This is a 1996 Taylor 750 that I've actually had longer than any other guitar. I bought it in 1997, not long after my original 514ce that I exchanged for the one I have now.
It is the same dreadnought body style as the D35, and it has the traditional solid sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides.
The 750 has got a beautiful acoustic sound that will fill up a room. I also like the fact that as the guitar ages, the finish is starting to become a little darker.
Again, the same pickup system is used in the 750 as in the other guitars, so rather than repeat myself for a third time, lets just get to that system:
The LR Baggs Dual Source pickup system uses an under-the-bridge ribbon transducer along with a microphone mounted inside the body of the guitar. It allows the performer to control the volume and--perhaps more importantly--the mix of the sound.
One of my favorite features of the setup of all three of my guitars is that the pickup system is completely contained INSIDE the guitars. There are two small dials discretely mounted just inside the sound hole that control the volume and the mix. There are no controls, preamps, or other gadgetry visible from outside the guitar.
The only hint of electronics is the unit shown above, visible inside the sound hole, which is probably about as good as it gets if you're a purist.
I try to run at 100% microphone sound whenever possible, though depending on the room, I can use as much as a 50/50 mix to avoid feedback.
Generally, a mic'ed sound is vastly superior to anything else, in my opinion, when trying to capture the true sound of an acoustic guitar, and the Dual Source does a terrific job of this.
Of course, it's also important to have the right strings:
It may seem simple, but any acoustic guitarist will tell you that the right (or wrong) strings can make ALL the difference in how a guitar sounds.
I absolutely LOVE Elixir Phosphor Bronze strings. Obviously, I am not alone. Phosphor bronze strings are renowned for their crispness, and Elixir pioneered the process of coating their strings, essentially allowing these strings to last about twice as long as normal strings do.
I used to use D'Addario Phosphor Bronze strings. However, I found that Elixirs sound at least as good as the D'Addarios, but last about a month rather than a week or two.
Naturally, Elixirs are just about the most expensive strings available. (Lord loves a workin' man.)
One downside that I have experienced with the Elixirs is that the "g" string tends to break a lot. Under certain circumstances, that might be considered a good thing (especially during a live performance), but in terms of guitar strings, not so much...
Next is guitar effects:
Like most acoustic guitarists, I actually use very few effects...a little reverb from the PA system along with the Boss AD-3 for some chorus and occasionally a little anti-feedback--if you can even consider the absence of feedback an effect.
The anti-feedback feature on the Boss AD-3 is very nice. As soon as I start to hear the guitar feed back, I step on the left pedal and the AD-3 finds the frequency and filters it out.
After years of creating new dance moves trying to get my guitar pointed away from the source of feedback, I can say that this is money well spent.
The chorus effect is essentially used to make the guitar sound bigger. It's a little tough to explain, but a couple of examples of songs I do with the chorus effect are "Up on the Roof" and "Solsbury Hill".
Two of the most impactful recent additions to my gear have been a loop pedal and a vocal harmonizer. I've had both items for a few years now, so they are not necessarily state-of-the-art anymore, but both function very well, so I'll probably only replace them when they stop working.
A loop pedal lets me record myself playing live, whenther it's a phrase, a percussion pattern, or something else, that will then play back in a loop, allowing me to solo over it (or play an entire song) until I stop it. My loop pedal is the Boss RC-20XL:
Perhaps the biggest change in my act in all my years playing has been the addition of a vocal harmonizer. This piece creates consistently accurate vocal harmonies, based on what I am playing on either guitar or piano. I can instantaneously add up to two extra harmonies in addition to what I am siniging, including doubling my voice, adding an octave above or below, or adding harmonies either the 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th above or below what I am singing, depending on what chord I am playing and what scale degree I am singing at the time.
I use the Digitech Vocalist Live 3:
When time, space, and load-in allows, I also bring my piano:
The Yamaha CP33, while not spectacular, is a very nice stage piano. It has the full 88 graded-hammer action weighted keys (meaning that it feels like I'm playing a real piano, not a circa-1987 Casio keyboard), and several different sampled piano, electric piano, and organ sounds.
There are plenty of keyboards out there with more features, but the CP33 covers all the basics and sounds a lot like a real acoustic instrument, which, as it is with my guitars, is priority #1.
I run everything through a Bose L1 Compact system. It is clean, powerful, and fills a room quite nicely. It also tears down into a VERY portable and light two-pieces. Along with a tiny, six-channel unpowered effects mixer, it replaced an entire five-piece, heavy Yamaha PA system. I recommend it to anyone:
Finally, I have no idea how I pulled it off, but I actually convinced the beautiful and intelligent Jen that a brand new Kawai Grand Piano would fit nicely into our new home, if not our budget. You won't see it out at any gigs obviously, but I'm pretty excited about it, so here it is...