Image with 4 men sitting and standing in a workshop looking at the camera

An engineer, a pro player and two woodworkers walk into a garage…

If you know Bob Taylor, you know he likes refined woodworking and pleasing sound. So when he decided to design an acoustic amplifier from a stockpile of tonewoods not quite right for guitars, he knew just who call. Soon after, pro player Terry Myers, electronics guru Tyler Robertson and woodworking wizard David Judd were in Bob’s workshop and ideas were flying around as much as the sawdust. 

Starting mid-pandemic meant Bob Taylor and team could do things their own way with no ticking clock. They could ignore the rules – foregoing today’s often “over-engineered” mentality, they went about designing an amp guided by curiosity, experimentation and their own ears.  

The first problem to tackle: What if an acoustic amp could also work like a PA? Could they design an amp that a person could sing through and also sound good? With ear-pleasing analog warmth? And was portable and easy to use?  

They found themselves working on this project with the type of creative passion you’d find at a startup – reminding Bob of his earlier days founding Taylor Guitars – circa 1974.  

Sonically, they wanted to dial down some of the high-end harshness found in many acoustic amps and channel the classic warmth of an acoustic guitar or a vinyl record. In testing and selecting the chassis and speaker, the group relied on their ears—not the reading of an oscilloscope.  

“We designed it with an appreciation for the human listening experience,” explains Terry Myers. “It was informed by the pleasure of listening to records from the ’60s and ’70s.”  

Similar to the way tonewoods selected for the back and sides of an acoustic guitar add sustain and uniquely flavor the sound, the amp’s mahogany cabinet helped contribute to its warm sonic character.  

Wanting to give the amp extra utility for gigging guitarists who sing or duos, they designed it as a 2-in-1 acoustic and vocal amp with two input channels.  

Finally, Bob and David designed a matching amp stand featuring a slightly angled surface to optimize projection and routed footholds that secure the amp. Together, the two pieces pair beautifully, with clean lines and rich wood texture reminiscent of mid-century modern furniture design.  

What began as a challenge turned out better than they’d imagined.  

The result: Circa 74 is a beautiful, musical amp with notable simplicity and playability.  

“I wanted the elegant aesthetic appeal of a piece of finely crafted furniture,” Bob says. “Something that looks great in a living room or at a wedding reception or wine bar. And wanting to use our wood resources in the most responsible way. I’m happy we were able to incorporate this mahogany into a product that I think musicians will really love.” 


Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has loved making things since he was a kid. Sparked by a passion for guitars, he began his guitar-making journey as a teenager and brought a practical, forward-thinking mentality to the craft — embracing modern tools and technology that have ushered in many notable innovations to acoustic guitars. Having handed the guitar design reins at Taylor Guitars to Andy Powers, Bob has been free to pursue other passion projects such as Circa 74. He’s loved pouring his woodworking and problem-solving skills into the venture, especially knowing that he’s helping musicians share their music in a live setting. 

“It’s not in my nature to make something that sounds beautiful that also doesn’t look beautiful. Plus, creating a two-in-one acoustic and vocal amp makes this amp gorgeous in its utility as well.”

Tyler Robertson

Endearingly Canadian with a punk rock spirit, Tyler holds a Systems Engineering degree from Guelph University in Canada. A gigging guitarist since college, he began repairing and modifying his friends’ tube amps as they abused them in venues across Canada. He started his musical instrument engineering career at Taylor using robotic technology to achieve unmatched consistency and tolerances with Taylor’s finish spraying and buffing processes, along with its precision electronics assembly. He has long collected vintage electric guitar amplifiers and owns many hard-to-find Canadian classics. 

“I’ve always been an electric guitar amp guy, so making an acoustic amp that I would actually want to use was a big challenge for me. I can say confidently this would be the first acoustic amp I would actually be excited about buying."

Terry Myers

Terry Myers knows guitars and gear inside and out. He’s logged over 40 years as a stage-striding guitar player, built and repaired guitars for over three decades, and understands the trials of getting a good amplified acoustic guitar sound. He’s the guy at Taylor who personally sets up guitars for some of the top names in the industry and understands how to dial in their sound for any performance environment. His full-time job on Taylor’s R&D team is essentially to be a high-level problem solver – testing, troubleshooting and improving musical instruments to make them feel and sound their best. He is also an unapologetic guitar and amp hoarder. 

“I’ve owned and played all the amps – or at least it feels like it. This is the first one my wife will let me leave in our living room.”

David Judd

Another integral part of the Circa 74 team, David has logged more than 30 years at Taylor Guitars and played a key role in many groundbreaking R&D projects over the years. An inventive thinker and multi-skilled craftsman, he’s remarkably good at stewarding a design concept toward production, and he was the perfect person to help bring Circa 74 to life. 

“We depend on Dave’s ability to build our prototypes and help establish production methods,” says Bob Taylor. “From his great woodworking skills to hand-building our iterations of the cabinet and stand to electrical and electronic repairs and mods, we rely on him every day. I’m not sure they make people like him anymore.”