An American Dream series Grand Pacific with a mahogany top.
by Teja Gerken
September 07, 2020
Named after the San Diego luthier cooperative where Taylor Guitar’s Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug got their start (and which they ultimately bought and turned into the company we know today), Taylor’s new American Dream series is a brand new line that consists of three slope-shoulder Grand Pacific–size models. Developed while Taylor was facing the challenges brought on by COVID-19–related shut-downs, the line offers a stripped-down design that resides between Taylor’s 200 and 300 series and is the most affordable group of guitars built in Taylor’s main factory in El Cajon, California. We already checked out the AD17 Blacktop, and recently I had a chance to spend some time with the AD27e.
The AD27e’s most defining feature is its mahogany top, which can also be found on several of Taylor’s 300- and 500-series guitars, as well as certain vintage slope-shoulder guitars. On the AD27e, the mahogany top is paired with back and sides made of sapele (a wood often compared to mahogany), and currently, the AD27e is the only Grand Pacific built with this combination. As with all American Dream guitars, all the woods are solid, and the instrument has an ultra-thin matte finish. The AD27e includes Taylor’s V-Class bracing as well as the company’s proprietary ES2 electronics. Appointments are kept to a minimum, but the guitar has an inlaid single-ring rosette and small dot position markers in the fingerboard. Speaking of the fingerboard, the use of eucalyptus (which the bridge is also made of) is new for Taylor, and judging by its color alone, the wood could easily be mistaken for one of the many kinds of rosewood.
Playing the AD27e, I couldn’t help but remember the tonal qualities of the 327e, which is the only other Grand Pacific with a mahogany top. Like its more expensive cousin, the AD27e had a great overall tonal “roundness,” with a lovely warmth in the bass, and the slightly compressed dynamic range that hardwood-top guitars are known for. These qualities made the guitar an excellent strummer, but it also had a lovely balance for playing fingerstyle. The instrument’s relatively large body produced respectable volume, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the guitar to players looking for a single guitar to cover many styles. Plugging into a Fishman Loudbox Mini continued the impression that the AD27e offers fully developed Taylor character. In fact, in an amplified setting, it might be hard to hear any difference between the American Dream and higher-end Taylors, which use the same pickup and electronics package.
For Taylor fans on a budget who can live without elaborate appointments or more exotic woods, the American Dream series is a no-brainer. Not only do the guitars offer maximum bang-for-the-buck, in the AD27e you get a wood combination that’s not available on any other Grand Pacific model. Without question, these guitars are bound to be hot, and I’d recommend checking one out at your favorite Taylor dealer!
SPECS: Grand Pacific body. Solid tropical mahogany spruce top with V-Class-bracing. Solid sapele back and sides. Eucalyptus fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¾-inch nut width. Nickel Taylor tuning machines. Made in USA. $1,599 street. Taylorguitars.com
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