6/14/2012

c.1977 Takamine F-395MS Jumbo 12-String Guitar


This is a customer's Takamine 12-string that was in for service (reglue bridge, light fret level/dress, cleaning, reinforcing bracing and crack-cleating/stabilizing on the upper bout, and setup). It's (quite obviously) a fancy Guild F-412 clone and unlike some of the other brands that made various clones, the Takamines really do compare to the original instruments they're intended to copy. Take for example this same-year (1977) 00 clone that I worked on previously.


This guitar is a jumbo-size body (17"+) with a solid spruce top and laminate flamed maple back and sides. The neck is also maple and the fretboard and bridge are both ebony. Just like the Guild it emulates, this model also has fancy binding and multi-purflings as well as superb pearl fretboard inlays.


The 12 individual mini-Rotomatic tuners work great. Per usual, when I set this up I also tightened all of the tuners since the hex nuts tend to loosen up each year.

Unlike the original Guild, this Takamine's truss rod cover is just for show. The actual truss-rod (a single one) is accessed through the soundhole. A true Guild from this period would need the extra-large truss cover at the headstock for the twin truss rods installed in them.


Bound ebony board with fancy pearl markers and "jumbo" frets.


Note the added pearl dots. Before I reglued this bridge the owner had bolted it back to the body with big washers for support underneath. This worked OK but didn't really solve the problem (it was still lifting nearly 1/8" at the back) and of course ate up tone in big gulps. In addition I've found that unless the bolts are really tight, the tension on the washers can actually distort the top pretty quickly.

Oh, also check out how far back I had to reposition the bridge for correct intonation! This must have played sharp its whole life until now.



Nice back! There's evident play and use-wear throughout this instrument.


The gold-finished tuner buttons are almost completely worn back down to the nickel-plating underneath.



Two setlists are taped to the bass side.


Serial (1977 dated) and truss adjustment. Check out the crack to the treble side of the fretboard extension -- this is a typical side-jarred hairline. It was moving against the support block underneath and part of my work on this instrument was to shore this area up so that the neck block would no longer move with the soundboard towards the bridge.


Note the random debris in the soundhole -- I cleaned a bunch of dusty balls out of this but there's still bits of dirt coming loose on the interior every time I rotate the instrument. Oh well! It happens.

The tag inside lets everyone know -- light gauge strings or silk and steel sets only! ...which is exactly what I suggest as well. Typical 12-string lights (47w to 10) can tune up to EADGBE on this just fine, but any heavier at standard pitch and I'd be worried.


Nice end-strip, too.

And if you were wondering -- yes, after work it's a great player with tone to match and tons of volume.

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