The Takamine Story

For more than half a century now, Takamine has proudly dedicated itself to the art of fine guitar craftsmanship. Its longstanding devotion to innovation and continual improvement has placed it among the world’s premier acoustic guitar makers, with truly fine instruments that are the first choice of performing guitarists worldwide.

With humble beginnings in 1959 as a small family-run guitar shop nestled at the foot of Mount Takamine in the central Japanese town of Sakashita, the fledgling company took the mountain’s name in 1962 and began in earnest the journey that led to the phenomenal success that is the modern Takamine company. The timeline here outlines that remarkable evolution.


Takamine Through The Years

1959

The small family-run instrument workshop that would later become the Takamine company is founded in the town of Sakashita, at the foot of Mount Takamine in central Japan.


1962

As guitar playing gains popularity in Japan, the small company is re-named as Takamine Gakki Ltd., after the mountain itself.


1968

The company grows to 60 employees and becomes a leading builder of classical guitars and mandolins. Luthier Mass Hirade arrives at Takamine and introduces many effective design and manufacturing improvements. The company later adds Hirade’s name to many of its classical guitar models in honor of his contributions.


1975

Hirade becomes Takamine’s president and launches efforts to bring the instruments to a much wider audience. Takamine guitars soon become available worldwide.


1978

Development of the under-saddle Palathetic™ pickup revolutionizes amplified acoustic guitar design.


1979

Takamine introduces its first acoustic-electric model, the PT-007S.


1986

The first “Natural” series guitar is introduced.


1987

Takamine marks its 25th anniversary with the introduction of its first Limited Edition guitar model, the EF25.


1988

Introduction of the Takamine parametric EQ (TP preamp; later redesigned as the AAP preamp).


1989

Innovative external battery box and replaceable preamp package systems are developed.


1990

The Steve Wariner signature model is introduced.


1994

Takamine pioneers the use of laser inlay work, resulting in remarkably intricate yet precise inlay designs.


1995

The Garth Brooks signature model is introduced.


1999

Fully automated precision neck machining developed. John Jorgensen signature models introduced.


2004

Debut of the first onboard acoustic guitar tube preamp, the CTP-1 Cool Tube®, and the Tri-ax “add-on” acoustic guitar pickup.


2005

Takamine opens a new headquarters and main factory in its longtime hometown, Sakashita, Japan. In the United States, Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry commissions Takamine to design its 80th anniversary commemorative guitar.


2007

Takamine introduces its 45th Anniversary guitar.


2008

The Kenny Chesney signature model is introduced.


2009

The Glen Frey signature model is introduced.


2012

Takamine celebrates its 50th anniversary.


Craftsmanship

At Takamine, we’re artisans and craftspeople at heart

We aim to craft guitars in an artful, thoughtful way—instruments that take your performance to new heights. High-volume builders use production machinery to speed up their output, but speed isn’t the issue for us—it’s the quality of the instrument. We’re proud of the level of our craftsmanship, and we invite you to see it for yourself by taking a close look at our instruments, part by part.


The Delicate Soundboard Balance

Spruce and cedar soundboards have been used for well over a millennium, and the modern bracing system has been around for at least 150 years. We use a traditional “X” bracing pattern on our steel-string models, differently voiced for each application.

Rather than make any radical departures, we make many small changes that add up to a significant difference in volume, balance and richness. Takamine® soundboards are braced and voiced by hand—by tapping each top, a skilled luthier knows just how to shape the braces for the best possible response.

The Fret Secret

Most guitar makers don’t give frets enough credit—or attention. A good fret job can help a player reach new heights.

Examine the frets on a Takamine. What you see is the work of a laser-guided fret finishing system that levels and crowns each fret to within 0.0001” of dead-on. Fret a note, notice how the string contacts the center line of the fret perfectly, and hear the clarity when you play. A good fret job can be the difference between a nice guitar and a great guitar.

Appointments By Deluxe

Takamine pioneered the use of uncommonly artistic and complex inlay work on guitars for working players. We’ve developed the art of design and the craft of precise inlay work far beyond the capabilities of most other guitar makers.

Look closely at Takamine rosettes and inlays. Such meticulous handiwork is a clearly visible sign of our commitment to excellence in every element of our guitars.

Skin Deep and More

Your Takamine is beautiful on the outside, but beauty is more than skin deep. Look inside and see for yourself—finely sanded braces and meticulously cut linings display a level of hand craftsmanship fast disappearing from modern guitars.

There’s a century-old phrase from the arts and crafts movement: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” That spirit lives on today at Takamine.

Body Talk

With their many distinctive curves, guitar bodies accommodate a wide range of frequencies. Different body shapes favor different frequencies, giving them a distinct tonal character.

Dreadnoughts are typically louder, with stronger lows. Smaller bodies, such as our NEX, tend to be more balanced. A thinner body may project less but sound more pleasing. Play as many sizes as you can with comfort and sound in mind. Your choice is very personal—what sounds and feels best to you.

