Few guitars strum better or fuller. Many guitarists consider the square-shouldered dreadnought the ultimate acoustic flattop steel-string guitar. They’re a combination of several elements, including their Silent Satin–finished tops, the deliciously smooth chamfered body edges, subtly rolled fretboard edges, sapele body binding, and a new contoured “curve wing” bridge shape. With the exception of 517’s Tropical Mahogany back and sides and grained ivo-roid inlays compared to the 717s Indian Rosewood back and sides and mother of pearl inlays, both models otherwise have identical features, including a Silent Satin finish on the body, satin finish on the neck, Sapele body binding, West African Ebony fretboard binding, Taylor nickel tuners, black graphite nut, Micarta saddle and West African Ebony bridge pins. It’s probably the warmest, most retro-sounding instrument in Taylor’s line—to an extent. Both guitars will surprise longtime Taylor players, who’ll certainly recognize the premium build quality, firm intonation, and note integrity on the Grand Pacific. “I absolutely love the classic Taylor sound, articulate and vibrant,” says Powers [see our cover story on V-Class in the May 2018 issue of AG], “but I love a lot of other sounds, too.”. England and Wales company registration number 2008885. With the kind of loud, bold, and controlled midrange tones and tucked-in bass that microphones often love, the 517 is clearly an excellent recording guitar. With the kind of loud, bold, and controlled midrange tones and tucked-in bass that microphones often love, the 517 is clearly an excellent recording guitar. Thank you for signing up to Guitar World. And, to learn more about how you can support this site, please click here, Click here for the complete list and links to each product review, New Gear: Ovation Glen Campbell Signature Guitars and LR Baggs Synapse Personal PA. 327e Acoustic Guitar Features. Receive news and offers from our other brands? You will receive a verification email shortly. At first a bit dark to my ears, the 517e responded exceptionally well to being whacked quite hard, even emitting a sweet, grainy growl, with gutsy midrange, on hard-struck chords between the fifth and tenth frets. The 517e that Taylor sent for review also featured the optional WHB (Wild Honey Burst) finish on the top that attractively complimented the model’s Blackwood Stain finished back, sides and neck. With its wide waist and round-shoulder dreadnought body shape, the decidedly vintage-inspired Grand Pacific—Taylor’s newest, and perhaps most adventurous guitar yet—seeks to upend those notions, or as the company’s master builder Andy Powers puts it, to be “the most un-Taylor-y Taylor we’ve ever built.” What’s more, as the first new production Taylor built from the ground up around Powers’ innovative V-Class bracing architecture, the Grand Pacific represents a new chapter in acoustic guitar design at the California giant’s El Cajon, California, headquarters, a shot-across-the-bow for what the company tells us is a likely migration toward V-Class bracing in all Taylor acoustic guitars for the foreseeable future. The Taylor Grand Pacific models represent the most significant enhancement of the traditional dreadnought design and sound since its introduction 85 years ago. The Taylor Grand Pacific Builder’s Edition 717 is something new under the sun. Playing the 717 is a bit like getting all the bodacious benefits of a dreadnought, but with the contoured bass response and bold mids of slightly smaller-bodied guitar. PERFORMANCE When strumming a chord on either Grand Pacific model, players are instantly greeted by the distinctive warm and full sound of a traditional dreadnought but with enhanced clarity across the entire frequency range. The 717 is surely one of the best all-around acoustic guitars I’ve played: With its full-bodied, weighty notes for fingerpicking, it would be entirely at home single-tracked live with a solo vocal, but with its lush harmonics popping out in full strum, there’s little doubt it’d produce a nice filtered zing effect as well for rock and acoustic pop rhythms. The booming bass that partially defines a dreadnought’s distinctive voice can sound glorious in some instances, but too often it dominates at the expense of treble and midrange frequencies that struggle to be heard, particularly when chords are strummed. Notes are broad and full, sure, but they also layer in an almost creamy way compared to the articulate, grainy crispness of, say, a 714 or a 314. Meet the latest addition to the Taylor family, sibling to the 317e acoustic guitar and the newest Grand Pacific model to hit stores. The 517 features mahogany back and sides along with a mahogany neck, all of which is toned in to match the deep brown of the top. And the result is the new Grand Orchestra—an evolution of the biggest Taylor that’s unique in voice and shape, and that in the mahogany-and-spruce 518e incarnation reviewed here, inhabits an intriguing and expansive tonal spectrum. The strength of the Grand Pacific’s inherent tone really becomes evident when amplifying the guitar via the Expression System 2 electronics. Pacific DreamsOur 517e boasts Taylor’s Expression System 2 pickup, which sounded predictably hi-fi through a Fender Acoustasonic 90 amp, an SWR Strawberry Blonde, and a Universal Audio Apollo Twin audio interface using UA 610-A and other preamp types. Dark, rounded, and vintage-inspired, we conclude, Taylor is not. The 517 Grand Pacific features back and sides of solid, responsibly sourced Neo-Tropical mahogany and a top of torrefied solid Sitka spruce with Taylor's tone-enhancing V-Class bracing, which takes the guitar's native versatility to an entirely new level. The WHB finish and electronics are optionally available for the 717, and the 517 is also optionally available with a natural-finish top and no electronics. For all its aged-bourbon smoothness, the newfangled V-Class bracing provides phenomenal sustain and a disarmingly even harmonic spectrum. ● THE BOTTOM LINE: The Taylor Grand Pacific models represent the most significant enhancement and improvement of the traditional dreadnought flattop steel-string acoustic design and sound since the dreadnought’s introduction 85 years ago. The “e” designation also means that the 517e includes Taylor’s Expression System 2 built-in electronics. The bass is big and full but not overwhelming. The Taylor sounds great, but definitely splits the difference between the traditional Taylor sound and the warm, throaty woodiness of a good Gibson slope shouldered Dread. Rushour mahogany 517e produced an extremely focused, rounded, and no additional shaping or enhancement necessary. Its aged-bourbon smoothness, the 517e sounded best with the controls at the center/flat settings and... 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