Rock Lititz Campus

Rock Lititz   |   May 2, 2024

posted by: Tone Tailors

Singer-songwriter Chad Taylor is the founding guitarist for the multi-platinum band LIVE, The Gracious Few, and Chad Taylor & Friends. As an icon of the ’90s alternative rock scene, Taylor was heralded as the “Titan of Tone” by Guitar Player magazine. He is a co-founding partner of Tone Tailors, located on the 99-acre Rock Lititz Campus, the world’s premier live event production facility.
Tone Tailors sat down for a quick chat.

What’s it like being part of Rock Lititz? How would you describe the campus? 

First, it’s a massive community with multiple facilities. It includes two purpose-built arena-sized rehearsal rooms. Every week, the largest live music tours begin and end here. That’s not an overstatement.

There is a subtle sign when speaking to other artist’s managers and agents. Those who know about Rock Lititz most likely manage and work with elite touring productions, like what we see on campus.

Those who have never heard of Rock Lititz usually work with more minor touring acts—although we’ve seen a much broader consumer base in the last two years. The Pennsylvania tax credit program to offset the cost of rehearsals remains a big draw. The program has been a success.

Everyone is going to ask, why Lititz PA?

My associates, Gene and Roy Clair, founded their PA system company in Lititz (now Clair Global). They eventually teamed up with my other friend Michael Tait on a YES tour – and next, world-class audio and staging were being manufactured and assembled in Lititz. With years and years of hard work, these founders grew their companies into global leaders. Eventually, this caught the attention of like-minded touring companies. Soon, there was a small ecosystem of business owners, operators, and staffing – all within this tiny geographic region. This natural evolution became the campus of Rock Lititz.

Do music stars shop at Tone Tailors?

Yes, but we serve everyone from early learning students to massive rock acts like Black Sabbath. For example, the guys from Aerosmith were recently in the shop while students and their parents were milling about. We’ve got everyone from carpenters to doctors who love excellent instruments.

What’s great about our guitar shop is that everyone, from the pros to the Joes, loves music! There are no egos. I’ve never seen that.

We’re very tech-friendly, too. We interface with the backline guys and tour managers to keep their tour supplies in stock. This is especially helpful at the beginning of their sometimes weeks-long rehearsals. Call us in advance, and we’ll have everything sorted. We also ship to music tours throughout North America.

How does all this professional connectivity benefit your local customers?

If you walk into the local big box, they have, for the most part, never dealt with the demands and rigors of large stages, tractor-trailers, and loaders. The backline gear not only has to sound spectacular but also needs to be set up efficiently and extend the life of critical equipment. Translate this to a local club musician; we think their gear will sound better and outperform their peers. If it’s good enough for the Las Vegas Sphere, I’m sure it will satisfy locals, too!

Tone Tailors is a boutique shop run by musicians who understand the touring industry. The pros trust us because we are founded upon the tradition of meeting high expectations and being friendly while we accomplish the task. Equally, our love of local musicians is the primary driving force behind our passion.

Does Tone Tailors offer repair work?

Our repair shop is the heart of our operation. Many musicians purchase gear from a big box only to immediately drop by the repair shop for a custom set-up tailored to the player. Why?

We know our direct, personal relationships with our clients can never be duplicated when the big-box client’s instrument is most likely shipped from a massive warehouse. It’s part of the reality of “modern sales,” but lacks intimacy. For example, I’ve played hundreds of S and T-type guitars. Some have “it,” and some don’t. That’s impossible to delineate when the instrument never came out of its box from the manufacturer. These aren’t sneakers!

Tone Tailors ships everywhere? 

That’s right. Our process differs because each instrument is played and loved in the shop. We know and vibe with the “it” factor and steer our clients toward making the best choice to fit their lifestyle, budget, and tonal requirements. You might purchase from our website or Reverb but know that your guitar or amp has already passed the shop test.

How often are you at the shop?

I love my partners and our staff. Whenever I’m not playing shows, I’m in the shop helping fellow players with their tonal palettes and choices. There may be an occasional behind-the-scenes story, too!

Can anyone visit the Rock Lititz Campus and the guitar shop?

Yes, we are open to the general public. Tone Tailors is located in a massive 250,000-square-foot building that has a restaurant, bathrooms, and some cool memorabilia throughout Pod 2. We have families that come and hang out and walk about the campus while their spouse or child gets lost in the gear and equipment testing. Our instructors offer lessons, too. There is even a hotel on campus.

We’re right next door to Atomic Design – company founder Tom McPhillips designed the LIVE Unplugged set and worked on the Dr. Dre Super Bowl performance. There is always something special in the works with all of our neighbors.

Can your gear be found at the shop?

I am constantly flipping out my older, non-touring equipment. You can find a few road cases emblazoned with a LIVE logo, and as of this writing, I have a few amps on the showroom floor. There are some very rare effects pedals, too. If there is any benefit to being a partner in the shop, it is access to the latest technology and the super rare vintage instruments that appear throughout the year. Last week, I did a deep dive into acoustic guitar strings with one of our techs. I love the access.

Do you have a favorite guitar or amp in the shop? 

There is a brilliant Fender P-Bass that’s been calling my name. And also my Marshall JMP head—it’s a super rare Canadian-made amplifier. It toured with Gracious Few and LIVE, too. For gear heads, it’s got stock airplane power/standby switches and was delivered from the factory with my preferred 6L6 power tubes. This amp screams out for SRV. Honorable mention—a Martin HD-28 Modern Deluxe that sounds like a cannon.

When is your next gig? 

Fans can check out Chad Taylor & Friends on June 1 at The Queen in Wilmington, DE. See you there or at Tone Tailors!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top