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Taylor 117e
 
Taylor’s round-shoulder Grand Pacific style is now available in a highly affordable version.
May 15, 2024
 

Taylor’s introduction of its round-shoulder Grand Pacific models in 2019 was significant on multiple levels. It was the first new guitar to be designed from the ground up with Andy Power’s V-Class bracing system; it signaled the end of Taylor’s earlier square-shoulder dreadnought design (replacing the previous dreadnought shape on all models built in the El Cajon, California factory); and it created a new voice for the company’s instruments. From the start, Taylor included the relatively affordable 317e in the Grand Pacific lineup, but players who wanted dreadnought sounds in the entry-level 100 or 200 series still only had the more traditional, X-braced 110 or 210 variations to choose from. Well, the wait for Grand Pacific fans on a budget is finally over, as Taylor has now announced models featuring the round-shoulder body style in both the 100 and 200 series, and we recently had a chance to check out the $899 117e in the Peghead Nation video studio.

Like all 100 and 200 series guitars, the new 117e is built in Taylor’s factory in Tecate, Mexico. As with most 100s, it has layered sapele wood back and sides, and the back has a built-in arch that allows for construction without braces. The top is Sitka spruce, and it’s noteworthy that Taylor used torrefied wood for the top, a feature that it has reserved for higher-end instruments. The guitar has standard 100-series appointments, including acrylic dot position markers in the fingerboard, black body binding, and a simple black-and-white multi-ring rosette. 

The biggest news about the 117e is that it has Taylor’s C-Class bracing. First introduced on Taylor’s GT models, this asymmetrical pattern is a variation of the V-Class design, and due to its very lightweight nature, allows for very free top vibration and natural bass response. The guitar also includes the ES2 pickup system, which is the same package found on more expensive Taylors. 

Taylor Grand Pacifics are aimed at strummers and flatpickers, and the 117e definitely delivers when played with a pick. With its vibration-friendly C-Class bracing and thin finish, the guitar feels very alive, yet it holds up well to a heavier pick attack. The 117e has Taylor’s typical clarity and balance, and its overall tonality is more modern than most X-braced guitars, giving it a very controllable character that would be microphone-friendly in the studio or onstage. Speaking of the stage, plugging the 117e’s pickup into a Fishman Loudbox Mini Charge gave the guitar the kind of dependably confident acoustic-electric tone found on all ES2-equipped Taylors.

Overall, the 117e is a fantastic addition to Taylor’s line and continues Taylor’s tradition of offering a large dose of its higher-end instruments’ vibe and sound in an entry-level 100-series package. 

SPECS: Grand Pacific body. Torrefied Sitka spruce top with C-Class-bracing. Layered sapele back and sides. Maple neck. Ebony fingerboard and bridge. 25.5-inch scale. 1¹¹/₁₆-inch nut width. Nickel tuning machines. Expression System 2 electronics. Made in Mexico. $899 street. Taylorguitars.com

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Julian Lage, “Nothing Happens Here” | Collings Guitars
The jazz phenom performs live in San Francisco using his Collings OM1 JL signature model.
 
 
 
 
 
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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
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