Acoustic guitars

Baby Taylor

Of all the guitars I own the simplest and least valuable is also the one I play the most. I’ve had my Baby Taylor for close to 15 years, it has travelled many thousands of miles with me on filming trips and has been played in some of the most remote and exotic corners of the world. It’s been through the wars a bit – the headstock was one broken off in transit and there are a few cracks starting to appear but it still sounds really great. There are patches of the soundboard that have been worn to smooth depressions where my right hand rests, testament to thousands of hours of me fumbling through my very limited repertoire.

The Baby Taylor is tuned to concert pitch but has a shorter scale length than most guitars to keep the overall dimensions down, it can make the fingerboard feel rather cramped sometimes but its also slight easier on the hands when stretching for big chords.

It did have it’s own Taylor hard case but that has long since disintegrated, amazingly it just fits inside one of the super tough ‘Peli’ cases that we use to carry our camera kit around the world so I have faith that it’ll last a few more years yet!

My Baby Taylor

Taylor 314 L30

My full size acoustic is also a Taylor guitar, this time a 314-L30. I bought this in Anchorage, Alaska, as a present to myself at the end of filming my ‘Moose on the Loose’ film. I’d seen, and played, it in a music shop in town durning one of my filming trips then I called up from the UK a few weeks later to see if they could keep it for me until I’d finished the film – I think they thought I was rather strange.

It has beautiful Myrtle Wood inlays on the fingerboard and a wonderful tone that gets better every year.

Taylor 314-L30

 Gitane Model John Jorgensen

You know when you have married the right woman when you get one of these for your 40th birthday. It’s fair to say that Julie isn’t particularly keen on Gypsy Jazz, I, on the other hand, can’t get enough of the stuff, and I spend far too much of my time trying to learn how to play it. It’s like playing jazz in a foreign language; very challenging – with its own set of rules, technical considerations and stylistic flourishes that make it so distinctive and appealing. There are some absolute monster players out there; Django of course – our founding father and Messiah – is long since gone, but virtuoso players like Bireli Lagrange and John Jorgensen keep the genre as fresh as ever.

This is a replica of the classic Selmer – Macafarri guitars that Django played. They are weird beasts; internal bracing like a classical guitar, formed like a conventional flat-top acoustic, the bridge (and therefore the transfer of energy to the soundboard) is like an arch-top and the scale length is a bizarrely long 25 1/4 inches. The initial playing experience is slightly strange, but you soon get used to it. There’s nothing subtle about gypsy jazz – you play hard with 3mm picks – is as much about the attitude as the notes. Sadly I have little talent, too many fingers and lack the ability to carry off a rakish moustache.

Gitane Modele John Jorgensen

Gitane Modele John Jorgensen