8/27/2011

c.1977 Takamine F307S (00-18 Clone) Guitar





Ah, old Takamines! This one dates from 1977 (September 16th, to be exact!) and is a sweet little 14-fret honey of a guitar. The model number is F-307S, the S being "solid top" -- which in this case is spruce. The back and sides look like laminate mahogany with a good one-piece mahogany neck. Bridge and fretboard are (solid) rosewood.


This guitar is 100% original, and aside from the laminate mahogany back and sides, this guitar is pretty much identical in build, voice, feel, and style to a '60s Martin 00-18. This particular instrument was not played much at all and looks as if it could have left the factory a few weeks ago. It's in stunningly good shape, which these are usually not in. Almost like a time machine!


Bone nut and saddle. Takamine even went to the trouble of having fake-out Grover roto-style tuners. Note the Martin-font headstock label.


Side dots and faux-MOP dots in the radiused board. Frets are in great shape. My work on this guitar included a saddle shave and setup.


Original bridge pins, too, though some ebony or rosewood pins would be a nice little upgrade!


Typical "18-style" appointments. This one looks nice and the materials are good quality, which is rarer for Japanese-made import guitars from the '70s. Usually the build is fine but the materials are skimpier. This one is just a great, solid, authentic-feeling instrument.


Sound is balanced and loud with excellent sustain and focused, bright trebles.


Hard to see, but this has the Takamine stamp (which, of course, looks like a Martin stamp).




This guitar's model number is actually F307S-F... and doing research leads me to nothing about that "F" -- perhaps it refers to the duller finish? I've seen this model with glossy finish, but I've never seen one with this style finish, which is much more in keeping with recent (read: brand new Martins) than older instruments.






Tuners work just fine.


If you're a fingerpicker and strummer both, this body shape with the 14th fret join is really fantastic as an in-between instrument for live applications. It's small enough and sweetly balanced enough to feel right for fingerpicking but big enough to lend itself to driving strumming and thumping.

Whatever they were doing -- the fellas in the Takamine factory in September of '77 got it right!