California native Lindsay Love-Bivens has always wanted to work in music, but she didn’t always plan on becoming a guitarist. Falling in love with the instrument at the age of 12 has led to over 15 years working for Taylor Guitars, starting in final assembly and working through multiple titles until now, where she serves as the Artist and Community Relations Manager.
In her interview, Love–Bivens talks about her favorite guitars, what working for a guitar manufacturer has taught her about her life as a guitarist, and what it’s like to be a woman in a male-dominated industry. She also shares advice on getting started as a woman in guitar manufacturing, what she wishes she knew at the start of her career, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected her creatively.
Please tell us your name, where you are from, and what you always wanted to be when you were growing up.
My name is Lindsay Love-Bivens. I was born and raised in San Diego, California, and for as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be in the music industry. I wanted to be anything and everything from an artist to an artist manager. In fact, for my senior project in high school, we had to pick our dream careers, do research on the positions, find out average salaries, create a budget, find a place to live, etc., and present it to a panel. My dream career that I presented was artist relations for a record label.
Let’s talk about how you started playing the guitar. How long have you been playing, and what is your favorite thing about the connection between the player and the instrument?
I began playing guitar at the age of 12. It started out as a punishment from my dad for being kicked out of a concert band in 7th grade, and I just fell in love with the instrument. I think my favorite thing about the connection between a player and a guitar is the ability to fully express yourself and play in different ways.
What is your current go-to Taylor guitar that you like to play?
Right now, that would be the GTe Urban Ash or Builder’s Edition 517e.
Shifting gears to you working at Taylor Guitars, tell us a little bit about how you came to join the Artist and Community Relations, management team.
So I have a unique, fun history with the company. I started in the final assembly in 2005-2006. I then had the opportunity to train with the repair manager at the time and began doing production repairs for final assembly until I left in 2012. I had moved out of state, and during that time, I was doing music full-time, played in bands, and was a creative art director and worship pastor at a church in Michigan. My husband and I moved back to San Diego in 2016 to start a church, and I rejoined the Taylor team in 2018. I worked in the repair department, and there I assessed and diagnosed customer guitars. Last year, I started working with our artist relations team. I had been in communications with our Director of Artist and Entertainment Relations and a few others on our executive team. I offered suggestions and observations regarding our artist program, which turned into creating my role (Artist and Community Relations Manager), and I’m loving every minute of it.
How did you learn to repair guitars, and 1) what joy do you have in that part of being a guitarist, and 2) what challenges (if any) you have faced being a woman in that specific space inside of the guitar manufacturing industry?
Having the one-on-one time with the now Service Manager at Taylor really taught me how to level frets, fix cracks, all of that stuff. I learned a lot, and I find joy in the process of being able to work on my guitars and even my friends’ guitars and tune them in. Spending time with the instrument and really dialing in on it.
Well, first off, I will say that the industry as a whole is a male-dominated industry. So, to sum it up, one of the biggest challenges I have faced in this career is credibility. There were often times that customers would bring their guitars to the shop and ask to speak to a repair manager, and they were often shocked that that is my job. Establishing credibility has always been a challenge in this male-dominated industry.
What qualities do you believe young women need to have as they enter the music industry?
I would say having a strong work ethic, a willingness to learn, and the ability to move forward after failing. Even if you make mistakes, remember that they are opportunities to learn rather than losses.
What are three things you wished you would have known early on in your career?
Don’t let the fact that you’re a woman in a male-dominated industry diminish your voice and contributions. Your experience, your voice, and your ideas matter—and they’re needed. You belong in the rooms you are in. Trust yourself.
What advice would you give young emerging businesswomen that want to work in similar spaces you are in?
Same advice as above. Also, ask a lot of questions. It’s okay to not know everything; you aren’t expected to. And I would say, connect with other women.
How has dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic affected you in the creative sense?
COVID has caused me to reach into my creative toolbox to find different ways to be creative. I do a lot of the production and video work at my church, so trying to figure out how to get more creative with livestreams and being more intentional in the digital space. It took a minute because like a lot of people, I had moments of being uninspired. But once I got my inspiration, I was excited to go.
Have you had moments in life of being uninspired?
Yes. I had moments in life for three years or so where I was not in the most creative space. I didn’t feel very motivated to create anything. One thing that helped was listening to other creatives in the industry to see how they fared with this. Their advice was to find another artistic way to express yourself and to step out of your comfort zone. It’s different but will challenge you. I started getting into more video editing and photography, which helped me get out of that uninspired space.