Taylor's signature model for a folk-rock legend, featuring dazzling accoutrements to satisfy the most discerning professional.
Inspired by Dave Matthews' 914ce, the DMSM is an Indian rosewood/Sitka spruce Grand Auditorium guitar. A custom fretboard inlay blends elements of the popular "Cindy" inlay, which graces Dave Matthews' 914ce, with a design that pays tribute to the band's longtime sax player, LeRoi Moore, who passed away in 2008. Based on a sketch that Matthews provided, the acoustic electric guitar has a crown inlay between the 11th and 12th frets that honors Moore by incorporating ball-tipped points with one ball partially missing in his memory. A nickname of Moore's within the band, "Grux," is inlaid between the 13th and 18th frets. The headstock inlay also was developed from a sketch by Matthews. The guitar top was shaded with an aged toner to approximate the patina Matthews has on his older Taylor 914ce guitar. Each Dave Matthews Signature Model guitar comes with a custom guitar label and a certificate of authenticity, both personally signed by Matthews.
About Dave Matthews
Dave Matthews needs little introduction to fans of popular music. The lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of the Dave Matthews Band, Matthews and his musical brothers formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in the early '90s and quickly amassed a passionate following on the strength of their live shows.
The band's unique sound, a bold, polyrhythmic stew of progressive Americana, was earthy yet intricate, jazzy and funky, informed as much by the sounds of African pop music as it was by American genres. At its core was Dave Matthews' distinctive acoustic guitar playing. Averse to open, "strummy" acoustic sounds, his percussive, self-styled approach incorporated closed chord voicings with two- and three-string shapes and a lot of string damping. Matthews' elliptical rhythmic patterns blended repetition with odd time signatures, creating an exotic and hypnotic presence within his songs. Together with drummer Carter Beauford's fusion-fueled syncopation, saxophonist LeRoi Moore's soulful horn lines, Boyd Tinsley's spirited violin work, bassist Stefan Lessard's fluid grooves, and Matthews' lilting, pliable vocal melodies, the DMB's arrangements and jammy interplay projected an exuberance that captivated crowds. The band has consistently been one of the most popular touring acts in the world for many years. It's fair to say that Matthews helped fuel a resurgence in acoustic roots rock in the mid-1990s, and inspired a fresh generation of young fans to pick up an acoustic guitar.
By pursuing an intuitive approach to playing, Dave Matthews has managed to accomplish something that many highly skilled technical players rarely do: develop a sound that's truly his own. "I've never really looked at other people's guitar playing and said, 'Wow, I really want to know how to do that,'" he said in an interview with Taylor Guitars back in 2001. "I think it's a combination of the fact that I'm on my own trip and don't really think of myself as that much of a guitar player, and that I never compare my guitar playing to other people's playing. If I did, I think I'd never have the courage to get up on stage. Whatever level of style I have, however I've developed it, it's been somehow inside-out."
Matthews is a longtime Taylor guitar player whose first Taylor model was a 714. "I was initially drawn to it because I liked the way it felt," he says. "I liked the size of it, the shape of it, and the feeling of the neck. The sound cut through really well in our band, but it also had a really genuine, wonderful acoustic sound."
Matthews later bought a Taylor 914ce guitar off the wall at an acoustic music shop in Seattle, Washington, where he was living at the time. "I always feel like an idiot when I pick up a guitar in a music store because I don't have lots of licks to wail on," he confesses. "I'm not a great craftsman at the guitar. But I picked up the 914 on the wall and really fell in love with that particular guitar. So I took it home with me, and it stayed my number one."
Among Matthews' other Taylor guitars are an all-walnut Jumbo W65ce 12-string and a rosewood Grand Auditorium 856ce 12-string. When approached about doing a signature Taylor model, the 914ce was Dave Matthews' natural choice as its basis. As part of the design customization, he sketched out some inlay designs that would pay tribute to bandmate LeRoi Moore, who had passed away in August of 2008. Part of the inlay was inspired by the album cover of Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, which Matthews had hand-illustrated.
Despite his tendency to be self-effacing about his unschooled approach to playing guitar, Dave Matthews clearly wouldn't have it any other way.
"I have a relationship with the guitar that is unique," he explains. "I think it's just the way I approach my instrument and what purpose it serves for me. I'd always rather make a new, strange sound with the help of a guitar, or put some wrong notes together in a very simple way, than I would like to practice my scales."
Taylor's Signature Series
What defines true signature artists is that they do the defining. And they do it with instruments that both inspire them and provide a reliable performance tool. Taylor Signature guitars embody the essence of each artist's unique musical voice. Each model, including the Dave Matthew signature guitar has evolved from a standard Taylor model that the artist has played for years, incorporating additional design elements that help express their aesthetic preferences. Representing a wide range of musical genres and playing styles, the Signature models always remain true to the artist, along with Taylor's own signature traits of clear tone and superb playability.