800-ZZOUNDS (800-996-8637)
When you call, mention priority code 144M-DW8G
close [x]
  • Mon, Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri 8AM - 10PM (EST)
  • Sat 9AM - 6PM (EST)
  • Sun 1PM - 7PM (EST)
Taylor Guitars and the Story of Ebony

From compact Baby Taylors up through the 900 and Presentation series, every Taylor guitar uses ebony for its fretboard. Sturdy, musical, and exquisitely beautiful, ebony is an ideal wood for fretboard construction. As is the case with many tonewoods, however, the world's supply of ebony is dwindling. The forests of Madagascar have been closed to harvesters since 2009, which leaves the West African nation of Cameroon as the final place guitar builders can legally obtain high-grade ebony.

In 2011, Taylor Guitars and Madinter Trade, S.L, an international distributor of guitars and tonewoods used to make musical instruments, partnered to purchase Crelicam, an ebony mill located outside of Yaoundé, Cameroon. The newly formed company, TLM, sent president Bob Taylor to the Cameroonian forest to witness firsthand how his company acquired the cherished wood. Mr. Taylor wasn't sure what he would encounter, but he knew something needed to be done to ensure ongoing sustainability and responsible stewardship of the world's remaining ebony supply.

In Cameroon, Bob was concerned to discover one particular aspect of the ebony-harvesting process. While guitarists are familiar with all-black ebony, most ebony trees actually contain lighter color strands, giving the wood a marbleized look. The only way to tell if a tree contains this marbleization is to cut it down and inspect the cross-section. Due to higher prices paid for all-black wood, harvesters considered marbleized ebony to be déclassé -- and they were leaving the cut-down marbleized ebony trees on the forest floor to rot.

"This was news to everyone else," Bob recalled. "Not even the previous owner of Crelicam knew. The cutters don't tell anybody that. I just started asking questions and went down that rabbit hole and they told me."

As Bob inquired further, it became apparent that for every ten trees felled, only one contained all-black ebony. On the spot, Bob decided that from now on, Taylor Guitars would pay the same price for marbleized ebony as for the all-black variety. No more wasted ebony, and no more ignoring the realities of what the forest has to offer. The distinction was purely cosmetic, and by paying an equal amount for marbleized wood, Bob effectively multiplied the amount of usable ebony in Cameroon by ten.

But sustainable stewardship is only part of the equation. Bob Taylor and his partners have also taken steps to make the ebony trade a valuable and dignified part of Cameroon's economy. "Our interest went beyond simply operating a business that only provided clients with uninterrupted supplies of legal ebony and fair prices," Bob says. "Our focus grew to include the workers in the factory, the citizens of the communities where the ebony grows, the truck drivers who transport the wood, and the forest itself in terms of how we can sustain it and set it up for future stability and harvest."

Bob and his colleagues have already implemented a plan to double their workers' pay, and are in the process of building the infrastructure to refine and prepare ebony fretboards. By building infrastructure, creating jobs, and enabling responsible stewardship of the forest, Taylor Guitars is working to make sure ebony fretboards aren't going anywhere soon. As Bob himself phrased it: "I feel strongly that if we can make it in Cameroon -- if we can build a wood business around ebony that people will be proud of -- we can have ebony for many generations."

View all Taylor products »

BizRate Customer Certified (GOLD) Site
Questions? Our gear experts can help!
800-zZounds (800-996-8637)
When you call, mention priority code 144M-DW8G. Llame Gratis en Español: 800-460-7976
Lunes-Viernes de 9AM a 5PM EST
Customize Search Results for Your Location
Shop with those who respect your privacy — we do. Copyright © 1996-2014, zZounds Music, LLC. Terms of use apply.
X
ALL ACCESS PASS
5 REASONS YOU SHOULD SIGN UP FOR THE ZZOUNDS NEWSLETTER
  • Limited-time payment plan offers
  • Weekly deals
  • Exclusive giveaways
  • Exclusive artist interviews
  • Insider info on your favorite gear
To get your cool stuff, we'll need your address:
close [x]What is this?
A temporary customer reference number is assigned to each customer only while they are shopping on zZounds.com. If you call our customer service department for assistance, this number makes it easier for us to answer any questions you have about products, services or purchases.
 
