Following the 2018 introduction of V-Class bracing, Taylor Guitar master guitar designer Andy Powers set out to bring a new body shape to the Taylor family. Enter the Taylor Grand Pacific acoustic guitar family.
Inspired by the folk, bluegrass and California country rock records that he grew up listening to, Andy’s goal was to create an acoustic guitar that projected a warm, evocative sound. And it wouldn’t be a Taylor guitar if it didn’t also employ many of the features and design innovations that Taylor is known for.
As Andy started this new project, he drew on his experience working on and playing some of the original guitars used on those cherished recordings of his youth. He soon realized that he had to approach things a little differently. Powers recalls, “I’d play the guitar and go, ‘You know, this sound that I’m looking for doesn’t actually exist.' What you’re listening to on a familiar record like that is actually a composite. It’s the sound of a guitar played through a microphone, through a mixing console, onto tape with all the little issues dealt with.”
With this important realization, Andy set forth.
At the foundation of Grand Pacific are two important design elements. First is the round-shouldered dreadnought body. This body shape, new to Taylor, delivers a warm, seasoned tone, particularly in contrast with Taylor’s most popular body style, the Grand Auditorium.
Second, is Taylor’s innovative V-Class bracing design. V-Class bracing allows for better control over flexibility and stiffness in the guitar’s top, which eliminates some of the low-end muddiness and “woofiness” that can be found in dreadnought guitar designs. Other benefits of V-Class bracing include increased volume and sustain as well as better intonation.
As Andy explains, “A typical dreadnought builds low-end emphasis at the expense of the middle- and high-register notes. As a result, this body resonance effectively swallows up all the other notes, preventing the body from responding to them. The Grand Pacific body, powered by the V-Class architecture, generates low-end power without taking anything away from the rest of the register. You get smooth and warmly powerful notes, with consistency across the frequency spectrum.”
In fusing his innovative V-Class bracing with a round-shouldered dreadnought body, Andy has delivered a guitar design that is instantly familiar and wholly modern. The Grand Pacific series currently features 3 models, available as acoustics and acoustic-electrics. Let’s take a closer look.
Up first is the 317e Grand Pacific Dreadnought. The 317 features a Sitka top and a sapele body. It also features a natural gloss top finish, with satin sides. This versatile guitar delivers plenty of volume and will work for any playing style. It is available with and without electronics.
Moving up the line we have the Builder’s Edition 517e Grand Pacific and Builder's Edition 717e Grand Pacific dreadnoughts. These models feature a compound neck carve, which subtly transitions from a slight V at the nut to a rounded C as you move up and rolled fretboard edge. Chamfered body edges add further playing comfort. What results is resulting in a supremely playable guitar.
Each model has a torrefied Sitka spruce top, delivering a warm, broken-in tone. You’ll think you’re playing a much older instrument than you are. If you’re a mahogany, you’ll want to go with the 517. If you’re a rosewood fan, you’ll prefer the 717.
As with all Builder’s Edition models, these guitars are easy on the eyes. Distinctive design flourishes include a "curve wing" bridge, ivoroid or mother-of-pearl inlays (the 517 and 717, respectively), and a satin finish. You can also choose between a natural or Wild Honey Burst top. If you’re looking to plug-in, the 517e and 717e feature Taylor's Expression System 2 electronics.