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Guitar Spotlight: Builder’s Edition 717e WHB

Builder’s Edition 717e WHB

The original dreadnought acoustic guitar was a boxy beast of an instrument, introduced in 1916. Over time, the shape became widely adopted as the standard frame for the steel-string acoustic guitar because its ample air capacity produced a powerful voice with a strong low-end response. Especially in an era before acoustic guitars were amplified, those sonic attributes allowed the guitar to hold its own on stage with other instruments, making the dreadnought a popular and versatile workhorse guitar over the decades that followed.

Jump to 2018. Taylor master builder Powers had been developing new guitar designs and features, revoicing some of Taylor’s older models and discovering fresh avenues for innovation that might inspire players to pick up the acoustic guitar. In classic Andy fashion, he decided to take a surprising path for his next major guitar-building endeavor, looking to integrate the beloved sounds of vintage acoustic recordings from bygone decades—featuring dreadnought guitars—with the modern, player-friendly amenities that Taylor fans have come to love about our instruments.

The result? The Grand Pacific body shape, a round-shouldered dreadnought frame that updates the traditional dreadnought style with a package that evokes those classic sounds with modern enhancements in both sound and feel. 

When it came time to debut the Grand Pacific, we knew that players seeking a new dreadnought-inspired playing experience would value a traditional tonewood combination. That’s why we decided to launch the Grand Pacific with, among two others, the Builder’s Edition 717e.

Builder’s Edition 717e WHB Features

Builder’s Edition 717e WHB Specs

  • Body Shape: Grand Pacific (non-cutaway)
  • Back & Sides: Indian rosewood
  • Top: Torrefied Sitka spruce
  • V-Class bracing
  • ES2 electronics (optional; models ending in “e”)
  • Wild Honey Burst top (natural top also available)
  • Silent Satin finish
  • Rounded fretboard and body edges
  • Compound carve neck profile

The Foundation: V-Class Bracing

The most important thing to understand about the Grand Pacific body shape is that everything about it—its warmth, its seasoned, vintage tone, its clarity from the low end through the treble range—rests on the interaction between its refined curves, the air volume inside the body and Taylor’s patented V-Class internal bracing. It’s that innovation that makes the Grand Pacific possible, an architecture that offers a more fine-tuned way of articulating an acoustic guitar’s top, giving the builder more control over the ultimate sound of the instrument. And though Taylor launched V-Class bracing initially in the Grand Auditorium shape, Andy Powers actually designed it using dreadnought guitars. In that way, you can think of the Grand Pacific shape as being the testing ground for V-Class bracing, and eventually one of the most exciting representations of what that interior structure can do for the sound of an acoustic guitar. It goes beyond merely adding sustain and volume (which it undoubtedly brings to the Builder’s Edition 717)—it’s a way of creating clarity and control around the guitar’s tone, creating the most musical response ever heard from a dreadnought-style body.

For the Grand Pacific body shape, this is especially important because of the large air chamber and wide frame of the instrument. The new bracing helps alleviate the woofy, muddy character that many dreadnought-style guitars tend to produce, which can cloud the other notes being played on the guitar and interfere with vocals. That effect can make recording acoustic guitars more difficult, and sound engineers have spent years devising ways to track dreadnoughts without losing the clarity of the music. V-Class bracing is the solution: it controls the sonic structure of the bass range, eliminating that woofy sound and helping the Grand Pacific produce warm tone that’s clear enough to record or mic up in virtually any situation.

Builder’s Edition 717 WHB Comfort Features

The Builder’s Edition philosophy is the purest expression of the Taylor design philosophy, a director’s-cut-style creation that reflects the ideal acoustic playing experience. Improve the way the guitar feels, and you’ll improve how it sounds as well. The best music is created when the player feels at home with their guitar.

As with all of our Builder’s Edition guitars, this Grand Pacific 717 has been appointed with ergonomic touches that enhance its playing comfort and provide a more intimate, inviting musical experience for the player. Chamfered body edges provide a more contoured feel, while a compound carve neck profile, introduced solely for the Grand Pacific body shape, compensates for the position of your fretting hand as you play up and down the neck. Combined with rolled fretboard edges, it makes playing the Builder’s Edition 717 a breeze, whether you’re picking out lead lines or strumming big cowboy chords.

Builder’s Edition 717e WHB Demo

Once you start strumming out chords on the Builder’s Edition 717e WHB, you’ll understand why we’re calling it a fresh flavor in the Taylor line. The Grand Pacific body shape delivers all the robust, bold tone that you’d expect from a dreadnought guitar, but with a clarity that most dreadnoughts lack. The whole fretboard is usable with this model, thanks to V-Class bracing’s ability to improve intonation and eliminate those sour spots that acoustic players learn to avoid. Check out Lance Allen’s demo of the Builder’s Edition 717 below—headphones strongly recommended!

Indian rosewood is prized amongst acoustic guitar players for its warmth and resonance in the low end, as well as its clarity and sparkle in the treble range. A slightly scooped midrange leaves plenty of room for vocals and other instruments, making the 717 an ideal option for solo singer-songwriters or players fronting a full band. Torrefied spruce brings a depth and sweetness to the Builder’s Edition 717 that can be hard to find in a brand new guitar, thanks to the roasting process that helps this guitar produce a more played-in acoustic tone that you’d expect out of an older dreadnought.

Ready to learn more about the Builder’s Edition 717? Use our dealer locator to find a Taylor store near you. Contact our Customer Service department with your questions about this model and anything else Taylor-related.