NAMM 2024: “Finally, an acoustic amp you can leave in your living room when company comes over”: Taylor debuts its own amp brand, Circa ’74 – complete with mid-century modern design, mahogany cabinets, and looks to kill

NAMM 2024: This year’s NAMM is already proving to be full of surprises, but Taylor might just take the cake with the surprise launch of its very own brand, Circa ’74. 

We didn’t think there was much of a gap in the market for acoustic guitar amps, but Taylor clearly thinks otherwise – and has clearly noticed that many of the leading competitors are lacking in the looks department. 

These days, electric guitar players are spoiled for choice when it comes to attractive amplifiers – from vintage-style tube combos to cheap practice amps, there’s an increasing array of aesthetically-pleasing designs out there in 2024. 

The same cannot be said for the acoustic amp options, which can often be confused with the black, boxy looks of your typical PA. There are some exceptions, of course, but as a rule, they look like they’ve been hit with the ugly stick.

Taylor Circa ’74 AV150-10 amp

(Image credit: Taylor)

As such, the debut Circa ’74 release, the AV150-10, has been conceived to address just that issue, alongside a general lack of choice for acoustic players. Channeling the mid century modern design that has become de rigueur since Mad Men first hit our screens back in 2007, it looks like the sort of thing you’d find in Don Draper’s office.

As Taylor puts it on the Circa ’74 site: “Finally, an acoustic and vocal amp you can leave in your living room when company comes over.”

The final design is the brainchild of Bob Taylor, pro guitarist Terry Myers, electronics maestro Tyler Robertson and one of Taylor’s leading woodworking craftsman, David Judd.

The controls of Taylor's Circa ’74 AV150-10 amp

(Image credit: Taylor)

There are vintage style control knobs, mahogany cabinetry and a fittingly retro grill cloth. Despite the vintage good looks, though, underneath the hood it’s actually a two-channel solid-state circuit, pairing 150-watts of power with a 10” speaker.

While most of us are used to PA-like options and the occasional acoustic preset, the AV150-10 is an acoustic amp through and through and, as such, considers the needs of the acoustic performer first. 

For example, there are built-in presets for Fishman, LR Baggs, K&K, and Taylor's Expression System pickups, as well as for leading mic options from the likes of Shure, Electro-Voice, and Telefunken. 

Taylor's Circa ’74 AV150-10 amp

(Image credit: Taylor)

On the control side, you have a three-band EQ, plus volume and reverb for both the acoustic and vocal channels. 

Connection wise, you have a 1/4" XLR for input A, 1/4” jack for input B, and 1/8" aux in, and it’s also Bluetooth compatible, enabling you to run backing tracks, or music while you’re offstage. We’d wager it certainly won’t look out of place under a spotlight either.

On that front, a final touch that we love – and that speaks to the increasing trend of guitar furniture announced this year – is the inclusion of a mahogany wooden amp stand. 

All that mahogany comes at a cost of course – the AV150-10 has a premium price tag of $1,199. But, dang, it looks expensive…

For more information on Taylor’s new amp brand, head to Circa ’74.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.