NAMM 2019: Taylor has lifted the lid on a major new line, the Grand Pacific, which adds a classic round-shouldered dreadnought-style instrument to the firm’s range.
In addition to bolstering the Taylor line-up with a true-to-form dreadnought in the style of a Gibson J-45 or Martin D-45, the guitar-maker says that the Grand Pacific redefines the tonal capabilities of the classic body shape, utilising the firm’s V-Class bracing to deliver dreadnought tone without the muddy low-end so often associated with the bigger bodied guitars.
Taylor’s Master Builder Andy Powers gave MusicRadar a preview at an event for select guitar press in Nashville, back in September. Telling us that the V-Class bracing was actually first used on the pre-Grand Pacific models, before being applied to the range of models that Taylor launched last year.
“Typically when we’re using an X-brace architecture in the guitar, you can make some changes and you can voice it the way you want but it’s almost always a balancing act,” said Andy. “If you add something in one place, you’re taking it away from something else. Where if you add a little more volume, you’re taking away a little sustain. It’s kind of this push and pull. And the V idea allowed us to get a lot more independent control for those aspects of the instrument’s sound; so we could have more sustain, we could have better balance, we could have more volume and projection.
“But what’s fascinating to me is it gives us a huge amount of control over what the guitar feels like, what the personality of the instrument is by even just making tiny little changes. So this guitar is definitely a different sound for Taylor guitars. It’s not the real modern, vibrant character we’ve come to know that I love very much. But this is a sound I love as well.”
Trio of Taylor
The line will debut with three models, including the entry-level 317e, which pairs sapele back and sides with a sitka spruce top, and two Builder’s Edition models, the 717 and 517, which use fancier tonewoods (rosewood and mahogany back/sides, respectively) and torrefied sitka spruce for the tops.
The Builder’s Edition models also add more nuanced shaping, designed to make a more comfortable playing experience, including rolled fretboard edges, compound carve neck profiles and a curve wing bridge shape, for more comfort against the pick hand.
“Each of these different woods offers a very different personality,” expands Andy. “[The 517 is a] Builders Edition guitar so it’s roasted spruce with Honduran mahogany back and sides. That has a very unique characteristic... a warm and dry, fundamental strong sound. [Then] we’re building a rosewood flavour, and the rosewood has a lot more harmonic content for each note. So it’s a very rich, lavish sound. We’re building a 317 as well using sapele on the back and sides with a spruce top and in some ways that’s like a mix between the two. It’s a clear but broad ranging kind of sound. A real general purpose sort of a sound. So those three personalities, they’re instruments that are all good in their own way but they do have distinctly different voices.”
The two Builder's Edition models have a choice of Wild Honey Burst or Natural finishes, while all three will also be available as electro-acoustics. Check out the video above for more of our interview with Andy and the story of the Grand Pacific line.
NAMM 2019 - all the news
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