NAMM 2019: Taylor launches Grand Pacific line of round-shoulder dreadnoughts

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. 

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

Andy Powers, Taylor

“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

The dust is settling, but our ears are still ringing. You'll find all the stories that counted in our massive news hub. Below, enjoy our editors' findings as we regrouped at the end of the show.

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

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