In Praise of the Palathetic Pickup
When most people think of Takamine Guitars, they think of the artists who play them including some of the biggest names in the business. So how did this little guitar company from Japan become such a big favorite with world class artists?
Considering it was Ry Cooder who helped develop their first acoustic-electric, and Glenn Frey and the Eagles who road-tested them, the high-performance gene would appear to be deep in Takamine’s DNA.
Jon Bon Jovi has been playing the same EF341SC he bought in N.J. for 26 years. Glenn Frey’s ’92 EF360 was his number-one for 24, and of course "Horse" the war-worn NP15 (P3D) Glen Hansard only recently retired after 28 years of selfless service clearly tells its own story. Factor in the uncompromising likes of Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Hozier, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen and Sean Rowe, partnering with their respective EF250TK- P5DC-WB - P3NY - GB7C- P6N-BSB and P3DC, year after year, tour after tour, and you begin to get the picture.
So what is Takamine’s secret?
Start with some of the finest woodworking artisans on the planet from a centuries old culture of exacting craftsmanship - build those artisans a state-of-the-art factory that serves that hand-craftsmanship - then allow them to create a world-class acoustic instrument with the unique ability to project as readily to the upper deck of a sold-out stadium – as to the last pew of a church.
Enter Takamine’s proprietary Palathetic Pickup, an under-saddle acoustic-electric system so well-conceived and implemented prior to its introduction in 1978, that it has remained virtually unchanged ever since (see Takamine ad from 1979)
Employing six individually shielded piezo elements, one for each string, the Palathetic pickup is not your typical under-saddle pickup (USP). In fact, Takamine’s proprietary design employs over 10 times the element mass of your average USP. Those 6 elements penetrate the bridge plate, soundboard and bridge to make direct contact with the saddle, creating a true sonic link from soundboard to string. The result is the individually articulated voicing of each string’s harmonic content as generated by the entire guitar, for a full, complete and accurate acoustic guitar tone at the highest sound pressure level with unrivaled reliability.
Or for those of us less technically inclined – performing artists choose Takamine guitars, because like themselves, Taks embody the finesse of a thoroughbred - and the heart of a workhorse.
Palathetic Pickup images compliments of Gerry Haze @ Haze Guitars (hazeguitars.com)