The Grand Pacific model gets a new wood combination.
by Teja Gerken
May 04, 2020
When Taylor introduced its Grand Pacific line last year, it represented more than just a new body. By combining Taylor’s V-Class bracing with a shape inspired by classic slope-shoulder guitars, the company’s designer Andy Powers created a sound that, while offering the clarity and definition that Taylor is known for, had much more of a traditional, vintage-style sound. Following the initial introduction of the 317, Builder’s Edition 517, and Builder’s Edition 717 (click on the models for our demos), Taylor has now added a new variety of the Grand Pacific with the 327e, which we recently checked out in the Peghead Nation studio.
As with other 300-series models, the 327e is a counterpart to the 317, with Tasmanian blackwood back and sides instead of sapele, and a mahogany top instead of spruce. The guitar also has a sunburst finish, and while the appointments—including a black-and-white rosette and binding and “gemstone” fingerboard inlay—are fundamentally the same, some of the black-and-white layers have been reversed to offer a better contrast with the darker finish. The guitar’s mahogany top features beautiful three-dimensional striping, and the Tasmanian blackwood’s hue lies somewhere between typical mahogany and Indian rosewood. As has always been the case with Taylors, the fact that the 327e is simpler and less expensive than the company’s higher-end models has no effect on its build-quality, which includes clean craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail.
Not surprisingly, playing the 327e offers a familiar feel. The Grand Pacific body rests comfortably on the lap, and the neck has the standard low-profile Taylor shape, rather than the compound-carve shape found on Builder’s Edition models. But while the 317 has a spruce-top sound similar to its high-end cousins, the 327e’s hardwood top has a different tonal quality, with the warmth, sustain, and dynamic balance that mahogany-top guitars are known for. Strumming and flatpicking the guitar yielded a lovely tonal roundness, and I took note of the rich trebles when I played it fingerstyle. As we’ve noticed with other Tasmanian blackwood/mahogany Taylors, this wood combination’s tone also seems to be a great match for Taylor’s ES2 electronics, which are included on the 327e. Plugged into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge, the guitar offered a remarkably natural amplified sound that required no further processing.
Without question, the 327e is a cool new variety within Taylor’s Grand Pacific line. Although it is situated in the relatively affordable 300-series, it is currently the only way to get this particular tonality, making it worth considering regardless of your budget.
SPECS: Grand Pacific body. Solid mahogany top. Solid Tasmanian blackwood back and sides. V-Class bracing. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Black Taylor tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in USA. $2,199 street. Taylorguitars.com
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