan of the Martin D-28. What Taylor might have loved about this one, among the many reasons, is its Indian Rosewood back body.

As a result, Taylor always gets that distinct twang when using this. Its slim mahogany material in its neck paired with the dreadnaught body may be another reason why Taylor chose this as a staple in his acoustic career.

The Standard JT Model Series 1

Even if often sold out, the first series of these James Taylor guitars are called the Standard JT Model. Here are their interesting specs and features:

  • Has an SJ non-cutaway body size and shape for a solid feel
  • Has a cedar top to make it look as unique as you can
  • You get a rosewood binding design for cooler vibe
  • You get a 5-piece laminated neck
  • “O” inlays and abalone dove installed
  • The soundhole trim this one has is also made of abalone
  • The trim at the back center strip, edge and even at the wedge area of the endblock is made of abalone, too
  • Has a customized Gotoh 510 “rock-steady post” tuners

If you want to see these guitar models perfect in action, you might want to check this live performance and talk of James Taylor himself:


 The Series II and Series III JTSM, Special Edition

This second James Taylor guitar style shares the main features of the standard edition, but come with some added special bonus. Here are its special appointments:

  • Its dove is double-inlayed and the borders are detailed with mother-of-pearl design.
  • You get a specialized soundhole rosette that pairs well with its abalone ring
  • There are Brazilian rosewood inserts in the guitar
  • You get a radial grain pattern with this series that you can see above and below the guitar body
  • Its peghead is elegantly made of ebony, with black-white purfling
  • Fingerboard is also made with white-black-white pattern of purfling

The Whitebook

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Mark Whitebook is an iconic luthier and guitar maker, and it is his 2017 Mark Whitebook JTS that really did catch the attention of James Taylor.

From its Indian Rosewood back design and sides that are detailed with adirondack pattern, you’ll really get why Taylor made such a choice.

What makes this guitar model a stand-out for Taylor at least is that its fretboard inlays have an elegant color mix of red and green sea snail.

You get an ebony and maple top border with this one, with its bindings stained with maple. It’s also probably an added bonus that this one is a statement piece since it’s first laid out for a guitar made for Linda Ronstadt.

Other Specs and features:

  • Spacing saddle is at 2 5/64, with scale length at 25.5″
  • Nut Width will be at 11/16
  • Upper Bout 12 1/2″ long


So there you have it: you now have a historically accurate and growing list of the guitar types that James Taylor has been using over the years.

To recap, the guitars James Taylor has been using all throughout his decades of musical career are the Epiphone Sorrento, the Gibson J-50, the Fender Telecaster and the Signature Model guitars named after him.

Of course, there may be more guitars out there that James Taylor has approved and shown his great support for. Feel free to share some of those guitar brands or names that we’re not able to include here.

And if your fellow James Taylor fans want to know more about the kind of guitars that he’s been using to hone his talent, feel free to share this article with them so they too will know what kind of guitar does James Taylor play.

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