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Guitar Spotlight: the Grand Pacific 317e

Grand Pacific 317e

The Grand Pacific, Taylor’s new round-shoulder dreadnought guitar shape, has attracted headlines around the music business for its warm, seasoned tone—a departure from the modern sound for which Taylor acoustics have become known, and an altogether new sonic profile within the dreadnought category. Among the first wave of Grand Pacific guitars is the 317e, an acoustic-electric model with a robust tone and classic, understated aesthetics.

317e Features

The release of our revolutionary V-Class bracing design has inspired a handful of new creations already, including Builder’s Edition guitars and the Grand Pacific shape. Though we rolled out the V-Class scheme in Grand Auditorium guitars at first, the new bracing pattern was actually first designed on a dreadnought-style guitar like the Grand Pacific. The wider lower bout of the Grand Pacific, along with its naturally warm response, made it the perfect testing ground for the tone-shaping capabilities of V-Class bracing.

In the 317e, the V-Class structure provides a degree of tonal control that dreadnoughts typically lack—the large footprint of that shape has a tendency to build its low-end resonance at the expense of midrange and upper-register notes, which can make it sound less defined than a player might want. With the new bracing under the hood, the 317e produces clear low-end power—punchy and nicely contoured—without the woofiness that typically needs to be fixed on acoustic recordings, along with beautifully enhanced sustain and clear, musical notes. Meanwhile, the 317e introduces a more rounded tone to the Taylor line, with notes that blend and overlap into a seamless, resonant sound. It plays like a Taylor, but it sounds like something completely new.

Specs for the 317e include:

  • Grand Pacific body shape (non-cutaway)
  • Back and sides of solid sapele
  • Solid Sitka spruce top
  • V-Class bracing
  • ES2 electronics

The Grand Pacific 317e in Action

Demoing a Grand Pacific guitar is an experience unto itself—if you haven’t made it to a Taylor room at your local guitar shop, I recommend getting yourself a quiet corner where you can put the guitar through its paces using different dynamics and picking techniques. I usually play with my fingertips, and the first thing I noticed was the responsiveness of the guitar—playing fingerstyle with just the pads of my fingers, it felt like the guitar perfectly matched my input, even playing extremely quiet or digging in with my nails. Played softly, the notes remain distinct and clear but don’t lose their low-end power. Played loud, the 317e rises to the task, and the bracing lends a higher volume ceiling than you might expect even from a wide-waisted guitar like this one. Chords sound musical and perfectly blended even when you really push the guitar, and you don’t hear the chaotic, jangling overtones that you might expect from a dreadnought being played at those volumes.

Sapele is a dry-sounding tonewood that shares some of mahogany’s tonal qualities, so it makes sense that it would be very reflective of the person playing it. It’s also quite warm as tonewoods go, falling closer the rosewood end of the spectrum than, say, the koa end. Still, the Sitka spruce top holds up its end of the bargain, lending a nice sparkle to chords and notes played on the wound strings, while treble notes sing high and clear with incredible sustain.

The Grand Pacific 317e Is Great For…

Dreadnoughts have been around for a long time, so it’s fair to say that you can trust a good one with pretty much any style of music. That said, the way this guitar responds to volume makes it a natural fit for strummers, especially those who want to play live. Putting this guitar in front of an audience will bring you front and center in your mix—it’s powerful and clear, but its soft-touch response would make it a great fit for those who want to play quietly and sing.

Being a member of the 300 Series, the 317e is really a workhorse guitar, designed for players who need a reliable instrument that they can play every night in any venue, whether it’s directly mic’d, plugged into an amp, or running straight into a board. It’s not loaded with flashy appointments—just the stuff you need to sound great every night. For those looking to make the jump to all-solid-wood territory, you can’t go wrong with this new Grand Pacific.