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As usual, the materials Taylor use on the new 317e Grand Pacific acoustic are tried and true. A sitka spruce top, with solid sapele back and sides. The top is finished in a crystal clear glossy finish, while the back and sides are done in satin. The black binding on the front and rear is very subtle looking. With 20 frets and a 25.5” scale, the tropical mahogany neck has an extremely comfortable carve, with a 1.75” nut width. The fingerboard is gorgeous West African Ebony, with their gemstone design inlaid with Italian acrylic. Working our way to the headstock, again, we see the West African Ebony, and a larger version of the fret marker’s visual motif.
Let’s get the usual gushing about Taylor’s attention to detail, the design, and the overall build quality out of the way. It may not be as expensive as some of the pricier models we’ve reviewed, but it has all of the same nuanced quality.
Out of the case, it was ready to go. That first open G chord rang, and rang, and rang (thanks V-class). Overall, its insanely well balanced, with no odd frequency range being sharp or harsh, and the bass response was very nice and articulate, even in the lower ranges. This is more than likely a response of the V class bracing, along with the Grand Pacific body shape. The V class bracing allows the soundboard to just resonate more and through some sort of sorcery, intonation is perfect across the entire fingerboard, while still retaining the rigidity for structural stability and tone. A lot of Taylor guitars we’ve reviewed have had a really modern and hyper articulate sound, but the 317E featured more overall warmth, while still maintaining clarity. A true magic trick. It’s not vintage-y, but it has a sound that broken in, older instruments have. You’ll know it when you hear it.
The body shape is extremely comfortable, no getting that arm pinch on the lower bout, in both seated and standing positions. No issues with the neck’s comfort either, even using it for multiple live sets a night during our evaluation period. That neck comfort makes digging into it a pleasure, and melody and leads sustain just how you’ve always wanted an acoustic to. It’s a classic yet better balanced sound than the classics ever were.
The E in the name means it’s electric and it’s fitted with Taylor’s Expression System 2, which features a Piezo pickup, but it’s mounted behind the bridge, not under it. Again, no issues there, the simple volume/treble/bass control system made it easy to dial in what’s needed, regardless of the PA system.
The $1899 street price isn’t unreasonable, considering the materials, build quality, and of course sound. It’s one of those guitars that is really hard to put down. We shed a little tear when we had to send it back (no joke).
Well made, excellent sound and amazingly comfortable feel