Is There A Perfect Neck Shape?

A century ago, the wide classical shape with a flat fingerboard was the only shape considered “proper,” but we’ve become more open-minded since then. Some players feel you can never be too thin, while others feel it’s far better to be fat. It’s that personal taste thing again.

Takamine necks have an asymmetrical “C” shape—an ergonomic contour slightly thinner on the bass side of the neck so that it fits the natural shape of your hand. Overall, it’s thin from front to back and medium in width, with a gentle fingerboard arch. Perfectly comfortable.


Design Features

Asymmetrical Neck

Improved playability for everyone.

The neck profile of a Takamine® guitar is offset—like an asymmetrical letter “C”—slightly thinner on the bass side, so that it fits the natural shape of your hand. This improves playability by reducing the distance the wrist must move when the thumb is moved toward the first string, resulting in a comfortable feel and an exceptional playing experience.

Pinless Bridge

Quick and easy string changes.

No more fumbling with time-consuming individual bridge pins. Many Takamine® Pro Series guitars feature remarkably convenient “pinless” bridges, which do away with the small parts entirely and make string changes a breeze.

Split Saddle

The bridge to great intonation.

Takamine’s distinctive split-saddle bridge provides accurate acoustic intonation through a specially compensated design that is quite literally split, giving the two unwound strings—the B and the high E—their own well-deserved “break” and enhancing overall intonation.


Wood Types

Bubinga

This wood is full and responsive. Though not having the depth of Rosewood, it offers a much broader tonal response than mahogany.

Used for: Back/sides

Cedar

This is frequently used as an acoustic guitar soundboard - especially on nylong string guitars - and has a warm, soft, open sound with beautiful overtones.

Used for: Soundboard

Cocobolo

Cocobolo is a beautifully figured wood. It's visual spectrum ranges from the most brilliant reds, all the way through to the purest black.

It is dense and hard, giving notes an immediate attack with long sustain. The sound is deep, with beautiful bell like overtones.

Used for: Back/sides

Figured Ash

Ash can be quite pale in colour when it is untreated, and often has a highly figured pattern which is aesthetically very pleasing.

Tonally it has a 'snappy' high frequency range with strong mids and a crisp bottom end response.

Used for: Soundboards, Back/sides

Koa

Koa is a very dense wood with solid, pronounced mid tones with beautiful lows and well defined, but not sparkling, highs. This wood repsonds very well to firmer playing.

Used for: Soundboards, Back/sides

Mahogany

Physically lighter than rosewood, maple or koa, mahogany is no less popular as a tonewood. The response of mahogany is often described as 'quick' meaning that it is extremely dynamic, while the tone is very warm and rounded with an emphasis on the mid range.

The top end is clear, but does not 'sparkle'.

Used for: Back/sides

Maple

Clear upper mid range and high frequencies along with a tight, focussed output and long sustain make this a very popular choice among some acoustic guitarists.

The Flame characteristic is found in some maple and refers to a beautiful pattern running through the wood perpendicular to the grain.

Used for: Back/sides

Nato

Often referred to as 'Eastern Mahogany', Nato is a species which offers similar looks and similar characteristics to regualr mahogany.

It offers a cost effective way to build a guitar with great looks and great tonal output.

Used for: Back/sides

Ovangkol

This wood is native to West Africa and has a beautiful appearance featuring colourful stripes ranging from golden browns through to greys and blacks.

Tonally, it features a deep, warm low and mid range similar to rosewood, but has a much punchier high end which is much more like the tones obtained from Maple.

Used for: Back/sides

Quilt Maple

Like standard maple, this variation is loud and tightly focussed with an emphasis on the upper mids and high end registers.

The term 'quilt' refers to the very distinctive patterning on the wood itself.

Used for: Back/sides

Rosewood

Offering full bass, defined but warm mids, and punchy highs, rosewood is very highly regarded as a tone wood for building acoustic guitars.

Visually, it is also beatiful. Rich colours varying from red through to black make rosewood a very popular choice.

Used for: Back/sides

Rosewood & Maple

The combination of these two woods appears on some Takamine models with 3-piece backs and gives a nod to the artistry involved in guitar making.

The combination results in an absolutely beautiful instrument.

Used for: Back/sides

Sapele

This dense tonewood has a look similar to mahogany, but with a very distinctive striped grain.

Being relatively dense, the sound of sapele is crisp, clear and bright while retaining a good level of warmth in the lower ends and lower mids.

Used for: Back/sides

Spruce

Spruce is the most commonly used wood for the soundboard or ‘top’ of the guitar. It’s stiff, yet light characteristics give it a bright, clear tone.

Used for: Soundboards

Bearclaw Spruce

Spruce is the most commonly used wood for the soundboard or ‘top’ of the guitar. It’s stiff, yet light characteristics give it a bright, clear tone.

'Bear Claw' is a variant whereby the pattern on the wood resembles the clawing of a bear.

Used for: Soundboards