Taylor’s most affordable new Grand Pacific model offers great tone and an excellent value.
by Teja Gerken
April 15, 2019
Taylor’s new Grand Pacific models have made considerable waves since their introduction earlier this year. Much of the attention has been on the top-shelf Builder’s Edition models (check out our demos of the 517e WHB and 717, as well as our exclusive video of Taylor’s Andy Powers discussing the new models at Nashville’s Southern Ground studio), but Taylor also introduced a version of the design in its affordable 300 series. We recently had a chance to check out the 317e in the Peghead Nation video studio.
The 317e has the same new round-shoulder dreadnought body and V-Class bracing as its more exclusive siblings, but it combines these elements with familiar 300-series woods and appointments. The guitar has a Sitka spruce top and sapele back and sides, as well as the black binding, white purfling, and three-ring rosette that is indicative of the 300 series. While the Builder’s Edition Grand Pacifics have a new “compound carve” neck shape, the 317e has the standard Taylor neck, and, while the higher-end models include a new bridge shape, rounded body edges, and a “silent satin” finish, the 317e comes with the same designs and finish choices (gloss top and satin back and sides) as other 300s. Our demo guitar included Taylor’s ES2 pickup, but the model is also available without electronics.
Taylor’s 300 series has always been known to offer maximum bang-for-the-buck and, not surprisingly, the 317e delivers on the expectations raised by the other Grand Pacifics we’ve played. The guitar sounds great played with a pick, offering a warm low end, muscular midrange, and dreadnought volume. Like other V-Class Taylors, the guitar has excellent clarity and definition, and its quick response also makes it fun to play fingerstyle. Overall, the guitar’s tone leans more toward a traditional flattop voice than the bright, focused voice that Taylors are typically known for, and, with its excellent precision and playability, these qualities are bound to be a winning combination for a lot of players.
Players intrigued by Taylor’s new Grand Pacifics but who can’t afford the Builder’s Edition models should definitely check out the 317e. With its solid performance, there’s no reason to feel that you’re getting a lesser instrument, just a slightly different variety of a new Taylor flavor.
SPECS: Grand Pacific body. Sitka spruce top with V-Class bracing. Sapele back and sides. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $1,899 street ($1,699 without ES2 electronics). Taylorguitars.com
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