When a guitar player thinks of a Taylor acoustic guitar, a few traits spring to mind: unrivalled playability, modern, utilitarian, well-defined clarity. Taylors don’t often pop up in guitar conversations revolving around vintage, bluegrass or roots American music.
Enter the Grand Pacific Dreadnought. A new shape in the form of a round-shoulder body ushers in a whole new sound in the Taylor lineup.
Although never designed to be as revolutionary as their recent V-Class bracing innovation, their newest line of acoustics is still relatively out-of-left-field compared to their existing lineup. The Grand Pacific dreadnought is Taylor’s take on a “whole new sonic personality” and the brand’s answer to players craving for more vintage-inspired tones. Or as master builder Andy Powers describes it “the most un-Taylor-y Taylor we’ve ever built.”
Before any Taylor aficionados get turned away by this pivot, it’s worth noting that the Grand Pacific has been built around Taylor’s latest and most modern of innovations – the V-Class bracing, which noticeably improves the volume, sustain and intonation.
Last Saturday, we sat down over coffee with Andy Lund and Billy Gill from the Taylor team as they showcased the Grand Pacific Dreadnought series at Swee Lee Social Club. Attendees got to feel and hear the nature of these new guitars, together with other new models sporting the V-Class bracing.
The round-shoulder dreadnought
Inspired by classic acoustic guitar recordings, the Grand Pacific series offers a different dimension to the archetype Taylor sound. Thanks to its new shape, especially the wider waist, the Grand Pacific offers a warm, seasoned tone. Bass notes are articulate without being muddy, and the notes each string produces overlap in a harmoniously, rich way.
Together with the sonic improvements the V-Class bracing architecture brings, the Grand Pacific is a versatile dreadnought that will cover a lot more than just vintage, old school sounds.
The gateway to the Grand Pacific series, the 317 sets the bar high – offering the pleasures of all-solid-wood construction, plus the tone-enhancing capabilities of the V-Class bracing.
The 317 is constructed with a solid sitka spruce top and a satin-finished sapele back and sides. Sapele offers a tonal response similar to that of mahogany, with bright and airy trebles.
Builder’s Edition 517 & 717
The Builder’s Edition 717e
The Builder’s Edition Grand Pacific sports several features to deliver the most player-friendly guitar in both sound and feel. The Builder’s Edition’s distinctive features start at the neck. On the palm of your hand, you’ll grip onto a compound carve profile neck. It begins with a subtle V at the nut and transitions to a rounded C higher up the fretboard. You’ll also notice a distinctly different finish on the surface of the guitar. It’s Taylor’s innovative Silent Satin Finish, reducing the noise from player movements and displaying a beautiful muted sheen.
You will find many other subtle and tactful touches are present too – a new curved bridge makes it more comfortable for the picking hand, while a gentle fretboard roll offers even more playability improvements. The heel is rounded and ridgeless for a comfortable fretting hand feel up the fretboard.
The tops of the guitars are made from sitka spruce which has undergone a torrefaction process, which mimics the wood’s natural aging process for an aged, played-in sound from the first strum. They are available in either the classic natural finish, or a beautiful wild honey burst.
The 517/517e uses mahogany for its sides, while the 717/717e uses rosewood.
The Grand Pacific isn’t just another dreadnought acoustic guitar in the growing market of acoustic guitars. It’s a brand new sound, not just in Taylor’s line, but the dreadnought category itself.
But don’t take our word for it – these guitars need to be tried to be fully appreciated. Head down to Swee Lee and give these incredible acoustics a try. Whether you’re a strummer, a finger picker, a singer-songwriter or a rock guitarist, you may just find the Grand Pacific your perfect, inspiring acoustic companion.
You can check out the new range of Taylor guitars with the V-Class bracing here. The new Grand Pacific guitars will be arriving in store very soon, but if you want to make sure you get your hands on one, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-order.