close [x]What is this?
A temporary customer reference number is assigned to each customer only while they are shopping on zZounds.com. If you call our customer service department for assistance, this number makes it easier for us to answer any questions you have about products, services or purchases.
close [x]

1. zZounds offers the industry‘s most musician-friendly payment plans

zZounds offers a variety of Play as You Pay installment plans that allow you to get the gear you want today. While our competitors might offer house credit cards that require you to fill out an application and pass a credit check, our payment plans are easy to get, simple to use, and, best of all, accrue zero interest. Unlike those house credit cards that can leave you vulnerable to exorbitant interest charges once the promotional period ends, we never have and never will charge interest when you take advantage of one of the zZounds Play as You Pay plans.

zZounds payment plans details »

2. zZounds guarantees the lowest price

Seen it for less somewhere else? Get it for less at zZounds. Simply click the “Seen it for less?” link on any product page and as long as we‘re not losing money, we‘ll beat any legitimate competitor‘s lowest price, usually within two hours. Want our best price even faster? Call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll provide you with a lower price on the phone. Also, if you purchase from us and later find the product for less elsewhere, call or email us within 45 days, and we‘ll refund you the difference.

zZounds.com price match details »

3. zZounds gets you your gear fast

At zZounds, you‘ll get your gear fast and, usually, with free delivery. Because we have warehouses in New Jersey and Nevada, nearly 75 percent of Americans reside within our two-day shipping zones. Combine this with the fact that many of our best-selling products qualify for free two-day delivery and you get expedited shipping without the additional cost.

zZounds.com shipping details »

4. zZounds makes returns super easy

Buy it, try it, like it, or return it to us for a full refund. It‘s just that simple. If you‘re not in love with what you bought, return it to zZounds within 45 days, and we‘ll promptly arrange for an exchange or a refund. No hassles. No hidden charges. And if a product‘s defective or damaged, call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637), and we‘ll email you a prepaid shipping label so you can easily return it to us at zero cost to you.

zZounds.com return details »

5. zZounds delivers top-rated customer service

zZounds has received multiple Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Platinum awards, placing us in the top 0.7 percent of Bizrate‘s network of 5,200 retailers. Our success in meeting the needs of our customers -- since 1996, we‘ve satisfied over 1,000,000 people -- is due in large part to the fact that zZounds only hires experienced musicians to answer your calls and emails, and they are never paid a commission.

zZounds.com customer service »
close [x]
Available on
orders $249+
learn more

Need it now but short of cash? All we need is the first payment up front and the rest in easy monthly payments!

Fast approval.
We approve everyone, with very few exceptions, as long as we can verify your identity.
No interest. Ever.
It's just as if you paid the whole amount up front!
No paperwork. Nothing to track.
No application to mail or fax, no bills to pay. We automatically charge the payments to your credit card.

We'll wait on your money so you don't have to wait for your gear!

When you checkout, just click the Play as you Pay checkbox to indicate which installment plan you wish to use.

close [x]
on most orders $49+

Just $2.99 on
smaller orders

Really heavy stuff might cost you a
little more

learn more

Why fight traffic and pushy salesmen when we'll bring your gear straight to your home, free of charge?

zZounds free shipping is really free!
No hidden charges or hassles on returns.
Fast, reliable delivery
We have warehouses on both coasts, so most shipments arrive in 3 days or less.
We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
Only NJ residents pay tax during checkout.
close [x]

A guarantee so solid, you never have to worry about price when shopping at zZounds

We'll beat any price
Simply click the Seen it for less? link next to the gear you want or call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637)
Got a coupon from another site?
Use it with us - we'll beat those prices, too!
Find a better price after buying from us?
No problem. We'll refund you the difference for 45 days, so you'll never regret buying from zZounds.

You'll still get the trustworthy service you've come to expect from zZounds, without paying more for your gear!