Product Review: Taylor Guitars Builder’s Edition Grand Pacific 517e and 717

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As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 8 – Spring 2019 – It’s All About the Bass

While not a bass, we couldn’t pass up not mentioning Taylor’s new Builder’s Edition Grand Pacific models introduced at Winter NAMM 2019. These models offer a new round shoulder dreadnought body and add a unique sound to the Taylor lineup — Andy Powers, master guitar designer at Taylor Guitars, told us in a recent interview, “It’s a whole different flavor for Taylor. It’s a different direction. A lot of our guitars are known for being a very modern, very real vibrant kind of thing, and this is a guitar that in some ways looks backward a little bit. It’s a sound that’s familiar, you know, it’s the kind of sounds that we remember from the records we heard when we grew up.”

Powers designed the Grand Pacific models with this idea and concept in mind. With the V-Class Bracing system, a new rounded-shoulder dreadnought design, and specific wood combinations, Powers has developed three models — the 317, 517, and the 717 which deliver new “flavors” to the traditional Taylor sound.

Here, we have reviewed the 517e and the 717.

There is a lot to love about these guitars. Let’s start with comfort and playability. From the West African Ebony (sourced from Taylor Guitars’ Ebony Project in Cameroon) fretboard to the soft chamfered body edges, compounded carved neck profile, and rolled fretboard edges, to the Silent Satin finish that is only available on the Builder’s Edition models. We found the carved neck design to be extremely comfortable and feel it would be accommodating for females or anyone with smaller hands. T

Taylor 717

The 717 that we reviewed is for the acoustic lover who plays without amplification and wants to enjoy the bright and crisp sound coming from the soundhole that can fill a room. It is made of a torrefied Sitka spruce top with Indian Rosewood back and sides. Aesthetically, the 717 came in a natural finish, nickel tuners, and Taylor’s Arrowhead design Mother of Pearl inlays. This guitar is a dream to hold whether standing or sitting and its weight lets you know you are holding a high-quality, well-constructed instrument, yet light enough for comfort and movement. Strumming this instrument immediately reveals a robust and resonating sound and the action was spot on right out of the box.

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These guitars are perfect for strummers or fingerpicking as notes ring out with an unbelievable sustain on both of these guitars which are in part due to Taylor’s innovative V-Class Bracing system, along with the new round-shoulder design, and the combination of woods used in crafting these new models. Suitable for the hobbyist to the professional, from the recording studio to stage, these guitars get a big thumbs up from Guitar Girl Magazine. Andy Power’s desire was to build a modern interpretation of a guitar that would give us the “sounds that we remember from the records we heard when we grew up” without giving up on today’s guitar technology — a good fret job, the wonderful intonation from V-Class bracing, and the balance and sustain of modern guitar design. Andy Powers … you did it!

Price:
517e Wild Honey Burst – $2,999.00
717 Natural Finish – $2,899.00
TaylorGuitars.com

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